Medicare Advantage plans, or Part C, are a full-function alternative to original Medicare. If you’re looking for a Medicare Advantage (MA) program this year, you may wonder which one is best for you. Your decision depends on your financial situation, healthcare needs, and some other factors. The team at Trusted Senior Specialists is here to help you on your Medicare journey as we share some practical tips for choosing the best MA plan.
Determine Your Priorities
Every Medicare Advantage plan covers what Original Medicare covers. When you select a program, consider what kind of coverage you need along with the hospital (Part A) and medical (Part B) insurance.
Most MA plans offer one — if not all — of these other types of coverage:
- fitness memberships
- medical transportation
- prescription drug coverage
- hearing coverage — includes exams and hearing devices
- dental coverage — includes annual exams and procedures
- vision coverage — includes yearly exams and vision devices
- additional healthcare perks
It may help you to create a checklist of the services you want to be covered. Then, have this list handy when you talk with an agent at Trusted Senior Specialists.
Identify Your Particular Needs
When you determine your priorities for a healthcare plan, you also want to identify your long-term needs. Do you travel often? Do you have a chronic condition? These things can influence the kind of plan you’ll need. Different plans feature different benefits, depending on your unique situation.
When searching for a plan, consider the main types of MA programs:
- Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans: These plans’ rates depend on whether the services are in or out of network. A network is a group of providers who administers services for the insurance carrier and plan. PPOs may offer more options to get out-of-network care.
- Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans: Mostly centered around in-network healthcare services.
- Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) plans: These let you get care from any Medicare-approved provider who will take the plan’s fee. If you travel and need to visit out-of-network providers, these may work best for you.
- Special Needs Plans (SNP): Offer extra help for medical costs related to particular chronic health conditions.
Examine How Much You Can Pay
Cost is always an essential factor in choosing a Medicare plan. MA plans may include these costs:
- Part B premium
- Monthly premium
- Copays and coinsurance
- In-network annual deductible
- Prescription drug deductible
- In- and out-of-network out-of-pocket maximum
Some plans have a premium of $0. The costs above will depend on your state, the plan type, and plan benefits. When estimating your program costs, consider these expenses and how often you’ll have to refill prescriptions or make office visits. If you require out-of-network visits, factor in these potential costs as well.
Analyze Other Benefits You May Have Already
Another factor for choosing an Advantage plan is whether you already get other types of medical benefits. If you already have Original Medicare and have decided to add Part D or a supplement plan, many of your needs may be met. It never hurts to compare your options, though.
When you need to compare coverage to see if a MA plan would be more cost-effective, we can help.
Consider Enrolling in Part D Early
There’s another factor to consider. If you’re already enrolled in Parts A and B but not Part C or Part D, you could receive a late enrollment penalty. The fine ensues if you haven’t joined within 63 days of your initial enrollment period — which is typically your 65th birthday, but it could be sooner if you’re on disability.
If you face the late penalty, it will be permanently applied to your Medicare Part D monthly premium. If you’re having trouble finding a MA plan, don’t wait to buy Part D coverage. Otherwise, you risk having a continual penalty.
Need Help Choosing a Medicare Advantage Plan?
Depending on your area, there could be over 30 Medicare Advantage plans. Choosing the right program that includes your doctors, hospitals, prescriptions, ailments, and any special needs can seem daunting. But with the help of a licensed Medicare agent, you can achieve peace of mind. Call Trusted Senior Specialists at (844) 325-8710!