How To Choose The Right Plan
In this article, we will discuss how to find the right Medicare Plan. Our discussion will center around the three main choices that we have in the Medicare system:
- Medicare Supplement Plans
- Advantage Plans for Medicare
- Plan D Medicare Plans for Prescriptions.
You must turn either to the right or to the left. Neither choice is right or wrong. There are just two options that seniors have for health coverage with Medicare.
Original Medicare pays for many, but not all, health care services and supplies. A Medigap (Medicare plan supplement), sold by private insurance companies, can help pay some of the health care costs (gaps) that Original Medicare doesn’t cover, like co-payments, co-insurance, and deductibles.
If you have Original Medicare and you buy a Medigap policy, Medicare will pay its share of the Medicare-approved amount for covered health care costs. Then your Medigap policy pays its share. Original Medicare coverage is throughout the United States so a person who is on Original Medicare can go to any doctor or provider who accepts Medicare anywhere in the country.
If you travel, you would probably want to be in Original Medicare and have a Medicare supplement to have the maximum coverage outside of your home state.
Medicare plan supplement coverage is standardized so you can shop price to find which insurance company you want to go to with for a supplement. Medicare supplement plans are identified by letters of the alphabet (A-N). Plan F is the most popular medicare plan supplement since it covers 100% of out of pocket costs for Medicare approved services.
Understanding Advantage Plans for Medicare
The second choice that you have after age 65 and going on Part B is choosing Advantage Plans for Medicare. You can choose advantage plans for medicare if you live in the service area of the plan.
It is important to check the plan to make sure that the doctors and hospitals that you use are part of the Medicare Advantage Plan that you are considering. This is the key consideration in choosing an Advantage Plan for Medicare health coverage.
Medicare Advantage Plans may offer extra coverage, such as vision, hearing, dental, and/or health and wellness programs. Most include Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D).
Unlike Medicare supplement plans, Advantage plans for Medicare are not standardized so they can charge different out-of-pocket costs and have different rules for how you get services. You need to read the details of each plan to make a comparison.
The third main choice that you will need to make in Medicare is regarding the Part D Medicare Plans which are prescription drug plans. If I am in a Medicare Advantage Plan, the Part D prescription plan is often automatically included in that Advantage plan so you do not have to choose a prescription plan.
If however, you are in Original Medicare, you need to decide if you want prescription drug coverage. If you do want prescription drug coverage, you must choose a plan and pay the monthly premium for that plan. The best way to decide the right Part D prescription drug plan is to go to www.medicare.gov.
On the home page of that website, click on the button to find a drug plan.
- The website will go through several steps including entering a Medicare card number (if you have one) and the names and dosages of prescriptions.
- At step four, you can choose to find a Prescription Drug Plan and then sort the plans by lowest annual retail cost.
- Once you sort the results, all the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans for the state will come up and you can start with the first one or two plans listed to decide the best price.
You can also find more information such as monthly premiums, co-pays, deductibles, and how to contact the plan to enroll.