Medicare is a health insurance program run by the federal government for people who are 65 years and above and those with certain types of disabilities. The federal agency charged with the responsibility of running the programs is known as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
The Medicaid program is divided into several parts. The first part is called Part A and caters to inpatient or medical coverage. The second option is called Part B and covers outpatient services. There is also Part C and part D and each one of them has its own merits and demerits.
Medicare plans change almost every year – the plan that looked perfect for you last year may not be good enough this year. That’s why it is important to always seek help from Medicare advisors before choosing any plan.
Here are eight steps to guide you in picking the right Medicare plan:
- Determine your annual healthcare needs
Get a list of all the drugs and dosages that you will continue using the following year. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, check the types of services you received the previous year.
- Review the changes in your current plan
Information on the changes to your existing Medicare plan is usually sent towards the end of September. You will be informed if there are any changes including the cost in your plan for the coming year. You should pay close attention to co-pays, drug tiers, and drug formularies.
- Medicare Plan Finder
Even if there are no changes in your current plan, it is still important to check other options when a new enrolment opens. The best way to do this is by using the Plan Finder on the Medicare website.
- Compare the cost of different plans
This is another important factor to consider when choosing the right Medicare plan. The Part D plan has the lowest premiums but may not be the cheapest in case your drug co-payments are already high. Co-payments may differ depending on where you purchase drugs and your consumption level.
- Ensure your doctors are covered
The other thing you should do is to ensure that your doctors are part of the Medicare Advantage networks you would like to join. This stage is rather difficult because the Medicare Plan finder doesn’t contain a list of providers for every plan. The best option would be to directly contact your doctors to find out.
- Compare the coverage and plans that are convenient
When it comes to Medicare Advantage, you will realize that some plans provide coverage that Original Medicare doesn’t, like hearing aids, dental, and vision. You need to look at them and compare their value.
- Seek help from an expert
There’s a lot of information concerning the available plans in the Medicare Plan Finder. You will receive personalized help if you choose a Part D Medicare Advantage plan.
- Get enrolled
If you choose to retain your current plan, then there’s nothing else to do – your enrolment will be renewed automatically.
In general, choosing the right Medicare plan can sometimes be challenging. But with the right guidance together with the above steps, you will be able to get a plan that matches your healthcare needs.