Make sure your Medicare coverage suits your needs
Ensuring your medical coverage is tailored to your lifestyle can be just as important as receiving benefits in the first place. By doing so, you can guarantee that you not only have the medical protection you need, but that you're not paying too much.
Separate plans for different needs
Original Medicare features Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance), while Medicare Advantage (also known as Part C) is run by private insurance companies and typically includes Parts A and B plus Part D (prescription drug coverage).
Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage come with different benefits and costs that you need to weigh. For instance, depending on your plan, you may pay more in premiums and deductibles. However, this could be offset by lower costs on services like hospital stays and doctor visits.
As an example, say prescription drugs are an integral part of your lifestyle. Original Medicare doesn't cover prescriptions unless you obtain Part D coverage. However, since most Medicare Advantage plans include drug coverage, opting for this type of coverage may make more financial sense.
Additionally, since Medicare Advantage plans have caps on out-of-pocket health spending, which Original Medicare does not, they may suit your needs better if you tend to visit the doctor or hospital more often.
Updating your coverage
Individuals have a chance each year to update their coverage or change it completely.
Important dates to keep in mind include:
- Oct. 15: Beginning on this date, everyone with Medicare has the chance to make changes to their health and prescription drug plans for the next year under open enrollment.
- Dec. 7: This is when open enrollment ends, meaning you need to get your enrollment request application in by Dec.7.
- Jan. 1: This is when coverage begins for the new year, so if you switched plans, it goes into effect now.
However, if you're covered under a Medicare Advantage plan, you have from between Jan.1 and Feb. 14 to switch to Original Medicare. If you make the switch, you'll also have until Feb. 14 to join a Medicare Prescription Drug plan.