As 2018 nears its end, the Open Enrollment Period for the health insurance marketplace in the United States begins again. There have been a few changes in the marketplaces from state to state as health insurance providers and the healthcare industry deal with changes to legislation regarding this important aspect of our society.
Blue Cross Blue Shield is a federation comprised of 36 local, independent health insurance organizations working in all 50 states. This organization and the health insurance companies that partner with Blue Cross Blue Shield are responsible for insuring over 106 million people in the United States.
Blue Cross Blue Shield oversees the federal Medicare program in the United States. Medicare is a federal health insurance program that assists individuals 65 years of age and older (and individuals under 65 with certain disabilities or medical conditions) with obtaining adequate health insurance. Medicare has four parts that are designed to address a range of healthcare needs. Parts A, B, C, and D, all with unique aspects of how they cover individuals.
Medicare Parts A and Medicare Part B: Cover inpatient care in hospitals or skilled nursing facilities, home health care, hospice care, doctor services, outpatient care, medical supplies, durable medical equipment, and preventive services.
Medicare Part C: Covers Medicare Advantage Plans (Blue Cross Blue Shield Advantage Plans)
Medicare Part D: Helps with prescription drug coverage.
People who turn 65 and are receiving retirement benefits, such as Social Security, are automatically enrolled in Original Medicare through Blue Cross Blue Shield. If you are not receiving retirement benefits, or do not qualify for retirement benefits, you must enroll manually during your Initial Enrollment Period. You have a seven-month window to enroll in Medicare around your 65th birthday; three months before your birth month, your birth month, and three months after.
If you missed the window for the Initial Enrollment Period, you can sign up for Medicare Parts A and B during the General Enrollment Period, which lasts from January 1st through March 31st. In this case, your coverage would begin on July 1 and would be subject to penalties for missing the deadline.
If you are already receiving Medicare and need to make enrollment changes, you can do so during the Open Enrollment Period, which runs from October 15th to December 7th, 2018. You can make changes like switching Medicare Advantage plans, discontinuing coverage, or change your Part D plan.
Blue Cross Blue Shield works with independent insurance companies who are contracted with the federal Medicare program to offer Medicare plans. About 96% of hospitals and 92% ofhealthcaree providers in the United States accept Blue Cross Blue Shield companies.
To learn more about enrolling in Medicare, contact the experts at (877) 829-1109. Our licensed insurance experts will be happy to answer any questions you have.