Yes, it is that time of the year again....no, not Thanksgiving or Christmas. Now is the time to select your Medicare plan for 2011. The enrollment period begins on November 15 and continues through the end of the year. And selecting the best plan is no easy task, so you probably don't want to wait until the last moment. If you are new to Medicare, you must familiarize yourself with the terminology -- there are Parts A, B, C and D and many sub-choices under certain parts. You could easily spend days learning about all the available options.
If you don't have that kind of time (or interest), I suggest you start by downloading and reading the Medicare handbook that is available on the Medicare.gov website. Click on this link to get a copy. The document is 136 pages so you may not read the whole thing, but it contains a lot of very useful information.
Beyond that document, Medicare.gov also has a "Plan Finder" section on its website. Click here for a link. If you spend a few minutes entering your zip code, the list of prescription drugs that you take, and the pharmacies that you use, you can get a list of all the providers in your area (along with star rankings for each plan.)
Once you select a plan, you are generally stuck with that plan for the whole year so it does pay to do your homework and select the plan that is best for you.