Should you change your Medicare Advantage plan?
Medicare recipients have access to a wide array of health and drug insurance options. These plans vary widely from company to company and from place to place. For people already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, the question is: Should you shop around for a new plan for 2013?
If you are thinking of changing plans, here are some important considerations:
Will all of your doctors be in the new plan's network? Some people don't mind changing doctors if it means saving money. Others are terrified of changing doctors. Keep this in mind when considering switching to a new plan.
How will your current medications be covered under the plan you are considering? If you take only generic drugs, you shouldn't have a problem - but brand drugs can be covered differently from plan to plan. Under different plans, co-pays for the same brand name drug can be dramatically different. This can add up to hundreds of dollars each year.
What do local healthcare professionals think about the plans in your area? Actually, a great person to ask is the receptionist at your doctor's office. They usually know which plan(s) the doctors like. The most common complaint is how difficult it is to get approval for tests and procedures. Doctors and their staffs are frustrated with some plans because of difficulties and delays in getting "prior authorizations". Getting some 'inside' information can be valuable in your decision making.
There are many things to consider when evaluating Medicare Advantage plans during this year's annual enrollment period. Remember, the annual enrollment period this year runs from October 15 - December 7.
(There are some exceptions to changing plans outside the Medicare annual enrollment period. If you move you may be able to change plans or, if for some reason, your plan is terminated. Also there are some Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans that you can switch to anytime during the year. If you have a Medicare supplement plan you can change any time during the year.)
You can compare the plans available in your area, and even enroll in a new plan should you choose, by visiting Medicare.gov or calling 1-800-MEDICARE.
Alternatively, many people appreciate help when evaluating their choices. For residents of California professional assistance is available, as local agent Michael Kortz will be happy to explain your options and provide the information you are looking for.