Tips to help you get the most from medicare

It may be tempting to follow someone else’s advice when the time comes to choose a Medicare plan. But what is right for them may not be what you need.

Everybody doen’t find the same things are necessary. Some may feel completely confident in Original Medicare or Original Medicare with Part D coverage. Others may want the coverage and benefits a Medicare Advantage plan can offer.

 Here’s some advice to make the most of your Medicare shopping experience.

1-Choose a plan with a large network

With Original Medicare, you can see any doctor who accepts Medicare. But with a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll want to find out which doctors and hospitals would be available. Check to see if your primary care physician,  any specialists you already see and your preferential hospitals are in your network.

2-Check out what isn’t covered

Original Medicare doesn’t cover dental, vision or hearing. However, you can find Medicare Advantage plans that do. As you’re analysing options, consider what kind of care you might need in the upcoming year. And don’t forget to also explore the benefits built into different plans. 

3-Enroll early

Many don’t know that you can sign up for Medicare three months before your birthday month.  If you’re currently receiving Social Security benefits, you’ll be automatically enrolled in Part A and Part B when you turn 65. If you aren’t, you can sign up when you’re 64 years and 9 months old. This ensures that you have coverage the day you’re eligible and that you don’t get a lifetime of late enrollment fees. Also, you can sign up during your birthday month and three months after.

4- Remember the enrollment deadline

Sometimes, at 65, people still have health insurance through their employer (or their partner’s employer). If so, you can delay your Medicare enrollment but the only catch is you need to sign up within eight months of losing that coverage. If you don’t, you’ll face a considerable fee, and you might not be able to do so until the next enrollment period.

5- Review your coverage every year

To make sure you’re still getting the best value, it’s always good to investigate your plan options.  It’s important to understand the full cost of your plan including the premium, copays, your deductible and coinsurance. Some plans may have a $0 premium, but you’re still responsible for other costs associated with the plan. You can choose to change your Medicare coverage each year, during the annual enrollment period (October 15 – December 7).

 

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