Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today highlighted the upcoming Oct. 15 start date for this year’s Medicare open enrollment season. The season extends until Dec. 7, giving eligible seniors seven week to choose the plans that will cover them during the following year.
According to information from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “Every person with Medicare will have to choose a ‘Part D’ plan to help them pay for prescription drugs. And people [enrolled] in a ‘Part C’ Medicare Advantage plan for their basic health care services have the option of staying in that plan, choosing a different plan, or going back to the Original Medicare program.” Chosen coverage plans take effect Jan. 1, 2012.
Medicare beneficiaries can apply for the Extra Help program to cover part of the cost of prescription drugs at https://secure.ssa.gov/i1020/start. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010, allows each Medicare recipient a free wellness visit to his or her doctor each year. For a full explanation of new benefits from the law for Southern Arizona and the country, visit http://democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/Press_111/health_care/districts/new/AZ7.Grijalva.pdf.
In highlighting Medicare’s open enrollment period, Grijalva called on opponents of the program to level with seniors about the effects their frequent dismantling efforts would have. A recent House Energy and Commerce Committee analysis found the budget passed by House Republicans in April would require the 110,000 individuals in the Seventh Congressional District between the ages of 44 and 54 to save an additional $25.7 billion for their retirement – an average of $182,000 to $287,000 per individual – to pay for the increased cost of health coverage over their lifetimes. It would also eliminate new preventive care benefits for each of the 88,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Southern Arizona. You can read the full rundown at http://docs.house.gov/energycommerce/medicare_2011/AZ7.Grijalva.pdf.