UnitedHealthcare helps simplify plan selection during 2017 Medicare annual election period

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Election season is here and Medicare beneficiaries have two important elections to participate in this fall: the presidential election and the election of their Medicare coverage. The annual Medicare Open Enrollment runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7.

Michael C. Jones, the Executive Director for UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement in Alabama, joined us in the studio to explain. Because the process of open enrollment can be confusing, Jones offered advice for our viewers.

“This is where seniors can make that choice to either keep the Medicare plan that they have or choose a new plan for the next year. And for most seniors out there, they’re locked in for the entire year of 2017,” Jones explained.

Jones said there are three main factors in the decision-making process; choice, care, and experience. Every person has different needs, so it is important to do your homework to see what is best for you and your family.

“What is right for somebody at your church, or your next-door neighbor, may not be the right choice for you. Look at what’s available to you – like the doctors available or pharmacy benefits. Look at the care to make sure that you’re getting the right care. If dental benefits and a gym membership are important to you, make sure your plan has that included. Finally, look at the experience to verify that the plan has resources that can take care of you,” said Jones.

There are plenty of resources available to help people make the best decision for their health needs and lifestyle.

“We were able to help a member named Miriam. Miriam is a lady who knew she needed to get a mammogram, and she just been putting it off. So through UnitedHealthcare, and other programs that we offer, she was able to get that mammogram. (The doctors discovered) that she had breast cancer, but they caught it early enough to treat it and she’s in remission. And Miriam, I’m happy to say, is doing the things that she loves to do right now. She rides her bike. She walks her grandkids to the bus every morning. So through programs like these that are local to UnitedHealthcare we really can support our member’s well-being,” Jones said.

UnitedHealthcare hosts neighborhood meetings all over Alabama for Medicare recipients to ask questions and get answers from a local representative. They also have walk-in locations where you can get help choosing a plan and even enrolling. You can visit their location finder here to find a nearby event.

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For more information, Jones also recommends visiting UHCMedicareplans.com or calling 1-800-818-2105. You can also call Medicare at 1-800-Medicare or go to medicare.gov.

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