Senior News: Medicare Gives Break to Hurricane Victims
Seniors who were in the path of Hurricane Sandy don’t have to worry about signing up for Medicare’s open enrollment by Dec. 7. If you’re still dealing with the aftermath of the storm and can’t sign up for your medical or drug plan, you’ve been given a break.
That’s not to say you should wait a long time to enroll. Do it as soon as you can. The deadline extension also applies to those seniors who rely on family members to help make decisions about the plan. If that family member also lives in a disaster area, your deadline has been extended. And no, you don’t need to do anything to prove you’re in a damaged area.
Your enrollment will start the first of the month after you enroll. For example, if you enroll by Jan. 6, your coverage will start Feb. 1.
The areas involved are those that FEMA has declared are disaster areas: Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. Additionally, parts of Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia are included.
To enroll after the Dec. 7 deadline, call Medicare’s 24-hour information line, 1-800-Medicare (1-800-633-4227). If you call, representatives will be able to walk you through the plans so you can make a smart decision.
You can go online to review the plan information at www.medicare.gov and click on Find Health & Drug Plans. Then put in your ZIP code and begin selecting the answers to the questions. Be ready to fill out the information about any drugs you currently take.
If you’re already enrolled in a plan, you’ll be automatically re-enrolled in the same plan.
Matilda Charles regrets that she cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into her column whenever possible. Write to her in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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