Medicare and the Advantage of the Advantage Plans

by Michele Postler, Saturday, December 15, 2012

Have you turned 65 or are turning 65 in the next couple of months? If the answer is yes, Medicare is waiting for you. Unfortunately, you only have three months before and three months after your 65th birthday to get all this Medicare information sorted out, or face a small penalty for late sign up.

 

If you are over 65 and are searching for a new Medicare plan, unfortunately the open enrollment period, from October 15th to December 7th, has passed so you will have to wait until next year for this opportunity. This is the period that allows you to change your Medicare plan to a Medicare Advantage Plan or a different advantage plan. But the good news is that you now have plenty of time to go through all the information and choose one that is best for you.

 

Medicare Plans A, B and D are all through Medicare, and cover many different situations.

  • Medicare Plan A – provides coverage for hospital visits, hospice care and nursing facilities. It is free and as long as you or your spouse has earned 40 social security credits you are eligible.
  • Medicare Plan B – covers for doctors’ service, outpatient care and preventative care which you will be required to pay a premium per month for this coverage. The more money you have earned the more you will pay.
  • Medicare Plan D – covers prescription drugs and is also only available for a fee that is in addition to what you are currently paying for a Medicare package.

It really depends on your own personal situation, what type of plan is right for you. If you already have a Medicare plan and are trying to decide if any of the Medicare Advantage Plans are right for you, here are some basic steps to take to see if the plan you have is what you need.

 
Collect and add up all your medical bills from the previous year. This calculation should include all your co-payments for drugs, coinsurance for doctors’ bills and the premiums you have paid throughout the year. You should then collect all your prescription drug bottles to tally what you were prescribed and what you had to pay out of pocket. Were you referred to a specialist that was not apart of your plan, that you had to pay extra for?

 

After adding up all of these payments, ask yourself if this amount is what you had expected to pay when you first purchased the plan. Did you have to go out of your way to go to a pharmacy that was a part of the Medicare Plan, were the drugs prescribed covered or did you have to pay more out of pocket. All of these questions are a determining factor on which plan is better for you and your situation.

 

The future is unpredictable but you may be able to guess what the costs will be for you in the next year or two, just by looking and your past years experience. If you paid more than expected for doctors’ visits and drugs prescribed it may be in your best interest to look for a different plan. Medicare Advantage Plans rates can be found online in most instances, so can Medicare supplemental quotes. Most times the initially cheapest Medicare plan is not the cheapest in the long run. It may take a couple of changes but as long as you do the research you will find the plan that is proper for you and that will save you more money in the long run.