Choosing a Medicare Advantage plan can be confusing and overwhelming. The good news is that you have more choices than ever before, which also means there are more options to consider. With all of the different plans and coverage levels, it’s important to understand what each one offers and how it compares to other plans available in your area. When selecting the right plan for your needs, keep these tips in mind:
Consider Your Needs
If you’re considering Medicare Advantage plans, it’s important to take into account several things. First, consider your age and health conditions. Are you in good health? If so, find a plan with similar coverage to what you’d get under Original Medicare. If not, find a plan that covers more medical expenses than Original Medicare would pay for—these are called “wrap-around” or “dual” plans—and select one with a lower premium cost.
Also think about how much time and effort it will take for you to attend doctor’s appointments or drive to different locations for treatment if your current home is far away from where most doctors’ offices or hospitals are located.
Consider Your Network
When choosing a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll need to consider the network. A network is a group of health care professionals who have agreed to work with your insurance company.
There are three types of networks: Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs), Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), and Point of Service Plans (POS). These three categories each provide coverage that allows you to choose specialists outside the network if you don’t find one in-network who can meet your needs.
Know The Costs
Once you’ve selected a plan, it’s important to understand the costs. Medicare Advantage plans do not have all of the same premiums as traditional Medicare does, but they typically have higher out-of-pocket expenses, including deductibles and co-pays for services like doctor visits and prescription drugs. These may vary by plan, region and even provider network.
They’ll also increase annually (more than standard Medicare), so make sure you know what your costs will be before choosing a plan. In general though, most people who choose an Advantage plan will pay less in premiums than they would with standard Medicare but more in out-of-pocket expenses each month or year—which brings up another point.
Understand All Of The Details
Next, you’ll want to understand the details of your plan. The deductible is the amount you have to pay out-of-pocket before your health insurance covers anything. Co-payments are small fees that you pay every time you go to the doctor or hospital; they’re usually less than $50 per visit and often include certain types of visits, such as primary care or prescription drugs. Out of pocket maximums are the most money that can be spent on covered services in a given year before your insurance coverage kicks in again. Coinsurance rates describe how much you will contribute toward each medical service (usually 20% up to 80%). And finally, many plans offer free preventive health care services like annual checkups and vaccines—these are covered at 100%.