How To Make The Most Of Your Medicare Plan
by Rick Beavin, Desert Pacific Medicare President at Humana
The countdown has begun for the more than 60 million Americans – including the 274,000 individuals in Hawaii – who rely on Medicare for their health insurance, as eligible individuals have until Tuesday, December 7 to select their 2022 Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
Since the Medicare plan you select by the upcoming deadline is the plan you’ll have for all of 2022, with a few exceptions, it’s important to consider your anticipated health needs carefully, particularly as the COVID pandemic continues. In fact, a new national poll from Humana found that nearly half of seniors say they’ll pay closer attention to what is and is not covered by 2022 health plans than in previous years.
Whether you’re evaluating your current plan or just became eligible for Medicare, consider the following as you work to make an informed decision on coverage options:
Evaluate the essentials. Determine what’s necessary to have in your plan, such as which doctors and hospitals are in-network and whether vision, hearing and dental coverage is included. Prescription drug coverage is also an important consideration, as it is included in many Medicare Advantage plans but not covered by Original Medicare, also known as fee-for-service Medicare. You may want to have a list of your medications handy since you’ll be able to compare estimated prescription costs with each plan.
Inquire about innovative benefits. Once you identify your basic health needs, think about what else is important to your overall health and well-being. For example, if you like to work out, look for a plan that includes a fitness program as a benefit, knowing that many Medicare Advantage plans offer a gym membership. If you travel or become more comfortable with telehealth services due to the pandemic, see if a plan that offers $0 telehealth copays is available in your area. Some plans even offer benefits for members with a confirmed COVID diagnosis, including 14 days of home-delivered meals (up to 28 meals).
Turn to trusted sources. According to the Humana poll, nearly 2 in 3 seniors say they will consult at least one resource to help them select their plan for the upcoming year; however, it’s important beneficiaries turn to credible sources. For example, the Medicare Plan Finder on Medicare.gov can help you to compare plans, benefits and get estimated plan costs based on an average member. In addition to reliable websites, many licensed sales agents offer educational and sales workshops as well as the opportunity for one-on-one meetings, whether in-person or by phone or video chat, on behalf of an insurance company.
As with any major decision, proper research will go a long way toward making the best plan choice for your personal health care needs, so be sure to utilize the resources available to help you.
For more information, Medicare eligible individuals can visit www.Medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.