Are you or a loved one about to reach your 65th birthday? It’s time to consider your medicare options or otherwise.
Let’s face it, as we age we face ever-increasing obstacles to health and wellbeing and few of us can afford to go it alone when it comes to paying our medical bills.
After all, the average hospital stay in the US can cost almost $4,000 per day.
That’s why the federal government give us all the option to sign up for the affordable Medicare program. This type of health insurance covers all your basic needs when it comes to medical care, but what if you want more?
You can sign up for a private health insurance policy if Medicare doesn’t meet your needs. Here’s how to choose this handy best Medicare supplement plans article.
Consider Your Future Medical Needs
Although you might be in peak condition right now, there’s no telling what kind of medical issues are waiting down the line. So, it’s important to buy the most extensive health insurance you can afford.
These are some of the questions to address when deciding on a Medicare Advantage plan:
- How much can I afford to pay for my health insurance premiums monthly?
- Can I afford the cost of any necessary copayments?
- Do I want a plan that covers prescription medication and doctor’s appointments?
- Do my preferred medical suppliers accept the plan in question?
- Do I need insurance for things like dental, vision, and hearing treatments?
- Do I need health cover that will pay for medical care while I’m traveling?
You can find a Medicare Advantage plan that ticks all your boxes, but more benefits attract higher premiums.
Sometimes, when you consider the cost of copayments and deductibles, Medicare Advantage works out cheaper for your specific needs. So, don’t assume that Original Medicare’s the cheapest option for you.
In other cases, you might save if you opt for original Medicare with a Medigap Plan to pick up the shortfall.
For instance, look up more information on Medicare Plan G. You might find that it offers a range of benefits, including travel cover at a more affordable price than a similar Medicare Advantage plan.
How to Choose a Medicare Advantage Plan
If you have your heart set on Medicare Advantage insurance, you’ll find a huge range of options to choose from.
By law, all Advantage plans must offer the same coverage as Medicare Part A and B. Each state also has its own rules when it comes to Medicare Advantage plans.
After that, insurers can offer any additional benefits as they see fit and set up their premiums accordingly.
These are the main types of Medicare Advantage plans available at the moment:
PPO – Preferred Provider Organization Plans
When you sign up with one of these plans, you’re restricted to a certain list of medical service providers. If you want to visit a professional or hospital that’s not covered by your plan, you’ll pay extra you’re your premiums.
You don’t need a referral to see a specialist when you opt for a PPO plan.
HMO – Health Maintenance Organization Plans
These policies are among the most affordable Advantage plans available. Yet, they don’t pay for out-of-network medical services.
You can even sign up for free plans in this category, although you’ll still need to pay your Medicare Part B premium.
Private Fee-for-Service Plans
If you want to visit any doctor in the USA, you can either stick with Medicare or sign up for one of these plans.
You’ll encounter no network restrictions with these policies, but your insurer only pays for a portion of your medical bills. With these plans, the cost of premiums relates directly to how much the insurer pays on your behalf.
Special Needs Plans
If you have a chronic health condition, this type of plan is a good choice for you. Your insurer has to sell you a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan with this type of policy.
These plans cover institutional conditions, like end-stage renal disease and more.
Medicare Medical Savings Account
Medicare Savings accounts have high deductibles. So, you’ll pay more towards copayments before you reach your annual threshold.
Apart from your premium, you pay some money every month into a savings account for future medical expenses.
Supplemental Benefits Offered by Medicare Advantage Plans
Some Medicare Insurance providers have gone all out with extra services for their members of late.
Many of them offer a range of preventive care and other health-related extras. These include:
- Help with structural changes relating to wheelchair access
- Discounted gym memberships and wellness programs
- Nutritional and diet advice
- Routine dental, hearing, and vision care
- Allowances for selected over-the-counter medications
- Assistance with transport to medical appointments
Some of them even offer to pay a portion of your Medicare Part B premium.
When Can You Enrol for Medicare Advantage Plans?
Like all health insurance policies, you need to apply for different Medicare plans during specified times of the year.
These are the periods applicable for most plans:
- During the Special Election Period for particular circumstances
- MA OTP from January 1 to March 31 annually
- AEP during the Medicare election period from October 15 to December 7
- Within six months of your 65th birthday
It’s also important to note that you can’t change your chosen policy for a year after signing up.
Get More of The Information You Need
Figuring out how to choose a Medicare Advantage plan, is just one of the things we can help you with.
Keep reading our blog for more of the best advice on a wide range of lifestyle-related issues.