Medicare Monday Features 2015 Prices and Benefits

Each year the federal government makes changes to the Medicare. Many beneficiaries are advised to go through the process of determining if they are satisfied with their current coverage with a Medicare Supplement, a Medicare Advantage Plan and/or prescription drug coverage.

The Colorado Gerontological Society is sponsoring Medicare Monday on October 20 and 27, 2014 as well as on November 3, 2014 in fifteen locations throughout Colorado.

Open enrollment to change Medicare Advantage Plans and prescription drug coverage starts on October 15, 2014 and ends on December 7, 2014. Changes made during this time will be effective January 1, 2015.

Individuals who are new to Medicare should plan to attend a Medicare Monday to learn more about the basics, coverages, and benefits. 2015 changes will be discussed. Other topics to be discussed include health promotion and prevention initiatives, durable medical equipment changes, and changes in reimbursement to Medicare providers.

Medicare has not yet announced the Part A and B deductible. According to a news release from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in August, the Medicare Part B is expected to hold steady at $104.90 per month. Part D monthly plan premiums are expected to increase an average of $1 per month.

Some of the Medicare Advantage Plans in Colorado have made changes to the provider networks. Some members are being re-assigned new physicians. Other members are experiencing problems finding physicians who are accepting new patients that are convenient and meet their expectations for care.

During open enrollment, Medicare Advantage members who want to keep their “current” physician who may no longer be part of a network can sign up with a new Medicare Advantage plan or consider purchasing a Medicare Supplement.

Medicare has announced changes for the 2015 Prescription Drug benefit. The annual deductible will increase to $320 per year. Beneficiaries will pay 25% of the cost of prescriptions for the next $2960 or approximately $740. Individuals who use more than $3280 per year in drugs will reach the coverage gap (or the donut hole). Beneficiaries will pay 65% of the cost of generic prescriptions and 45% of the cost of name brand prescriptions. Individuals whose prescription drug costs exceed $7061 in 2015 will pay $2.65 for generics and $6.60 for name brand drugs.

Some prescription drug companies in Colorado are making changes to the formularies. Thus beneficiaries should check their current plan to determine if the plan still meets their needs. Counselors are available to help with comparison shopping for prescription drug plans.

Low income seniors whose income is less than $993/month ($1331/month for couples)from all sources and who have less than $8660 in assets ($13,750 for couples) which excludes the home, car, term life insurance policy, and irremovable burial policy can sign up for help paying for the Medicare Part B premium. These same individuals are also eligible for assistance paying for prescription drug costs. For help in applying for benefits, call 1-855-293-6911.

Medicare Monday will be held on October 20, 2014 from 9:30 am to 11:30 am at the following locations: Eaton Terrace, 333. Eaton Street, Lakewood; Heritage Club of Denver, 2020 S Monroe, Denver; Montbello Manor, 4355 Carson St, Denver; Sunrise Senior Living, 10280 Sheridan Blvd, Westminster; Holly Creek, 5500 E Peakview Av, Centennial; The Commons of Hilltop, 625 27½ Rd, Grand Junction; and The Inn at Garden Plaza, 2520 International Cir, Colorado Springs.

Follow-up sessions will be held on October 27, 2014 from 9:30 am to 11:30 am at The Bridge at Alamosa, 3407 Carroll St, Alamosa; Northglenn Senior Center, 11801 Community Center Dr, Northglenn; RiverPointe of Littleton, 5225 S Prince St, Littleton; St. Andrew’s Village, 13801 E Yale Av, Aurora; Windsor Gardens Auditorium, 595 S Clinton, St, Denver.

Follow-up sessions will also be held on November 3 from 9:30 am to 11:30 am at Foothills Park and Recreation District, 6612 S Ward St, Littleton; and Third Street Center, 520 S 3rd St, Carbondale. Another session will be held from 1:30 to 3:30 pm at Greeley Senior Activity Center, 1010 6th St, Greeley.

Refreshments will be served. If you would like to schedule an individual counseling appointment or to make a reservation for Medicare Monday, call 1-855-880-4777.