Helpful tips for Medicare Open Enrollment

Know your enrollment period

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  • | 5:41 a.m. November 5, 2015
Photo: Courtesy of - Different plans can have wildly different coverages for prescription drugs, so be sure to do your homework before selecting one.
Photo: Courtesy of - Different plans can have wildly different coverages for prescription drugs, so be sure to do your homework before selecting one.
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Medicare Open Enrollment, which occurs annually from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, marks an important time of year for individuals older than 65 to change their health plans and prescription drug coverage for the following year. JSA Medical Group, a local health care organization with locations across Florida, has provided several tips to help seniors who are reviewing their health plans.

  1. Review changes to health plans

Seniors have many details to keep in mind during this election period. There are often changes to Medicare health plans from year to year, which is why seniors should carefully review their plans to identify any modifications that might affect their access to care. JSA encourages seniors to consider the costs, benefits and health care provider choices available. They should also identify whether all of their necessary health care services and prescription medications are still covered under their current plans.

  1. Know your enrollment period

It is important to distinguish Medicare Open Enrollment from other health-related enrollment periods. Some people might confuse Medicare Open Enrollment with the open enrollment period for the state and federal exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. These are two separate enrollment periods and are not associated with each other.

  1. Consider Medicare Advantage

Open Enrollment serves as a valuable opportunity for seniors to change their coverage plans. Many might want to explore Medicare Advantage plans, which may fit their health care needs. Medicare Advantage plans typically offer improved access to coordinated care. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Medicare Advantage plans can also provide protection against high out-of-pocket expenses. Some of these plans also offer personalized telephone care management, health coaching, and education and support from health care professionals. These plans also serve as alternatives to Medicare Fee-For-Service.

  1. Identify costs beyond premiums

Seniors should consider all of the costs associated with a plan, not just the monthly cost, also known as a premium. This includes assessing co-pays, coinsurance and deductibles to obtain a clear picture of how much will be spent on health care for the year.

  1. Consider access to coordinated care

JSA advises seniors to thoroughly review their coverage options to determine whether their coverage will provide access to coordinated care, a value-based form of health care in which a team of providers work collaboratively to promote preventative, high-quality care.

JSA has successfully utilized this coordinated, patient-focused approach for years in an effort to provide its patients with the highest quality of care. This collaborative approach serves as the cornerstone of the Total Care difference, which provides patients with access to a team of primary care physicians, specialists, care managers and other professionals who work together to manage all aspects of patients’ care and overall health. This model of care includes a strong focus on prevention and helping patients maximize their health insurance benefits.

JSA encourages seniors to learn more about Medicare Open Enrollment by visiting People can also learn more about JSA’s services at or at 844-618-4572.