It pays big dividends to study your Medicare plan in order to maximize the benefits available to you. With our healthcare costs continuing to spiral out of control, it is important to ensure you are getting the most for your money by securing those benefits that are available.
Even though all Medicare beneficiaries are entitled to receive the same basic core benefits, not all plans are the same. There are some Medicare plans that offer extra benefits while others may have limits where and when you can receive your care. Typically, older Americans count on Medicare covering most of their expenses, but it takes a little extra effort to brush up on the rules and learn how the system works.
According to a recent article published by Motley Fool, there are 5 trusted ways to maximize your Medicare.
- Enroll on Time: By signing up on time, you receive a lower premium and your medical issues are covered. Once you become eligible for Medicare, 3 months prior to your 65th birthday, you will have 7 months to sign up for Medicare Part A and B. If you miss this golden opportunity, you can sign up between January 1st and March 31st every year. If you fail to enroll, your Medicare B premium could go up 10% every 12 month period that you were eligible for Medicare.
- Medicare Advantage Plans: These are plans offered by private insurers. Typically, they have their own benefits, deductibles and premiums, but are required to match Medicare's Part A & B coverage. Many of the Medicare Advantage plans give you additional options to purchase dental and vision coverage. A key feature with Medicare Advantage plans is the cap on your out-of-pocket liability for health care services. There is no cap on Medicare A & B coverage. Currently, Medicare Advantage plans limit participants out-of-pocket expenses at $6,700 per year. Additionally, Medicare doesn't cover gym memberships and fitness programs, but some Medicare Advantage plans offer them at reduced rates.
- Review your Prescription Drug Needs: Medicare Part A& B don't cover the costs for prescription drugs, so it is wise to purchase Medicare Part D plan for this coverage. These types of plans vary significantly, so you will need to carefully review your medication needs and match them with a plan. According to a US News article report, Medicare Advantage plans that include prescription drug coverage use formularies that dictate which medications are covered and what co-pay is required. In some plans, brand name or more expensive medicines come with higher co-pays. Sometimes it makes sense to pay a little more for your prescription drug Part D premium to save money in the long run.
- Get your Free Preventative Services: It makes good financial sense to take advantage of all your free preventative wellness services from mammograms, diabetes testing to depression screening that Medicare offers. By utilizing the preventative services available, your health and wallet will benefit greatly. To view a complete list of preventative services and how often they can be used, access Medicare's Guide to Preventative Services.
- Take Advantage of Telehealth Services: Senior citizens have a difficult time getting to and from their medical professionals, so Medicare's telehealth services enables seniors to seek sound advice without having to see their healthcare provider in person. By having the opportunity to discuss medical issues remotely, this benefit removes the stress of going to see a doctor or visit an emergency room. Telehealth allows Medicare enrollees to consult with their healthcare team electronically which saves older adults time, travel and money.
Healthcare continues to be a major concern and an escalating expense for the vast majority of retirees. By following these simple steps to maximize your Medicare, you'll be doing your part to protect your finances as well as your health.