4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing a Medicare Plan
As you research your different Medicare coverage options, be sure to ask yourself these four questions before deciding on a plan:
1. How often do I visit specialists?
Keep in mind that with Original Medicare, you pay 20 percent of the fee your doctor charges for each visit. If you visit specialists on a regular basis, those fees can add up quickly. With a Medicare supplement (also called MediGap), you’ll pay a premium each month, whether or not you seek medical care. With a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll “pay as you go” with regular, predictable copays, even when visiting specialists. To learn more about how this works, visit our Medicare Learning Center and check out Medicare Advantage Vs. MediGap: Pay Now or As You Go.
2. How healthy am I?
Taking a close look at your health can help you get an idea of the medical care you’ll need. If you need frequent care, your choice will be impacted since Original Medicare only covers about 80 percent of your costs and does not limit your out-of-pocket healthcare expenses — expenses that can rapidly add up if you have a chronic condition. Consider looking for a Medicare Advantage plan that has a closer network of physicians and specialists who can work together around you and your condition. Medicare Advantage plans also include a built-in “safety net” that puts a limit on the amount you will have to pay for your medical care out of your own pocket each year. For more information on this maximum out-of-pocket protection (MOOP), visit our Medicare Learning Center and download MOOP: Why You Want It and Where You Can Get It.
3. What, if any, prescription medications do I take on a regular basis?
Original Medicare does not cover prescription drugs, so you’ll need to choose a Part D prescription drug plan. Many Medicare Advantage plans – some of which feature a $0 monthly premium – include Part D prescription coverage in an all-in-one plan. If you opt for a Medicare supplement, you will still need to purchase a separate Part D prescription drug plan from a private company.
4. Am I a frequent traveler, or do I spend part of the year in another state?
Original Medicare provides coverage nationwide (the 80 percent rule still applies though). Medicare Advantage plans cover emergency care anywhere in the U.S. and typically around the world. Supplements offer similar coverage options. Want more details about Medicare coverage when traveling? Read our blog, “Plan to Travel?”
It’s important to take stock of your personal lifestyle and health needs as you consider your Medicare coverage options. Things like your current health, medical history, the prescriptions you currently take and even where you live should play a big role in your decision. But by asking yourself these four questions, you’ll be better prepared to pick the Medicare coverage that’s best for you. Visit our Medicare Learning Center and check out all of the free resources we offer to help you decide which option to choose.