Tips For Selecting The Right Medicare Advantage Plan For Your Unique Medical Needs
Choosing the right Medicare Advantage plan is very important both for your checkbook and your future health. As a senior living on a fixed income, the choice will affect what you pay for medical services for the next year and it will also determine which doctors and other medical providers you can utilize. Making the right choice means you will get to see all of the doctors you prefer and your costs will be as low as possible, while making the wrong choice can result in limited access and higher price tags.
To ensure you select the right Medicare Advantage plan for your unique medical needs, follow these tips.
Tip: Know the Difference Between Each of the Three Types of Medicare Advantage Plans
Before you can successfully compare Medicare Advantage plans to each other, first you need to have a clear understanding of each of the three different types:
1. The Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is for people with major illnesses or excessively expensive chronic medical problems such as cerebral palsy or cancer.
2. The Health Maintenance Organization (HMO): As with non-Medicare HMO plans, the Medicare version regulates the physicians and medical providers you can seek care from. This is a good option for people who don't do a lot of traveling or who like to have one doctor who manages all of their care and issues referrals to specialists.
3. The Preferred Provider Organization (PPO): If you don't like the restrictions of an HMO plan, then a PPO plan is a good option. With a PPO plan, you are free to choose your own doctors and see specialists without referrals.
Tip: Decide if You Prefer Higher Monthly Premiums for More Provider Choices
Since PPOs tend to be less restrictive than HMOs as far as the providers and hospitals you can choose from, they also tend to have higher premiums you will have to pay each month and higher point-of-service fees in the form of co-payments.
If you don't care about having as much choice and prefer to see your internal medicine doctor when you have an issue, then the lower monthly premiums associated with HMOs make a lot of sense.
Tip: Select a Medicare Advantage Plan with Robust Prescription Drug Coverage
Finally, even if you don't currently take any medications, a lot can change over the next twelve months. And, if it does, you don't want to find yourself buying a prescription medication that costs thousands of dollars each month. Rather than running this risk, choose an Medicare Advantage insurance plan with a robust prescription drug coverage.