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Medicare open enrollment: Sandy victims get an extension

Medicare open enrollment: Sandy victims get an extension

Medicare beneficiaries whose lives have been upended by Hurricane Sandy will be allowed to sign up for Medicare health and drug plans after the open enrollment deadline of Dec. 7, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has announced.

If you don’t plan to change your Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D drug plan for 2013, you don’t have to worry about the deadline at all as you will be automatically re-enrolled in you current plan.

If you do want to make a change, CMS would still like you to hit the December 7 deadline if you possibly can. But if you can’t because of the big storm, you can enroll as soon as you’re able by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). Your new coverage will start Jan. 1, 2013 if you sign up before the end of December. If it’s later than that, coverage in most cases will start at the beginning of the next month.

CMS said it is taking people’s word for whether they were affected by Hurricane Sandy, including individuals “who don’t live in the affected area but rely on help making healthcare decisions from friends or family members who do.”

For more information, see our Health Insurance Buying Guide as well as rankings of health insurance plans.
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