Make Medicare changes now
Medicare and supplemental health coverage provide a safety net for those age 65 and up, but insurance coverage, at best, can be confusing.
For the nearly 117,000 Montgomery County residents who are 65 years or older now is the time to think about health care coverage, as Oct. 15 was the first day and Dec. 7 the last day those with Medicare can make changes to their health insurance plans.
Following are tips from one insurance carrier for those using Medicare.
• Even i f y o u ’ r e h a p p y wit h y o u r c u r r e n t c o v - erage, i t d o e s n ’ t h u r t t o c o mpare p l a n s . Most p l a n s make c h a n g e s e v e r y y e a r, s o i t ’s worth checking even if you carefully considered plans l a s t y e a r. I f y o u s t i l l l i k e what y o u h a v e , d o n o t h i n g a n d y o u ’ l l a u t o matical l y b e r e - e n r o l l e d i n y o u r c u r r e n t p l a n.
• Original Medicare EParts A and BF doesn’t cover everything. Take a look at your regular monthly health care expenses and decide what plan covers what you need at the best cost. Original Medicare doesn’t cover everything and has no limits on outof-pocket expenses.
• Medicare Advantage plans provide additional benefits. Medicare Advantage plans EPart CF are another option to original Medicare. They provide comprehensive coverage with fewer out-of-pocket costs than original Medicare and often include coverage for prescription drugs EPart DF. Medicare Advantage plans also offer additional benefits, such as hearing, dental, vision services, help managing chronic conditions such as diabetes, and additional support after a hospitalization.
• Check that your network includes doctors and hospitals you will need. Your health needs can change, so it’s best to think ahead to be sure you have easy access to quality health care services.
• Make sure your plan covers the medications you take. If you’re buying a Medicare Prescription EPart DF plan, check if there’s coverage for your drugs in the “donut hole.” This is where you are responsible for a certain percentage of charges after reaching your prescription coverage limit and before you reach the yearly out-of-pocket maximum spending limit.
• If possible, don’t wait until the last minute to enroll. The extra time helps your insurance company verify your eligibility, get you properly set up in their system, order your ID card, and ensure a smooth transition from 2012 to 2013.
• It’s OK to change your mind. From Jan. 1 to Feb. 14, Medicare beneficiaries can cancel their Medicare Advantage plan and sign up for a Medicare Supplement, or return to original Medicare.
Where to go for help. A licensed broker can provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision and even come to your home to educate you. Also, many health plans offer community meetings about Medicare. Check with an insurer now to find out.
The official U.S. government site for Medicare, which includes information on related supplemental health plans is at www.medicare.gov.
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