The Dec. 7 enrollment deadline for Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans is fast approaching. Here are six simple steps to help you make the best decision:
1. Review your current Medicare plan. Analyze how much you’ve spent on health care this year, including hospital expenses, prescriptions and doctor bills. This helps you determine if your current plan still meets your needs.
2. Select the type of plan that best fits your needs.
Original Medicare, Parts A and B, provides basic coverage for medical expenses without coverage for most prescriptions, and includes cost-sharing in the form of deductibles and coinsurance.
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Medicare Advantage includes all the coverage of original Medicare through a private insurer, and may include extra benefits, such as dental, hearing and vision coverage, as well as prescription drug coverage. This is Medicare Part C.
Medicare prescription drug plans can be added to original Medicare, a Medigap plan or some Medicare Advantage plans that do not include prescription drug coverage. This is Medicare Part D.
Medicare supplement plans pay some costs not paid by original Medicare, like deductibles and coinsurance. These plans don’t have set provider networks.
3. Comparison Shop. Once you choose the type of plan that best fits your needs, research the costs and benefits and check to see if your hospital and doctors are covered.
4. Consider the extras. Some Medicare Advantage plans include extra benefits, such as a fitness program and exercise classes specifically designed for people with Medicare. Others include dental, vision and hearing benefits. Determine how important these extra benefits are to your lifestyle and wellness needs.
5. Seek help. Shopping for a Medicare plan can be daunting, but there are resources available to assist you. You can call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or TTY 1-877-486-2048 24 hours a day, seven days a week for 2017 Medicare plan information. And websites like Medicare.gov and humana-Medicare.com can help you research available plans.
The time to act is now. Making sure you have the right health plan is one of the best ways to invest in your health.
S.C. Director, Humana Medicare