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How to Effectively Shop for Medicare

Many of us don’t realize how many options we have when it comes to healthcare. As you near retirement, you probably assume that you’ll get Original Medicare and nothing else. While you can do this, there are many other options out there.

This begs a few questions. First and foremost, what options are available to qualifying adults? What should you consider before making a decision? Finally, when can you make changes to your existing Medicare plan? We will answer all of these questions and more in the following guide. Let’s take a look at a few different methods to effectively shop for the right Medicare plan(s) for you.

Review Your Healthcare Needs

Everyone’s body and mind are unique. What works for you may not work for someone else. As a result, you shouldn’t assume that there is a one-size-fits-all Medicare option. Instead, you and your doctor will need to evaluate your individual healthcare needs to help you choose the best plan for you.

Based on your medical history, preexisting conditions, and family health history, you may need a plan that offers better coverage for certain conditions. For example, some people opt for a Medicare Advantage plan to get additional coverage like vision, dental, and hearing.

Evaluate Your Budget

Generally, Medicare is the most affordable health insurance option for older adults. However, some Medicare plans are more expensive than others. For example, many people don’t have to pay a premium for Part A, but the deductible is relatively high.

Alternatively, Part B has a higher monthly premium with a very low deductible. There are also Medicare Supplement plans to help with some of these costs. Thus, you’ll need to evaluate your budget to see how much you can reasonably spend on healthcare each month, quarter, and year.

Know the Medicare Open Enrollment Timeline

It’s pointless to prepare for Medicare shopping if you don’t know when to obtain a new Medicare plan. Fortunately, there are several months before the 2021 Medicare Open Enrollment (MOE) period starts. This period lasts from October 15 until December 7.

If you want to switch to a different Medicare plan and have it go into effect on January 1, 2022, you’ll need to make the change before December 7. Otherwise, you might need to wait a full year to make any changes.

Next Steps

Medicare does not have to be complicated. Shopping for the right Medicare plan just requires a little bit of preparation, as well as an understanding of your health needs and budget. Once you have adequately prepared, you’ll be ready to find the perfect Medicare plan in no time!

Have you looked at all your Medicare options? Has your doctor helped you in figuring out what kind of coverage you will need? Do any medical conditions factor in your choice? How did you shop around? Please share your experience and tips with the community!

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The Author

Jason Carrasco is the Medicare expert for Time for 65. Jason loves sharing his expertise and knowledge with older adults, loved ones and caregivers who may be new to, or who simply have a difficult time understanding the ins and outs of, Medicare.

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