Medicare open enrollment begins: 5 things to know

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Oct. 15 marks the start of the open enrollment period for Medicare beneficiaries, which spans through Dec. 7.

Here are five things to know:

1. The period provides 63 million beneficiaries the opportunity to compare coverage options, HHS said in an Oct. 15 news release.

2. A survey of beneficiaries conducted by healthinsurance.com found that 63 percent of Medicare-eligible beneficiaries review their coverage options each open enrollment period. About 33 percent of beneficiaries also believe that a plan better than their current coverage exists. 

3. According to the survey, 78 percent of beneficiaries plan to make a change to their coverage this open enrollment period. Increasing coverage was ranked the top reason to change (42 percent), followed by lowering costs (24 percent). 

4. However, 71 percent of beneficiaries do not compare plans during the open enrollment period, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study

5. The time of year is also tied to an increase in Medicare-related fraud, according to the Better Business Bureau. Scammers increase cold calls to Medicare beneficiaries in an attempt to obtain personal information to steal funds both from the federal government and enrollees. 

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