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Compare Medicare Advantage Plans

Man Scratching Head with Puzzled LookTips to help you compare Medicare Advantage plans

If you have been enrolled in Medicare for some time you know that finding a suitable Medicare Advantage plan is a lot like having a birthday. It happens every year and it it isn’t always necessarily fun!

This article will address some ways that you can compare Medicare Advantage plans so get to the heart of what really matters and is important in a Medicare health plan. (No party hat required!)

1. Know the difference between a Medicare Advantage plan and a Medicare supplement. This seems obvious but many people believe that an Advantage plan is a Medicare supplement. Spend some time with the Medicare And You Handbookif you are not sure of the difference.

2. Visit medicare.gov and search for plans available in your service area. Enter you current medications and pharmacies to get a more targeted lists of plans to compare.

3. Ignore the monthly premium when you first begin your search. Premium has no bearing on the quality of the plan.

4. Review these three plan documents to determine the viability of the plans:

  • Summary of Benefits – Just what it says… lists all plan details.
  • Provider Directory – Look beyond the primary care doctors.
  • Part D formulary – This is the list of medications included in the plan.

5. If a particular plan or plans seems like it is a good fit compare the monthly premiums. Do this only after you have found a plan or plans that will meet your need.

Compare Medicare Advantage plans online

To find the plan documents listed above you will need to visit each plan’s website. You can link to each website from the Medicare website. Once you visit a plan website you need only enter your zip code to see all available plans from that company offered in your area.

Do not get misled into entering all your personal information including your birth date and Medicare claim number. Doing so will more than likely enroll you in a plan that may not be your choice.

Medicare Advantage – 2012 Enrollment Tips

If you do enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan and after further research  you find a more suitable plan you can still enroll if you are still within the enrollment period. The last application received will become the effective plan.

Medicare Advantage plans for 2013 will be available for comparison on the Medicare website beginning October 1, 2012. The Annual Enrollment Period begins October 15th and ends at midnight December 7th.

Follow the above tips to compare Medicare Advantage plans and start early so as not to miss the enrollment period for 2013 plans.


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  1. I take Rythmol SR 325 twice daily, it is over $900 for a

    45 day supply and singulair at $4.00 a pill daily. I have

    Bravo and Epic and it is impossible to stay out of the

    doughnut hole, at 88 I can’t afford it, however it is

    what is keeping me alive, I actually have 4 chronic

    illnesses, I have AARP for my medical, expensive but

    covers my medical. Is there anything out there that will

    cover my scrips and keep me out of the doughnut hole?

    Our income is 26,000 but 12,000 is spent on our co-pays

    and AARP. thank you for any info. ginny Ogden

  2. Ginney, given the complexity of your situation, you may want to seek some guidance from your area’s Council on Aging or other quasi-governmental department that offers advice on such matters. Also, keep in mind that one provision of the health care reform bill is to work at closing the donut hole. You will at least get a $250 rebate this year.

  3. im 81 years old ,paying average of $175/mo co-pay for my Rx plus my home care $1,800/mo, cant afford my co-pay. SSS only $1,600/mo. Who can help me for my Rx drugs?? I need help!! THANKS

  4. L J, Here’s an article on Part D Extra Help. You could also speak with your local Area Council on Aging office or similar organization.

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