Decisions, Decisions: Medicare Choices
Choosing a Medicare plan can be a daunting task, but with some guidance, seniors can make an informed decision that meets their health needs and budget. Here are some steps to help choose a Medicare plan:
Understand the different parts of Medicare: Medicare is divided into four parts - Part A, Part B, Part C, and Part D.
Part A covers hospital insurance,
Part B covers medical insurance - think going to the doctors office,
Part C is Medicare Advantage, which combines Parts A, B, and often Part D,
Part D covers prescription drugs.
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Assess your healthcare needs: Seniors should evaluate their healthcare needs and determine what kind of coverage they require -
Consider your medical history, any ongoing health conditions, and any regular medications that you take. Make a list!
Compare different plans: Once you have identified your healthcare needs, compare different plans available in your area.
Medicare Advantage (Part C) or Medigap policies? Both are excellent choices and will be a personal decision based on what plan matches up to your list of medical/health needs.
Consider out-of-pocket expenses: Look at the out-of-pocket costs, such as premiums, deductibles, copays, and coinsurance, associated with the different plans. Seniors should consider a plan that covers their needs and has an affordable out-of-pocket cost.
This is the biggest decision for most people - do you want to pay a monthly premium with a Medigap policy & pay very little when you need to seek care OR do you want small to no monthly premium & then pay co-pays when you seek care?
Check network coverage: Check if your doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies are in the plan's network, and if they are not, how much it will cost to go out of network.
Enroll in a plan: Once you have chosen a plan, enroll in it during the Medicare enrollment period.
Is this your first time enrolling? Check to make sure you're within your Initial Enrollment (IEP) window!
Plans change annually and everyone has the opportunity to evaluate their current plan during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) of October 15 to December 7.
Seek help: If you are still unsure or confused, seek help from a Medicare counselor, Certified Senior Advisor®, a State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), or a licensed insurance agent. Tight Ship Advisors is on stand by to help you get the right information that you need to make your decision in a timely manner.
By following these steps, you can select a Medicare plan that meets your healthcare needs and budget.