How to Choose the Best Medicare Advantage Plan

Did you know that 45% of seniors in the United States are on a Medicare Advantage Plan? Medicare Advantage (MA) plans provide seniors with the opportunity to choose their own health care and save money. Some plans cover more services than others, but all aim to help you stay healthy as you get older.

When choosing between Medicare Advantage plans, it can be difficult to determine which one is right for you. To help make this process easier, we’ve provided some tips on how to pick the best medical coverage plan based on your specific needs and budget.

Understand Your Medical Coverage Needs

Before you start looking at Medicare Advantage plans, it’s important to understand the difference between Medicare Parts A and B. Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital stays and skilled nursing facility care. You pay nothing for this part of your coverage. This is paid for by taxes from working Americans’ paychecks.

Medicare Part B covers outpatient services such as doctor visits and lab tests, but you’ll pay a monthly premium which can be deducted from Social Security benefits if you want it to cover these costs. If your income is too high to qualify for financial assistance with either part of the program, you have other options.

With a higher income, you can purchase private insurance instead of going through traditional Medicare alone or with another plan like a Medigap policy. If there’s some chance that federal subsidies could help offset your costs down the line or get rid of them entirely, then opting into one or more government-funded programs could save you money in the long run.

Before You Enroll in Medicare Find Out What’s Covered

When you enroll in Medicare Advantage, you’ll receive a plan that includes coverage for additional health care services. These can include dental, vision, and hearing care, but it’s important to note that not every plan offers all three. It’s also worth noting that not every provider accepts Medicare Advantage plans as payment.

Before enrolling, check with your doctor or other healthcare professional to be sure they take an MA plan as payment. Your Medicare Advantage provider can also help you find doctors and health professionals who accept MA plans. This will save you from surprise bills and hidden costs. 

Know Your Costs and Premiums

As you research the various Medicare Advantage plans, you’ll want to pay attention to costs and premiums. They vary from one plan to another, so it’s important that you understand how they work before deciding on a plan.

Premiums are based on your income and household size. When choosing an MA plan through Medicare Advantage Plans Compare (MAPC), keep in mind that not all MAPCs cover exactly the same things. Take a look at costs for single people, those that are married, and those with children at home. This is especially important if you have grandchildren, in your custody, for example. 

Some plans may have higher out-of-pocket costs than others do. Make sure that whatever plans look good on paper actually fit well enough into your budget when considering them further down the road.

Prescription Drug Costs

You’ll also want to take into account the costs of any prescription drugs. If you already have medications you take regularly, you’ll want to make sure the costs fit into your budget. Your medical care team and insurance experts can help you navigate the best plan for you and figure out how much you can expect to pay for your prescriptions.

Sometimes brands can be switched in order to accommodate costs and budget. Speak with your health insurance agent about any prescription drug concerns you may have. Your health is too important to skip any vital medications due to cost.

Create a list of what you take, and show your provider and insurance specialist to see what can be done to get your medication costs to fit within your budget. Keep future costs in mind as well when you’re planning because needs and medications change over time.

Preferred Provider Organization, Private Fee-for-Service, and Special Needs Plans

You’ll want to make sure that the plan has a good network of doctors, hospitals, and other providers in your area. You should also find out if you have to get a referral from your primary care doctor before seeing specialists. And be sure to research how many healthcare providers are located in your area. If there aren’t enough, it may mean longer wait times for appointments or tests.

If you need urgent care while traveling outside of your network area, some plans will cover emergency room visits at an out-of-network facility. The details vary by plan, so be sure to review them carefully before choosing the one that works best for you.

If you have any special needs, be sure to ask about plans that can accommodate your care. You’ll want to make sure everything you need fits within your budget and that you have the best care possible.

Enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan Today

You don’t have to rush into making a decision, and you should never sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan without doing some research first. If something doesn’t seem right or it’s not clear how the plan works, ask questions.

With a little research, you can find an MA plan that will meet your needs and help you stay healthy. For more information and to speak with a Medicare Advantage Plan expert get in touch with us on our contact page or call us at (402) 972-0820 if you would like to find the right insurance for your needs.