Medicare is extremely useful, but the government seems to make it as confusing as possible. If you need help understanding Medicare, check out this article.
It’s the time of year where it’s time to turn over a new leaf when it comes to choosing the right health care plan. Medicare enrollment is expected to reach an all-time high in 2019, particularly in the Medicare Advantage program.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid programs are anticipating a 36 percent increase in enrollment from Medicare to Medicare Advantage programs this year and a six percent decrease in rates. If you’re in that time gap of wondering what to do with your Medicare options, read on to discover that understanding Medicare and getting the perfect plan for you is easier than you think!
Understanding Medicare Options
Many Americans considering Medicare options often choose the Original Medicare plan as the safest plan. It is the longest running and most easily understood. But they also go with that plan because Medicare Advantage has add-ons that mean more costs.
But today, changes to the system mean that prices are dropping for Medicare Advantage and all of its various plans. That’s good news for those in the 65 plus category and some disabled Americans.
There are two primary kinds of Medicare options. Where it gets confusing is the parts of the greater whole.
Original Medicare is a common choice, and the parts of that whole are Part A and Part B. Original Medicare is a popular choice because, with this plan, you get to choose what doctors and health care settings you go to.
Original Medicare also covers standard things like medical services at the doctor, hospital, and various health care situations. The services here are covered in one of two parts, Part A or Part B.
These are your basic health care services.
What to Do if You Want More Coverage
If you want more coverage, you may look at different options such as Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage covers all of the above options, plus other various options such as vision, dental, and hearing assistance.
With this plan, you will not have the flexibility of choosing your own doctor directly but will go with a doctor in an HMO or PPO.
An HMO is the short-term for health maintenance organization. This is a group or network of health care professionals that provide health care for a monthly fee or premium.
A PPO is a preferred provider organization, wherein a set of professionals provide health care services at individual rates per service. This is different than an HMO that requires a monthly fee.
Understanding Medicare Advantage
With more Americans expected to enroll in Medicare Advantage this year, it’s good to know the various options and how Medicare Advantage operates.
Medicare Advantage is divided into a variety of plans, with each plan being a part, like Original Medicare. Original Medicare has Part A and Part B, and Medicare Advantage has similar divisions.
The divisions for Medicare Advantage are Part A, Part B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N.
Part A and Part B in Medicare Advantage are the same as in Original Medicare.
Part A covers hospital and some services insurance, and Part B covers medical insurance. Part D is prescription drug coverage, and the remaining parts in Medicare Advantage cover different services.
Every plan and supplement plan has various costs, that usually come at a monthly premium. Some Medicare plans will offer no monthly premium.
The term for the add-on plans or supplement plans as they are known as is Medigap coverage. So, for example, Medicare supplement plan G is known as Medigap coverage.
Medigap plans are the plans that you get to supplement the coverage of your existing Medicare coverage. So, for example, you may anticipate that you will need hearing aids down the road.
If that is the case, you would get what is known as a Medigap plan. You can get more than one Medigap plan, and you can even use your Medicare plan to supplement existing health care insurance through another provider that is not part of your Medicare plan.
The good news is that the Medigap plans are standard and not as confusing as they may seem. Medicare plans across the nation all must offer the same coverage, but you will seed them at different prices from states to states.
But you will see that the latter end of the Medicare plans, such as Medicare supplement plan G has a higher cost than say, Medigap plan C.
In Fort Worth, Texas, for example, Medigap plan F costs approximately $149 a month, but the same plan will cost $169 a month.
The higher the cost of your coverage, the more coverage you are going to get. It is as simple as that. The plans are standardized under federal law, which means you aren’t going to get tricked into buying something you don’t need.
Some plans will play entire costs of a hospital or doctor’s visits, and some plans will offer a co-pay system. The plans with co-pay systems are likely to cost you less on a monthly premium.
Where you live matters as well. Certain states such as Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, have different standardized options for Medigap plans.
Before you consider Medicare, consider the steps to having an emergency savings plan so that costs aren’t a significant factor when choosing Medicare.
Research Before You Enroll
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services predict that enrollment in Medicare supplement plans will increase by over 2 million enrollees in 2019. That is because the Medigap plans today that are standardized are offering more coverage to Americans for lower prices.
But just as it is with any insurance decision, going through the details of all of the Medicare options can be confusing.
Understanding Medicare and Medicare Advantage is easier than you think.
Today, there are over 270 Medicare plans offering any form of coverage you need. Whether you need just basic coverage or are expecting coverage needed for hospice, adult day care, home support, or even massage therapy, there’s a Medicare option for you.
Pick your basic plan, and then choose the Medigap coverage that is best for you, if you think you need it. Use these 11 money management tips while you are undergoing the research to better understanding Medicare, and finding the right choice for your family.