Overwhelmed by Medicare choices? There is a lot to consider. But which is the right choice for you: Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage?
The best way to start your decision-making process is by walking through the Medicare alphabet of Parts A, B, C, D, etc. (Medicare uses the term Parts instead of Plans.) After examining what each offers, then you can easily see the pros and cons.
Once you retire and no longer have health coverage from your employer, Medicare becomes your primary insurance. Original Medicare includes Part A, which covers a portion of hospital expenses, and Part B that covers outpatient care. Part A is a free benefit for most people as long as they have worked at least 10 years in the U.S.
Don’t Make Assumptions!
A common mistake people make is assuming that Part A covers everything that happens in a hospital. However, you should think of Part A more like covering the room and board portion of a hospital stay. Part A will not cover vital services at the hospital like lab work, surgeries, radiation, dialysis, the doctor’s time and much more. You need to sign up for Part B to help cover all of that and outpatient services.
Part B will pick up 80% of your outpatient care. That means you’re still responsible to pay for the rest. Suppose you need a knee replacement surgery and the total cost is upwards of $100,000. 20% can be a lot! If you’d like a better way to manage the unexpected costs, you can add a Supplement or consider Medicare Advantage (Part C).
Part B will not cover the cost of prescription drugs either. According to a new Senate report, prices increased almost 12% a year for the past five years on the most widely prescribed, brand name medications for seniors. If you want coverage, you can consider a Supplement called Part D. The average Medicare Part D premium in 2018 is around $41 per month, and most have a deductible before medications will be covered. Your other option is Medicare Advantage (Part C).
So, we know that Original Medicare Parts A and B come with out-of-pocket costs you’ll have to pay. You can add Medicare Supplement insurance to fill in the gaps in coverage, benefits and deductibles. The Supplements available are denoted by letters that go all the way up to N. The one to remember is Medicare Advantage, also known as Part C.
Medicare Advantage health plans are an alternative to Original Medicare Parts A and B. It has the same benefits as Original Medicare and also includes coverage for prescription drugs, dental and vision. It offers the convenience of getting all of your coverage through a single plan. Medicare Advantage can often be a better value as it eliminates the unexpected out-of-pocket expenses and provides more control when you’re on a fixed retirement income.
Plans Are Different – Let Us Help!
Medicare Advantage plans differ by state and county. If you want to learn more about the Medicare Advantage options available for you, call one of our agents today and compare! You could save money and get more health care coverage.