Because Medicare is not as straightforward as just signing up, the choices can be overwhelming. For example, many people assume that Medicare is free, which it can be for people who also qualify for Medicaid, but there are many other working parts that may include monthly premiums or deductibles to be met.
So how do you find the Medicare plan that fits your needs? Read on to find out what you need to know about Medicare plans, and how to choose your plan.
Know The Differences Before Signing Up
Medicare comes in many different plans (known as “parts”) that all offer different forms of coverage. Your first step should be learning the difference between all of the options so you know what you’re getting with each one.
Part A includes basic hospital, hospice, nursing facility care, and home health care. Most people have prepaid this during their working years, so Part A costs most people $0.00.
Part B covers doctors (for example: primary care) and other providers, home health care, outpatient services, medical equipment, and preventative care (like well visits). Part B costs most people $170.10 per month but this is dependent on income.
Medicare Supplements (once known as Medigap Plans) works with Parts A and B to fill the gaps, like the deductibles and copayments. They range in price between plans and between insurance companies.
Part C (often called Medicare Advantage) offers a combination of A and B (and usually D). It often offers other benefits like dental and help with over-the-counter drug costs. You must have Part A and B in order to get Part C. (Sounds like alphabet soup, doesn’t it?)
Part D is for prescription drug coverage.
When you get your coverage depends on many factors, such as whether you plan to continue working, or if there’s a working spouse that covers you under their plan. Citizenship status is also a factor.
Know Your Needs
In order to find the Medicare plan for you, you’ll need to factor in any health conditions you may have, such as diabetes. Of course, the prescription drugs you take are also a factor. You also want to know what plans your doctor accepts (just like coverage up to Medicare, doctors do not accept all plans).
When it comes to health care coverage, less does not equal more. Unfortunately, the older we get, the more ailments we often encounter, so be sure to factor the future into your decisions.
Your ability to enroll in a plan depends on your circumstances, however, annual enrollment is October 15 – December 7 every year. During this time, you can make changes between Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans.
Know Your Budget
Although it is a government program, Medicare plans are not free. You are responsible to pay for Medicare Part B, deductibles, and/or co-pays that you will be responsible for.
While it’s true that Medicare Part A costs you nothing now, you have basically prepaid for it in your working years. A big difference with original Medicare (Parts A and B) is that there is no out-of-pocket maximum that limits your responsibility. This is one of the main reasons people get Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage Plans.
You’ll also want to consider what prescriptions you know you have and how much they would cost out-of-pocket versus having some type of prescription coverage.
Medicare is a type of insurance rather than a single policy. As such, it is offered by a variety of different insurance carriers, such as Aetna, Blue Cross, Cigna, Care Plus, Humana, UnitedHealthcare, and others (traditional health insurance is similar in this way).
Once you have a better idea of which plan you prefer as well as your budget, you’ll have the information you need to start comparing quotes. Much like your homeowners insurance, you might find that insurance companies have widely differing quotes for the same coverage.
A word of warning, the cheapest option is not always the best. Make sure that when comparing quotes you’re also comparing coverages. Make sure the plans you’re comparing fit your needs instead of relying on price alone.
Check With Your Doctor
After you have narrowed your options from over eight insurance companies and 70+ plans to a short list of three or four, we recommend that you contact your trusted doctor to verify that they accept the plans on your short list.
Finding the Best Medicare Plan Can be Easy!
As you can imagine, it takes a lot of time and energy to contact multiple insurance carriers, collect quotes, and determine your individual needs. So why not let an experienced, independent professional help you?
It’s available at no cost to you and we guarantee that you will not find a lower price plan from the major insurance companies that we represent.
Let us do the analysis and make it easy for you.