Medicare Advantage plans are private health insurance plans that offer all of the benefits of Original Medicare, plus extra benefits like prescription drug coverage, vision, and dental insurance. In most counties, you'll have multiple Medicare Advantage plans available - often all with $0 monthly premiums - so it can be difficult to know which one is right for you.
Here are some things to consider when choosing a Medicare Advantage plan:
Cost: Medicare Advantage plans have different premiums, deductibles, and copays. Make sure you compare the costs of different plans before you choose one. Each plan has a "Summary of Benefits" which is a good place to start for comparing costs.
Benefits: Medicare Advantage plans offer different benefits. Some plans offer prescription drug coverage, while others offer vision and dental insurance. Make sure you choose a plan that offers the benefits you need.
Network: Medicare Advantage plans have networks of doctors and hospitals that are in-network. If you have a favorite doctor or hospital, make sure they are in the network of the plan you are considering. Additionally, consider whether it makes sense to enroll in a PPO Medicare Advantage plan, rather than an HMO Medicare Advantage plan. The flexibility in doctor choice might make sense for some enrollees, even if the plan comes with a higher monthly premium.
Customer service: Medicare Advantage plans have different customer service policies. Make sure you choose a plan with customer service that you are comfortable with. One of the best ways to get advice on customer service is to talk with an independent insurance agent who can offer you unbiased guidance.
Here are some steps you can take to choose a Medicare Advantage plan:
Visit Medicare.gov: Medicare.gov is a great resource for information about Medicare Advantage plans. You can use Medicare.gov to compare plans, find plans in your area, and learn more about the benefits of different plans.
Talk to your doctor: Your doctor can help you understand your health needs and let you know what Medicare Advantage plans they accept.
Get quotes from different plans: Once you have a few plans in mind, get quotes from each plan to compare costs. The easiest way to do this is by having an independent insurance agent do the work for you - their service should always be free.
Choose a plan: After you have compared plans and gotten quotes, choose a plan that meets your needs and budget. Enrolling can typically be done online or by calling the insurance company. Again, our advice is to call an independent insurance agent and have them complete the work for you (and then they'll be a direct resource if you have any questions after enrolling).
Choosing a Medicare Advantage plan can be a daunting task, but it is important to take the time to find a plan that is right for you. By following these tips, you can make the process easier and find a plan that you are confident in.
Here are some additional tips for choosing a Medicare Advantage plan:
Consider your health needs: If you have chronic health conditions, you will need to choose a plan that has good coverage for those conditions. There are plans specifically designed for chronic health conditions.
Think about your lifestyle: If you travel frequently, you will need to choose a plan that has a national network of doctors and hospitals. Typically Medicare Supplement plans make more sense than Medicare Advantage plans for frequent travelers, but this is not always the case - some counties have robust Medicare Advantage plans that work great for travelers.
Read the plan documents: Before you choose a plan, be sure to read the plan documents carefully. The Summary of Benefits will help you understand the plan's benefits, costs, and limitations.
If you have any questions about choosing a Medicare Advantage plan, you can contact your local Medicare office or a licensed insurance agent. As always, our agents are here to help.