Navigating Medicare and all its parts remains an annual challenge for beneficiaries. But this year could present greater confusion since the kickoff for the health insurance exchanges associated with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act coincides with Medicare’s own annual enrollment period.

As usual the Medicare enrollment period will run Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, so there will be some overlap with exchange enrollment running Oct. 1 to March 31. But many remain in the dark about what they need to do to comply with the new federal health care law, and fine points such as who needs to go through the exchanges to get coverage can remain especially murky.

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