Tuesday, October 16 , 2018, 2:55 pm | Fair 79º

 
 
 
Your Health
A Noozhawk partnership with Cottage Health

Deadline Nearing for Beneficiaries to Make Changes to Medicare Plans

Capps issues a reminder that the open enrollment period ends next Wednesday

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, issued a reminder Thursday for her constituents to review their Medicare plans before the open enrollment period ends Wednesday, Dec. 7.

The open enrollment period is the time during which beneficiaries can choose to change plans or shift between Medicare Advantage and Original Medicare. This year, open enrollment started earlier and will last longer, a full seven weeks, to give beneficiaries enough time to review and make changes to their coverage.

The new open enrollment period will also better ensure that individuals have their membership cards in hand and can receive uninterrupted health care coverage on Jan. 1, 2012. Beneficiaries should have received their “2012 Medicare & You handbook,” as well as a notice from their current plan that described any changes from the 2011 to 2012 plans by late September. Click here to view the handbook online.

“I encourage all Medicare beneficiaries — and their family members — to review their current health and drug plan coverage for any changes their plans may be making for 2012 during the open enrollment period,” Capps said. “Reviewing the plan will allow Central Coast seniors to ensure that their Medicare plan is best plan to meet their health care needs.”

In addition, users of the Medicare Plan Finder, available at www.Medicare.gov, will be able to compare plans’ quality summary ratings from the previous year, identify which drugs may or may not be on a plan’s formulary or be restricted, and compare the cost ranges for plans available in their community. To make it easier for beneficiaries to choose high-quality plans, users will find an icon that shows those plans that had a low overall quality rating the past three years and will also see a gold star icon for those plans that have a five-star rating for 2012.

Due to recently enacted changes in the program, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug benefits are stronger than ever while beneficiaries continue to have access to a range of affordable products. But each year plans change both in what they cost and what they cover. Click here to find helpful Medicare tools and information, and compare the cost or benefits of 2012 Medicare health plans in your area.

In addition, one-on-one counseling assistance is available from the California Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program at 800.434.0222, or through your local California Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program office, also known as HICAP. This federally funded program will help you find the right coverage for your prescriptions, resolve billing issues and coordinate with federal agencies that can further assist you in finding care. Click here to find your local office.

— Ashley Schapitl is press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

 

Special Reports

Heroin Rising
<p>Lizette Correa shares a moment with her 9-month-old daughter, Layla, outside their Goleta home. Correa is about to graduate from Project Recovery, a program of the Santa Barbara Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse, and is determined to overcome her heroin addiction — for herself and for her daughter. “I look at her and I think ‘I need to be here for her and I need to show her an example, I don’t want her to see me and learn about drugs’,” she says.</p>

In Struggle to Get Clean, and Stay That Way, Young Mother Battles Heroin Addiction

Santa Barbara County sounds alarm as opiate drug use escalates, spreads into mainstream population
Safety Net Series
<p>Charles Condelos, a retired banker, regularly goes to the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics for his primary care and to renew his prescription for back pain medication. He says Dr. Charles Fenzi, who was treating him that day at the Westside Clinic, and Dr. Susan Lawton are some of the best people he’s ever met.</p>

Safety Net: Patchwork of Clinics Struggles to Keep Santa Barbara County Healthy

Clinics that take all comers a lifeline for low-income patients, with new health-care law about to feed even more into overburdened system. First in a series
Prescription for Abuse
<p>American Medical Response emergency medical technicians arrive at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with little time to spare for victims of prescription drug overdoses.</p>

Quiet Epidemic of Prescription Drug Abuse Taking a Toll on Santa Barbara County

Evidence of addiction shows an alarming escalation, Noozhawk finds in Prescription for Abuse special report
Mental Health
<p>Rich Detty and his late wife knew something was wrong with their son, Cliff, but were repeatedly stymied in their attempts to get him help from the mental health system. Cliff Detty, 46, died in April while in restraints at Santa Barbara County’s Psychiatric Health Facility.</p>

While Son Struggled with Mental Illness, Father Fought His Own Battle

Cliff Detty's death reveals scope, limitations of seemingly impenetrable mental health system. First in a series