Prepare for Medicare in 2011

There will be a number of differences for seniors who plan to enroll in Medicare next year. Not least among them is the fact that cost of living adjustment (COLA) will remain flat, so Social Security payments won't increase. This means that many may be paying more for out-of-pocket expenses than before.

U.S. News & World Report has revealed a number of changes that future seniors will face that previous generations have not.

Prepare for Medicare in 2011 Chief among them is a monthly premium increase in Medicare Plan B and D. Those who have subscribed to Medicare before 2010 will be paying a rate of $96.40 a month, but new beneficiaries will pay $115.40.

The enrollment periods have also changed. Previously, seniors could enroll from November 15 to the end of the year, then again from January 1 to March 31. This duration has been cut significantly, so that the extended enrollment period only lasts from January 1 to February 15.

It is important to plan for Medicare options that are tailored for an individual's lifestyle, but seniors should subscribe to Medicare Plan B as soon as possible. Otherwise, they could face a 10 percent increase in premiums for each year they didn't sign up.

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