How to Compare Medicare Advantage Plans?
The following information provided by PayingforSeniorCare.com, an organization striving to access reliable and up-to-date information about financial resources for seniors…
With so many plan choices, it can be hard to know which type of plan is best. Below elders can learn how to use the plan finder tool that Medicare provides. And, also find resources for making your final plan decision with confidence.
To check which plans are in your area, you can use the Medicare Health Plan Finder. You can create an account, log in, and return to saved plan searches later if you’re not able to make your selection in one day.
— Step 1: Select Search Preferences: To begin your search for a plan, either create an account or click “log in as a guest.” Next, select “Medicare Advantage” from the menu provided. Enter your zip code in the box that pops up, and click “continue.” Now you’ll be asked if you get help with your costs from one of several programs – select “not sure” if necessary. You’ll then be given the option to see the costs of specific drugs on different plans. This will be useful to you if you have regular prescriptions. The drug costs question is the final prompt you’ll receive before you’ll be shown a list of local Medicare Advantage plans.
— Step 2: Examine Coverage Details: When you first look at the plans, you may just want to scroll through them all to see the range of costs and types in your area. Begin looking at the coverage offered in individual plans by clicking “plan details.” Here seniors can evaluate the copays/coinsurance of specific tests, office visits, and hospital stays, including for extra services like drug coverage, dental coverage, and more. You’ll also find contact information for the plan in this section.
— Step 3: Check Star Ratings: On the upper right-hand corner of each plan listing, you can see a star rating. In plan details, you’ll find another reference to star ratings that you can click on. Several sections of the rating will show up, and each one will also be clickable so that you can look at the details. This information can be invaluable because it will give you a sense of how other elders rate the plan in individual categories of service.
Matching Plans to Lifestyles
Which plan works best for you depends largely on your financial situation and your typical healthcare usage. That is, what are services and items that you usually need or that you are likely to need? Both of these factors influence how restrictive a network you’re likely to be able to tolerate. Another major consideration is whether you prefer plans that have low upfront costs or low costs over time. Plans with low upfront costs tend to have low premiums and deductibles. Whereas plans with low costs over time tend to have low out-of-pocket spending limits.
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John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions.
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