An unintended consequence of health care reform is that seniors are being forced to rush their decisions regarding whether to add or change their Medicare Advantage plans. In previous years, Medicare recipients could select a new MA plan between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, during the annual enrollment period, and change or drop their plan, during open enrollment between Jan. 1 and March 31. The healthcare legislation, however, eliminated the open enrollment period, leaving seniors with only seven weeks to add or change their plans.

Seniors must consider changes to their MA plans and the elimination of some plans in making their decisions. Many providers have eliminated private fee-for-service plans and seniors with these plans will be required to select another plan. Fees and benefits associated with different plans should be carefully considered before making a choice.