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How to Choose the Right Medicare Plan

October 21, 2009

Choosing the Right Medicare Plan for You

For many people that are eligible for Medicare, just beginning to look over all of the different types of healthcare coverage can be very confusing. As you know, having options is often a very good thing. But with all of the healthcare plans available, how do you make a decision that will be right for you?

Those that have reviewed the many options with Medicare know that it is simply nothing but choices. Depending upon your situation, you may decide to stay with traditional Medicare, known as Medicare Parts A and B. If you choose this plan, it is recommended to obtain a Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plan as well. Medicare Part D ensures that all of your medications are covered.

Or, you may take a look at a Medicare Advantage plan, which combines traditional Medicare coverage plus prescription coverage and many other benefits. You may also be interested in a Medigap (supplemental) plan that offers even more coverage than the Advantage plan.

With all the options that Medicare includes, many people just give up due to confusion. Fortunately, help is available. To get the most out of your healthcare insurance choices, you should be advised by a knowledgeable source. A Medicare advisor offers information and guidance on available Medicare programs, detailed action plans tailored to your situation, and answers all of your questions. And before you speak with an advisor, research the basics of Medicare.

Traditional Medicare Medicare

Parts A and B were part of the original Medicare Program. This traditional form has been around since 1965. For most people that have worked and paid Medicare taxes for a minimum of 10 years, Medicare Part A is free. Part A covers in-patient hospital care, and Part B, which cost an average of $96.40 in 2009, covers out-patient medical care.

Anyone that has the traditional form of Medicare can visit any doctor they choose in any hospital or office. They do not need a referral from another doctor as long as that doctor, hospital, or office accepts patients with Medicare. However, the benefits of traditional Medicare are very limited.

Traditional Medicare does not cover most out-patient prescription drugs. If a Medicare recipient needs prescription drug coverage often, then costs can become very high. This is why Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans are available for purchase.

Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, combines Parts A and B into one plan. This allows the Medicare recipient to get their Medicare Part A and Part B coverage all in one place. Medicare Advantage plans generally include prescription drug coverage and many other benefits that are not normally found under traditional Medicare, such as dental and vision services.

The Medicare Advantage option works just like private insurance – you choose from different types of plans depending upon what type of provider access you would like (for example, preferred provider organizations (PPO) and health management organizations (HMO). It also depends upon your health condition and any prescription drugs you are taking.

Medicare Advantage plans also offer many different levels of coverage, and they all offer as much coverage as the traditional Medicare plan. For instance, if the plan covers prescription drugs, that coverage must meet the minimum standards of Medicare Part D.

Medicare Part D

Medicare Part D has been put in place to cover prescription drug costs. Similar to Medicare Advantage, Part D is available through private companies who are reimbursed to provide healthcare coverage to those under Medicare Part D. There are many different plans offered in the United States, and some have many different levels of coverage. Also like Medicare Advantage, there is a minimum coverage amount required for a plan to qualify as a Medicare Part D plan. Those who take prescription drugs, but don’t need to see their doctors regularly, are the best candidates for Medicare Part D.

Medicare supplemental plans, or Medigap, are sold by private companies to fill the “gaps” that exist in traditional Medicare. In 2009, there are 12 different Medigap plans, labeled A through L. The cost of deductibles, co-payments and coinsurance are included in Medigap, and it may also cover services that Medicare does not insure.

Although Medigap may cover additional costs, if a person chooses to keep traditional Medicare, that person can’t buy a Medigap plan if they have Medicare Advantage. Having both plans is unnecessary because most Medicare Advantage plans offer better coverage and benefits than the Medigap plan. It is simplest and cheapest to just purchase a Medicare Advantage plan instead of having both Medigap and Medicare Part D.

Choosing the Right Plan for You

As you can see, choosing the right plan on your own can be a very difficult task. There are thousands of plans offered in the United States, with an average of 40 Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans in different regions. This is why using a Medicare advisor is so important. With so many options, choosing a plan is difficult when you do not understand what each one covers or doesn’t cover. The use of a Medicare advisor can help you choose the right Medicare coverage plan choice for your situation.

About the Author:

Parasol Financial and Insurance Solutions has helped thousands of individuals, families find the most affordable medical insurance solutions to meet their particular needs. Having recently merged with http://www.BestHealthcareRates.com they now have one of the largest selection of plans available anywhere! Visit us today at http://www.Call2Insure.com

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