The open enrollment period for the Medicare system in the United States begins on October 15th. Those who must be enrolled for the program have less than two months (the open enrollment ends December 7th) to complete the application process. While many will put off this responsibility until the end of November or later, many hospitals and authorities are urging seniors to start applying right away.
There are many questions that new (and even repeat) applicants have when filling out the Medicare application. Concerns about being able to stay with the doctors familiar to them, to use the medications that have proven effective, and to see the same pharmacist who they’ve known for years are very real. There are always concerns that the enrollment in the Medicare program will disrupt these routines. Starting the application early allows for extra time to get these questions answered before the coverage begins. Furthermore, this can be a somewhat confusing process for some seniors. There are programs in most locales that are able to provide assistance with the application process, but these appointments are generally in high demand, so scheduling early is highly recommended.
For hospital administrations and the physicians employed by those facilities, it is highly beneficial to see patients well versed in Medicare coverage. When they properly understand the system, what it covers, and what it doesn’t, they know better what the out-of-pocket expenses will be. Furthermore, they have more time to consider supplemental insurances to get the coverages they need to ensure the continuation of their healthcare. Educated patients make it easier for hospitals and physicians to do their jobs without fear of bad debt.
Medicare does provide many advantages for those enrolled, but there is a definite learning curve involved. Starting the application process early provides more time for learning what must be known to make the most of the Medicare system. Hospital staff is wise to encourage seniors to enroll early on in the open enrollment period.