Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

SAVVY SENIOR ; How to Pick a Medicare Advantage Plan

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

SAVVY SENIOR ; How to Pick a Medicare Advantage Plan

Article excerpt

Dear Savvy Senior, Im approaching 65 and am interested in a Medicare Advantage plan to cover my health care and medications. What tips can you provide to help me pick a plan? Medicare Shopper Dear Shopper, Medicare Advantage plans have become increasingly popular among retirees over the past 10 years, as more than 30 percent of Medicare participants are now enrolled in an Advantage plan. Here are some tips and tools to help you pick a plan that fits your needs. First, lets start with a quick review. Medicare Advantage plans (also known as Medicare Part C) are government approved health plans sold by private insurance companies that you can choose in place of original Medicare. The vast majority of Advantage plans are managed-care policies such as HMOs or PPOs that require you to get your care within a network of doctors. If you join an Advantage plan, the plan will provide all of your Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance) coverage. Some plans even offer extra benefits like vision, dental and hearing, and most plans include Part D prescription drug coverage too. You also need to know that the monthly premiums for many Advantage plans are cheaper than if you got original Medicare, plus a separate Part D drug plan and a Medigap policy, but their deductibles and co-pays are usually higher. That makes these plans better suited for healthier retirees. How to Pick To help you pick a plan, a good first step is to call the office managers of the doctors you use and find out which Advantage plans they accept, and which ones they recommend. Then go to the Medicare Plan Finder tool at Medicare.gov/ find-a-plan and type in your ZIP code or your personal information to compare health plans with drug coverage in your area. This tool also provides a five-star rating system that evaluates each plan based on past customer satisfaction and quality of care the plan delivers. When comparing, here are some key points to consider: Total costs: Look at the plans entire pricing package, not just the premiums and deductibles. …

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