5 factors to consider when opting for a Medicare plan
Each year 10,000 Americans turn 65 years old, making them eligible to join the national health insurance for older people. You have time from October 15 to December 7 every year to pick your Medicare plans. Of course, that’s not an easy task. But if you examine the following five factors, the rocky road ahead might turn into a smooth path.
The time period to enroll for national health insurance is seven months around your 65th birthday. It includes three months before your birth date (Initial Enrollment Period) and four months after. There’s a Special Enrollment Period, which allows you to register after your birthday, only if you qualify for the same. If you don’t, then you may have to pay heavy late penalties and lapses. You can enroll for Medicare online or by mail. But most experts recommend signing up in person. You can call on 1-800-772-1213 to schedule an appointment or drop in at the Social Security office. However, if you’re already working and insured by an employer’s plan or drawing Railroad Retirement benefits, then there is no need to enroll.
Make a list
If you are new to the insurance scene, make a list of prescription medicines you are presently using or will be continuing to use for the upcoming year. Pick your fresh plan consequently by anticipating the health care you may necessitate. Some health diseases are unforeseen, however, certain expenses can be foretold. For instance, visits to specialist physicians for your dental treatment or long-term skin-related issues. These factors can help you realize what type of Medicare plan you should pick or if you need to change the one you’re already enrolled into.
An important question to ask yourself whenever you pick or change your Medicare plan is, “Is my coverage enough to insure the services I need?.” The Medicare services are mentioned in Part A and Part B, which includes data relating to doctor’s visit, hospital charges, and other health care needs. Make certain to study that section meticulously. Insurance companies may alter their policies by removing or inserting certain utilities each year. They will send you an Annual Notice of Changes (ANOC) letter generally by the end of September. Look out for this one.
Doctor or hospital network
A critical step you need to contemplate before picking or changing your Medicare plan is if it covers the doctor, hospital or pharmacy you visit. Most Medicare plans have a special list of networks they cover, so check on their website if your doctor is included in that list. Or else, you can also contact your doctor’s office and inquire. In most Medicare plans, if you use an out-of-network doctor, you might end up paying out of your own pocket. Some plans have extended health care services in other states or regions, which is greatly beneficial if you travel frequently.
Cost, premiums, and other deductibles of your Medicare plans can vary yearly. If you have a plan with a deductible, then you will pay your health care cost up to that amount, and then your Medicare plan pays for the remainder. Check the ANOC letter for any modifications in deductibles and review your plan consequently. Likewise, analyze how much you spent out-of-pocket the previous year. If the amount is too high consider opting for supplemental coverage. If you are selecting a Medicare plan for the first time understand all the costs and coverage rules of the plan and pick wisely.