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Ask These Five Questions Before Joining Medicare Advantage

Senior Woman with Contemplating LookShould you consider Medicare Advantage?

You may have heard some good things about Medicare Advantage or a Medicare Advantage plan in particular and are uncertain if it is a good way to receive your Medicare coverage.

If this is the case, you are not alone. There are approximately 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 every day and many are not sure which is better, a Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare supplement.

Following are five questions you should ask before you join a Medicare Advantage plan.

Five Questions

There are several factors to consider when deciding if an Advantage plan is right for you. Some factors may be of greater importance to you and there may be other considerations due to your individual circumstances. Ask yourself these questions:

1. Can you accept an annual plan? Medicare Advantage plans are annual plans. Plans can change from year to year or in some cases may not renew for the following year. This is in great contrast to a Medicare supplement policy where you can make a choice and pretty much be assured that your coverage will remain the same for many years. If you don’t mind comparing Medicare Advantage plans each year during the Annual Enrollment Period an annual plan should not be a concern.

2. If the plan has a provider network, is it suitable? Most Medicare Advantage plans available  will be network-based plans. Plans may include either a PPO or HMO network. If you choose a Medicare HMO be aware that you will be required to receive service only from plan providers. A PPO will afford you greater freedom as you are generally able to receive out-of-network services  for a little extra cost . Be certain that you are happy with the network be for you make an annual commitment.

Medicare Advantage Insurance – Read This Before You Enroll

3. Is the plan affordable? Many Medicare Advantage plans  will require a monthly premium.

Some plans  like AARP MedicareComplete will not require a monthly premium and will include Part D drug coverage. Comparing Medicare Advantage plans is vitally important to make sure that you are getting the best Advantage plan for your situation.

The cost is a big consideration for many on a fixed income and you can request information from Advantage plan carriers without obligation.

4. Are the out-of-pocket costs reasonable? Unlike a Medicare supplement where your out-of-pocket costs are minimized an Advantage plan will require cost sharing in the form of co-pays, coinsurance and sometimes deductibles. You should compare plans to make sure that your out-of-pocket costs are reasonable. Benefits and costs can vary greatly from one plan to another.

5. Are extra benefits important to you? There are many medical services not covered by Medicare. Many people enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan to receive extra benefits such as dental, vision, hearing, gym memberships, discounts on medical supplies and transportation. Advantage plans  will continue to include extra benefits to add value and attract members. Determine what is important to you and compare plans to find the richest benefits for you situation.


You May be Wondering …Does Medicare Cover Dental?

These are some of the main points to consider when deciding if a Medicare Advantage plan is right for you. Work smart and request information online to get an accurate picture of what’s available in your area.

No comments

  1. It is informing,but there are no fees anywhere on this page.

  2. I was checking out this site, but am getting so confused on the different plans and what is the one for me. I am 50 yrs. old, disabled, and on Medicare. My insurance, Humana, my Medicare Advantage Plan is going to make changes in 2011, that my sales rep called and told me about, and am looking for a plan that would be cost effective since I am on a fixed income. I am willing to purchase a Medicare Advantage Plan, but want to get the most for my money. Can you advise me on which ones to check on with more depth that you think might fit my needs as well as they can?
    I am looking for any imput I can get.

    Thanks Vicki C.

  3. Vicki, The best option for you is to visit Click on health and Drug plans and then click Compare Drug and Health Plans. From there you will be prompted to enter your zip code. You will be able to enter your medications and pharmacy choices if you wish. This will give you a list of all plans available in your County. Depending on where you live, you may have only a few choices or dozens of choices. Once you get a high level overview of the various plans, you will be able to click that plan and find a link to the plan’s website to get more in depth information. I hope this helps. I really can’t offer much input beyond that as I don’t know where you live and am not aware of your particular circumstances, health or otherwise. David

  4. charles manchego

    no one can afford a supplement if youre on a fixed income and are over 60 yrs of age.

  5. I am on social security disability and will not turn 65 until July, 2013; I am interested in a medicare supplement but understand I will pay a higher premium because I am under 65, is this true? Also, my premium for my policy dropped this year and when I ask the sales rep what the catch was; he told me, oh no, we (insurance company), got a supplement from the gov’t to pass this savings on to you. Now, I have MORE out-of-pocket expenses! What choice do we have? These messages from you are informative;however, when we choose a plan, things change and then we are stuck until next year!

  6. Helen, I know it’s frustrating, you’ll just have to be proactive and compare plans in the annual enrollment period. Yes, if you are under 65 and purchase a Medicare supplement you will normally pay a higher premium than if you were 65 and in your open enrollment period. The good news is you will still have that open enrollment period when you turn 65 and more than likely will see a reduction in premium.

  7. Charles, I know what your saying but a fixed income doesn’t always necessarily mean a low income. Most people with a Medicare supplement have a fixed income.

  8. I am 65 and on Social Security. I’m on Medicare and at first got on a medicare advantage plan. I went for my first yearly check up and then started geting bills everyday in the mail for what was not covered. I changed to a medicare supplement plan F. No deductable, no co pays, it is great.I do not get a higt amt. monthly. I was in my 6mo period so I could change. I did have to get a Medicare Rx plan and dental plan seperate. The rx plan is not much but the dental plan is 55. per month.

  9. Wanda, It sounds like you made a good choice.

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