While some of the millions of senior citizens who use Medicare are capable of doing it all themselves, this isn’t always the case. Many will require assistance in some way. Maybe they don’t know what to do, don’t know what they need or simply don’t know how to choose what is best for them.
There are ways for them to reach out to professionals or experts with questions, but sometimes, you yourself might be able to help. If you want to be able to help your parents, grandparents or family friends with their Medicare, this is the article for you. Without any further ado, let’s look at a couple tips and hints to help you choose the best Medicare plan for your parents or loved ones.
Know Their Needs and Lifestyle
First and foremost, if you want to help them choose the best plan, you need to know their needs and lifestyles. Know the type of healthcare services they use, the medications they need and a variety of things like that. Ask if they plan on travelling, where they spend most of their time and if they need anything extra like vision or dental care.
Also, don’t forget about the future. Their needs might change over time. So be sure to take that into account when deciding the kind of plan and coverage that they should get. While you might think you already know what your parents needs are, it’s always a good idea to ask and get reassurance.
Understand the Options
Next, you need to be aware of the options. In general, there are two main options when it comes to Medicare. You have original Medicare, which is comprised of Part A (in-patient care and hospital) and Part B (out-patient care, doctor visits, blood tests, etc…). Then you have Medicare Advantage, which is Part C. Medicare Advantage includes both parts A and B, but also allows for extras to be added. There is also Part D, but that is just for prescription drugs.
Be sure to check all about Medicare Advantage plan here to learn more about it. If you opt to go with a Medicare Advantage Plan/Part C, there are a lot of options. Every private company will have their own unique plan with different premiums, drug coverage, deductibles and more. This step can often involve a lot of research, but it can be well worth it to get a plan that is perfect for your parents.
Be Aware of When Open Enrollment is
Open enrollment is the period every year where people can enroll in and sign up for health insurance plans. The open enrollment period varies every year and can differ depending on where in the country your parents reside. For most states, it began on November 1st 2019 and will be open until December 15th 2019.
If you are not aware of when the open enrollment period is in your state, they may miss the deadline. This can be terrible, as it means they will have to wait in order to be enrolled in a health insurance plan, which could prove very costly. Always research the dates ahead of time.
Have Knowledge of What They Can Afford
The best health insurance for your parents is the one they can afford. If they enlist in a plan with premiums, deductibles and copays that they cannot afford, it can really hurt their finances. While it would be lovely if they could afford every benefit they want, this isn’t always realistic for all families.
You should also find out how much they are spending on healthcare right now, to better judge the plans and see what works for them. This can involve taking a deep dive into the finances of your parents and you should leave no stone unturned.
Learn About Their Preferred Providers
Many of our parents have a doctor or a specialist that they have been seeing for years and are very comfortable with. Because some plans only have a certain network of doctors that can be used, there is no guarantee the plan you enroll them in will include their doctors.
If they don’t want to leave their doctor, be sure to find a plan that has a network that includes their doctor. This is because using an out-of-network doctor or healthcare provider can often be more expensive. If they are open to seeking out new doctors and providers, it can often make it easier to find them a plan, as they will find a new doctor anyways. You don’t want to disappoint them by making them switch, so always ask for their input.
In conclusion, we sincerely hope that this blog post has been able to provide you with a few tips and hints on how to choose the best Medicare plan for your parents as they get older.