We know that choosing a Medicare plan is not always easy. You’re making a decision that impacts you and your family, so we understand that everyone wants to be as informed as possible.
There are a number of things to consider, and there are a number of options. In this article we discuss some of the important factors that are relevant in helping you make the decision that best suits you and your loved ones.
Things to Consider When Choosing Coverage
We all come from different circumstances and backgrounds, so the perfect plan for someone else might not be tailored to your needs. But to help you work towards making the right choice, there are a number of important factors to consider. Here is a short summary of the big ones.
When choosing a plan, you want to consider deductibles, premiums, hospital stays, doctor visits, prescription drugs, and out-of-pocket costs. Get a good understanding of the costs and how they relate to your personal budget.
Medicare plans generally fall into one of two categories: Medicare Original or Medicare Advantage. Original provides more basic coverage, while Advantage provides further services and products. This means that Original plans tend to be less costly than Advantage plans.
With Original, there is no cap on the out-of-pocket costs you could end up paying. You are responsible for paying any additional fees that may be incurred if you exceed your maximum number of hospital days. With Advantage, there is a limit on the expenses you could incur for extended stays. Once you reach a certain amount, the rest is covered.
If you have a good medical history, it might be more cost-effective to have Original and get supplementary coverage if needed. If you have or anticipate health complications, it might be better to sign up for Advantage and avoid added fees. With Advantage, you pay $15 every time you visit a doctor while with Original, you pay 20% of the visit value.
You will want to find out what coverage is good for you. This will vary depending on your health, age, and financial status. Learn exactly which procedures, services, prescription drugs, and other products a Medicare plan provides before making your choice.
Medicare Original provides medical and hospital costs only. Additional, non-emergency fees are not covered. Whereas many Advantage plans also cover vision, dental, and hearing costs, in addition to medical, hospital, and emergency fees.
Also, it could be that you are already part of a health coverage program. So find out exactly how that coverage works with Medicare. You don’t want to be under-covered, but you also don’t want to be paying extra for coverage that you don’t need.
Doctor and Hospital Choice
Doctors and hospitals will be your main points of contact between you and your Medicare plan, so you want to make sure that you are fully informed. There are a number of relevant questions to ask. If you are currently with a certain doctor, does he or she accept the coverage? If you are considering a new doctor, does he or she accept new patients?
Generally, Medicare Original plans allow you to see any doctor that accepts Medicare, and the overwhelming majority of them do. Advantage plans may require you to see doctors that are part of the plan’s dedicated network. Therefore you should find out if one of these doctors is close to home or easy to get to if you are considering Advantage.
It is also important to find out how the process of choosing a doctor or hospital looks. As mentioned, you might need to choose from a network, or it could be that you will need to obtain referrals. Ask and see what the situation is before making your decision.
In addition to considering your health, age, and budget, you also need to reflect on your lifestyle. Medicare plans don’t typically cover travel outside of the U.S. So if you have a lifestyle that includes frequent travel, you might need to also look at supplementary coverage that will ensure you during your travels abroad.
Doing Your Homework
Thankfully, there are a lot of of reliable resources out there that will help you navigate the world of Medicare and to help you choose what is appropriate for your and your family. You can start by consulting the official Medicare website. It is very easy to use and all the relevant and important information is readily available with a few mouse clicks.
Take everything we mentioned in this article into consideration, discuss possibilities with your loved ones, and don’t hesitate to reach out to a Medicare representative if you have unanswered questions. We hope that we helped you maneuver the important decision of choosing a Medicare coverage plan. Health is never a compromise.