Are you deciding which way to go when choosing from the combination of different types of healthcare coverage? For most people, having choices is a very good thing. But what about having different plans to choose from?
When it comes to Medicare, you have nothing but choices. This depends on your conditions; you may want to stay with traditional Medicare, or Medicare Parts A and B. If you choose this path, you’ll probably want to get a Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plan, too, to ensure your medications are covered. Or, you might be more interested in a Medicare Advantage plan, which can combine traditional Medicare with drug coverage and other benefits. You also may be interested in even more coverage, such as that offered through a Medigap (advantageal) plan.
Fortunately, help is available. A Medicare advisor offers education on available Medicare programs, answers questions, and offers detailed plans of action to get the most out of your insurance choices. You also should know the basics beforehand.
Medicare Parts A and B, also known as traditional or original Medicare, have been around since 1965. Medicare Part A is free to most people who’ve worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years and provides people with inpatient hospital coverage.
People who have traditional Medicare can see any doctor they want in any facility they want without a referral, as long as that doctor or facility accepts Medicare patients. But traditional Medicare’s benefits are limited.
Not only does this plan not cover most outpatient prescription drugs, if a beneficiary uses their coverage frequently enough, it can get very costly. That’s why we also have Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans available.
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Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C, combines Medicare Parts A and B in one plan so you can get your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage in the same place. Medicare Advantage plans also often include prescription drug coverage and other benefits not commonly found under traditional Medicare, such as vision and dental services.
This program works just like private insurance – you have different types of plans to choose from depending upon what type of provider access you want (for example, health management organizations (HMO), preferred provider organizations (PPO) and more) and what health conditions or prescription drugs you take. You also can choose from a number of different levels of coverage. All Medicare Advantage plans must offer at least as much coverage as that offered under traditional Medicare. If they offer prescription drug coverage, that coverage must meet minimum Medicare Part D standards as well.