Avera Medical Minute: Medicare Changes - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Avera Medical Minute: Medicare Changes

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Avera Medicare Products Mgr. Jack Arnett (middle) advises clients Wayne and Karen Muth at the Avera Select offices in Sioux Falls. Avera Medicare Products Mgr. Jack Arnett (middle) advises clients Wayne and Karen Muth at the Avera Select offices in Sioux Falls.

This undoubtedly is a busy time of year. Most everyone is concentrating on the getting all the holiday decorations up and Christmas shopping done, but it's also an important time of year for Medicare beneficiaries. From November 15th until the end of the year (2009) is the annual enrollment period and this is the time when a lot of decisions need to be made on your Medicare insurance coverage for 2010.

Wayne and Karen Muth from Sioux Falls consider themselves pretty lucky. They have no major health issues and they're not on a lot of medications. They also know a lot could change in a year. Especially with health care reform in t he works and with their own health. That's why they also consider themselves in good hands with Jack Arnett and Avera Medicare Products.

Wayne Muth says, "One of the things I learned many years ago is that I don't know everything so you go to someone you trust that is an expert in the flied, especially when it comes to insurance. Karen and I have been on Medicare for 3 years now and every year there are changes. So every year I get with Jack Arnett, my expert, and go over everything."

Medicare has specific enrollment periods. The first is now until the end of the year. During this annual enrollment, Medicare beneficiaries can join the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Part D for the either the first time or make changes to their existing Part D plan.

Avera Medicare Products Manager Jack Arnett says, "Now for 2010 there is going to be 46 plans available in South Dakota to chose from. 29 of those plans have a partial or full deductible. There was also a lot of changes for 2010 plans. For example, the premiums range from $22 a month up to $104 a month. So every beneficiary really needs to look at the prescription drug plans."

Arnett also says folks need to look at the Medicare Health Options. There are 15 different Medicare Advantage Plans to choose from for next year which is confusing to digest if you aren't trained in it.

Arnett says, "This is the only thing we do. We've become very specialized in it. We've taken that trusted advisor role within the community. If an Avera option is not in their best interest, then we'll let them know and direct them to the best plan." 

The Muths ended up changing from an Avera Select  Plan to go with an Avera Advantage Plan. They say it's going to save them money on their premiums and was an overall better fit for them.  They're not afraid to admit they needed Jack's expertise and are exactly where they should be at years end and that is looking forward to 2010, confident they'll be covered for whatever it brings.

Arnett says there's also going to be significant changes next year in the Medicare Supplement Options. Yet another reason to get with a trained certified professional who can help you navigate through new material.


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