Whether you are new to Medicare or are interested in switching to a new Medicare plan there are certain things you must consider if you are going to choose the best plan for your circumstances.
Too many times people jump into a Medicare plan because a friend or family member has a specific plan or worse yet a plan is chosen based on monthly premium alone.
This article will give you a road map to follow by detailing the top five things you should consider when choosing a new Medicare plan.
Finding the right Medicare plan in 5 steps
1. Before you even think about choosing a plan do your homework and know what your options are. Take the time to understand the difference between a Medicare Advantage plan and a Medicare supplement policy. The Medicare and You Handbook is a good place to start.
With a little knowledge you should have an idea whether a Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare supplement is your best choice. This will allow you to compare apples to apples.
2. Learn what options you have available. If you are interested in a Medicare supplement you should know that not all companies offer every standardized supplement available. Take a look at the offerings from more than one company to compare which supplemental plans each offers.
Medicare Advantage plans are offered County by County. For instance, you may have an AARP MedicareComplete plan available while your neighbor in another County may not. Also take note that plan benefits and premiums can vary from one County to the next. Visit the Medicare website to see all plans available in your area.
3. Once you know which type of plan you are interested in and have access to a list of available options you can’t get around the question of budget. Your budget should not only take into consideration the monthly premium but also what services are and are not covered as well as any out-of-pocket cost sharing amounts that may be required.
4. Beyond budget the next important point to consider is whether you will be subject to any network restrictions. If you are interested in a supplemental Medicare policy this will be less of a factor as you will be able to use any provider that accepts Medicare assignment.
If you are considering a Medicare Advantage plan be aware that many plans require that you utilize a network of providers. Provider network types include PPO, HMO and HMO-POS plans. Understand the benefits and limitations of each network before you enroll.
5.Once you have decided on a specific type of plan, found plans available in your area and determined which plans fit your budget it’s time to get down to plan specifics.
If you have decided that your new Medicare plan will be a Medicare supplement you should review the plan’s outline of coverage. Plans are standardized from company to company but you should know what is and is not covered in a specific plan. If you want the most comprehensive plan you should take a look at Medicare supplement Plan F.
The Summary of Benefits document is the most important piece of information to review when you are comparing Medicare Advantage plans. The Summary of Benefits will detail all covered services and provide information about your cost sharing responsibility. If your New Medicare Advantage plan includes Part D review the plan’s formulary to see the list of covered drugs as well.
If you follow these steps you should be able to choose a new Medicare plan that will meet your needs. You can save time by shopping and comparing plans online.