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Carlton Senior Living Blog | June 30, 2016 | By Jonita Dixon

Choosing The Right Medicare Advantage Plan

medicarePerhaps you want to find a Medicare advantage plan to help you cover your medications and health care expenses; we have a few tips that can help you find the best possible deal for your specific demands. In the last ten years, the Medicare Advantage plans have become more and more popular amongst retirees.

These government-approved health plans (sold by private insurance companies) are options that you have instead of original Medicare. If you join an Advantage plan, it is going to provide you with hospital insurance (Part A) and medical insurance (Part B) coverage. There are even plans that have benefits such as hearing, dental, and vision.

How To Pick A Plan

If you are going to choose a plan, you want to find out which Advantage plan your current doctors accept before you make your choice. Your doctors are also able to tell you which options they recommend and why. After that you can go to the Medicare Plan Finder tool enter your zip code, and you can compare the different health plans in your area (including drug coverage). When you are comparing the different plans, you want to consider the following factors:

  • Total costs–Look at the entire pricing package for the plan. Do not just focus on the deductibles and the premiums. Compare the out-of-pocket maximums plus the co-insurance and copays charged for prescription drugs, visits to specialists, diagnostic tests, hospital stays, and doctor office visits. You are not allowed to purchase a Medigap supplement when you have an Advantage plan, thus making this step essential in your considerations. If something does happen, you will be paying for these expenses out of pocket.
  • Extra benefits– There are many Advantage plans that include hearing, vision, and dental benefits. However, these are often limited. Make sure that you know what is covered beforehand.
  • Out-of-network coverage– Because you are limited to using in-network doctors only with most Advantage plans, you want to find out what is covered once something happens outside your network. If you live outside of your network part of the year or happen to travel extensively, this is something that you want to check.
  • Retiree benefits– You want to make sure that you speak with your benefits manager if you have coverage from a former employer. You may void your retiree coverage if you sign up for Medicare Advantage.

Remember that you can always turn to the professionals if you need help choosing a Medicare Advantage Plan. With a little bit of research, you are able to find the best possible deal to suit your needs.