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How to Find the Best Medicare Advantage Plan?

November 29, 20237 min read

Over 26 million people are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan. These popular private insurance options combine Medicare Part A, Part B, and usually Part D prescription drug coverage in one convenient package. Medicare Advantage Plans also offer appealing extra benefits like $0 premiums, dental care and vision coverage. But how do you determine which plan will provide the best fit for your personal needs? This in-depth article will guide you on finding the optimal Medicare Advantage coverage for you.

Introduction to Medicare Advantage

Let’s start by understanding what these plans are all about. Medicare Advantage Plans are health insurance plans offered by private companies approved by Medicare. They provide all of the benefits of Original Medicare plus often provide additional coverage as well. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Sold by insurance companies like Aetna, Humana, UnitedHealthcare instead of Original Medicare

  • Mandated to cover all Medicare Part A and Part B services

  • Usually include integrated Part D prescription drug benefits

  • Have restricted provider networks you must use

  • Often extra benefits like dental, vision, hearing aid coverage

Medicare Advantage Plans offer an all-in-one alternative to Original Medicare plus Medigap and stand-alone Part D prescription plans.

Finding the right Advantage Plan is key to making sure you get optimal coverage and savings. Comparing all of the available options will enable you to determine the best plan for your needs.

Assessing Your Needs

In order to find plans that suit you well, begin by clearly defining your specific coverage requirements:

Medications

Make a list of all your prescription medications along with dosage, preferred pharmacy, anticipated annual drug spend and which drugs are critical vs. occasional use. Understanding your needs will facilitate checking plan drug formularies.

Healthcare Providers

Note your primary doctor, any specialist physicians you see on a recurring basis, preferred hospital as well as any durable medical equipment vendors or home health providers utilized. Check provider directories to confirm robust access.

Budget

Get very clear on what you can afford annually in terms of premiums, deductibles, copays, coinsurance contributions and maximum out-of-pocket costs. Understand how costs may fluctuate if your health declines.

Having this detailed profile of your healthcare and budget landscape ahead of time will enable side-by-side comparisons of plan particulars to meet identified needs.

Searching for Medicare Advantage Plans

Now that you know what you want in terms of coverage and cost, conduct a methodical search for applicable plan options in your area through various avenues:

Medicare.gov Plan Finder

The Federal government's Medicare website includes a tool where you can compare Medicare Advantage Plans available near your zip code along with ratings. This allows you to evaluate coverage options most pertinent to your location.

Insurance Company Websites

Most established insurance firms like AARP, Mutual of Omaha and Blue Cross Blue Shield have online quote tools where you can view 2023 plan details such as premiums, drug coverage and provider networks for the options they sell.

Independent Insurance Brokers

Speaking with independent Medicare brokers in your state comes highly recommended. They have access to plan specifics across insurance providers in your area along with insights into local reputation or changes year-over-year. Unbiased brokers assist in weighing alternatives to recommend optimal coverage exclusively catering to your situation.

Evaluating Medicare Advantage Plans

As you research specific plans, what aspects should you zero in on to identify the ideal plan for your personal circumstances?

Costs

  • Monthly premium charge (if any)

  • Annual deductible (typically $0 for Advantage Plans)

  • Copays such as primary doctor visits & specialists

  • Hospitalization & outpatient surgery coinsurance

  • Annual maximum out-of-pocket threshold

Crunch numbers to estimate total anticipated costs with each plan based on your health profile.

Covered Providers

Verify that preferred local hospitals, physician groups, specialist doctors, durable equipment outlets and pharmacies are included “in-network”. Using out-of-network providers results in substantially higher personal costs.

Prescription Drugs

  • What tier is each medication categorized as?

  • Confirm all prescriptions are included in the formulary

  • Any quantity limits or prior authorization requirements?

  • Review copays per 30-day supply for each tier

Enhanced Benefits

Compare dental, vision, hearing aid benefits along with eligibility guidelines. Seek plans with coverage complementing your needs rather than frilly extras. Pay attention to applicable in-network requirements.

Service Pre-Authorization Requirements

Some plans require approval of certain drugs or procedures before agreeing to cover them. Understand associated processes and average determination timeframes.

Once you’ve researched multiple options, compare total estimated plan costs plus discern how closely each aligns to your healthcare and budget priorities.

