Consumers Have Earlier Dates, Chance to Save Money During Medicare Open Enrollment

Review Your Options and Make Changes from October 15 to December 7; Online Tools from NCOA Can Help

WASHINGTON, Oct. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Next week marks the beginning of Medicare's annual Open Enrollment Period, which runs Oct. 15- Dec. 7. Now is the time for people with Medicare to review their plan options and make the most informed decision about their 2013 coverage.

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Open Enrollment: A Time for Review
The Open Enrollment Period offers people with Medicare an opportunity to select or change their Medicare Part D prescription drug plan for 2013, along with a host of other options. Since there are a number of plans to choose from and cost and coverage varies from plan to plan, it's critical for Medicare consumers to review their current coverage and shop around for the plan that best fits their health needs and wallet.

"Since plans change from year to year, it's important for people with Medicare to compare, take a close look at what their current plan covers, how much it costs, and how it fares with the other plan options available to them," said Nora Dowd Eisenhower, director of NCOA's National Center for Benefits Access. "By looking closely at the cost, coverage, convenience, and quality rating of the plan options, Medicare beneficiaries can save money and make the most of their Medicare benefit."

NCOA Tools Can Help Save Seniors Hundreds of Dollars
With a suite of tools from the NCOA, people with Medicare can determine which plan best fits their needs and budget, and find other assistance to help them pay for prescription and health care costs.

My Medicare Matters (www.mymedicarematters.org), funded in part by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, is a free website that offers Medicare consumers guidance to review their drug plan and other choices for 2013. Consumers can find a guide to decision-making and helpful worksheets for selecting a drug plan.

My Medicare Matters also offers accurate and easy-to-understand information on programs that help low-income people afford Medicare—the Medicare Savings Programs and Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy (LIS)/Extra Help. The site is interactive, giving users local referrals, so they can find personalized assistance on Medicare and other benefits and services in their communities.

The annual Open Enrollment Period is also a great time for people with Medicare to use BenefitsCheckUp®, NCOA's free online screening service (www.BenefitsCheckUp.org). Visitors can learn about changes to Medicare Part D and the Low-Income Subsidy/Extra Help and discover whether they may qualify for additional benefits that can help pay for prescription drugs, health care, other household costs, and more.

For additional information, visit www.ncoa.org.

About NCOA  
The National Council on Aging is a nonprofit service and advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. NCOA is a national voice for millions of older adults—especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged—and the community organizations that serve them. It brings together nonprofit organizations, businesses, and government to develop creative solutions that improve the lives of all older adults. NCOA works with thousands of organizations across the country to help seniors find jobs and benefits, improve their health, live independently, and remain active in their communities. For more information, please visit: www.ncoa.org |www.facebook.com/NCOAging | www.twitter.com/NCOAging

About BenefitsCheckUp®
Developed and maintained by the National Council on Aging (NCOA), BenefitsCheckUp is the nation's most comprehensive Web-based service to screen for benefits programs for seniors with limited income and resources. It includes almost 2,000 public and private benefits programs from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Since 2001, more than 3.3 million people have used the service, identifying benefits valued at more than $11.9 billion.  For more information, visit www.benefitscheckup.org.

About My Medicare Matters
MyMedicareMatters is a community-based education and outreach initiative sponsored by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) with support from AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP.

About AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals
AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business with a primary focus on the discovery, development and commercialization of prescription medicines.  As a leader in gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory and inflammation, oncology and infectious disease medicines, AstraZeneca generated global revenues of $32.8 billion in 2009.  In the United States, AstraZeneca is a $14.8 billion healthcare business.  For more information about AstraZeneca in the US or the AZ&Me™ Prescription Savings programs, please visit: www.astrazeneca-us.com or call 1-800-AZandMe (292-6363).

SOURCE National Council on Aging



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