With Medicare Open Enrollment beginning October 15, 2017, are you ready? Below are steps you can take to find the best plan for you.
1. Enroll in Medicare When First Eligible
Although you may not need Medicare when you are first eligible to enroll, you may have to pay a fee for enrolling late if you wait. To figure out if you are eligible for Medicare or not you can call the Social Security toll-free number at 1-800-722-1213.
2. Shop Around Every Year
The plan that works one year, may not be the best the following year. As your health needs change, so should your Medicare plan. There are parts of Medicare, such as Section D, the prescription drug plan, that you can customize to best meet your health needs.
3. Know What is Covered
Medicare will not cover all of your health expenses. Figure out what Medicare covers, to determine how much out-of-pocket expenses you will be expected to pay. If you know you will be going to the doctor frequently, consider purchasing supplemental health insurance, like the Medigap plan. This can raise your cost per month.
4. Make Sure Primary Doctor Accepts Medicare
Some doctor’s may not accept Medicare which means your insurance plan won’t cover the cost of your doctor’s visits. Even if you have been seeing the same doctor for years, if your plan does not cover the cost of those visits, you will find yourself paying unnecessary costs. When choosing to enroll in Medicare, make sure your doctor accepts it and if not, look into finding a new doctor.
5. Consider a Medicare Advantage Plan
Medicare Advantage is insurance provided by private insurance companies who will be able to bundle Parts A, B, and D into one plan. Depending on your plan, it may also cover regular dental, vision and hearing visits which are not typically included with regular Medicare plans. The drawbacks to the Medicare Advantage plan is that it may not be as widely accepted by physicians as original Medicare so you will have to check to see if your doctor accepts it. It could also result in a higher copay which means more out-of-pocket expense than with the original Medicare.