We all become eligible for Medicare when we turn 65 years old, although the enrollment period actually begins three months before your 65th birthday. At some point before you enroll, you should begin considering all of your different insurance options with regard to the program. It’s not as cut-and-dry as many people believe!
Depending upon which options you elect, you could lower your out-of-pocket spending on medical care considerably. This is no small matter, considering the fact that the average 65-year-old couple retiring today will spend about $275,000 on healthcare over the course of their retirement years… And costs are rising each year.
Making decisions about Medicare will involve asking a number of questions, and we certainly cannot provide the “right” answer for everyone in a single blog. However, there are two important questions you should ask yourself, to get started in the process.
What prescription medications are you taking, or anticipate taking, over the next year or so? Most Medicare Advantage plans do offer some form of prescription coverage. However, out-of-pocket charges for medications can vary wildly, depending upon the plan that you choose. In particular, there are dozens of Medicare Advantage plans available in any given geographic area, and each one can specialize in providing coverage for particular types of prescription drugs. Your choice of plan can help you access some medications free of charge, or with a small copay… Or it could leave you to foot the entire bill, or somewhere in between.
Do you want to be part of a PPO? Medicare Advantage plans carry many benefits, but they usually do restrict your coverage to a network of providers within about 30 miles of your home. If you desire access to specialists outside of that network, Original Medicare might be the better option for you in many cases. However, adding a Supplemental plan to your Original Medicare might be a good idea to help with prescription drug costs, copayments, and deductibles. Some Supplement plans also help with medical care outside of the country, when you’re traveling.
Again, these are just two of the many questions you should ask before choosing between Original Medicare and a Medicare Advantage plan. There are many other factors to consider, so give us a call as your enrollment date approaches. We can help you analyze your needs and match them with the plan that suits you best.