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Your Healthy Community: Coverage through Medicare not changing

By By Katie Sciba
Oct. 4, 2013 at 5:04 a.m.


Editor's note: This is Part I of a two-part series.

The first book I was asked to write is about Medicare. I never thought I would write a book about Medicare. Sounds exciting, doesn't it? You can't wait to get your hands on it, right?

Well, I'd give it to you, but now, it has to be reworked and readjusted and redone. So much has changed in health care lately, and I know it's overwhelming to try to understand. But, I'm here for you, so I thought I would try to give you a heads up along with a reassurance on some others.

First with this change, we should all just take a minute to take a deep breath. In health care decisions (and other important life decisions) it is best if you can be calm and not make decisions based on fear. Fear can be a motivator if you are going to give your fears power you must examine the rationality behind them.

Did you know that stress can lead to opportunity? We all have to manage stress, change and information in our lives. Stressors don't necessarily have to cause crises. Stressors can lead to a positive outcome. Instead of fear or stress, we could consider the recent health care changes as an opportunity.

Whether or not you like the changes, there may still be opportunities for better health care for you or your loved one. With any personal change, you will meet resistance. I love change. But, I still resist it. We humans like homeostasis. OK, so take a deep breath, and let's talk Medicare.

The first thing you need to know with the changes is that coverage through Medicare is not changing. If you get Medicare, through Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan, you'll still have the same benefits and security you have now. I repeat, be reassured that if you have Medicare, your coverage will not change.

Even I feel better now, and I don't have Medicare. Next, I wish everyone was nice in the world, but they're not. Therefore, you need to be mighty careful because there are fraudulent people looking to take advantage of these changes.

Don't be paranoid; use common sense and care with your personal information. The official website for the new health care changes is healthcare.gov. There are a lot of other websites that may claim to be official, but they're not.

Decisions about your health or your health care benefits need to be met with correct information, knowing your personal needs and common sense. If you need help, find a reputable source.

For any questions you have about Medicare, you can call 1-800-633-4227 or reference medicare.gov.

Here are a few helpful tips you should know:

Open enrollment for Medicare is still Oct.15-Dec. 7. This is the time you can: change from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage Plan or vice versa, switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another or join, change or drop your Medicare prescription plan (Part D).

Medicare benefits have expanded to include free preventive benefits, cancer screenings and an annual wellness visit.

If you're in the prescription drug "donut hole," there will be discounts on brand-name prescription drugs.

References: healthcare.gov; medicare.gov

Katie Sciba is a writer, a licensed social worker, a pastor's wife and a mother from Victoria. She works for AARN Health Services and blogs online at Always Simply Begin.

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