How Can I Find Out What My Medicare Plan Choices Are?
When you first enroll in Medicare, and every year after that, you have choices to make. Is Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan the best choice for you? Do you want to add a prescription drug plan or a supplement insurance plan to Original Medicare? Which Medicare Advantage plan will best meet your needs?
Before you can make choices, you need information. You need to know what your plan choices are. And you need to know what coverage each plan offers as well as its costs.
Go to the Official Medicare Web Site
Perhaps the most obvious place to start looking for Medicare plans is Medicare.gov. The site is a great source of information about Original Medicare Parts A and B, including coverage and costs, which can change every year. It also has an online tool that you can use to find Medicare Advantage, supplement insurance and prescription drug plans in your area. You will get a list of plan names with summaries of the plan coverage and costs. You can even enroll right from the site or link to the plan sites for more information.
Use Community Resources
Keep an eye out for local community Medicare educational events. These are sometimes sponsored by local or national organizations, like AARP, or insurance companies. You might see notices for these events posted in your local newspaper or on bulletin boards in pharmacies, libraries, etc. Community events can be a convenient and personal way to get the information you’re looking for. And don’t forget your pharmacist. He or she is often well informed about which Medicare plans are offered locally.
Other community resources include local insurance agents, your local Social Security Office and your State Health Insurance Assistance Program.
Ask the Plan Sponsors
Once you identify plans in your area, or if you already know which insurance company you want to use, you may want to call customer service representatives or go to each plan web site to further investigate the plans that interest you. Many company web sites have online tools that allow you to search and compare specific plans that have the features you’re looking for.
When considering a plan, it’s important to read the Evidence of Coverage (EOC). Plan sponsors are required to provide this document, which gives a thorough description of what services the plan covers. You can ask for a copy to be sent to you or, often, view or download it from the company web site.
Keep Your Needs in Mind
Medicare coverage isn’t the sort of thing that you can just decide on once and then forget about. Things change—benefits, costs, your health, your finances—even where you live. Any of these can affect your Medicare plan choices. You need to pay attention to your needs and to what plans are available to you, so you can make the best choice for you—every year.
–This information was provided by Medicare Made Clear
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