Earlier deadline for changing your 2012 Medicare coverage?

You may have heard that there is a new, earlier deadline if you want to change your 2012 Medicare coverage. And you may be wondering how that applies to you and your coverage under traditional Medicare and its provision for Christian Science nursing in a religious non-medical healthcare institution (RNHCI) such as the Benevolent Association. Traditional or original Medicare benefits are covered under Medicare Part A and Part B. It is Part A that provides coverage in a RNHCI.

Although both traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans include coverage for RNHCIs such as the BA, only traditional Medicare is actually reimbursing for Christian Science nursing in a care facility. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan it is highly unlikely you will receive reimbursement for Christian Science nursing in a RNHCI at this time.

The open enrollment is most often used to change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another, or to change Part D drug plans. So it is not likely that the enrollment period will impact a great many of you who are looking for coverage for Christian Science nursing. However, because a number of you have asked the question I wanted you to have the following information.

 The facts about open enrollment for Medicare:

  • New Enrollment period runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 (instead of Nov. 15 – Dec. 31 as in previous years)
  • During enrollment you have an opportunity to switch plans…
    • From traditional Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan
    • From a Medicare Advantage plan to traditional Medicare
    • To another Medicare Advantage plan
    • To another Part D prescription drug plan

You can compare costs and benefits of your current coverage during this enrollment period on Medicare’s website medicare.gov or by calling 800-633-4227. If you change plans by Dec. 7, new coverage begins Jan.1. If you don’t change, your coverage will likely continue through 2012.

We are happy to answer any questions that you have regarding Medicare and health insurance for Christian Scientists or to send you information on Medicare, health insurance, and health care proxies. Email inquiry@chbenevolent.org or call 617-734-5600.


6 Responses to Earlier deadline for changing your 2012 Medicare coverage?

  1. Marion Harvey says:

    Janiva – You made me feel good about my own answers to the question of whether I needed to be concerned about that earlier deadline. My intuition told me that my husband and I as committed CS church members, and with traditional Medicare A & B already in place for each of us, would not need to be concerned about changing anything. Thanks so much for this continuing, ongoing source of information on what often seems like – and sometimes is – a complicated subject! – Marion

  2. Sheri Hunnicutt says:

    I’m wondering why a practicing Christian Scientist would need Medicare B. Could someone (Marion?) give me an answer to that? Thanks!!

    • Janiva says:

      Thank you for your question regarding the need for original Medicare, Part B. Here is an answer from our website; the link is http://www.chbenevolent.org//healthcare/medicare-for-christian-scientists
      Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) helps cover medically-necessary services like doctors’ services and outpatient care.” Medicare Part B does not directly cover any of the services at a RNHCI such as the BA. So, it is easy to understand that “Why would a Christian Scientist enroll in Part B?” is the most frequently asked question we receive.
      In speaking to Christian Scientists over the last twenty years, we have found the following to be the most common reasons for enrolling in Part B:
      –Part B is required for Medigap Insurance (a type of private health insurance that we will cover later in the series).
      –If a Christian Scientist went to the hospital for an x-ray following a fall or to have a bone set by a surgeon, Medicare Part B would cover those services.
      –Christian Scientists may have family members who request they have Part B to give the family members peace of mind.

      • Robiny Rhea says:

        Janiva and Sheri,

        I want to only add that there are Medigap Insurance carriers that do not require that we as CSists also have Part B to get a Medigap policy. Otherwise, the reasons Janiva mentioned are also the most common reasons that I come across in my postion as an Insurance Consultant and Agent in the CS community.

        • Janiva says:

          Thanks so much for your comment. I am glad to hear that there are multiple Medigap policies that do not require Medicare Part B. Over the last 20 years I have only run across one such policy which is why I don’t mention it in general comments. Are these listed on your website?

  3. Sheri Hunnicutt says:

    Thanks so much Janiva! That was a very helpful reply!

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