[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Mostly cloudy
Mostly cloudy
54°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
November 17
1969 - Construction begins on Magic Mountain amusement park [story]


When you shop for a new car or truck, you don’t just buy the first one you see, do you?

Probably not. You shop around, looking for the best deal you can get on a vehicle that fits your driving needs as well as your pocketbook.

Well, it’s the time of year when you can shop for a Medicare health or drug plan.

Medicare’s open enrollment period begins Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7, 2018.

If you have Original Medicare, meaning that you can choose any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare, you don’t need to think about open enrollment.

But if you have a Medicare Advantage (Part C) health plan, or a Medicare (Part D) prescription drug plan, you may want to see whether there’s another plan on the market that would be a better match for you, at a lower price.

If you’re enrolled in a plan and you’re happy with it, you don’t need to do anything.

But Medicare health and drug plans – run by private insurers approved by Medicare – can change from year to year. A plan can raise its monthly premium or drop a medicine that you need.

So it makes good sense to review your coverage each year. Make sure your plan still is a good fit for you in terms of cost, coverage, and quality.

If it isn’t, look for another plan.

During open enrollment, you can sign up for a Medicare Advantage health plan or Part D prescription drug plan, or switch from one plan to another. Your new coverage will take effect Jan. 1, 2019.

How do you shop for a new plan?

One way is the “Medicare & You” handbook, mailed each fall to every Medicare household in the country. This booklet lists all the Medicare health and drug plans available where you live, along with basic information such as premiums, deductibles, and contacts.

There’s also the Medicare Plan Finder, at www.Medicare.gov.

Look for a green button that says, “Find health & drug plans.” Click on that, plug in your zip code, and you’ll see all of the Medicare Advantage and Part D plans available in your area. You can compare them based on benefits, premiums, co-pays, and estimated out-of-pocket costs. Contact information for the plans is listed.

The Medicare.gov website also can help you decide whether Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage is better for you, and can help estimate your out-of-pocket costs with either type of coverage.

Each Medicare health and drug plan has been assigned a star rating of from one to five stars, with five stars being the best in terms of quality.

If you don’t have access to a computer, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). Our customer service representatives can help you with questions about Medicare health and drug plans. The call is free.

Another terrific resource is the State Health Insurance and Counseling Program.

SHIP is an independent, nonprofit organization that provides free, personalized counseling to people with Medicare. You can make an appointment to speak with a SHIP counselor in-person or over the phone.

SHIP counselors are well-trained volunteers who often are enrolled in Medicare themselves, so they know the issues. They can help you sort through different health and drug plans and find one that’s right for you. They’re not salespeople and they won’t try to sell you a specific plan.

To contact your local SHIP office, go to www.shiptacenter.org.

If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan as of Jan. 1, 2019 but you’re not satisfied with it, you have a 3-month window to dis-enroll. Between Jan. 1 and March 31, 2019, you can drop your plan and return to Original Medicare (and join a standalone Medicare prescription drug plan).

Having trouble paying for your Part D plan? You may be eligible for the Extra Help program, which helps cover your premiums, deductibles, and co-pays. Medicare beneficiaries typically save about $4,000 annually with Extra Help.

For more information about Extra help, go to www.SSA.gov/prescriptionhelp.

 

