When you reach the age of 65, you will be provided with some choices when it comes to your health care policy. Ultimately, the first option for seniors is “traditional” Medicare or Medicare Advantage. Although these two government programs are often accepted as equal, they are in fact completely separate. You cannot sign up for both at the same time. The first step is to decide which of these plans you will use as your primary health care insurance.
Medicare Advantage Plans (Medicare Part C) are plans that are approved by Medicare and handled by private companies. Some plans are free and offer additional benefits that are not included in Medicare. The annual election period is 11/15 to 31/12. During this time, you can make changes to your insurance.
The open enrollment period is 1/1 to 3/31. You can make changes to your plan during this time.
Some plans may also include a prescription drug plan (Part D). As a result, members not only receive high-quality health care without the cost of high premiums or deductibles, they have virtually no paperwork to fight. And at the same time they still enjoy more medical services and benefits than what the original Medicare offers for little or no additional cost.
The most preferred option is the so-called “traditional” Medicare, which includes Part A and Part B. Some of the key benefits associated with this selection include:
Benefit of Choice: You can choose the doctors you see and the hospital you prefer for any appointment or procedure that you encounter. It is usually very important that the elderly are allowed to use any doctor they want. Often, they already have a doctor that they have used in the past and are completely happy with them so that they cannot cope with changing physicians.
Medicare Supplement / Medigap: Those enrolled in “traditional” Medicare are also eligible for a Medicare Supplement, or Medigap Plan, to cover the gaps associated with just Medicare alone. Medicare alone can cover 80% of approved medical costs, while you are responsible for the other 20%.
On the other hand, some opt for Medicare Advantage, also referred to as “Medicare Part C”. This is the least popular of the two options for some reasons:
Choice Restrictions: Under this type of plan you are limited to which doctors and hospitals you can use. For many, this fact is somewhat disturbing. For those who have seen the same doctor for several years, they are understandably unwilling to switch to someone unfamiliar with them and their medical history.
No Medigap Option: Seniors who enroll in a Medicare Advantage program, are not eligible to sign up for a Medigap / Medicare Supplementary Policy. For some, this could mean in the long run that they pay more for their medical expenses out of pocket.
As mentioned above, “traditional” Medicare is generally the coveted plan of the two. Medicare accompanied by a Medicare supplement policy tends to provide the best and most thorough coverage for seniors. While Medicare Supplement plans are standardized in their services, Medicare Supplemental providers will have different prices due to many influences. It is always recommended to research these top insurers before making a final decision.