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.
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.