Greg Dill is Medicare’s regional administrator for Arizona, California, Nevada, Hawaii and the Pacific Territories. You can always get answers to your Medicare questions by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Thursday, Nov 15, 2018
Most people with Medicare will pay the standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B, which will be $135.50 next year, an increase of $1.50 over 2018. Your Part B premium is based on your income. People whose tax returns show income equal to or higher than $85,000 pay higher premiums. These income-adjusted premiums apply to about 5 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries.
Thursday, Oct 18, 2018
It makes good sense to review your coverage each year. Make sure your plan still is a good fit for you in terms of cost, coverage, and quality.
Thursday, Oct 4, 2018
Local entrepreneurs, industry leaders and business owners are looking for employees who can communicate clearly, whether writing or speaking; effectively collaborate on teams; and quickly make decisions that benefit both the company and its customers.
Tuesday, Oct 2, 2018
Canyon Country is known as a major residential area in our City, as well as a popular commercial and retail spot.
Monday, Oct 1, 2018
In her message for October 2018, Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste invites the community to the annual State of the City Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Valencia on Thursday, Oct. 25, at 11:30 a.m.
Wednesday, Sep 26, 2018
Not being able to record and document what Knight and Hill stated during the debate makes it difficult for our community to hold both of them accountable to what they say.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1969 - Construction begins on Magic Mountain amusement park [story]
Democratic challenger Christy Smith's lead has widened to 3,099 votes over Republican incumbent Dante Acosta in the race for California's 38th District, according to the updated ballot count released Friday afternoon by the Los Angeles County and Ventura County registrars of voters.
Smith Widens Lead in 38th Assembly District Tally
Retired Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. Alex Villanueva has pulled ahead of incumbent Sheriff Jim McDonnell by 57,810 votes in the Nov. 6 general election
Sheriff’s Race: Villanueva Widens Lead Over McDonnell by Nearly 58K Votes
A new three-year collective bargaining agreement between Kaiser Permanente and the Alliance of Health Care Unions is now in effect through Sept. 30, 2021.
Kaiser Permanente, Health Care Unions Ratify New National Deal
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, Nov. 20, starting at 9:30 a.m.
Nov. 20: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting
The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area suffered significant damage from the Woolsey Fire, including the destruction of the Western Town at Paramount Ranch and a building housing priceless archives, the National Park Service reported Friday.
Woolsey Fire Destroys Western Town, Museum, Archives at Paramount Ranch
A multitude of important disaster recovery resources from government, non-profit, and private agencies are now available online at www.lacounty.gov/woolseyfire to help support residents, business owners, and others impacted by the Woolsey Fire.
County Launches Recovery, Damage Reporting Webpage for Woolsey Fire Victims
Red Rock Canyon State Park officials have set their schedule of interpretive events for the second half of November.
Red Rock Canyon State Park Sets November Walks, Talks, Slide Show
Registration is underway for the College of the Canyons winter semester, and registration for the spring 2019 semester will begin Tuesday, Jan. 2.
Register Now for COC Winter Semester; Spring Registration to Open Jan. 2
The California State Auditor rebuked the agency in charge of implementing the state’s high-speed rail project Thursday, finding lack of planning and poor oversight has led to cost overruns plaguing the Golden State’s efforts.
Cost Overruns, Poor Oversight Plague California Bullet Train
The U.S. Small Business Administration has issued a disaster declaration for Los Angeles County that will make low-interest federal disaster loans available to businesses and residents impacted by the Woolsey Fire.
Feds Offer Low-Interest Loans to LA County Wildfire Victims
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies arrested a man on Friday suspected of vandalizing a Newhall business over the Veterans Day holiday weekend.
SCV Deputies Arrest Newhall Vandalism Suspect
The city of Santa Clarita, in partnership with Parkway Motorcars, will once again hold a Thanksgiving Community Dinner at the Newhall Community Center, located at 22421 Market Street in Newhall.
