10 Inside Tips for Choosing the Right Medicare Plan

Medicare can be confusing. After all, dozens of plans have different options for Part A, B, C, and D. But don’t worry – we’re here to help you understand everything.

From picking the right plan to knowing when you can enroll, here are 10 tips for choosing the best Medicare plan for you:

1. Know when you can enroll in a Medicare plan

You can enroll in a Medicare plan during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). This is a 7-month period that includes:

  • The 3 months before you turn 65
  • The month you turn 65
  • 3 months after you turn 65

If you’re already on Medicare before your IEP begins, you can still switch plans during this time.

2. Consider all your coverage options

Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) is a government-sponsored health insurance program for people 65 and older. Part A covers inpatient hospital care, while Part B covers outpatient medical care and preventive services.

You can also enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C). This private health insurance plan includes all the coverage of Original Medicare plus additional benefits such as prescription drug coverage.

3. Decide if you need prescription drug coverage

If you’re enrolled in Original Medicare, you can choose to add on a standalone Prescription Drug Plan (Part D) to help cover the costs of your medications.

Not all Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage, so if this is something you need, be sure to check before enrolling.

4. Compare costs and coverage

When shopping for a Medicare plan, comparing costs and coverage is essential. The cost of premiums, deductibles, and copayments can all vary depending on your chosen plan.

You can use the Plan Finder tool on Medicare.gov to compare plans and estimate costs.

5. Check for extra benefits

Some Medicare Advantage plans offer extra benefits that Original Medicare doesn’t cover, such as dental, vision, and wellness programs. If these are important to you, look for a plan that offers them.

6. Make sure your doctors are in the network

If you have a doctor or other health care provider that you want to continue seeing, make sure they’re in the network of the Medicare plan you’re considering.

You can use the Plan Finder tool on Medicare.gov to search for plans by doctor or provider.

7. Consider your medications

When you’re comparing Medicare plans, be sure to take your medications into account. Check to see what formularies (lists of covered drugs) each plan offers and if your drugs are included.

You can also use the Plan Finder tool on Medicare.gov to compare formularies and estimate costs.

8. Look for a plan with low out-of-pocket costs

If you’re on a fixed income, you may look for a Medicare plan with low out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.

Some Medicare Advantage plans have $0 premiums, meaning you pay nothing monthly for your coverage.

9. Consider your health needs

If you have health needs requiring regular doctor visits or specialized care, look for a Medicare plan that covers those services.

You can use the Plan Finder tool on Medicare.gov to search for plans by types of services, such as home health care or skilled nursing facility care.

10. Get help from a Medicare counselor

If you need help choosing a Medicare plan, you can contact your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) for free, unbiased counseling.

These counselors are trained to answer your questions and help you compare your options.

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