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Mark Your Calendar - Open Enrollment for Medicare Prescription Drug and Health Plans Starts Earlier
Date:9/14/2011

OAKLAND, Calif., Sept. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Kaiser Permanente encourages Medicare beneficiaries to review their current health plan ratings carefully and take advantage of an earlier Medicare open enrollment start date. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a new date this year for changing plans. This year, open enrollment begins October 15 and runs through December 7, 2011. For beneficiaries changing or joining a new plan, the changes will take affect on January 1, 2012.

It's important for beneficiaries to review their plan during the next three weeks to be ready when the open enrollment period starts in October. What's convenient about this year's date change is that the enrollment period will not interfere with the year end holiday season.Here are some key dates and steps to take at a glance:September 2011

Review your current plan. The 2012 Medicare & You handbook will be mailed to Medicare beneficiaries between September 15 and September 30. Request an electronic version of the book through your MyMedicare.gov account or by contacting Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE. October 1 – 15

Use this time to learn about your plan's star quality rating. Medicare ratings will be released on October 6. Compare your plan's ratings with other available options to see if there is a better choice for you.October 15 – December 7, 2011

You can change your Medicare health and prescription drug coverage for 2012.January 1, 2012

New coverage begins if you switched or joined a plan. Cost and coverage changes also begin if you kept your existing plan.Medicare Star RatingsMedicare plans are rated on scores of one to five stars, with five stars representing the highest quality plan. The Medicare Star Quality Rating system, developed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is a simple, objective way to find and select the best Medicare health plan in a specific area. It compares how well Medicare health p
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SOURCE Kaiser Permanente
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