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S.C.V. History
December 10
1941 - Three days after Pearl Harbor attack, 165th and 185th Infantry Regiments assigned to Saugus; Edison power substation guarded 24/7 [timeline]


The Medicare annual Open Enrollment period for 2019 for eligible seniors ends on Dec. 7, 2019, and the government’s health care provider has streamlined the process.

Open Enrollment is the one time of year for seniors to review their current Medicare Advantage or Part D prescription coverage and see if they have better options based on changes to the current plans, or to recipients’ budget or health needs.

The Open Enrollment period from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7 gives everyone with Medicare the opportunity to review their options and decide whether they want to keep their current plan or make changes for coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2020.

Comparing plans pays, according to the federal government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

To make comparisons easier, Medicare also has updated its popular Plan Finder.

Medicare’s most used online tool, the Plan Finder has a new look and features to empower current and future Medicare users to make informed health care decisions, making it easier to learn about and compare coverage options, shop for health and drug plans and feel confident choosing a plan that best meets your needs.

Plan Finder provides a personalized experience through a mobile-friendly and easy-to-use design to help users learn about different options.

The tool walks users through the enrollment process from start to finish and allows them to view and compare Part D and many of the supplemental benefits that Medicare Advantage plans offer.

It also features a star rating system that gives an overall rating of the plan’s quality and performance for the types of services each plan offers.

Should You Change Your Plan for 2020?
Medicare health and drug plans change each year and so can your health needs. Think about your health status and determine if you need to make a change.

Ask yourself these questions:

* How does my plan compare to others in covering my drugs?
* Are other plans more affordable?
* Am I interested in having a plan that covers extra benefits like dental and vision?
* Does the network include the specialist or hospital I want for an upcoming surgery?

Consider what matters most to you when it comes to health coverage and be open to exploring your options, like Medicare Advantage plans from private insurers, which allow you to simplify your coverage by combining all your health and drug coverage into a single plan.

Users who choose a Medicare Advantage plan often get extra benefits, like vision, hearing, dental and prescription drug coverage.

As another alternative, users who choose Medigap can use any doctor who accepts Medicare and receives help with out-of-pocket costs but need a Part D plan to cover their prescription drugs.

medicare open enrollment

Take Action Before Open Enrollment Ends
Now is the time to act if you want to enroll in or make changes to your Medicare health or prescription drug plan for coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2020.

If your current coverage still meets your needs, you don’t have to do anything. If you miss the Open Enrollment deadline, you will likely have to wait a full year before you are able to make changes to your coverage.

Who is eligible for Medicare?
Generally, according to the federal Department of Health and Human Services, Medicare is available for people age 65 or older, younger people with disabilities and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplant).

Medicare has two parts, Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medicare Insurance). You are eligible for premium-free Part A if you are age 65 or older and you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years. You can get Part A at age 65 without having to pay premiums if:

* You are receiving retirement benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board.
* You are eligible to receive Social Security or Railroad benefits but you have not yet filed for them.
* You or your spouse had Medicare-covered government employment.

To find out if you are eligible and your expected premium, go the Medicare.gov eligibility tool.

If you (or your spouse) did not pay Medicare taxes while you worked, and you are age 65 or older and a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, you may be able to buy Part A. If you are under age 65, you can get Part A without having to pay premiums if:

* You have been entitled to Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits for 24 months. (Note: If you have Lou Gehrig’s disease, your Medicare benefits begin the first month you get disability benefits.)
* You are a kidney dialysis or kidney transplant patient.

While most people do not have to pay a premium for Part A, everyone must pay for Part B if they want it. This monthly premium is deducted from your Social Security, Railroad Retirement, or Civil Service Retirement check. If you do not get any of these payments, Medicare sends you a bill for your Part B premium every 3 months.

For more information, visit Medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048. Help is available 24 hours a day, including weekends. If you need help in a language other than English or Spanish, let the customer service representative know the language.

You can also create a MyMedicare.gov account to manage your personal information like medical conditions, allergies and implanted devices or sign up to receive your “Medicare Summary Notices” (eMSNs) electronically.

Help in your community is available. Get personalized health insurance counseling at no cost to you from your State Health Insurance Assistance Program, or SHIP. Visit shiptacenter.org or call 1-800-MEDICARE for your SHIP’s phone number.

More information is also available on the Medicare Facebook page and by following @MedicareGov on Twitter.

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SCV NewsBreak
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