The end of Medicare open enrollment for the year

Gregory Warner Dec 7, 2011

Stacey Vanek Smith: If you’re on Medicare, you’ve no doubt gotten a deluge of mail from insurance companies over the past few weeks. All trying to get you to sign up for their plan. Today is the last day to choose a Medicare plan — the end of so-called open enrollment.

Gregory Warner has more.

Gregory Warner: The insurance market is getting more competitive because of health care reform. There’s going to be more choices for people under 65 — like those insurance exchanges that are going up in a few years. So this year insurance companies are working harder now to shore up their customer base with one very dependable and highly loyal demographic.

JB Silvers: Medicare people are more reluctant to switch. So once you get people in, they tend to stay with you more.

JB Silvers is a professor of health care finance at Case Western Reserve University. He says each Medicare enrollee can bring a insurer $10-12,000 in premiums. The game now is basically to hook as many as possible during this open enrollment period.

Dan Mendelson runs Avalare Health, a consulting company. He says the land grab is good for seniors — there are deals to be had.

Dan Mendelson: If seniors get online, and assess their choices, they can usually save money.

That just leaves the getting online part. And the assessing your choices part. Today’s the last day to do it.

In Philadelphia, I’m Gregory Warner for Marketplace.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.