5 Tips to Compare Medicare Plans
With a multitude of Medicare options out there, finding the best one to meet your needs without breaking the bank may seem difficult, and even intimidating. To help make the process easier, see AGA Medicare Options’ top 5 tips to compare Medicare plans.
1. Assess your wants and needs.
Have a good valuation of your current health situation before you start comparing Medicare plans. That way, you’ll know which services you’ll absolutely need to have in your plan.
Also think about convenience. Your plan will dictate where you go for healthcare. Will your doctor be located at a convenient location? Are their hours flexible? Will you need prescription drugs? Which pharmacies can you use? Are you covered outside the U.S.?
Making a list of your preferred requirements will make it easier to compare plans.
2. Know the difference between Original Medicare vs. a Medicare Advantage plan.
Original Medicare is offered by the federal government and covers Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance). Original Medicare has a large network of hospitals and doctors to choose from.
Original Medicare doesn’t cover everything. You can get more coverage by:
- Buying Medicare Part D for prescription drugs.
- Adding a Medigap policy in addition to your Original Medicare.
- Choosing a Medicare Advantage Plan instead of Original Medicare.
A Medicare Advantage Plan (also known as Medicare Part C) is offered by a private Medicare-approved insurer and usually covers Medicare Part A and Part B. Some providers offer extra services, like vision and dental.
3. Stay up-to-date on important Medicare information.
Medicare benefits change yearly. It’s important to keep up with these changes and stay informed to see if your coverage or services could be affected.
4. Anticipate your costs.
You should be able to anticipate your costs based on your health assessment. Most don’t pay a premium for Medicare Part A, but you will incur a premium for Medicare Part B. There are usually lower premiums for Part B coverage under a Medicare Advantage Plan. Other deductibles, coinsurance and fees may apply under Original Medicare.
There are choices available to you to help with your Medicare costs:
- Medicare Supplement Insurance for Original Medicare (Medigap policy).
- Medicare Savings Programs (MSPS).
- PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly).
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
5. Speak with a professional knowledgeable about Medicare.
Medigcare.gov offers several resources to help compare plans. Many insurers that offer Medicare Advantage Plans can offer both more and less expensive plans than Original Medicare, so do your research on providers in your area and see all your options.
The right Medicare Agent should not only be able to educate you on a variety of Medicare plans, but should also be able to educate you on options based on your location, income and other factors that could affect your Medicare coverage.