By Mary Hesdorffer, NP, Executive Director, Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation
Open enrollment for Medicare continues through Dec 7th 2012. If you are locked into a Medicare HMO that is not meeting your insurance needs, now is the time to take action. The Meso Foundation is not advocating for any particular plan but we do find that university hospital-based systems are more likely to accept straight Medicare more than the restrictive HMOs that you may initially have signed up with. There are some great supplemental policies to add to the coverage provided by Medicare that you may wish to consider.
Medicare has a user-friendly website (www.medicare.gov) that you can use as a reference as you begin to explore the various options. It provides a drop down menu with state-specific phone numbers that you can call for assistance. I have called Medicare when assisting members of the mesothelioma community and I have found them to be polite and helpful.
Mesothelioma patients and their families need good insurance and comprehensive coverage, so take the time today to explore Medicare and discuss what options might best meet the needs of your family.
Another good resource for the mesothelioma community is the oncology social work department. You can call your local hospital and ask to speak with someone in the social work department. They are well versed in insurance needs as well as a great resource for finding out about assistance programs that might be available in your community.