Navigating the world of Medicare can be confusing and overwhelming. This guide discusses the best strategies for maximizing your Medicare and Medicare Supplement plans to get the care you need without breaking the bank.
Know What’s Covered vs. Your Costs
Understanding the different parts of the Medicare program and how they work together is valuable. Medicare has three distinct parts: Part A, B, and D. Each part has its own set of benefits, so you can decide which ones are best for your needs. On Medicare Part A or B, you’re eligible to receive preventive services such as:
- Screenings for cancer
- Pneumonia and flu shots
- Counseling to help you quit smoking
Depending on the plan you’re on, you may also have extra coverage or cost-sharing options like deductibles or co-payments. Consider these extra costs when deciding what kind of care is right for you. You may need Medicare Supplement plans if you have coverage with a lower premium and a higher out-of-pocket cost.
Make Use of Free Services
Medicare has a variety of free services and benefits that can help you get better care for less. Many Medicare beneficiaries underuse, overlook, or misunderstand these options. One of the best ways to take advantage of these free benefits is to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. Part C provides extra coverage, such as vision and dental, that Original Medicare (A and B) usually doesn’t cover. Advantage plans may not add any cost to your monthly premium.
Some preventive care services might be free with Parts A, B, and D. And most plans offer discounts on prescription drugs that you can use to cut costs. The free services and benefits available through Medicare help you save money.
Consider Medicare Supplement Plans
Medicare Supplement plans, or Medigap, are designed to help take care of the costs that Original Medicare doesn’t cover. These plans are provided by private companies and usually take care of things like co-payments. A popular reason for getting Medigap is coverage with any doctor in the U.S. who accepts Medicare (over 90% of all physicians).
The optimum time to get a Medicare Supplement plan is during your open enrollment period. This period opens the first day of whichever month you turn 65. During this period, you cannot be denied coverage or charged more due to any health issues you may have.
If you have questions about your options or need help selecting a plan, consult a Medicare advisor. They’ll help you review benefits, explain insurance terms and options, answer questions, and help you make an informed decision.
Get Help With Prescription Costs
One big cost for seniors can be prescription medications. Medicare offers a few options to help lower the cost of those medications. These include:
Enroll in Medicare Part D: The prescription drug coverage plan offered by Medicare offers coverage for both generic and brand-name drugs with different plans available.
Get Extra Help: If you have limited income and resources, you may qualify for Extra Help through Medicare Part D. This program helps pay some or all of your prescription drug costs.
Use mail-order pharmacies: Many Medicare plans have discounted prices at mail-order pharmacies, so check if this is an option. Check GoodRx to see what discounts they have.
Confirm whether your state gives additional help with prescription drug costs for seniors. Ask your healthcare provider if there are any programs available in your area.
Review Your Plan Annually
Review your current Medicare coverage to make sure you’re receiving the best coverage. It’s a good way to keep updated on any changes that may affect your costs. This is especially true if you’ve had changes in your health or medications since the previous year.
It might make sense to switch to a different Medicare plan. You may also need to add a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Supplement plan.
The Bottom Line
Maximizing your Medicare benefits can help you get the best care for the lowest costs. You should understand what parts of Medicare you need and take advantage of free services in your plan. Find help with prescription costs and consider Medicare Supplement plans for seniors to stretch your coverage and budget.
For further assistance with maximizing your Medicare benefits, reach out to a Medicare broker.