Understand Medicare before retirement

Understand Medicare before retirement

While you work, usually it is your employer the one who deals with your medical insurance plan. But when you retire, it is up to you to navigate the Medicare system until you find the right plan for you. Plus, discover the (still) best 4 Medicare Advantage plans for 2020. 

Sometimes it can be hard to transition from one heath plan to another, and you will probably read a lot of things about how Medicare works. But to keep things simple, here is a short list of 3 things you need to keep in mind to understand Medicare: 

1. No family plan

While many workplace plans offer a family plan, with Medicare each spouse needs to have his or her own coverage. The plan will depend on each individual medical needs, so take the time to analyze all the options before you decide which one suits you best.

2. Schedule the procedures

You will have to cover some procedures with out-of-pocket money, so as long as possible, schedule every procedure so you can afford them. Medicare usually has a better hospitalization coverage than a commercial plan, so you might want to plan surgeries under Medicare. If your employer offers a better coverage plan, then you might want to get them before you move to Medicare.

3. Limit your drug costs

Medicare offers a tool for comparing drug costs under different plans, so it is a good idea to have a look at those options so you have control over how much money you spend on prescribed drugs. Medicare Part D are offered by private insurers.

Though at first it can seem overwhelming, if you take your time to do some research and read the information, you will be able to make an informed decision about which Medicare plan suits you best. And once you are settled, you’ll enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing your health is being taking care of. Medicare also offers information online or over the phone, so feel free to contact them and ask as many questions as you have. 


Over 3,300 members of Medicare Advantage plans were polled by J.D. Power to determine which this year’s best plans were. The results are based on 6 main factors, which are: 

1) Coverage and benefits 
2) Provider choice 
3) Cost 
4) Customer service
5) Information and communication
6) Billing and payment. 

On a scale of up to 1,000 points, these turned out to be the best Medicare Advantage plans of 2020:

1. Highmark, with an overall satisfaction score of 830 out of 1,000
2. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, with an overall score of 829 out of 1,000
3. Humana, with a score of 806 out of 1,000
4. UnitedHealthCare, with an overall satisfaction score of 800 out of 1,000

The plans that earned below-average points were:

1. Aetna, with an overall score of 789
2. Cigna-HealthSpring, with a score of 781
3. Anthem, with a score of 779
4. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, with a score of 779
5. Centene, with a score of 775
6. WellCare, with a score of 773

Differences between Original and Advantage Medicare plans

Original Medicare is directly offered by the federal government’s Medicare program, while Medicare Advantage Plus programs are offered by private insurers that have previously been approved by the government to offer such services.

Medicare Advantage must cover the same services as Original Medicare, but it can also cover other expenses. This is why the cost and coverage vary from one Medicare Advantage plan to the other.  


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