Deciding on health insurance is usually not an enjoyable experience which only gets worse when you turn 65. There are five main types of Medicare plans, two that you are automatically enrolled in by the government when you turn 65 and three that are optional supplemental plans that provide additional coverage. To help you decide between Medicare insurance plans, here are some things you can do to narrow your choices.
Understand Your Options
Medicare Part A and Part B are also known as Original Medicare. During your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), you are automatically enrolled in Original Medicare through government sponsorship. However, these plans do not provide all the coverage most people need. Understanding your other Medicare options will help you craft a coverage plan that is perfect for your needs.
- Medicare Advantage – combines Parts A & B and adds prescription drug coverage and additional benefits, including routine vision, hearing, dental, and wellness services. Also known as Medicare Part C.
- Medicare Part D – provides coverage for prescription drugs not supplied by Parts A and B. You must pay for Part B in order to be eligible.
- Medicare Supplement – also known as Medigap insurance. Covers out-of-pocket costs from Parts A & B with 10 different plans available with a variety of coverages.
Figure Out the Basics You Need
Before you can settle on a Medicare plan, you need to understand your current health, how your health outlook might change in the upcoming year, and the type of budget you would like to set. While you have a period every year where you can change your Medicare coverage, if you are planning on getting cataract surgery in the next year you want to make sure you choose a supplement plan that helps cover it. Likewise, if it is more important to you to have lower out-of-pocket costs over lower premiums, then that will help guide your decision.
Now that you have some of the basics outlined, you need to make more detailed lists to decide which Medicare plan will provide the coverage you need. First, make a list of any and all doctors you currently see. You want to make sure that, whatever plan you settle on, they are covered. Second, make a list of all the medication you are currently prescribed. Some plans will provide better coverage for your medication than others.
Compare Medicare Insurance Plans and Coverage in Your Location
After this exercise, you probably have decided the general direction you need to go in with your plan options. Now you need to figure out which plans are included in your location and which are not. This is where is very beneficial to speak with an independent insurance agent. They will be able to shop the market and provide you plan recommendations that meet all of your requirements.
Decide and Enroll!
We are about to enter the Medicare Open Enrollment Period (OEP) which is the perfect time to put this breakdown to use! You can enroll in supplemental plans or change your coverage options from October 15 to December 7. To enroll, provide your insurance company your name as it appears on your Medicare ID card, your Social Security number, your Medicare number, and your effective dates for Part A and Part B.
The best option to decide between Medicare insurance plans is to consult with a professional. The Medicare industry is very confusing and you should not put it on yourself to learn it all in order to make a decision. Consulting with a Medicare professional will help guide you towards the perfect plan for coverage and budget.