The 2019 Medicare Annual Election Period is the one time per year when you have the opportunity to re-evaluate your Medicare coverage and determine if your benefits are the right match for your needs.
A lot of seniors sign up for Medicare Part A and B (better known as traditional Medicare) when they turn 65. They like the flexibility of being able to see any provider that takes Medicare. But, five to 10 years later, their needs have likely changed. They may have been diagnosed with a chronic condition like diabetes and could benefit from extra support in a Medicare Advantage plan, also known as Medicare Part C. And in some cases, Medicare Advantage plans can even help them save money through the course of the year.
How do you determine if it’s right for you?
Both Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage Plans offer Part A and Part B coverage.
In Original Medicare, your coverage is provided directly through Medicare, and you have your choice of doctors, hospitals, and other providers that accept Medicare. About 80 percent of your health care costs are covered, and you usually pay a monthly Part B premium. You can also choose to add a Medicare Supplemental Insurance Policy, or Medigap, to your Original Medicare Plan, which is offered by private companies. This usually requires an additional monthly premium. Many Seniors are surprised that Medicare Advantage often costs the same as traditional Medicare. In some cases, Medicare Advantage plans can save you more throughout the year by helping you stay healthy, avoiding hospitalization, and getting better coverage for prescription medications.
The downside of Medicare Advantage Plans is that you’re limited to using the plan’s doctors and providers. However, those networks can be very comprehensive, and some plans give you more flexibility if you are frequently traveling. In some cases, Medicare Advantage plans have copayments or coinsurance for covered services. Medicare Advantage Plans may offer additional benefits not covered by traditional Medicare. Depending on your situation, Medicare Advantage plans can offer:
To add Part D (Medicare Prescription Drug Plans), you usually have to pay another monthly premium. If your Medicare Advantage Plan offers drug coverage, you may have to get it through that plan. Otherwise, you can join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
If you’re over 65 and eligible for Medicare, it’s time to explore your options further. Get more information by contacting your broker during the Medical Annual Enrollment Period (October 15, 2018, to December 7, 2018). You can also learn more at P3NV.org or by calling 702-333-4700.