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What You Need to Know Before Choosing Medicare Options

July 28, 2017

If you’re Medicare eligible, you’ll want to carefully assess costs and benefits when choosing your Medicare options. If you’re already signed up and using Medicare, open enrollment allows you to change your Medicare options each year if you want. Let’s look at some of the options you need to consider.

Understanding the ‘Parts’ of Medicare?

First, remember that Original Medicare includes two components:

  • Medicare Part A: Hospital Insurance
  • Medicare Part B: Medical Insurance

Both “parts” provide coverage by the government to ensure these two big needs are met. But because they don’t cover all costs, you may also choose these plans to enhance your Original Medicare coverage:

If all these parts seem like a lot to manage, maybe you'd like a few of them all under one roof. In that case, choose Medicare Advantage, which includes all Medicare Part A and Part B benefits, and usually includes…

Original Medicare alone doesn’t cover prescription medications but almost everyone needs them. There are different ways to get Part D. You can get drug coverage through Medicare Advantage Plans, or you can add a plan separately to your Medicare Supplement plan or Original Medicare.

Another option to consider are Medicare Supplement plans (Medigap) that cover coinsurance, copays, or your deductibles for Part A and Part B.

What Questions Should I Ask Before Choosing Medicare Options?

If you are turning 65 soon and reaching Medicare age, ask yourself these important questions before choosing Medicare options:

  1. Coverage: Does the plan cover all the services you need?
  2. Additional coverage: If you have additional coverage, how will that work with Medicare?
  3. Cost: What's the cost of insurance premiums, deductibles, physician visits, and stays in the hospital?
  4. Choice: Do you have to choose your providers from a network or do you have freedom to choose?
  5. Prescriptions: If you don’t already have creditable prescription drug coverage, will you need a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan? Check the prices of your current medications under the plans you’re considering. Then find out whether your drugs are covered under the plan’s formulary—a list of prescription drugs, both generic and brand name, that practitioners use to select drugs they feel offer the best value.
  6. Ratings: What’s the quality rating of the plans you have chosen?
  7. Travel: Are you covered if you travel to another state or out of the country?

Make sure you do your homework and ask questions. Medicare.gov is a great place to start.

Y0114_17_32137_I  07/28/2017
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Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company is a PDP plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company depends on contract renewal. Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company (Anthem) has contracted with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to offer the Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs) noted above or herein. Anthem is the state-licensed, risk-bearing entity offering these plans. Anthem has retained the services of its related companies and authorized agents/brokers/producers to provide administrative services and/or to make the PDPs available in this region. Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Association. ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross name and symbol are registered marks of the Blue Cross Association.

Anthem Blue Cross is an HMO plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Anthem Blue Cross depends on contract renewal. Anthem Blue Cross is the trade name of Blue Cross of California. Independent licensee of the Blue Cross Association. ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross name and symbol are registered marks of the Blue Cross Association.

Anthem Blue Cross is the trade name of Blue Cross of California. Independent licensee of the Blue Cross Association. ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross name and symbol are registered marks of the Blue Cross Association.

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. You must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium.

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