People enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan fall into two camps… those who are happy with their plan and those who are not. Taking a few minutes to read some of the comments left by readers on this site will prove that to be true.
Do the people who are happy with their Advantage Plan have some secret knowledge that the unhappy people do not? No – not really. They just understand that finding the best Medicare Advantage Plan is a process.
There are a series of logical steps that you need to follow to be happy with your plan choice. Not following these steps could potentially leave you with a plan that is less than adequate for your needs.
Follow these simple steps to enroll in your best plan option
This is really simple stuff.
- Know how a Medicare Advantage Plan works.
- Compare many plans – not just the ones presented by a local agent.
- Know what 3 documents are the most important in the plan materials.
- Understand when and how to enroll.
- Find a trusted resource that can provide what you need to make the right choice.
If you know of someone who is unhappy with their Medicare Advantage Plan chances are they didn’t follow these simple steps. Judging by some of the comments on this site I can tell that a lot of people really don’t understand how an Advantage Plan works. The hard reality of not having a service covered or not being able to find a suitable in-network provider is a learning experience that you don’t want to have.
Watch this short video detailing 5 Things You Need to Know About Medicare Advantage Plans Before You Enroll.
In the video I talk about comparing Medicare Advantage Plans. Many times people speak with a local insurance agent who may only represent one plan. This is often true when you speak with an agent who has set up shop in a retail store like a Walmart or Walgreens.
In too many cases the plan that they represent just happens to be a “perfect fit” for you. Insurance agents are generally not paid to merely show you plan options… they earn a commission only when they enroll you in a plan.
My recommendation is to compare Medicare Advantage Plans online. I personally recommend Ehealth. They represent nearly all Medicare Advantage Plans in all 50 States and Washington D.C. You also have the option of speaking with an agent who is licensed in your State.
Just enter your zip code in the form below and click go to get started. Or if you have questions or just like a more personal experience call (888) 310-0376 to speak with an agent knowledgeable about Medicare Advantage Plans in your area.
The easy way to compare Medicare Advantage Plans – 3 plan documents
Medicare Advantage Plans have a lot of moving parts. No two plans are the same and a plan with the same name but offered in different service areas can have different features and benefits. To cut to the chase there are three plan documents that you should review to make your comparison.
- Summary of Benefits
- Provider Directory
- Part D Formulary
The Summary of benefits will drill down to all covered services and detail what your share of the expenses will be. Review this document so you won’t have surprises later on.
A huge amount of dissatisfaction comes from not being able to visit the provider or use the facility that you were hopping to. It also helps to know what options you have when you are enrolled in a HMO or PPO to receive benefits out-of-network.
The Part D formulary will list all covered drugs, which tier they are listed in so you can determine your costs. If a plan does not include your required medications you may need to keep looking for a plan that does.
Medicare Advantage enrollment periods
The last step to finding the best Medicare Advantage Plan is knowing when you can enroll or change plans. Of course the big one is the Annual Enrollment Period that begins October 15th and runs through December 7th. And of course enrolling when you are first becoming eligible for Medicare is a given. But you may also be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period.
It’s best not to wait until the last-minute to start comparing plans. Information on Medicare Advantage Plans for the following year is made public on October 1st. It doesn’t hurt to compare plans when they are first released. If you have several Medicare Advantage Plans available in your service area it may take some time to get through them all.
And remember – a plan that is best for someone else may not be the best plan for you. Choosing a Medicare Advantage Plan should be the result of finding a plan that fits your individual needs and circumstances.