MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 12/04/12 -- Today eHealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH), parent company of entities that operate PlanPrescriber.com and eHealthMedicare.com, published answers to the five questions most commonly asked by Medicare beneficiaries during Medicare's Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), which began on October 15, 2012 and runs through December 7, 2012. eHealth compiled the list of questions using a combination of survey data and interviews with individual licensed agents in eHealth's customer care centers.
eHealthMedicare and PlanPrescriber provide educational and comparison shopping tools for Medicare insurance products that allow customers to compare Medicare products side-by-side, connect with knowledgeable, licensed agents, and enroll in select products online or over the phone.
Every day people call eHealth's customer care centers asking important questions about their existing coverage and the impact of any potential changes they might make during Medicare's Annual Enrollment Period. In most cases, people on Medicare Advantage plans (MAPDs) or stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug plans (PDPs) can only make changes to their coverage during the AEP.
Top Five Medicare Questions Asked During This Year's Medicare AEP:
1. Question: Are Medicare Advantage plans going away because of health care reform?
Answer: No. The government will still spend money on Medicare, and the amount of money it spends on Medicare will still increase each year. However, the rate at which that spending increases will not be as fast. Payments to Medicare Advantage plans were restructured so that more is paid for quality and performance as opposed to paying a flat fee for each specific service performed. Plans are now paid based on their quality and performance (Star Ratings) and are phased-in over time. Plans that get higher ratings receive bonus payments. Plus, Medicare Advantage plans must send rebates to the government if they spend less than 85% of the premiums they receive on enrollee care, beginning in 2014.
2. Question: Is AEP my only chance to change my coverage for the rest of the year?
Answer: In most cases, people on Medicare Advantage plans (MAPDs) or stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug plans (PDPs) can only make changes to their coverage during AEP. However, if a beneficiary is eligible for a Special Enrollment Period outside the AEP time period, they may also have an opportunity to make an election at that time. Special Enrollment Periods most commonly occur when a person moves to a different state or county or loses union or employer-based insurance. Special Needs Plans (SNPs) can accept enrollment/disenrollment on a monthly basis.
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