Questions to Ask Before Enrolling in Medicare

Questions to Ask Before Enrolling in Medicare

Choosing your Medicare health insurance coverage is a big deal and you deserve to feel comfortable with the plan you choose, knowing that your concerns have been addressed and your questions have been answered. Before enrolling in Medicare coverage during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) or making changes during Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision that you feel good about.

If you are choosing Medicare coverage, consider the following questions:

Do you want to get your Medicare Part A and Part B benefits from Original Medicare (administered by the federal government) or would you prefer to get them through a Medicare Advantage Plan (MA) offered by a private insurance company? If you get Part A and Part B through Original Medicare, you should consider your overall health care coverage needs. Although Medicare does cover many costs, many individuals choose to supplement this coverage with a Medigap policy to help pay some of the out-of-pocket expenses. You may also want to consider adding a Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) to help cover the costs of medications you may need. Medicare Advantage Plans include the same Part A and Part B benefits as Original Medicare, but many offer an array of additional benefits, including prescription drug coverage. To compare different Medicare Advantage plans, click here. Costs and benefits of MA plans can vary, so it is important to compare plans before enrolling.

What is your health care coverage budget? Decide what you are comfortable paying for premiums, deductibles, copayments and coinsurance. It is important to plan ahead so that any unexpected medical crises will not have a long-term effect on your financial security.

Do you have a preference for doctors, providers, hospitals, or pharmacies? If you get benefits from Original Medicare, you may visit any doctor, provider, or supplier that accepts assignment. If you choose a Medicare Advantage Plan, you will likely have to visit providers within that plan’s network.

Do you currently have a need for prescription medications? This is a dilemma for many healthy individuals as they consider whether they need prescription drug coverage when it is first available to them. Even if you do not require any medications at this time, it is important to consider health issues that may arise in the future. If you do not enroll in drug coverage when you are first eligible, you may incur a late enrollment penalty when you eventually sign up.

If you are considering changing plans during Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), think about your past year. Did your current health care coverage meet your needs during this past year? Did you face changes in your health, budget, or lifestyle? Have you been comfortable with your costs, including your out-of-pocket expenses? AEP is a great opportunity to explore your options and make sure you continue to have health care coverage that fits your needs, now and in the year ahead. Make your final decision and enroll during AEP, which begins October 15th and ends December 7th.

To learn more about the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), click here