Medicare is a cheaper alternative to traditional health insurance, but only if you pick the right plan. While you might think that turning 65 and waiting for your card is all there is to it, the truth is that there are decisions that must be made, and there is only a limited amount of time each year to make them. But there is help available, and it’s often easily accessible even by those who have yet to adapt to the digital age. Continue reading to learn more about the advantages of Medicare!
Find Medicare help
There are many resources available for seniors looking to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, which is a private insurance policy that offers all the benefits of Original Medicare, and often, much more. Medicare.gov and Medicare.org are two of the most reliable sources of information. The former is the official Medicare office, while the latter is a consumer-centric organization that’s been helping people with their Medicare choices for more than a decade. Given that Medicare is changing each year, it’s never a bad idea to get advice from a licensed agent or Medicare rep.
What’s the advantage of an Advantage plan?
When you enroll in Medicare, you usually have two options: Medicare and Medicare Advantage. Medicare comes in three basic parts. Part A is hospital insurance; Part B is medical coverage for routine doctor visits, health checks, and specialist care; and Part D is Medicare’s drug coverage. Medicare Part D works with Original Medicare, but provides coverage for medications as a separate, private insurance plan.
You will also hear people refer to Medicare Part C. This is where things get confusing. Part C is also private insurance, and it replaces Original Medicare. It was first made available in 1997 as part of the Balanced Budget Act of the same year. If you choose to go with a Medicare Advantage plan, you should know that you will have all of the benefits available with Medicare Parts A and B, and will also most likely have drug coverage. Many plans further offer benefits for things such as hearing, vision health, and routine dental care.
Consumer Reports explains that health services are also available for 2019 in limited Advantage plans. This includes things like adult day care and home safety modifications. The site also anticipates lower premiums, even for subscribers who choose to enjoy the added benefits.
One of the most attractive features of a Medicare Advantage plan is its price. Some have a zero-dollar premium, which means you do not pay a monthly fee. However, you will likely have a high copay and deductible when you do need services. There are also plans that are moderately priced and offer a comprehensive range of benefits with a much smaller co-pay. If you choose your plan wisely, you can find a balance between your monthly premiums and your overall annual out-of-pocket costs. With a Medicare Advantage plan, you typically should choose an in-network service provider, although out-of-network and emergency services will be available to you.
The decision to choose an Advantage plan will come down to personal preference and budget. The AARP says that one of the first steps new Medicare enrollees should take is to ask their doctor if they currently accept Medicare patients. Not all healthcare providers do, and some doctors that accept Medicare Advantage do not accept original Medicare, and vice versa.
It should also be noted that if you choose to stick with original Medicare, you may be eligible to purchase Medigap insurance. In most cases, this carries a higher premium than a Medicare Advantage plan, but depending on the Medigap product you choose, you may have virtually no added out-of-pocket costs.
As you can see, there is more to Medicare than meets the eye. Talk to your agent, and take a close look at your current and future medical needs. Your health is unique, and your choices regarding your healthcare should reflect this.