Medicare Advantage Plans: Are They for You?

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You might be thinking of the type of benefits you can get if you have supplemental insurance through Medigap or a retiree plan or the Original Medicare insurance.

Almost 13 million is the number of the beneficiaries of Medicare who followed a private Medicare Advantages plan to get their health insurance with a few perks. According to an estimate submitted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an Advantage plan can reduce health expenses from your pocket by nearly $100 per month or annually $1,200 as compared to Original Medicare only.

Though it seems impressive but is it good for you to join it? You might be thinking of whether you need the benefits of this kind if you have supplemental health insurance through the policy of Medigap or a retiree plan or through Original Medicare, like one of the 10 beneficiaries of Medicare.

You might be thinking of the benefits of a particular plan for you if you have an Advantage Plan also known as Medicare Part C beforehand. All the advertisements you receive in your mailbox regarding other types of Advantage plans might be making you excited to know other options even if you are satisfied with the Advantage plan you already have.

According to Fred Riccardi, the Director of Programs and Outreach at the New York City Medicare Rights Center, one answer cannot be right for all as the situation for everyone is unique. While evaluating the coverage of your existing Medicare you have to consider your budget and your needs about health insurance.

Finding the best health insurance plan for you

Check the cost of your plan: Collect the medical bills of the year including the costs of co-pays, coinsurance and premiums, etc. as well as the boxes of all the prescription medicines regularly taken by you and calculate the cost of the coverage you need by using paper and pencil, a calculator or an internet-connected computer. You can use the website of consumer Medicare of the US government to compare the costs of the two to find the best one for you.

Include medical expenses for the year: You can test the utility of your plan by including the medical expenses you have applied for as deductibles including co-pays for drugs, premiums, treatments and coinsurance for the visit of the doctor. Are these expenses as per your expectations or you have to spend more in this regard? If yes, you should find out the reasons. It can be due to avoiding the pharmacy participating in the plan or using high copay drugs as they can extremely increase the cost than the cost on the drugstore within the network. You may also have to spend more out of your pocket than expected if you have selected a plan with high deductibles and low premiums. Visiting a specialist out of your plan or paying higher premiums to get higher coverage than you used because of your good health can also increase your cost.

You can ask yourself about the affordability of that year’s health care if you have bought the prescribed medications. You should also evaluate the problems faced with the amounts of coinsurance or co-pays. You should also check whether you have to cut costs on heat or food to pay medical bills or skip medication due to the higher cost. All these things will help you in comparing different plans to find the best one for you.

Evaluate expected health requirements in the coming year: Though it is difficult to predict still by evaluating the drugs you are taking, medical treatments used regularly and the frequency to visit your doctor in the present year you can make a rough estimate about your medical needs in the next year. You can also use the medications, tests, treatments and procedures prescribed by your doctor for next year in this regard.

Visit medicar.gov: You can get reliable information on all the Medicare Prescription Drug Plans and Medicare Advantage plans in your area from the official website of Medicare of the US government. By checking the plans used by your doctor to cover the drugs regularly used by you at the best price as well as with the lowest estimated cost from your pocket, can help you in narrowing down your search about the best health insurance plan for you.

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