Alert
Close

Think you know AARP? What you don't know about us may surprise you. Discover all the 'Real Possibilities'

HIGHLIGHTS

Open
America's Winter Escapes Sweepstakes
Introducing RealPad by AARP
You and Your Town Contest-You could win an AARP RealPad

AUTO BUYING PROGRAM

AARP Auto Buying Program

DRIVER SAFETY

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

Contests and
Sweeps

Safe Driving in 2014 Sweepstakes

Learn how AARP Driver Safety can help you stay safe—and enter for a chance to win $1,000. See official rules. 

Download the ipad App

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

AARP Books

Medicare for Dummies book cover

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

Most Popular

Viewed

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

Medicare Open Enrollment

Medicare Plans in 2011: What You Need to Know

It's time to review your coverage options for the coming year

Will I have fewer benefits? Medical benefits available through traditional Medicare will be covered in all Medicare Advantage plans, as they've always been. But what of those "extras" that attract many people to the plans — like routine dental, vision and hearing care, health club memberships and fitness classes?

With thousands of plans throughout the country, many of them serving areas no larger than a ZIP code, it's impossible to get a general sense of what's happening to these extra benefits.

But a look at plans in one ZIP code — a heavily populated part of Miami — finds extra benefits there will remain almost wholly intact for 2011.

In that area, more than 50 health plans that include prescription drug coverage are sold in a competitive market. Although the vast majority (47) charge no premiums, many cover routine dental, vision or hearing care, most often all three. Of the 35 plans with these benefits in 2010, only one will drop them in 2011. Twelve new plans will also offer them next year. Similarly, only three existing plans will drop health club memberships or fitness classes as covered benefits next year, and 13 new plans will offer them.

And more plans next year will offer coverage in the doughnut hole — some of them for a few brand-name drugs as well as generics. But with next year's big discounts in the gap, you'll need to figure out whether these plans are worth the higher premiums.

How do I figure out the best plan for me? The most objective way is to use the Plan Finder on the Medicare website. It gives details for every plan in your area and, in the case of drug coverage, automatically does the math to find the one that covers your drugs for the least out-of-pocket cost.

If you don't have computer access, or find navigating this program difficult, you can get the same information by calling the Medicare help line at 1-800-633-4227.

Patricia Barry, a senior editor of the AARP Bulletin, writes about Medicare issues.

Topic Alerts

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

Manage Alerts

Processing

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.

Reading eyeglasses eyemed 6 membership benefit health

Members save 25% on orders of $200 or more and get 25% off lens upgrades at glasses.com.

AARP/Walgreens Wellness Bus Stops in Clarksdale, MS

Members can get exclusive points offers from Walgreens and Duane Reade.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

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