Medicare open enrollment begins today, the period of time when individuals may add, drop, or make changes to their health insurance coverage, with selections remaining in effect for the next full year. The decisions you make during this period are critical, and you deserve to understand exactly what’s available.
Navigating the world of health care, insurance, and especially Medicare, can be very complicated and overwhelming. Making the right decisions when it comes to healthcare and understanding all of your options is critical for everyone, but even more so for people living with ALS.
Last year we introduced a resource to the ALS community resulting from our expanded relationship with the Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF). The ALS Medicare Resource Line provides people living with ALS, their family members and caregivers free, direct telephone access to Medicare experts who can provide assistance with navigating eligibility and enrollment coverage that impact access to the care they need.
“Helping people living with ALS and their families navigate the often complicated healthcare system to ensure they have access to the medical benefits and quality health care they need is a critical part of our mission,” says Leslie Ryan, Director of Education & Professional Development Programs at The ALS Association. “Our nationwide network of local ALS Association Chapters work tirelessly with families every day to provide education and guidance, so we were excited to be able to add The ALS Medicare Resource Line as an additional resource to help.”
The ALS Medicare Resource Line is operated by the Patient Advocate Foundation in partnership with The ALS Association with a goal of better meeting the needs of patients receiving or seeking care for ALS. The staff work alongside patients, their caregivers and ALS Association Chapter staff providing personalized help to remove insurance and financial access barriers to improve outcomes to residents of the United States.
“There are so many options and cost is not always the deciding factor,” says Erin Bradshaw, Chief of Mission Delivery at the Patient Advocate Foundation. “Being an educated consumer will help with using benefits accurately and understanding any benefit limits such as networks, exclusions, formularies, and more.”
Since the expansion of the partnership between the Association and the PAF in September 2019, the PAF has served more than 170 new patients through the Resource Line, discussing Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D, Medicare Supplements and providing the top plans for consideration. They also provide application assistance for any financial programs such as Low-Income Subsidy for medications and Medicaid, QMB, SLMB and QI when appropriate.
Medicare's Open Enrollment Period is open October 15 to December 7 allowing participants to enroll in health and drug plans for 2021. If you are living with ALS and need assistance, please reach out to your local ALS Association Chapter or The ALS Medicare Resource Line.