Online ?Plan Finder reviews 2012 plan optionsIn advance of the new, earlier annual enrollment period, CMS has opened up it’s plan finder earlier too…people with Medicare coould begin reviewing plan benefit and cost information on Saturday, October 1st, 2011. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will launch access to its popular web-based Medicare Plan Finder that allows beneficiaries, their families, trusted representatives, and senior program advocates to look at all local drug and Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan options that are available for the 2012 benefit year. From the CMS news release:

?With Open Enrollment coming early this year, it is important that people with Medicare take advantage of the next couple weeks to review their current coverage and compare it with the options that are available for next year,? said CMS Administrator Donald M. Berwick, M.D. ?The information that?s available now on the Plan Finder will also help caregivers, health providers, and partners that support and counsel seniors and people with disabilities in selecting the best plan for their needs.?

The annual enrollment period begins earlier this year, on October 15th, and runs through December 7th. People with Medicare will have seven weeks to review Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug coverage benefits and plan options, and choose the option that best meets their unique needs. The earlier open enrollment period also ensures that Medicare has enough time to process plan choices so that coverage begins without interruption on January 1, 2012.

People can use the Plan Finder ? available at ?by inserting their home zip code to find out which Medicare Advantage (Part C) and Prescription Drug (Part D) plans are available in their areas.