open enrollment

Lottie Watts / WUSF

Open enrollment for people who have Medicare plans started this week. It's the time when all people with Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people 65 and older and the disabled, can change their private Medicare Advantage plan or prescription-drug coverage.

Health News Florida's Lottie Watts talked with Kathy Winans, the regional vice president for United Health Care Medicare plans, about this year's open enrollment, which runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. 

Today, Oct. 15, is the first day of open enrollment for Medicare beneficiaries to choose their drug plan and HMO-style Medicare Advantage plan for 2014.  They can save money if they do some research, but if they don't, most will pay more this year. 

Researchers on Medicare enrollment predict that millions of beneficiaries will remain in their current plan rather than hassle with doing the research to see what has changed. And that would be a mistake, since so many plans are switching the drugs they cover or the premiums and co-pays they charge.

Given all the political fighting over the Affordable Care Act's online Marketplaces, many Americans likely think everyone will be shopping on them. In reality, most Americans won't be. The marketplaces are only for individuals who can't get (or can't afford) coverage through their employer. Small businesses will have their own Marketplace for shopping.

Medicare beneficiaries won't be on the new Marketplace. They have a separate system for enrolling in Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans -- the same system they've been using for years.

Lottie Watts / WUSF

We asked our readers to tell us what they thought was confusing about the Affordable Care Act, and you called, e-mailed and Facebooked us with questions. This week on Florida Matters, WUSF’s Craig Kopp sits down with attorney Linda Fleming of Carlton Fields, Julian Lago with the National Association of Health Underwriters and Health News Florida Editor Carol Gentry to help answer some of those questions. 

The show airs tonight at 6:30 p.m. on WUSF 89.7 FM. You can listen to the live stream online by clicking on the “Listen Live” button in the top left corner of this page. A podcast of the half-hour show will be available on the Florida Matters website

Humana: Help Wanted, About 170 People

May 9, 2013

Humana is adding full time marketing services positions to both its Miramar and Tampa locations. It's looking to hire 170 people in Tampa Bay.

Humana's call center in East Tampa is looking to fill telesales positions just in time for the annual Medicare open enrollment period coming up in October.

Humana spokeswoman Nancy Hanewinckel said the open enrollment period, when seniors are shopping around for their plans for the next year, means lots of people calling in.

In a week or two, seniors enrolled in certain Medicare health plans and drug plans will get a letter from the federal government. It is not good news.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) letter will say their plan is substandard, "rated 'poor' or 'below average' for at least the last three years."

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