The countdown is on to the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. October 15th will be here before you know it. Have you decided on a new plan or any changes you’d like to make to your current coverage? While navigating all that Medicare encompasses, there are five main things to consider when selecting coverage. Think of it as your Medicare checklist.
How much you’re going to be paying is definitely something you want to take into consideration. When looking at varying plans, you’ll want to compare premiums, deductibles, and other costs. Also, consider how much services like hospital stays or doctor visits will cost you. Finally, you will want to know what your out-of-pocket costs will be. Unless you have supplemental coverage, Original Medicare plans don’t have a cap on how much you pay out-of-pocket per year. Medicare Advantage plans, on the other hand, have a yearly limit on your out-of-pocket costs. This is definitely something to keep in mind if you’re worried about having to pay too much out-of-pocket.
Does your selected plan cover the services you need? For example, do you need a plan that covers dental, vision, or hearing? If so, and your current plan doesn’t offer it, you may need to consider switching to a Medicare Advantage plan. You want to pick coverage that caters to your healthcare needs.
Original Medicare doesn’t offer prescription drug coverage, so if you decide to stick with Original Medicare, you may want to consider joining a Medicare drug plan (Part D) to ensure you have prescription coverage. Most Medicare Advantage plans include some type of drug coverage, so you don’t have to worry about supplemental coverage.
Doctor and Hospital Choice
You’ll want to ensure your selected plan allows you to see your desired healthcare provider. With Original Medicare, you can go to any doctor as long as they accept Medicare. Whereas with Medicare Advantage, your provider must be in your plan’s network. Although it might seem like a hassle to be restricted to a network, this is one way, Medicare Advantage can keep your out-of-pocket costs down.
Quality of Care
Before you even start weighing your options, think about if you’re happy with the quality of care you currently receive. That goes for your provider as well as your plan. The quality of care offered by plans and providers varies. Each year the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rates health plans to measure performance on important dimensions of care and service. These performance measurements are known as HEDIS scores. This is an excellent resource to use when deciding on a health plan to choose.
Medicare and health insurance, in general, are confusing. But don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Contact a healthcare agent for assistance if you find yourself lost and wandering in Medicare land. Or feel free to contact us at VIPcare. We will help answer all of your Medicare checklist questions so you can feel comfortable and confident when it comes time to select your upcoming Medicare coverage.