Medicare open enrollment starts Oct. 15

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The annual open-enrollment period to change or revise your Medicare plans begins Tuesday. Those shopping for a Medicare Advantage plan should find higher-quality options this year, says Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services.

Sebelius says the average monthly premium for Medicare Advantage plans in 2014 will be $32.60, an increase of $1.64.

But, she adds that the quality of the plans has improved, with more than one-third receiving a four- or five-star rating, an increase of 28 percent over this year. Medicare rates Advantage plans on a 1- to 5-star system based on their quality and performance.

As for the Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, Sebelius says the average basic premium in 2014 is estimated to be $31 per month, unchanged from this year.

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The open-enrollment period ends Dec. 7.

For more information, go to medicare.gov or call 800-633-4227.

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