Choosing A Medicare Plan
Medicare is confusing to most people. It doesn’t have to be that way.
You don’t need to be an expert to choose a Medicare plan. But, you do need some basic tools to feel confident that you made a good decision. Here are two examples:
- Do you know what the government (Medicare) does for you and what is provided through your insurance company?
- Do you know if your insurance is a Supplement plan (Medigap) or an Advantage plan?
It is important to know because Medicare by itself does not cover everything and these plans work very differently. Insurance companies can offer both Supplement plans (Medigap) and Advantage plans. So, just knowing what company you have doesn’t tell you much about how your plan works. The rules are different for the two types of plans. Premiums, copays, and networks are all different.
As mentioned earlier, Medicare does not cover everything. There are services that Medicare does not cover. Prescription drugs, routine dental, routine vision, and routine hearing to name a few. If you have coverage for these services, it is through a private insurance company, not the government.
There are also out-of-pocket costs associated with using Medicare. Copays and deductibles, coinsurances, and even excess charges. Supplements (Medigap) and Advantage plans can both help pay these costs for you. Knowing which type of plan you have will inform you of what your responsibilities are.
Do you know what type of plan you have and why? Do you know how it compares to any of the other types of plans that are available?
Even if you’re happy with your current Medicare coverage, it’s important to know your Medicare coverage options for next year. Here are a few reasons why:
- Your needs may change. You may find you’re going to the doctor more or less often, the prescription drugs you take may be different, or you may need better access to health care services.
- Benefits can vary. Not all Medicare coverage options offer the same benefits. Plan benefits can change from year-to-year.
- New, more affordable Medicare plans may be available. The total cost, provider network, and services offered are different between plans. Review plans to see if other plan options could better meet your news or lower your out-of-pocket costs.
Review your current Medicare plan & check for changes
Does your current Medicare plan offer the benefits you need? Review your health or drug plan’s information and note any changes in costs or benefits that will happen in 2021. If you have other types of health or prescription drug coverage, make sure you understand how that coverage works with Medicare.
Compare Medicare health & drug plans
Each year, plans can make changes to the items and services they cover and what you pay. Decide if your current Medicare plan will meet your health care needs for the year ahead. If you like your current Medicare coverage and it’s still available for 2021, you don’t need to do anything.
New plan options may be available to you. If you take insulin, this Open Enrollment you may be able to get a Medicare plan that offers broad access to many types of insulin for no more than $35 for a 30-day supply. You can get this savings on insulin if you join a Medicare drug plan or Medicare Advantage Plan with drug coverage that participates in the insulin savings model. You can choose among plans that offer insulin at a predictable and affordable cost. Select the “insulin savings” filter in Medicare Plan Finder to find plans that participate in this new model that can help you save on your insulin costs.