It’s that time of year again! We are approaching the time of lights illuminating houses and snowmen lining the sidewalks. Where we spend time with our families and a glass of cocoa in front of a warm fire. As the cold weather sets in, and the holidays approach it’s time to start thinking about more than travel plans. While we all look forward to the holidays, it’s also the time of year that patients need to start thinking about plans for the 2018 Medicare open enrollment season. But don’t fret, CMS has released that Medicare open enrollment is going to be a much simpler process in 2018!
Starting back on October 15th and going through December 1st, 2017, Medicare open enrollment was ready for patients to apply. CMS states that this time patients have had “better access to high-quality health coverage choices offering more options and lower premiums in 2018.”
For years Medicare open enrollment has been a dreaded time. Patients have had to pay a really high cost for below average health care coverage. CMS is saying that this is no longer a reality. Even though large insurance providers have dismissed themselves from taking part in many states, it appears that overall, patients will pay a lower cost for better coverage in 2018. Total, they are increasing the number of options they offer by about 4,000. This also has a decreased the average premium by about $30. This many options can often take time for patients and providers to sift through. So, it is important to set aside enough time during the Medicare open enrollment season. Patients need to find the plan that fits them best.
A big question with these changes is how patients are supposed to navigate these options and make an educated decision. CMS has made changes in their newsletter and digital features so that patients are completely up to date for Medicare open enrollment. People will receive helpful updates directly to their inbox, letting them know when deadlines are and the steps they need to take.
With these updated methods of communication with recipients during Medicare open enrollment, CMS wants to remind patients and providers of their new and more secure Medicare card. Equipped with new, more secure numbers, the cards no longer identify patients with social security numbers, reducing identity theft from stolen Medicare cards in 2018.
With updated security and easier access to information, this season’s Medicare open enrollment is crucial for qualifying patients. Offering an increased number of quality plans at a lower cost, CMS is ensuring that this process is simpler for patients in 2018.