Extension Educators Explain Difference Between Medicare Part D and Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment


      There might be some confusion this year among Americans who are unsure if they are signing up for Medicare Part D or coverage from the Health Insurance Marketplace.

      Open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace began Oct. 1, with open enrollment for Medicare Part D following on Oct. 15.

      University of Nebraska- Lincoln extension educators are answering some questions about the two to help clear up confusion.

      Whatis the difference between Health Insurance Marketplace and Medicare Part D?

      The Marketplace is designed to helppeople who don't have any health coverage. TheMarketplace does not affect Medicare and Medicare benefits are not changing.Medicare beneficiaries should not use the Marketplace to find coverage options.It is against the law for someone to sell a Marketplace plan to a Medicare beneficiary.

      Whatare the Medicare Part D enrollment dates?

      Time is fast approaching to compareMedicare Part D for next year. The annual Open Enrollment dates for MedicarePart D begin October 15 and decisions for 2014 must be made no laterthan December 7. Coverage begins January 1, 2014.

      Whyis it important to review and compare Part D plans?

      Many plans change benefits and costs.Also, your prescriptions may change. It's important to make sure your needs arecovered.

      Ifan individual is currently enrolled in a drug plan, what should they do?

      If you are currently enrolled in a drugplan, coverage continues into 2014 providing your drug plan is one of the 29drug plans available to Nebraska Medicare beneficiaries in 2014.

      Newpremiums and deductibles for the 2014 Prescription Drug plans have beenreleased. Each plan covers different prescriptions so the cheapest premiumisn't the best for every person. The only way to be certain your current drugplan is your best option for 2014 is by having a personalized drug plancomparison.

      Whocan you go to for assistance?

      Again this year, Senior Health InsuranceInformation Program volunteers and University of Nebraska extension educators have teamed up to provide free, unbiased counseling information andenrollment for people who are receiving Medicare.

      How can people get help forMedicare Part D?

      Thereare three ways for people to get help:

      • Getone-on-one help from the Nebraska State Health Insurance Information Program. Call the toll-free hotline at 800-234-7119 to make an appointment inyour area.
      • Visit to compare yourcurrent coverage with all of the available options in your area, and enroll ina new plan if you decide to make a change.
      • Call1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) 24-hours a day/7 days a week to find out moreabout your coverage options.