Seven Things to Look for in a Medicare Advantage Plan
Medicare Advantage plan options are everywhere. Once you receive your Medicare card in the mail, promotional materials about different plans, services, perks and benefits will quickly follow. The amount of information is overwhelming, and it can be difficult to focus on finding the Medicare Advantage plan that’s right for you.
In order to help you navigate through the options, we’ve identified the seven most important things to look for before making an enrollment decision.
- Benefit Coverage – It’s important to understand the specific benefit coverage available, as it will vary from plan to plan. Be sure to look for a plan that meets your needs. Perhaps you would rather pay a monthly premium and have lower copayments for benefits or maybe you’d rather have no monthly premium and pay a little more when you visit the doctor.
- Out-of-Pocket Costs – These costs can change from year to year, and also from plan to plan. Understanding what your maximum out-of-pocket potential is and how it could impact you financially is crucial. For current Medicare Advantage plan members, it’s important to review changes to these costs to be sure you’re still with the right plan for your needs.
- Flexibility – Your plan should help you be prepared and receive health care, no matter where you are. Certain plans only offer coverage that is close to home, leaving you at risk when you travel. Look for a plan with good travel coverage to ensure you’ll have access to the care you need, wherever you need it.
- Location – While it usually isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, knowing you have high-quality care available close to home during a health crisis is important. Selecting a plan with local hospitals, outpatient centers and emergency care will be beneficial should you need that level of care.
- Prescription Drug Coverage – It’s important to understand whether or not your current prescriptions are included with your coverage. You can search the plan’s drug list to make sure your prescriptions are covered and find out what the copayment cost might be. Some plans also offer the chance to talk directly with a local pharmacist who can help make sure you are taking the most effective medications for the best value.
- Providers – Keeping the relationships you’ve built with your personal doctor and other providers can be a priority when choosing a Medicare Advantage plan. Be sure to check the plan’s network to make sure your provider is included.
- Customer Service – Knowing that you’ll have the quality medical care you need is only part of the equation. Having the added support of friendly, trustworthy and knowledgeable representatives is the other part. Understand the quality of service that’s provided to you before you join a plan. Do they answer your questions with language you don’t understand? Are they helpful? Do they go above and beyond expectations?