Do you enjoy searching the newspaper for coupons, finding discounts for vacation reservations, and senior savings at your favorite restaurant or movie theater? If so, you could call yourself a savvy shopper! Now, the question is, have you tried using your savvy shopping skills when shopping for a Medicare plan? If you haven’t, the perfect time to do so is now! The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is a great opportunity to find the best value plan for you as you enroll in new coverage.
Here are 5 helpful tips to make sure you get the most out of your Medicare coverage:
- Plan out your healthcare costs for the year
Everyone has specific coverage needs; therefore, Medicare costs will vary from person to person. Healthcare costs will include your insurance premiums, copays, coinsurance, deductible(s), and services or items you use throughout the year.
To help cover their out-of-pocket medical expenses, many people will purchase either a Medicare Supplement Plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan.
Medicare Advantage Plans take the place of your Original Medicare (Part A and B) and gives you one insurance plan to use as your primary insurance. These plans usually have a lower premium, set copays and coinsurance for covered medical services, and an annual cap on your out-of-pocket medical expenses. You may also choose an Advantage plan that includes Prescription Drug coverage (Part D).
On the other hand, Medicare Supplement Plans work with your Original Medicare as a gap coverage to pay for items that Medicare does not cover, such as your Part A and B deductibles, and copays and/or coinsurance on your Hospital and Medical costs. Medicare Supplement Plans usually have a higher premium, but less anticipated out-of-pocket costs for the policy holder. Drug coverage is not included in these plans, but you may pick up a separate Prescription Drug Plan if you need drug coverage.
Regardless of whether you choose a Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Supplement Plan, you will still be responsible for your Part B premium each month.
2. Understand your preventive care benefits
Preventive care screenings such as mammograms and colonoscopies can help diagnose health issues early on and are covered by Medicare. Your annual Medicare Wellness Visit is a good time to plan for the year ahead. Although preventative care is usually covered at no cost to you, your doctor may recommend additional tests or services that have a separate copay or coinsurance. Additionally, if you see an out of network doctor, or a provider that does not accept Medicare assignment, your costs may be higher.
3. Use Network Providers
Medicare Advantage Plans are network plans that work with contracted providers and facilities. Advantage plans may offer members out-of-network coverage, but typically this comes at a higher cost than if they were to use network providers.
Medicare Supplement Plans do not have a network; however, if you carry a plan that does not cover Medicare Part B Excess Charges, you could be responsible for balanced billing of up to 15% more than the Medicare allowable rate for services rendered by a provider that does not accept Medicare Assignment.
4. Take Advantage of Cost Saving Drug Benefits
Since prescription drugs are not covered under Original Medicare, many people use either a Medicare Advantage Plan or a stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan to fill their prescriptions. Lowering your drug costs could be as simple as having your prescription drugs delivered to your home rather than picking them up at a local pharmacy. Using a pharmacy that participates in your plan’s preferred network can offer additional savings.
Using generic or low-cost drugs can also help you save. If your prescriptions have become too expensive, review your medications with your doctor and ask if there are any lower-cost alternative options that can work for you.
5. Look for extra plan discounts
Your Medicare Advantage plan may offer additional discounts on things like hearing aids, dental care, over the counter items, vision services, or fitness programs. These programs could save you thousands of dollars a year if your plan offers them!
Don’t forget to use your savvy shopping skills when shopping for your Medicare coverage. AMAC’s Medicare advisors can help you find coverage to best fit your needs during the Annual Enrollment Period. AEP runs until December 7th – don’t wait!
For help with Medicare plans – or any questions you may have about Medicare – contact AMAC’s Medicare Advisory Service at 1-855-611-4856 or request a quote below!