Questions to Ask Brokers

Speaking with one or more independent Medicare insurance agents (brokers) can provide additional context and support:

  • “What Medicare Advantage Plans do you recommend for someone with my health profile and main healthcare providers?"

  • “How do total annual costs compare between various Advantage options and going the Original Medicare plus Medigap route?”

  • “Which plans offer the most robust prescription drug coverage with all my medications?”

  • "What new or improved benefits are available in 2023 plans I should consider?"

  • "Will you continue to support me as needed once I’m enrolled in responding to questions or issues?"

Keep asking questions until each detail and nuance is clear!

Conclusion

Finding the optimal Medicare Advantage Plan requires:

  • Clearly documenting your healthcare priorities including medications, doctors and budget

  • Researching all relevant plans available in your geographic area

  • Comparing plans across cost structure, provider networks, drug coverage and enhanced benefits

  • Enlisting support from unbiased Medicare brokers or advisors with expertise is invaluable

  • Annually reevaluating changing plan details against your needs

Invest time upfront each year assessing new market options to maximize satisfaction and savings under Medicare Advantage program options.

We’re Here to Help

You do not have to spend hours reading articles on the internet to get answers to your Medicare questions. Give the licensed insurance agents at Brexden Insurance a Call at (870) 919-7177. You will get the answers you seek in a matter of minutes, with no pressure and no sales pitch. We are truly here to help.

Frequently asked questions

What are the key factors to consider when looking for the best Medicare Advantage Plan?

 When searching for the best Medicare Advantage Plan, it's essential to consider factors such as coverage and benefits, network of healthcare providers, prescription drug coverage( Part D Plan or drug plan), costs including premiums, co-pays, and deductibles, as well as star ratings and plan quality.

How can I find the best Medicare Advantage Plan for my needs?

 To find the best Medicare Advantage Plan for your specific needs, you can use the Medicare Plan Finder tool on the official Medicare website, compare plans offered in your area, and evaluate their coverage, costs, and health care provider networks to make an informed decision.

What are the different types of Medicare Advantage Plans available?

 Medicare Advantage Plans come in various types including Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans, Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans, Special Needs Plans (SNPs), and Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) plans, each with its own features and restrictions.

How do I choose the best Medicare Advantage Plan considering the upcoming changes in 2024?

 When selecting a Medicare Advantage Plan in 2024, it's crucial to review changes to plan offerings, costs, coverage options, and star ratings to ensure the plan still aligns with your healthcare needs and preferences.

Can a Medicare Advantage Plan provide prescription drug coverage?

 Yes, many Medicare Advantage Plans offer prescription drug coverage, also known as Medicare Part D, as part of their benefits package. It's important to review each plan's formulary to ensure it covers the medications you need.

How can I determine the best Medicare Advantage Plan in terms of providers and coverage?

 You can determine the best Medicare Advantage Plan by checking if your preferred healthcare providers participate in the plan's network and ensuring that the plan provides coverage for the medical services and treatments you require.

What is the role of a Medicare Supplement Plan in selecting the best Medicare Advantage Plan?

 Medicare Supplement Plans, also known as Medigap policies, can complement Medicare Advantage Plans by covering additional costs such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. However, you cannot have both a Medicare Supplement Plan and a Medicare Advantage Plan at the same time.

How do I sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan?

 You can sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan during the initial enrollment period when you first become eligible for Medicare, or during the annual open enrollment period from October 15th to December 7th each year. You can also enroll during special enrollment periods in certain circumstances.

Do Medicare Advantage Plans cover the same services as Original Medicare?

 Medicare Advantage Plans cover all the services provided by Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B), and often include additional benefits such as vision, dental, and hearing coverage, as well as prescription drug benefits.

How do I choose the best Medicare Advantage Plan for prescription drug coverage?

 To choose the best Medicare Advantage Plan for prescription drug coverage, carefully review each plan's formulary, co-payment amounts, and coverage for the specific medications you take, and consider any restrictions or limitations on prescription drugs offered.

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Brexden Insurance Agency Inc

Phone: 870-919-7177

Email: brexdeninsuranceagency@gmail.com

Office Address: 5024 Eden Cv, Jonesboro, AR 72405

We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1-800 MEDICARE to get information on all of your options.