Medicare Open Enrollment begins Saturday -- seniors have more benefits, better choices, lower costs








FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                        Contact:  HHS Press Office

Wednesday, October 12, 2011                                                                                               (202) 690-6343


Medicare Open Enrollment begins Saturday -- seniors have more benefits, better choices, lower costs

Affordable Care Act gives seniors with Medicare cheaper prescription drugs, free preventive services, and lower costs


With more benefits, better choices and lower costs, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is encouraging people with Medicare and their families to begin reviewing drug and health plan coverage options for 2012.  The Medicare Open Enrollment Period -- which begins earlier this year on Saturday, October 15 – has been expanded to last seven weeks and will end on December 7. This will give seniors and people with disabilities more time to compare and find the best plan that meets their unique needs. Across the country, HHS officials will hold 150 events in the days leading up to Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period to inform and educate people with Medicare.


Beginning today, people with Medicare can begin reviewing the 2012 quality ratings for Medicare Advantage health plans (Part C) and prescription drug plans (Part D) for the upcoming year. 


This year CMS is highlighting plans that have achieved an overall quality rating of 5 stars with a high performer or “gold star” icon so people with Medicare can easily find high quality plans. People with Medicare can switch to an available 5-star plan at any time during the year. 


Using Medicare’s Plan Finder – available at – people will see the enhanced star ratings for 2012.  In addition to the enhanced star ratings for 2012 and new “gold star” icon, Plan Finder users will see an icon showing which plans received a low overall quality rating for the past three years.

In 2012, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, additional benefits to people with Medicare include lower prescription drug costs through a 50 percent discount on covered brand name drugs in the coverage gap (also referred to as the “donut hole”), wellness checkups, and access to certain preventive care with no copayments – a benefit that all Medicare Advantage plans will offer starting in 2012.

To read the entire HHS Press release issued today go here:




Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at


Website resources: Press Link: : Plan Finder – available at

Plan Ratings Website:





HHS Press Release open enrollment 10-12-11.pdf

HHS Press Release open enrollment 10-12-11.doc