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PNS Daily Newscast - November 16, 2018 


Winter Storm Avery takes lives, puts the brakes on commutes across the Northeast. Also on our Friday rundown: A first-of-its-kind report calls for policies to ease transitions of young people living in foster care. And "got gratitude" this holiday season? It could benefit your health.

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Medicare: It's Time to Select a Plan for 2019

An estimated 1.3 million people in Indiana are eligible for Medicare. (Twenty20.com)
An estimated 1.3 million people in Indiana are eligible for Medicare. (Twenty20.com)
October 15, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS — Hoosiers ages 65-plus have about seven weeks to select a Medicare health insurance plan. Open enrollment for the federal health insurance program begins today and runs through December 7.

CEO of Medicare and Retirement for United Healthcare in Indiana Charlotte MacBeth said premiums and plan coverage can change from year to year, so she recommends even those who were happy with their 2018 Medicare coverage review their choices. She said one important element to understand is the maximum out-of-pocket expenses.

"One of the things that Medicare Advantage enables a person to do is to provide protection around the maximum out-of-pocket expenditures that you have in a year's period. And that will vary from plan to plan,” MacBeth said. “But in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you have a cap on your expenditures."

Other elements to consider when choosing a plan are whether it includes your current doctor or medical provider, if you need vision or hearing services, and if you want additional perks such as fitness memberships or discounts on hearing aids. There are about 1.3 million people in Indiana who are eligible for Medicare, and nearly 1-in-4 was enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan in 2018.

When selecting a Medicare plan, MacBeth said changes that are unique to your own health and lifestyle are most important to consider.

"If you have a change in income year over year or a change in health-care needs year over year, those are the ones that will dictate how you might want to look at a plan,” she said; “not necessarily changes in Medicare, because those are pretty stable from year to year."

She also noted those who need help with the cost of medication should select either a Part D plan or a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription coverage, since original Medicare doesn't cover those costs. More information on Medicare plans is available online at medicare.gov and at UHC.com.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IN