A Publication of WTVP

Medicare’s open enrollment period is undergoing some adjustments this year, and Illinois’ Medicare beneficiaries need to be aware of how it will impact their ability to change their coverage.

Open enrollment, which began on October 15th, ends early this year, on December 7th. In the past, eligible individuals had until December 31st to make decisions regarding their coverage. Below are five helpful tips:

It’s also important to know that beneficiaries reaching the coverage gap in 2012 will receive a 50-percent discount on approved brand-name formulary drugs and a 14-percent discount on generic drugs.

Once open enrollment ends, you may still be able to make changes to your Medicare coverage. Eligible beneficiaries with diabetes or heart failure are allowed a one-time special election period to enroll in a special needs plan for their condition. Also, eligible Medicare beneficiaries receiving full Medicaid assistance may switch their coverage at any time of the year. iBi

Lauren Montrastelle is Illinois’ community outreach manager for Care Improvement Plus, which provides specialized Medicare coverage for underserved and chronically ill beneficiaries.