Choosing the right Medicare plan isn’t easy, especially when you need to insure yourself and your family. Typically, you’ll receive a variety of healthcare plan options from your employer. But if you have to purchase a plan yourself, it’s essential to know what’s available to you.
6 Things You Should Consider Before Picking a Medicare Plan
We recommend speaking to your doctor first about selecting Medicare plans for your needs. Then, you can consider these 6 things when choosing coverage, be it for yourself or others.
1. Compare Medicare Costs
Medicare plan costs range significantly depending on your service coverage, add-ons, doctor/hospital choices, prescription drug prices, travel coverage, and quality of care. When looking at costs, consider your premiums, deductibles, year limit, and out-of-pocket expenses.
If you can’t afford to pay the total amount of coverage you need, find insurance that compensates you for more expensive or routine costs, like doctor’s visits or hospital stays.
2. Compare Quality of Care
If you aren’t satisfied with the level of care you’re receiving, you need to switch to high-rated insurers. Unfortunately, more expensive insurers typically have better healthcare staff on payroll, but that isn’t always the case. Most large insurance companies offer inexpensive plans.
For example, United Healthcare is a Medicare provider trusted by many. Check out this UnitedHealthcare review for more details about their large network of healthcare providers. We recommend looking at reviews and star ratings for each insurer before signing up for a plan.
3. Compare Coverage
Original Medicare covers medical services and hospital/doctor office supplies. These services are separated between Part A or B. Under Medicare Advantage, all services from Original Medicare are covered, but they may include other services like vision, dental, or hearing.
If you require more coverage, like mental health or vision, dental, or hearing, in the event your provider doesn’t offer these services, you’ll have to purchase a separate Medigap policy.
4. Compare Prescription Drugs
Some life-saving medication is more expensive than others. To afford them, you may need to join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. If you’re a member of a Union or your employer provides this service with your plan, you won’t need to pay extra for prescription drugs.
Most plans will cover basic medications, like Amoxicillin or Lipitor, but Schedule 2 medication won’t be covered. Ask if you are eligible for a free Medication Therapy Management program, as they can help you understand how to take and manage your drugs safely at no extra cost.
5. Compare Doctor and Hospital Choices
On Original Medicare, any doctor would take you as a patient as long as they accept Medicare. However, Medicare Advantage patients can only use healthcare providers who participate in the plan’s network. This can make finding a doctor or pharmacy confusing.
Your insurance provider will give you a list of doctors, surgeons, specialists, and pharmacies in your area that fall under their network. Some plans also offer out-of-network coverage.
6. Compare Travel Healthcare
Most Medicare plans won’t cover your healthcare expenses if you travel overseas, but you may not need travel insurance depending on the country you visit. Several European and South American countries offer medical services at an inexpensive rate in comparison to the US.
That means if you get injured outside of the country, you likely won’t pay that much. Still, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you travel outside of the US frequently, you should consider insurance for hospital visits or minor surgeries, so you’re covered in the worst-case scenario.