WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A MEDICARE PLAN
Depending on a patient’s overall health, wellness, and income level, it may be difficult to know which Medicare plan is best. Medicare applicants should be sure to consider several important factors before choosing a Medicare plan, to ensure that the best plan is chosen. Factors such as coverage, other health insurance plans and costs should all be considered. Additionally, patients should review the available options for doctors and hospitals who are covered under each Medicare plan. Convenient and quality of care are other important factors to consider.
To learn more about the things patients should consider when choosing a Medicare plan, review the sections below:
- Coverage options and costs
- Doctor and hospital coverage
- Quality of care and convenience of care
- Other options to consider
- Financial assistance programs
Coverage Options and Costs
Considering Medicare coverage options and costs is an important step in choosing Medicare coverage. Patients should compare Medicare plans to review coverage options and compare costs of premiums, deductibles, co-pays and other plan costs. Patients should also make sure that their other health insurance plans may be used alongside Medicare. Additionally, patients should consider the need for prescription drug coverage and the cost of prescription drugs without paying for Medicare Plan D.
Doctor and Hospital Coverage
If patients wish to keep seeing their current doctors and medical practitioners, they should make sure that their current doctors accept Medicare plans. Patients should consider the need for any referrals and review the Medicare plan’s in-network providers.
Quality of Care and Convenience of Care
If patients travel frequently, they may need to check to see if their Medicare plan covers travel in another state or somewhere outside of the U.S. Additionally, patients should consider the convenience and ease of the Medicare plan. Does the plan accept after-hours visits? Which pharmacies can the patient use? Can patients receive medical prescriptions by mail?
Quality of care is another important factor to consider when choosing a Medicare plan. Patients should compare plans to see which plan best fits their lifestyle.
Other Options to Consider
Before choosing a Medicare plan, patients should also take the time to consider additional plan options. For example, applicants should consider whether they want an Original Medicare plan (such as Plan A and B) or a Medicare Advantage plan (such as an HMO or PPO).
Additionally, applicants should decide if they want prescription drug coverage or not. Supplemental coverage is another important option to consider.
Other Medicare health plans are also available to choose from. Medicare health plans include Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans, Medicare Cost Plans, Demonstrations of Pilot Programs, PACE services and Medication Therapy Management programs.
Financial Assistance Programs
Applicants should also consider the variety of financial assistance programs available to Medicare subscribers. Financial assistance programs are available to applicants with low or limited incomes who need assistance paying for premium costs, co-pays, coinsurance costs and other Medicare fees.
Financial assistance programs include Medicaid, Medicare Savings Programs, PACE services, prescription drug savings, programs for patients in U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico and Supplemental Security Income.