Every year when the new plans come out, I make a spreadsheet of all the benefits – across all the plans. It’s amazing to see how similar all the plans are to each other. The biggest differences between the plans (generally speaking) are not even the medical benefits. So what are the differences? Three things…
1. ARE YOUR DOCTORS & MEDICAL GROUP AVAILABLE?
Not all the plans work with all the doctors and medical groups. Be sure you can see the doctors and other providers that are important to you.
2. DRUG COVERAGE
It’s amazing how much drug coverage varies from plan to plan. Have a Medicare broker check your drugs across all the plans to see which plan provides you with the lowest out-of-pocket costs, based on your specific meds. This can save you thousands of dollars each year.
3. NON-MEDICAL “EXTRA” BENEFITS
Most of the Medicare Advantage Plans include extra freebies, such as gym memberships, hearing aids, chiropractic & acupuncture benefits, transportation, etc. Example: If you need a hearing aid, you might pick a plan that 1). Has your doctors 2). Covers your drugs AND 3). Has the best hearing aid benefit! These extra benefits can vary quite a bit from plan to plan.
Remember: Once open enrollment ends, you can’t change your plan until the next year – so choose wisely!
Author: Neil Steinman
Neil Steinman is the principal of Orange County Health & Life Insurance in Orange County, CA – and has been serving the needs of California residents for nearly 20 years.