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.
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.
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.
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.