Choosing a Medicare health care plan can be a daunting and overwhelming process. There are many elements to consider, especially if you have pre-existing conditions or other special health care needs. Medicare’s 2019 Annual Election Period (also known as Open Enrollment) starts on October 15th and ends on Dec 7th and although that seems far off, it will come up fast. Whether you are enrolling for the first time or looking to switch, making the decision that is right for you will require research, comparison and consideration.
So where do you even begin? Compare and consider these seven important points:
1. Cost. First and foremost, cost is probably the most obvious factor to consider. Do some research on the premiums, deductibles and other costs associated with each plan. Be sure to check how much your plan charges for co-pays for your regular doctor appointments and how much out-of-pocket is required for things like hospital stays. Some plans even have a yearly limit on what you are able to pay for out-of-pocket for medical services too. Make sure these are all points you look into so that there are no surprises.
2. Consider the important “extras” such as dental, vision coverage, hearing aids and gym reimbursement. Does the plan you are considering offer these extras like dental and vision at no added cost--- in addition to providing free health education classes, social events and community resources? You want to get the most out of your health plan so be sure and find out these details ahead of time.
3. Tally your prescriptions. Take inventory of what medications you need. Check with each plan to see if they cover your prescription drugs or if they have comparable medications that you might be able to switch to, after consulting with your physician, of course.
4. Research the organization behind the plan. You want a company that’s experienced, stable, and one that has earned a stellar reputation. Easy access to care, real people to talk to, and local neighborhood offices will mean more personal attention and peace of mind for you. Venture online and pay extra attention to those characteristics of an organization that will give you confidence that they will be there when you need them.
5. Verify member satisfaction. Reading what others say about their health care plans can speak volumes. Read reviews about the user experience when it comes to customer service and services offered. Find out how long the health plan has been around and if they seem reputable. You want a health plan you can trust that will be available for the long haul, approachable and have your health care as a top priority. Ask friends, go to Facebook, Yelp, and Google to hear from others about how satisfied they are with their health plan.
6. Travel is important, too. If you travel out of state or out of the country, check to see what your plan covers you while you are away. You want to be as prepared as possible if you plan to leave the comfort of your home and health care team.
7. Understand the value of face-to-face conversations – If you value face-to-face interaction, consider a plan that has local offices where you can go in to ask questions. Inter Valley Health Plan’s Medicare and Information Vitality (MIC) offices are just that. These neighborhood offices provide local residents with the opportunity to speak with a Medicare Specialist at any time, while also offering free health education classes every month. Meeting one-on-one with a Medicare Specialist to help make such an important decision as choosing a health plan can be invaluable.
Inter Valley Health Plan hosts classes regularly on health and vitality. For a full list of classes in your area, please visit https://www.ivhp.com/forhealthandliving
Article From Inter Valley Health Plan