| Fri, May 06, 2011 @ 09:00 AM

Medicare Matters: Coverage, Cost and Convenience

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

describe the imageYou want to choose the Medicare plan that best meets your needs. With a little research and planning, you can. One way to approach this is to think about your needs and priorities in three areas—coverage, cost and convenience—and then to compare these with what different plans offer.

Coverage

To determine the health care coverage you need from Medicare, you can look at your coverage in the past and try to match it. If you are eligible for any health insurance outside of Medicare, be sure to factor that in. You can further gauge the coverage you’re going to need by assessing what care and services you generally use, including doctor visits, prescriptions, lab tests, etc. You may also want to take an objective look at your current health status to see if your health care needs have changed. If you have had a recent health event, such as a new diagnosis, then you may need more or different care than you have had in the past.

Cost

Next, it’s a good idea to add up how much you’ve spent out-of-pocket on health care in recent years. These costs may have included premiums, deductibles, copays or coinsurance. As you look at these costs and your budget going forward, you can consider what amount you can and want to put toward health care. It’s important to look at monthly costs, as well as the annual total. If you think you may need it, you can research the financial help that’s available to help cover your future out-of-pocket health care costs.

Convenience

What drives a Medicare decision for you may be very different from what drives it for another person. Some people have long-standing relationships with their doctors, or preferences regarding area hospitals. It may be a priority for them to be able to continue to receive care from familiar and trusted people and institutions. Other people may place a high value on the simplicity of comprehensive coverage from a single plan. Still others may feel most comfortable with the continuity of getting their Medicare plan from the same health insurance company they dealt with through their employer. You need to decide what’s most important to you.

Putting it All Together

With your needs and priorities in mind, you can look for a Medicare plan that fits for you. Learning about the four main “parts” of Medicare is a good place to start. These include Part A (hospital coverage), Part B (medical coverage), Part C (hospital and medical coverage combined) and Part D (prescription drug coverage). Parts A and B together make up Original Medicare, which is administered by the federal government. Part C and Part D plans are offered by private insurance companies.

The coverage and costs for Parts A and B are set by Medicare and are the same for everyone. Coverage and costs for Part C and Part D plans vary widely depending on the specific plan and the region it’s offered in. Before deciding on a plan, you can research these costs and estimate what you would pay out-of-pocket with each plan you are considering.

If you want the convenience of a single Medicare plan for both hospital and medical coverage, or you want additional services such as dental, vision and built-in prescription drug coverage, then you may want a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C). Some Medicare Advantage plans also allow you to choose where and from whom you want to receive care. If the freedom of choosing your own doctors and hospital is tops on your priority list, then you may be interested in Original Medicare (Parts A and B). With this option, you may want to add a Prescription Drug plan (Part D) and a Medicare Supplement insurance plan to help with the costs that Original Medicare does not cover.

For more information about Medicare, visit http://www.medicare.gov.

Visit MedicareMadeClear.com to learn more about Medicare and how it works. You can also call our helpline to speak with one of our representatives about your Medicare options; 1-877-619-5582, TTY 711, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. local time, 7 days a week.

The family of UnitedHealthcare® Medicare Solutions plans are insured or covered by an affiliate of United Healthcare®, a Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract and Medicare-approved Part D Sponsor.

Additional Resources

http://www.medicaremadeclear.com/Making-Choices.aspx

http://www.medicaremadeclear.com/Getting-Started/10-Things-You-Should-Know-About-Medicare.aspx

http://www.medicaremadeclear.com/Video-Gallery.aspx

http://www.medicaremadeclear.com/Resource-Center.aspx

http://www.medicare.gov/publications/pubs/pdf/10050.pdf

http://www.medicare.gov/welcometomedicare/coverage.html

http://www.medicare.gov/navigation/medicare-basics/medical-and-drug-costs.aspx

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