Do people on Medicare have to worry about the new marketplace?

Do people on Medicare have to worry about the new health care marketplace?

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Kim Ward of ETHRA says if there are no changes, seniors can stay with their current plans if they're happy. Kim Ward of ETHRA says if there are no changes, seniors can stay with their current plans if they're happy.

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - For uninsured Americans, enrollment for health coverage, as part of the affordable care act, begins Oct. 1 and runs for six months. Some are now wondering if people on Medicare are part of the health insurance marketplace.

6 News viewer Susan, from the Halls Community, asked, "Does the new law apply to seniors? Do we have to sign up?"

The health insurance marketplace, called "exchanges," is a key part of the affordable care act. It starts in 2014, with enrollment in health plans offered on the exchanges starting October 1.

The marketplace is a new way for individuals, families, and employees of small businesses  without insurance to get health coverage.

However, Medicare is not part of the health insurance marketplace. No matter how you get Medicare, you'll still have the same benefits and security.

Those on medicare can begin shopping for their private plan, known as Medicare Advantage, beginning Oct. 15. Soon, Medicare beneficiaries will be getting that information.

"They'll receive a notice in the mail if there are going to be changes," said Kim Ward, of the East Tennessee Human Resources Agency. "But it is very good to always check to make sure that everything is still covered the same, co-pays stay the same, and it is within something they can afford."

Ward says if there are no changes, seniors can stay with their current plans if they're happy.

Medicare Advantage enrollment dates are October 15 through December 7.

To reinforce the message, beginning next month, the government will send it's "Medicare and You" handbook to around 52 million Medicare beneficiaries.


You can see Don Dare's 6 On Your Side Answers reports every Tuesday and Thursday on 6 News at 4:00.

If you have a consumer question, send Don an email at ddare@wate.com or call his 6 On Your Side Hotline at (865) 633-5974.

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