It’s common to hear complaints when it comes to understanding Medicare and prescription drug prices. However, despite those misunderstandings, a recent survey of beneficiaries indicated that 75% were either “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with their Medicare coverage. That number jumped to 90% for people age 80 or older while only a mere 6% indicated they were “dissatisfied.”
There are five key points to keep in mind as you approach eligibility and try to determine if Medicare is good healthcare coverage. Once you’ve weighed these five objectives, we believe you’ll appreciate the coverage as much – if not more – than your previous group health plan.
- A Variety of Options to Choose From
When you get health insurance from your employer, there are commonly only a couple of options to choose from and frequently they are all with the same carrier. With Medicare, you have the option of Original Medicare with Supplements or a Medicare Advantage plan. If you go with Medicare Supplement Insurance, there are 10 plan types available in most states and numerous carriers. Those who choose Medicare Advantage (like an HMO) have an average of 20 different plans to choose from depending on the county they live in. With all these choices, you are sure to find the perfect plan for your individual situation and budget.
- Low Premiums
Most people who choose Original Medicare, Part A, will not have a premium. Part A covers in-patient hospital and skilled nursing. However, Part B, which covers medical outpatient services such as doctor visits, is $144.60 per month in 2020 (note that higher earners pay more). Another benefit relative to Part B is that its premium rises approximately five times slower than private insurance premiums. Additionally, adding a drug plan, supplements or switching to Medicare Advantage has an abundance of options to fit everyone’s budget.
- Fixed Cost If Desired
Choose a Medicare Supplement with comprehensive coverage like Plan G and you won’t need to pay an extra deductible, a co-payment, or coinsurance fees when you get medical assistance. The exception is that everyone must pay the Part B deductible of $198. But, if consistency is what you need, you have the option. Medicare Advantage plans can also help you control your expenses because they have a mandatory out-of-pocket maximum.
- Additional Benefits are Added Frequently
Medicare includes coverage for a host of preventative services and is constantly reviewing recommendations and adding new services. Most Advantage plans include routine dental, hearing and vision care but some even cover benefits such as meal delivery and transportation for non-medical needs (i.e. grocery shopping). Not every Medicare Advantage plan offers the same extra benefits, so you should shop around to compare plans.
- Medicare’s “Extra Help”
For eligible beneficiaries with limited income and resources there are state and federal programs to help pay premiums, deductibles, co-payments and coinsurance. The amount of subsidy depends on income compared to the Federal Poverty Level and resource limitations set by the Social Security Act. If the individual qualifies for both Medicare and Medicaid, they may be able to enroll in a special Medicare Advantage plan that covers all healthcare needs.
Keep in mind, these are just a handful of the benefits provided by Medicare. It’s important to weigh all the options and benefits of Medicare versus your group health plan and make the best decision for your future.
If you’re unsure which path to take with your Medicare coverage, or how to choose the right plan for your needs, contact one of our professional, independent advisors for assistance here.
Senior Financial Group does Medicare differently.