Medicare Experts Provide Answers for 2014 Medicare Changes

Eileen DohertyDenver, CO — Medicare beneficiaries are again faced with that time of the year, from October 15 to December 7, in which they must review their prescription drug coverage and decide whether to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Health Plan or stay with their current coverage. Premiums, deductibles and co-pays often change from the current year, causing even more confusion for beneficiaries.

Many beneficiaries report being confused about the launch of the Affordable Care Act on October 1, 2013 in which Connect for Health will begin to enroll Colorado consumers in Obamacare. Medicare beneficiaries are not eligible for Obamacare and must stay with Medicare as their primary health insurance. Although Obamacare made some changes to Medicare, beneficiaries are not subject to any of the rules for the individual market through Connect for Health.

On Medicare Monday, October 21 Medicare experts will present the 2014 changes to help beneficiaries understand the changes in costs and coverages for 2014 in Medicare Part A,B, C, and D. Medicare Monday is sponsored by the Colorado Gerontological Society and will be held in fifteen locations throughout Colorado during October and November.

Monthly premiums for Medicare Part B are expected to increase, but final announcements are not available as of this writing. Similarly the deductible and co-insurance for Medicare Part A are not available.

Medicare Advantage plans or Part C are expected to have stable premiums, co-pays and other out of pocket expenses. Information is available at starting October 1, 2013 for enrollment starting January 1, 2014.

The deductible for Medicare Part D will decrease from $325 in 2013 to $310 in 2014, a benefit for consumers who are looking at ways to save money. Similarly beneficiaries will have less out of pocket costs in 2014 for prescriptions during the initial coverage period, as well as during the donut hole.

In addition to the Part D deductible, beneficiaries will pay an additional $635 of their prescription drug costs in the initial coverage period which is less than in 2013. When the total cost of the drugs exceeds $2850, the beneficiary will be in the donut hole. Beneficiaries whose drug costs are between $2850 and $6455 will pay 47.5% of the costs for brand name drugs and 72% for generic drugs. When the total cost of the drugs exceeds $6455, the beneficiary will be responsible for 5% coinsurance or $2.55 for generics and $6.35 copay for brand or non-preferred drugs.

No changes have been made by Congress to Medicare Supplements. Medicare recently reported that 90% of the Medicare physicians are accepting new patients.

Individuals who are having difficulty paying for their Medicare Part B and Part D premiums and co-pays may be eligible for assistance and can call 1-855-293-6911 for assistance.

On Medicare Monday, October 21, 2013 from 9:30 am to 11:30 am, join us at one of the following locations: The Commons at Hilltop, 625 27 ½ Rd, Grand Junction; Inn at Garden Plaza, 2520 International Circle, Colorado Springs; Holly Creek, 5500 E Peakview Av, Centennial; Northglenn Senior Center, 11801 Community Center Dr, Northglenn; RiverPointe of Littleton, 5225 S Prince St, Littleton; St Andrew’s Village, 13801 E Yale Av, Aurora; and Heritage Club of Denver, 2020 S Monroe, Denver.

Follow-up sessions will be held on October 28. Locations include Foothills Park and Recreation District, 6612 S Ward St, Littleton from 9:30 am to 11:30 am; Windsor Gardens, 595 S Clinton St, Denver from 9:30 am to 11:30 am; and Park Regency – Thornton, 12610 Hudson St, Thornton from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.

Another follow-up session will be held on October 29 at Third Street Center, 520 S Third St, Carbondale from 9:30 am to 11:30 am. The last sessions will be held on November 4 at Allied Jewish Apartments, 22 S Adams, Denver, from 9:30 am to11:30 am; The Bridge at Alamosa, 3407 Carroll St, Alamosa from 9:30 am to 11:30 am; and Greeley Senior Center, 1010 6th Street, Greeley from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.

Medicare Advantage plans and representatives have been invited so that beneficiaries can do some comparison shopping following the presentations. Light refreshments will be served at all locations. Pre-registration at 1-855-880-4777 is encouraged to ensure enough food and materials. Individuals who want assistance with enrollment and counseling can call for an individual appointment.

Eileen Doherty, MS is the Executive Director of the Colorado Gerontological Society since 1982. She has almost 40 years of experience in education and training, advocacy, clinical practice, and research in the field of gerontology. She is an adjunct instructor at Fort Hays State University teaching non-profit management. She can be reached at 303-333-3482 or at

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