| Tue, Nov 13, 2012 @ 09:00 AM

Your #1 Medicare Decision Every Year

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

medicare information help overviewAs you look at your Medicare coverage for 2013, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the information. So as you think through your choices, keep in mind this basic idea:

There are two main ways to get Medicare.

  • You can choose Original Medicare (Parts A and B), which is provided by the federal government. Medicare Part A covers hospital stays, while Medicare Part B covers doctor and outpatient visits.
  • Or you can choose a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan. These plans cover the same benefits as Original Medicare, and often include other benefits, such as coverage for dental, vision, hearing, or prescription drugs (Medicare Part D). Medicare Advantage plans are offered through private insurance companies.

Please note: No matter which way you decide to get your coverage, you first need to enroll in Medicare. You can enroll in Medicare Part A, Part B or both, depending on your needs. If you enroll in just Part A or Part B, then you will receive your coverage through Original Medicare. If you enroll in both Parts A and B, then you can choose to receive your benefits through either Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan.

Am I getting what I want from my plan?

The things you want and need from your Medicare coverage can change from year to year. The things you don’t need can change, too. So which type of coverage is right for you?

Original Medicare (Parts A and B alone) might be right for you if…

  • You need basic health care coverage for doctor visits and hospital stays.
  • You want to see any doctor who is accepting new Medicare patients—even if you travel out of state.
  • You already have prescription drug coverage or don’t mind buying a standalone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.
  • If you have other insurance—like from an employer—that you want to keep, but you also want to take advantage of your Initial Enrollment Period.
  • Your current insurance provider doesn’t offer Medicare-approved plans. That means you’ll need to switch insurance providers to find a Medicare plan in any case.
  • You like having one type of coverage for each health care need—medical, hospital, prescription drug coverage, etc.


A Medicare Advantage plan (Part C) might be right for you if…

  • You want the same coverage as Original Medicare plus extra benefits that may be offered, like dental coverage, wellness services or a fitness benefit.
  • You are comfortable choosing a doctor from within a plan’s network.
  • You like having the option to choose a plan with prescription drug coverage built in.
  • You have a chronic illness, like diabetes, and want a Special Needs Plan designed for your unique needs.
  • Your current insurance provider offers Medicare-approved plans and you’d be more comfortable sticking with an insurance provider you know.
  • You like having all your benefits in a single plan.

What’s my budget for Medicare coverage?

It’s important to make sure your Medicare coverage fits into your budget every year, especially if your situation has changed. Original Medicare generally offers set costs. In other words, most people pay the same cost for the same services. Medicare Advantage plans offer you flexibility to choose the cost-sharing that you think may best fit your needs and budget.

Plan premiums are one part of your overall costs. But there are a few other things to consider, as well. Deductibles, copays and coinsurance are all pieces of the cost puzzle. Original Medicare also doesn’t have an annual out-of-pocket expense cap, but Medicare Advantage plans do. Is this important to you when comparing costs?

Don’t miss out on your chance to make a change.

You can change your Medicare coverage for 2013 during Open Enrollment Period, which started on October 15th and runs through December 7th.  During Open Enrollment Period, you can add, switch or drop most types of Medicare coverage.

For more information, contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048. If you have questions about Medicare Made Clear, call 1-877-619-5582, TTY 711, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week.

The family of UnitedHealthcare® Medicare Solutions plans are insured or covered by UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company or one of its affiliates, a Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract and a Medicare-approved Part D sponsor.


10 Key Medicare Facts—MedicareMadeClear.com

Medicare Coverage Choices—MedicareMadeClear.com

Medicare & You—Medicare.gov publication (PDF)

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