What You Need to Know Before Choosing Medicare OptionsJuly 28, 2017
If you’re Medicare eligible, you’ll want to carefully assess costs and benefits when choosing your Medicare options. If you’re already signed up and using Medicare, open enrollment allows you to change your Medicare options each year if you want. Let’s look at some of the options you need to consider.
- Understanding the ‘Parts’ of Medicare?
First, remember that Original Medicare includes two components:
- Medicare Part A: Hospital Insurance
- Medicare Part B: Medical Insurance
Both “parts” provide coverage by the government to ensure these two big needs are met. But because they don’t cover all costs, you may also choose these plans to enhance your Original Medicare coverage:
- Medicare Part C: Medicare Advantage Plans
If all these parts seem like a lot to manage, maybe you'd like a few of them all under one roof. In that case, choose Medicare Advantage, which includes all Medicare Part A and Part B benefits, and usually includes…
- Medicare Part D: Prescription Drug Coverage
Original Medicare alone doesn’t cover prescription medications but almost everyone needs them. There are different ways to get Part D. You can get drug coverage through Medicare Advantage Plans, or you can add a plan separately to your Medicare Supplement plan or Original Medicare.
Another option to consider are Medicare Supplement plans (Medigap) that cover coinsurance, copays, or your deductibles for Part A and Part B.
- What Questions Should I Ask Before Choosing Medicare Options?
If you are turning 65 soon and reaching Medicare age, ask yourself these important questions before choosing Medicare options:
- Coverage: Does the plan cover all the services you need?
- Additional coverage: If you have additional coverage, how will that work with Medicare?
- Cost: What's the cost of insurance premiums, deductibles, physician visits, and stays in the hospital?
- Choice: Do you have to choose your providers from a network or do you have freedom to choose?
- Prescriptions: If you don’t already have creditable prescription drug coverage, will you need a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan? Check the prices of your current medications under the plans you’re considering. Then find out whether your drugs are covered under the plan’s formulary—a list of prescription drugs, both generic and brand name, that practitioners use to select drugs they feel offer the best value.
- Ratings: What’s the quality rating of the plans you have chosen?
- Travel: Are you covered if you travel to another state or out of the country?
Make sure you do your homework and ask questions. Medicare.gov is a great place to start.
A CONSUMER’S GUIDE TO HEALTH INSURANCE FOR PEOPLE ELIGIBLE FOR MEDICARE MAY BE OBTAINED FROM YOUR LOCAL SOCIAL SECURITY OFFICE OR FROM THIS INSURER
Empire BlueCross BlueShield is an HMO plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Empire BlueCross BlueShield depends on contract renewal. Services provided by Empire HealthChoice HMO, Inc. licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans.
Services provided by Empire HealthChoice Assurance, Inc., licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact the plan for more information. Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply. Benefits, premiums and/or co-payments/co-insurance may change on January 1 of each year. You must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium.
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