| Tue, Apr 14, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

How a Medicare Plan is Like a Major Appliance

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

medicare-plansIt’s easy to lament healthcare and the confusion of choosing a Medicare plan.

But we make complicated choices all the time. Think of all the options available on a new car or computer.

So what makes healthcare different?

Susan Morisato, president of Insurance Solutions for UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement, says, “I think it’s partly because healthcare is so emotional and so personal to people that it creates this whole other level of anxiety that doesn’t exist when you are buying a refrigerator.”

But just like buying a refrigerator it comes down to choices. Knowing what you want or need might remove some of the anxiety.

When considering a refrigerator, one shopper might prioritize energy efficiency over an icemaker. Another might choose a built-in wine rack instead of an in-door water dispenser.

What might you prioritize when choosing between Medicare Advantage or Original Medicare plus a Medicare Supplement plan, for example? Or when deciding between multiple prescription drug plan choices?

Morisato says priorities could include doctor choice, prescription drug needs, a fixed cost or a low cost. Other values could be the amount of paperwork required or access to an online pharmacy.

She says, “These are choices that you make. Some of them are no-brainers but some are very personal.”

One person might decide it’s really important to continue to see the doctor he or she has seen for the last 20 years.

Someone else might like their doctor but be okay switching if they can find a plan that is less expensive.

Morisato says, “Those are absolutely tradeoffs that people have to walk through.”

A study published by The Gerontologist in February 2004, tried to determine how people who receive Medicare would rank certain kinds of care and what kind of tradeoffs they would accept.

Participants listed coverage for hospitalization as a must. They listed coverage for other services like vision and alternative medicines as less important. They also agreed to “more tightly managed care” or limits on provider choice in order to receive additional benefits.

You can try ranking your own healthcare choices. Once you know your priorities, you can start shopping for a healthcare plan.

The Plan Finder on Medicare.gov lets you compare plans side by side.

For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or 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.

Resources

Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement Insurance: Learn the difference between these Medicare choices.

Medicare.gov: Visit the official U.S. government site for Medicare.

 

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