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This year’s Medicare annual enrollment period – October 15 through December 7 – is quickly approaching, which means it’s time to start thinking about picking a plan.
Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people age 65 and older plus others with disabilities or certain conditions. It’s divided into four parts: A, B, C and D. Parts A and B are considered Original Medicare, Part C is known as Medicare Advantage and Part D is prescription drug coverage .
- Part A is known as Medicare hospital insurance. Coverage may include inpatient hospital stays, skilled nursing care, hospice care and home health care.
- Part B coverage generally includes doctor visits and outpatient services. This includes some doctors’ services, outpatient care, medical supplies and preventive care.
- Part C is required to cover the same levels of benefits under Part A and Part B. Additionally, some plans offer extra benefits, such as dental and vision coverage, wellness programs, prescription drug coverage and hearing care. Part C is offered by private companies that contract with Medicare.
- Part D covers prescription drugs and can be added to Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage plans.
It’s important to remember that you have options and should select a plan that’s best for your situation. A common mistake is picking a plan just because a family member or friend has it. Just because the plan works for them, doesn’t mean it’s the right one for you.
You should also avoid relying on name recognition when picking a plan. There are a lot of great plans out there, including ones you may not be familiar with. Working with a Medicare agent can help you understand what plans are available and how to select the one that’s right for you.
Here are a few factors to consider when selecting a plan:
- Providers – Make sure you select a plan that includes access to your doctors
- Travel benefits – If you spend part of the year in another location or travel a lot, make sure you pick a plan that allows you to see out-of-state providers
- Fitness perks – If exercise is important to you, consider a plan that includes a fitness benefit, such as Silver Sneakers
If you have questions about picking a Medicare plan, reach out to your health insurance provider. At Network Health, we’ll work one-on-one with you to help you find the right plan based on your specific needs. We also connect you with a local agent. We want our members to feel comfortable with the plan they select and satisfied with the benefits they receive.