Understanding Medicare Insurance Options for Multiple Sclerosis

  • by  Chasity A.
  •   October 01, 2018

Chasity A. is a paid employee of Teva Neuroscience, Inc.

It’s that time of year again: open enrollment. Annual insurance updates and changes can be overwhelming. Get ahead of the process by learning more about Medicare and reading tips to keep yourself organized. Then, see how Teva’s Benefits Specialists could help you understand coverage options for your COPAXONE® (glatiramer acetate injection).

Important things to know:

Read these tips as you’re considering Medicare. You can also call Teva’s Benefits Specialists at 1-800-887-8100 to discuss your questions or to learn more about your insurance coverage.

Medicare isn’t a "one size fits all" program:

There are four basic parts of coverage: Original Medicare (Parts A and B), Medicare Advantage (Part C), and prescription drug coverage (Part D).

  • Medicare Advantage (Part C) is a health plan offered by private insurance companies contracted and approved by Medicare and may also include prescription drug coverage (Part D).
  • Contingent on the decision you make, you may add a Medigap policy, a supplemental coverage to Original Medicare Part A and B benefits only.

Costs:

Costs can be dependent on the coverage you choose as well as the services that you receive. Regardless of the coverage choice you make, you will pay a share of your costs with premiums, deductibles, copays and co-insurance.

  • If you have a limited income or need financial assistance, there are resources available from federal, state and local agencies and charitable organizations.
    • Federal: Extra help with Medicare Prescription Plan cost.
    • State: Medicaid and Medicare Savings programs.
    • Local: Many states and local territories have programs to assist with premiums and/or other drug-related costs for those who may not be eligible for Medicaid.
    • Charitable organizations: These are non-profit 501(c)(3) foundations that provide grants for a specific diagnosis.

Deadlines:

There are defined times when you’re able to add, drop or make changes to your coverage. It is important to know and understand the different enrollment periods and their deadlines. You can be penalized with fees or go without coverage if you miss your cutoff date.

  • Initial Enrollment Period (IEP): A 7-month period surrounding your Medicare eligibility date.
  • Annual Enrollment Period (AEP): A period from October 15 through December 7 that allows anyone to make changes to their coverage.
  • Special Enrollment Period (SEP): Allows you to make changes to your coverage under special qualified circumstances.
  • Medigap Open Enrollment Period: The 6-month period that starts when you are both age 65 and enrolled in Part B.

Organize and strategize:

Whether you use a filing cabinet, app or spreadsheet to arrange your records, it is important to have a designated place for your paperwork to be sorted and prioritized. You should:

  • Keep it simple, categorize like items, and purge the items that are no longer valid or needed.
  • Have records of your insurance information, including copies of cards, identification and phone numbers. 
    • If you need assistance, Teva’s Shared Solutions® may be able to help. Before you call, prepare your information by using our Health Plan Tool.
    • Medicare Card Notice: Did you know that Medicare is issuing new cards to remove Social Security Numbers (SSNs)? Beginning April 1, 2018, Medicare is taking action to protect all recipients of identity theft and fraudulent benefit use. A new eleven (11) character Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI), consisting of random alphanumeric characters, will replace the previous Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN). Replacement cards will be issued in stages, by geographic regions, and each beneficiary should receive their new card by April 16, 2019. Be sure to update your address and contact information with the Social Security Administration to avoid delays in receiving your card.
  • If you’re receiving financial assistance, you should keep award letters and set reminders of renewal and expiration dates, re-application timeframes and other important deadlines.

Everyone has personal records, important business and never-ending to-do lists. Begin thinking about how you will choose coverage and services wisely, use your resources to reduce cost, and most important, stay organized with your paperwork and record keeping.

Let us know if you enjoyed this post by leaving a comment or by registering for more!

Chasity A.

Shared Solutions® Sr. Benefits Specialist

About The Author

Chasity A. has been a Medicare Benefits Specialist at Teva’s Shared Solutions® for more than five years and has nearly 10 years of Medicare experience.

See Important Safety Information below and full Prescribing Information for Copaxone® (glatiramer acetate Injection).

COP-45499 June 2018
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4 Comment(s)
  • Pauline Buell  | October 12, 2018
    Info helping me find some help with Copaxone cost I have insurance so it would be partial assistance
  • Lashawn  | October 13, 2018
    Thank your for these tips
    • Teva's Lift MS® Team | October 15, 2018
      Hurray! We love hearing that Lift MS has been helpful – that’s just what we intended! We appreciate your part in those efforts, Lashawn.
  • merlene | October 26, 2018
    Very helpful.medicare is very confusing.
    • Teva's Lift MS® Team | October 29, 2018
      We’re so glad to hear our community has been helpful to you, merlene. You’re part of what makes this blog great!
  • Dixon | October 29, 2018
    I enjoyed read all the information..thank you
    • Teva's Lift MS® Team | October 30, 2018
      That's great to hear, Dixon! We hope you'll enjoy reading more of the posts featured on the blog. Let us know what you think!