Before you choose a Medicare plan, think about your options carefully and read through the information that is available on all the plans. Attend a seminar or online Medicare 101 webinar. Speak with an insurance broker who represents many carriers to get unbiased advice. It is wise to get a good education on Medicare and what it has to offer before making decisions.
Medicare has many different parts. The original Medicare Part A & B leaves a lot of needs uncovered as well as a high out-of-pocket risk for many medical situations.
To help with the cost of prescription drugs, Medicare uses private companies to offer what is called part D. Many people would probably consider this the most complex part of Medicare, and for many of us prescription coverage is very important. Most states offer over 20 different options for part D with each one having variations of the Medicare coverage model. Which means they have different deductibles, copays, coinsurance, formularies and rules.
Medicare supplement plans, AKA(medigap), are offered to help alleviate costs such as Medicare Part A & B deductibles and coinsurance. Some of these supplement plans cover all out-of-pocket Medical costs, with the exception of prescription drugs. There are 10 standardized Medicare supplement plans offered by many companies in most states with the exception of MA, WI and MN. These states offer a different model of supplement coverage.
Medicare advantage plans, also known as part C, is another option to help control Medicare costs. With a Medicare Advantage plan you receive traditional style health insurance through a private insurer contracted with Medicare. These plans are generally HMO or PPO plans which cover costs associated with hospital stays, medical coverage and part D prescription coverage, all under one plan. These plans are subsidized by the government and coverage varies greatly from plan to plan as well as by zip code. Some areas have as many as 50 plus choices while others may have just a few.
There is no one plan that is best for all, everyone has different medical needs and budgets. One thing we all want is the best coverage to meet our personal needs and budget, when getting ready to choose a coverage option here are some questions you should ask.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What is most important to you in a Medicare plan — cost, coverage or convenience?
- Will you have your choice of health care providers?
- Will the plan you choose meet your needs? How does the plan’s quality ratings compare with others in your area? With those nationally?
- How much will you have to pay for your health care and prescription drugs?
- Will you have coverage if you travel frequently or leave your hometown for long periods of time?
Don’t let Medicare overwhelm you, start early and do your homework so you can make an educated decision.
To compare Medicare plans, use the Medicare Plan Finder at www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan, on the official U.S. government site for people with Medicare. This site allows you to compare plans by cost, quality and other features that may be of importance to you. If you have specific questions about Medicare, or Medicare plans Paul Barrett Insurance Agency offers free guidance, you can schedule a call or zoom meeting at https://www.paulbinsurance.com/