For the more than six million people eligible for Medicare in California, determining the right plan this open enrollment period can be a daunting task. If you feel overwhelmed sorting through all the options, you are not alone. UnitedHealthcare conducted a survey this year to assess people’s understanding of Medicare and found that almost 40 percent of beneficiaries found the program confusing.
By following these five tips, you can make the process of shopping for Medicare coverage easier.
1. Know the Dates
For most people, Medicare Open Enrollment is your one opportunity to make changes to your Medicare coverage each year. It runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. Changes made during open enrollment take effect on Jan. 1, 2018.
2. Review Your Choices
When it comes to selecting a Medicare plan, one size does not fit all. You have options. Take the time to explore them so you can find the coverage that works best for you. Start early and get your questions answered.
Check if your current coverage is still meeting your needs, and see if your benefits will change next year. Also, make sure your medications are included in the plan. Even if you don’t expect to change plans, it’s important to ensure your drugs will still be covered next year.
3. Consider Your Care
In addition to providing access to care providers, you should look for a plan that offers the benefits that are important to you.
Confirm your preferred doctors and hospitals are available through the plan you’re considering. Also, don’t forget about dental, vision and other additional benefits. Many people are surprised to find that Original Medicare doesn’t cover prescription drugs and most dental, vision and hearing services. But many Medicare Advantage plans do.
4. Look at a Plan’s Overall Costs
The cost of a plan’s monthly premium is important, but you also need to take other costs into account. There are a number of plans that offer $0 premiums. However, for some people plans with a higher premium may actually be the most cost-effective choice in the long-run, especially if the plan includes more benefits and lower out-of-pocket costs.
5. Look for Value
Don’t assume you have to pay a lot for good benefits. In Southern California for example, UnitedHealthcare offers plans with low or $0 monthly premiums and rich benefits packages.
The new AARP® MedicareComplete® SecureHorizons® Premier plans have $0 copays on tier 1 and 2 prescription drugs, including mail order. They also include gym memberships, a $50 credit every three months for over-the-counter items, comprehensive dental, chiropractic and acupuncture coverage and the protection of a low out-of-pocket maximum. It’s also important to note that people who qualify for extra help based on their income could get the cost of their premiums covered.
Remember: Medicare Open Enrollment Ends Dec. 7
For more information on UnitedHealthcare plans in your area, visit UHCMedicareplans.com.
Plans are insured through UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company or one of its affiliated companies. A Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract and a Medicare-approved Part D sponsor. Enrollment in these plans depends on the plan’s contract renewal with Medicare.
You must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium.
This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact the plan for more information. Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply. Benefits, premiums and/or co-payments/co-insurance may change on January 1 of each year.