As you get older (and wiser), you would think things would also get easier. Yet, when Americans hit 65, healthcare suddenly becomes more complicated. If you or your loved one are used to employee healthcare, it’s easy to get thrown for a loop when trying to understand Medicare and their options.
You want to get the most out of your health insurance so you can feel confident in your coverage. Unlike most employer health insurance plans, Medicare has many choices to consider, and the premiums can be steep if you don’t know what to look for. Before you commit to a plan, review these tips to get the most out of your health insurance.
1. Plan Wisely
If you or your loved one still has some time before Initial Enrollment for Medicare, it’s time to prepare. There are some out-of-pocket costs that might cost more with Medicare compared to your employer coverage, and the very opposite might be true. If you know you’ll be needing an elective surgery, for instance, you might want to plan with your doctor accordingly.
In general, Medicare offers better coverage than traditional employer plans. This might influence how you choose to approach health care in the months leading up to your new coverage transition.
2. Don’t Wait
The best time to enroll in Medicare is during your Initial Enrollment period. This opens to you 3 months before your 65th birthday and continues for 4 months after. You can enroll through Social Security either online, in-person, or by mailing forms. If you require an in-person enrollment, these can be hard to come by in some areas.
Don’t wait until the last minute to start applying! The only exception to this is if you are already receiving Social Security, in which case you will automatically have Medicare coverage when you turn 65.
3. Medicare C
Medicare C, also known as Medicare Advantage, allows you to choose a private insurance plan that is approved by Medicare. These are a better option for those looking for added benefits like hearing and vision, or who want to see a specific doctor. With original Medicare, you’re able to see any doctor you choose, but there are higher costs out-of-pocket for some.
With a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can see your same doctor without worrying about excessive costs. These plans can also be more affordable, which makes them the best choice for many seniors. To learn more, read What Is Medicare Part C? A Look at Its Features and Benefits.
4. Preventative Care
One of the best ways to take full advantage of Medicare is to utilize the preventative care options. The more you’re able to stay proactive about your health, the less need you’ll have for expensive coverage options. With Medicare, you have access to yearly physicals, cardiovascular disease screenings, flu shots, and more. Talk with your doctor about the best preventative screenings and treatment for your health needs.
5. Part D Plan Comparison
Medicare Part D covers prescription medication. The costs of these medications change every year, so it’s worth shopping around for more affordable plans if you know you’ll need a certain medication. Check if your current medicines will be covered by your existing plan or if you can find a reasonable rate elsewhere. Your doctor might be able to assist with finding generic alternatives to expensive prescriptions, but it’s still worth checking the Part D marketplace.
6. Create a Health Savings Plan
Finally, one of the most important things you can do to protect your health is to have a savings plan. While Medicare is an excellent way to keep costs low, many medical services are still not covered. Things like eyeglasses, dentures, or hearing aids might not be covered. More expensive long-term care also isn’t likely to be covered.
Creating a savings plan before you retire is ideal so you have funds to fall back on for these treatments. Talk with your family today about what you can do to prepare for health in your retirement.
Preparing to enroll in Medicare can be stressful. Not only is the program confusing and hard to understand, but there are a lot of different aspects to consider. These tips above will help you get the most out of your health insurance as you age so you can live a long, healthy life.