Nov. 19: City’s Annual Thanksgiving Community Dinner
Valencia native, Celine Chen, 14, will compete as a Division Finalist in the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Southwest Division Junior Piano.
West Ranch Freshman Heads to Southwest Division Piano Competition
1941 - Rose (stagecoach) Station at bottom of Grapevine dedicated as California Historical Landmark [story]
Princess Cruises has been recognized by SHAPE magazine as a winner in its fourth annual Healthy Travel Awards, recognizing the cruise line’s state-of-the-art Lotus Spa and Fitness Centers onboard its 17 cruise ships.
SHAPE Magazine Recognizes Princess Cruises with Healthy Travel Award
Most people with Medicare will pay the standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B, which will be $135.50 next year, an increase of $1.50 over 2018. Your Part B premium is based on your income. People whose tax returns show income equal to or higher than $85,000 pay higher premiums. These income-adjusted premiums apply to about 5 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries.
Your Medicare Costs in 2019 | Commentary by Greg Dill
The Michael Hoefflin Foundation for children’s cancer is getting ready to celebrate the 2018 Holiday Season.
Michael Hoefflin Foundation Seeking Donations for Holiday Baskets
Chili cook-off entries and craft boutique applications are now being accepted for the Antelope Valley Indian Museum’s eighth-annual “Holidays on the Homestead,” to be held on Saturday Dec. 1, from 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Dec. 1: Annual ‘Holidays on the Homestead’ at AV Indian Museum
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce Nancy Starczyk as the 2019 Chair of the Board of Directors.
Realtor Nancy Starczyk Named 2019 SCV Chamber Board Chair
The Brittany Foundation will be at Bark Avenue Dog Grooming on Saturday Dec. 8, from 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., for pet pictures with Santa.
Dec. 8: Pet Pictures with Santa at Bark Avenue Dog Grooming
The Silvertone Singers, in an effort to raise funding for the new Senior Center set to open in Spring 2019, presents a concert focusing on the theme of "Money."
Nov. 29: Concert, Art Exhibit Benefiting SCV Senior Center
SACRAMENTO - Every year, as the percentage of drivers age 65 and older increases, many look to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to help them maintain their ability to drive safely.
CHP Implements ‘Age Well, Drive Smart’ for Senior Drivers
Smart & Final Stores, Inc., the value-oriented food and everyday staples retailer, reported Wednesday financial results for the fiscal third quarter ended Oct. 7, 2018.
Smart & Final Overall Sales Increased 2.8% Over Last Year
No. 1 College of the Canyons will host No. 4 Ventura College in a California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Southern California Regional Playoff first round matchup at Cougar Stadium on Saturday Nov. 17. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.
No. 1 Canyons Faces Off Against No. 4 Ventura in First Round Matchup
Grab your broom, don your ruby red slippers and travel to the wonderful land of Oz – long before Dorothy and her friends burst onto the scene.
City Offering ‘Wicked’ Excursion to Pantages Theatre
Fire officials raised the Fire Danger Level from “Very High” to “Extreme” in the Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.
Officials Raise Fire Danger Levels in Angeles National Forest to ‘Extreme’
1978 - Southern Pacific Saugus depot closes; later moved & used as SCV Historical Society museum [story]
Republican incumbent Dante Acosta conceded Wednesday to Democratic challenger Christy Smith in the tight race for California's 38th Assembly District seat in the Nov. 6 general election.
Acosta Concedes to Smith in Assembly Race as Ballot Tally Continues
There's a temptation inherent to a free-flowing and high scoring game.
TMU Men’s Hoopsters Show Selflessness in Win Over Bethesda
TMU's women's volleyball team will fly to Sioux City, Iowa, to begin pool play on Nov. 27 to Nov. 29.
TMU Women’s Volleyball Earns Bye to NAIA Final Site in Iowa
Before Saturday night's GSAC title game, the PA announcer indulged himself in a bit of low-hanging humor.
TMU Women’s Volleyball Wins GSAC Tourney Title, Earns NAIA Bid
Master's women's volleyball team scored a 3-0 semifinal win over Menlo College on the way to the Golden State Athletic Conference tournament at Hope International in Fullerton.
TMU Women’s Volleyball Team Advances to GSAC Title Game
The Mustangs trailed almost all the way through three quarters, rallied in the fourth, and held on to down No. 7 Carroll 61-56 in Helena, Montana Friday.
TMU Women’s Hoopsters Close Trip with Win Over No. 7 Carroll