Navigating the Medicare enrollment process can feel a bit like walking on a tight rope. You want to find the right combination of coverage that protects your loved one in a variety of medical situations without overpaying in premiums and out-of-pocket expenses each month. If you are preparing to retire or helping an aging parent select the best combination of Medicare coverage, it can be challenging to know whether to include Medicare Part D plans or supplemental coverage. Here are the most important steps for choosing the best customized Medicare plan for you or your loved one.
1. Evaluate Your Existing Coverage
If you are transitioning off of your current coverage and onto Medicare, you won’t have any overlap in coverage to consider. But if you will have Medicare plus an existing insurance plan, such as a private supplemental policy or an employer-sponsored policy, you want to consider what is already covered so you don’t end up paying double for the same insurance.
It’s also important to research how your existing coverage interacts with Medicare once both policies are in place. Learn which policy will be considered the “primary” insurance so you have the proper expectations on deductibles, coinsurance, and co-pays. It may be worthwhile to have a conversation with a representative from your non-Medicare policy to understand how to structure your Medicare coverage to receive the maximum benefit from both policies.
2. Calculate Your Projected Medication Needs
Medicare Part D plans provide insurance to cover the costs of prescription medications. Whether it makes sense to add a Part D plan depends on how much medication you expect to need each month and the types of medications you are prescribed. The cost of Medicare Part D plans may not be worthwhile for the occasional antibiotic, but for diabetic patients or those who are on multiple medications for chronic conditions, prescription coverage is essential. If you have a need for prescription coverage, be sure to study your chosen Medicare plan documents carefully. Many Medicare Part C plans include Part D coverage by default, so paying for a separate plan is unnecessary.
3) Gather Your Resources
Understanding the ins and outs of Medicare isn’t easy, but you need to understand all of the options available to you in order to select the best plan for your unique situation. Fortunately, there are many resources available — from training videos to digital handbooks to live Medicare specialists — to help you choose the ideal combination of Medicare coverage that will provide the maximum benefit for minimal cost. Here are a few resources to get you started:
• Anthem’s Navigating Medicare infographic with helpful resources
• U.S. government handbook “Medicare & You”
• Anthem’s personalized plan recommendation website
• Support hotlines with Medicare experts via phone
Outline Your Needs to Create the Best Customized Plan
Whether you are shopping for yourself or helping a family member to make important healthcare decisions, having an organized plan for evaluating your options is essential. By outlining your current coverage and expected medical expenses, you can create a clear picture of what coverage is still needed to stay within budget. Finally, you can gather helpful resources from experts in the field to identify which options will best meet those identified needs and help keep you or your loved one happy and healthy in the coming plan year.
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