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Medicare Plans 2015 – What Are The Costs?

Medicare plans 2015 – weigh all the costsPaid medicine. Cost of treatment. Isolated 3D image

When considering Medicare plans for 2015 nothing is more important than finding a plan that will fit your budget. For most people this is the first criteria whether they are shopping for a Medicare supplement, Medicare Advantage plan or a Part D plan.

But the monthly premium is not the only cost factor to consider. Depending on the plan there may be other dollar costs to consider and some costs that you may not have considered.

Costs for 2015 Medicare plans go beyond the monthly premium

Most people familiar with Medicare Advantage plans realize that there will be additional expenses when they receive services. This cost-sharing can take the form or co-payments, coinsurance and deductibles. Review a plan’s Summary of Benefits to get the specifics.

What is not always as evident are the limitations that you may encounter when using your plan. These limitations are costs that you must consider. Not financial costs but costs to your potential lack of freedom to use your plan as you see fit.

The costs referred to are network restrictions in this case. When you choose a plan you typically don’t think about the … what if?

What if you develop a disease or condition and the best provider for your case is out-of-network. That is a real cost.

Before you enroll in an Advantage plan take some time to ensure that all provider categories include providers that are acceptable to you. Insist on reviewing a Provider Directory prior to enrollment.

Getting locked into a plan could cost you

Unless you have a change in circumstance and are entitled to a Special Enrollment Period there are few options to switch plans mid-year.

Beginning in 2011 a special dis-enrollment period was introduced. This allows people who would like to dis-enroll and return to original Medicare to do so between January 1 and February 14. This does not allow you to enroll in another Medicare Advantage plan. You are allowed to make one change at any time into a 5 star rated plan. Plan ratings can be found on the Medicare website.

Learn About The Special Enrollment Period for Five Star Medicare Plans

The problem with this is there are very few 5 star rated Medicare Advantage plans. Some rural Counties may have a very limited amount of plans available to begin with.

If you do not dis-enroll during the proper time or do not have a suitable 5 star plan available you will be locked into your plan until December 31. The potential for being locked in is a cost you must consider.

Medicare Advantage plans are a good option for many people. But before you jump at the lowest premium it’s best to review the Summary of Benefits and Provider Directory to get an understanding of the true costs.


8 comments

  1. I live in New York but spend part of the year in Florida. What plan can I use that will be avaible in both states for me to use.

  2. Terry, Any Medigap policy will be accepted by all providers that accept Medicare assignment. Medicare supplement Plan F is the most comprehensive. An options with a lower premium is Plan N. Plans are standardized and benefits will be identical for all companies. You will need to purchase a Part D plan as Part D is not included in a Medigap policy.

    Medicare Advantage plans are a little tricky. They are offered County-by-County. I’m not sure if you have an AARP MedicareComplete plan available, if so that plan has a program called UnitedHealthCare passport that allows access to providers in another State. If finances are not a major issue I would lean towards a Medigap policy if I was in your shoes.

  3. Medigap is exactly what you need to be on. The plans that are the most popular are the Innovative Plan F, Plan F,Plan G, and the Plan K. The only thing that I don’t agree with David on is the part about finances being an issue. Personally, I don’t see how Medicare Advantage plans actually save people money. Yes, the premiums are much more inexpensive than supplements, but supplements, in the long run, are going to cost you much, much less, once you factor in what you could be forced to pay out of pocket with an advantage plan.

  4. Laci, I also like Medigap Plan N as a good way to control costs. I guess the question of whether or not a Medicare Advantage plan is an attractive offer is relative to one’s ability to pay a Medigap premium. I think a lot of people on a low income opt for the short term fix, that being a low premium or $0 premium Advantage plan and hope for the best. But yes if finances are available I think a Medigap plan is the way to go.

  5. why cant anyone give you a sraight answer. what is the cost of medicare part A&B /

  6. Forrest, Part A doesn’t require a premium if you have worked and paid taxes for at least 40 quarters (10 years), Part B changes each year and depends on your income. Here is an article addressing Part B premiums.

  7. My parents are considering a medicare advantage plan. My question is if they select an advantage plan do they still pay the medicare part b premium or only the advantage plan premium. Currently the part b premium is taken directly out of the SS checks and they have a medigap policy.
    Also are there advantage plans that do not require them to use a specific group of physicians or specific hospitals?

  8. Kelly, When enrolled in an Advantage plan you parents will still pay the Part B premium. The only type of Advantage plan that does not require use of a network is a Private Fee-For-Service (PFFS) plan. You can use any provider that accepts the plans payment terms and conditions. The provider can choose to not accept the plan at anytime, even if they accepted it in the past. If your parents would like a little more certainty and have suitable PPO plans available that may be a better alternative. They will have the certainty of a PPO network but will be allowed to go out-of-network normally for a higher cost. The key obviously is finding a plan with a network with most or all of their providers included.

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