Medicare can be confusing and a major expense for seniors. Whether you’re a fairly new enrollee or have been on Medicare for years, we want to share some tips and important things to think about to maximize your benefits this year.
1. Check the calendar
The most important thing to remember is to enroll on time. If you miss the deadline, it will cost you. The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is the time you must sign up to avoid penalties. It spans seven months including three months before you turn 65 until three months after.
2. Options vary, so does price
Changing plans can be challenging in some circumstances and costly if you get your choices wrong. Whether you’re reviewing your coverage during open enrollment (Oct. 15 through Dec. 7) or signing up for the first time, it’s critical to be adequately insured.
3. Consider your network
With Original Medicare, you can see any doctor who accepts Medicare. But with a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll want to see which doctors and hospitals would be in your network. Look for your primary care physician, any specialists you already see and your hospital providers. Focus in on what applies to your personal situation.
4. Drug Plan Coverage
Original Medicare doesn’t include coverage for prescription drugs and other health items. That’s why choosing the right Medicare prescription drug plan matters so much. OHB has created a valuable tool to let us know what medications you are currently taking which is vital to an effective medicare review. The least expensive plan may NOT be your best option depending on what medications you take. Click here to use our Medicine Cabinet.
5. Double check Medicare Advantage out-of-pocket limits
Every year brings changes in Medicare Advantage plans and 2021 includes significant increases in the maximum out-of-pocket limits. The limit for in-network coverage will increase from $6,700 to $7,550 and for in-and-out of network combined, from $10,000 to $11,300. There is a fair number of plans at the maximum limit.
6. Travel limitations
Soon we should all be able to travel internationally and Medicare Advantage plans have limitations when it comes to coverage outside of the immediate service area. If you plan to travel in the future, be sure to look closely what is covered and the limits of what you are selecting.