Help pack a million meals for struggling seniors on Sept. 11. Volunteer today


AARP Staying Sharp: Keep Your Brain Healthy


The tablet with free 24/7 customer support. Learn More


Military and Veterans Discount


AARP’s Picture Your Retirement Sweepstakes

Enter the $50K Picture Your Retirement Sweepstakes. Ends 8/31/15. No purchase necessary. Enter for Official Rules.


AARP Games - Play Now!

AARP Books

Medicare for Dummies book cover

Get the answers you need, from Patricia Barry, AARP's Ask Ms. Medicare

Share Your Thoughts

Reader stories help us fine-tune our education efforts and strengthen our calls for action on issues that matter most to you. We read and learn from every story and may use yours (with permission) to brief legislators, inspire other readers and more. Please share your story with us. Do

Most Popular


Medicare Open Enrollment: Now is the Time to Review your Medicare Plan

Medicare open enrollment starts early this year and at AARP, we want to make sure Mainers have the tools they need to make good choices. Open enrollment began on Oct. 15, and ends on Dec. 7, 2012. Any changes you make will take effect Jan. 1, 2013.

See Also: 12 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Medicare Plan

Medicare open enrollment is the only time of the year when the almost 270,000 Medicare recipients in Maine can review and make changes to their Medicare coverage.

In brief, during open enrollment you can:

  • Switch to a Medicare Advantage plan
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
  • Drop your Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare
  • Join a Medicare Prescription Drug plan, change to a new one or drop your coverage

Comparing Medicare plans is a relatively simple process, but having a friend or family member review the materials with you may be helpful. The official Medicare website has a tool at that helps you find and compare all of the plans available in your area. This is a great way to get started and at least gives you the overview of what your choices will be. When reviewing the plans, focus on the actual benefits they provide. For example, if you take prescription drugs, you might want to pay particular attention to the coverage offered while you are in the prescription drug coverage gap or “doughnut hole.”

If you need help comparing coverage options, you can work with your local Area Agency on Aging for assistance and information.

Remember: The open enrollment dates are strict! Oct. 15 – Dec. 7 is your only window of opportunity until 2013.

As mentioned above, 270,000 Maine residents rely on Medicare, and this is the federal program that helps people age 65 and older, as well as some younger persons with disabilities, pay for health care. The program has several components:

  • Original Medicare helps pay for hospital bills (Part A) and doctor bills (Part B). Because it does not cover all costs, many people also buy Medigap supplemental insurance, sold by private companies. (Medigap is not part of Medicare’s annual open enrollment.)
  • Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) are an alternative to Original Medicare. They are private health plans, approved by Medicare, like HMOs or PPOs that feature co-payments for services, but also often operate with limited networks of doctors, specialists and hospitals.
  • Medicare Part D helps pay for prescription drugs. Plans are administered by private companies, approved by Medicare, and include: stand-alone plans that may be added to Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage, and plans that are part of Medicare Advantage.

For more on Medicare, go to

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.


Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Walgreens 1 discount membership aarp

Members can earn 50 points per $1 spent on select health & wellness products at Walgreens.

member benefit aarp hear usa

Members save 15% on easy listening devices and more at the HearUSA Hearing Shop.

Eye Med 4 Membership Benefit AARP Discount

Members save up to 60% on eye exams and 30% on glasses at Target Optical.

Membership Benefits Discounts Email Genius

Brain boost? Get AARP email for access to memory exercises & more that help you focus.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points