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Medicare Annual Open Enrollment

Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period (October 15- December 7, 2020) is an important time for Medicare beneficiaries. This is the time you may choose a new plan, drop a plan or just seek advice regarding any questions you may have. If you decide to keep your plan you do not need to do anything. It is always a good idea to check other plans each year to make sure there is not a better plan for your needs, of course making sure your doctor and medications are covered on your plan.

QualCare, Bakersfield Family Medical and GEMcare are the three provider groups here in Kern County. It is exciting to have more choices. As many of you know, you must stay within a HMO's network as the insurance carrier or Medicare will not pay unless it is a true emergency. This is true for all HMO health plans. We have one PPO plan with Aetna, premium of $89, plus co-pays and co-insurances.

After the Annual Open Enrollment period ends, there is still a Medicare plan that you may buy at any time of the year. It is called a Medicare Supplement plan here in California and in the rest of the United States it is called a Medigap plan as it helps cover the gap of 20 percent that Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) do not cover. Remember, Medicare A is hospital insurance that helps cover Inpatient care in hospitals, Skilled Nursing facility care, Hospice care and Home Health care. Part B is Medical insurance and helps cover services from doctors and other health care providers, Outpatient care, Home Health care, durable medical equipment (wheelchairs, oxygen) and some preventative services.

For the supplement plans there is a paper booklet entitled "Choosing a Medigap Policy: A Guide to Health Insurance for People with Medicare" included with the Medicare supplement booklet for each company and its purpose is to help you decide if a Supplement plan is appropriate for you. It covers the type of policies available which are standardized policies. For example the G plan is the G plan for all companies. The only difference may be what they charge for the plan. It also details what the plans cover, your rights to buy a policy and how to buy the policies. I have several copies of this booklet which I would be glad to give you. The prime time to buy these Supplement policies is within the six months of your purchasing your Part B plan as your application does not go through underwriting where it could be turned down for coverage.

Please remember that for you to accept a phone call from any Medicare agent or Medicare company you need to have filled out a Permit to Call form with your signature and phone number. There is no solicitation allowed in Medicare. You may say this to those who call you and remind them their call is against the law!

There are some wonderful resources for you to use via your computer. One is http://www.Medicare.gov or http://www.Socialsecuritv.gov. Each year a Medicare book entitled "Medicare & You" is printed and should be sent to your home once you are in Medicare. If you don't receive it, you can request a copy from Medicare via online from the Medicare site mentioned above or phone (800) 633-4227. For Social Security questions or help you may call (800) 772-1213. You can even leave a message with your name and a time when you would like to receive a call back.

I may be reached by cell phone at (661) 304-4695, by email at [email protected] or by dropping by Marty Pay Farmers Insurance Agency, 212 West F Street or by calling the office at (661) 822-3737.

I wish you a very joyous and happy holiday time with family and friends.