When deciding which plan to choose, you have a lot to consider.
Here’s a step-by-step list of the decisions you’ll need to make and what you’ll want to consider in order to make a good choice.
1. Find out what’s available in your area.
Reading this site is a good start, but you’ll want to learn more. Be proactive about investigating what’s available in your area. To find and compare plans in your area:
- Visit Medicare’s website
- Call the Medicare Helpline
- Call your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)
Talk to your family and friends about the Medicare coverage they have now. And if you have health care coverage through your employer, talk to your company benefits administrator about your choices.
2. Review your needs
While you’re doing your research, you’ll want to think about what’s important to you or your loved ones. Here are some questions to consider:
- What is most important to you in a Medicare health plan? (Think about cost, coverage, convenience and customer service)
- Are you eligible for any health care coverage other than Medicare, such as employer, retiree or union coverage through your or your spouse’s employer? Will you want to keep that coverage?
- How much did you spend on health care last year? Do you expect similar costs this year?
- How much will you have to pay? Be sure to review all of the following:
- Monthly premiums
- Annual deductibles
- Copays or coinsurance for doctor visits
- Costs associated with emergency room and hospital stays
- Are there other health care expenses that you need to plan for (e.g., skilled nursing facility)?
- What is the limit on your out-of-pocket costs per year (if there is one)?
- How does health care fit into your budget? Will you need financial help to pay for Medicare premiums?
- Are you in good health generally, or do you have chronic conditions such as diabetes, chronic heart failure or asthma?
- Does the plan meet your current medical needs?
- Which prescription drugs do you take regularly?
- How much do you spend on a 30-day supply of your prescriptions?
- Are your prescriptions included in the plans’ drug list?
- Which doctors and hospitals do you use?
- Do they accept the plan you are considering?
- Is your doctor/specialist in the plan’s network (if there is one)?
- Are you willing to change doctors to save on your health care costs?
- Will you need a referral to visit specialists?
- How much do you travel, and where? Do you need coverage for traveling out of state or overseas?
3. Look for a good fit for yourself or your loved one.
There’s no “one size fits all.” You have choices:
- Do you want only Original Medicare (Part A and Part B)?
- How about Original Medicare with a standalone Medicare Prescription Drug plan (Part D) or a MedicareAdvantage plan (Part C)?
- Or perhaps you’ll need a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plan to help pay for the expenses Original Medicare doesn’t cover?
- If I get a Medicare Advantage plan, do I want it with or without prescription drugs?
4. Ask for help if you need it.
You can get help in comparing and choosing plans.
For example, financial assistance programs are available to help with the costs of Medicare for those with lower incomes. If you think you might qualify, apply as soon as you can. It can take several months to process your application, and you’ll want to find out if you’re eligible and how much help you qualify for.
5. Act quickly when the enrollment window opens and you become eligible for Original Medicare.
Don’t miss your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). For most, your IEP begins 3 months before the month you turn 65, runs through your birth month and ends three months after your birth month.
- Make sure your coverage begins when you want it to begin.
- Avoid paying more in premiums because you waited.
If you or someone in your family is 65 or older and is in need of a Medicare Supplemental Plan or already has a plan, but wants to make sure that it is the right plan please give us a call or go to our website and we will
give you a quote and help you keep money in your pocket.
The Litchfield Agency – Insurance License: 0B56846
George Litchfield – 909-790-7748 or 951-314-1949