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Medicare: Get It Right The First Time

Are you turning 65 soon? Are you already on Medicare? Well, if either of those things applies to you, I have no doubt your mailbox, email, and phone have been inundated with ads and salespeople offering you the “best” Medicare Health Plan. I’ve met lawyers, doctors, judges, and even rocket scientists (yes, real rocket scientists) that can’t make heads or tails of Medicare. Often in my offices, we are faced with seniors who are emotional and just plain exhausted from trying to navigate a program that even some “experts” do not properly understand. 

When you turn 65 you are generally entitled to participate in the Medicare Program, but there are truly some very important decisions to be made, and the price of the plan isn’t the only concern. Did you know that most Medicare Health Plan decisions are made with the primary consideration focused on your Prescription Drugs? It is critical to get this right because poor planning with your Part D Drug Plan can destroy your budget and leave you needing Medication that may not be covered by the plan. Having a professional advisor that knows these Part D Drug Plans inside and out is critical. 

After you’ve considered your drug coverage, it is important to know that your health plan will cover the physicians that you currently use. A detailed examination of the provider networks is a critical next step. An important note to ease your mind is that Medicare Health Plans include most all the available doctors, and it is quite rare for a provider not to be included in these networks. 

Next, you should be concerned about the medical conditions you have (not the future conditions nobody can predict) and ensure that the plan you are deciding on will provide the benefits needed to cover expenses related to those conditions. Again, it is rare that a plan won’t cover a condition, but prudence dictates that you should check to be sure.

 Many Medicare Health Plans also provide substantial additional benefits that Original Medicare (Medicare with no Medi-Gap or Medicare Advantage Plan) does not offer. These other benefits can make a qualitative difference in your day-to-day activities, and also save a senior substantial dollars month-to-month. Benefits like eyeglasses, hearing aids, dentures, and even utility cards to help pay for power bills, phones, etc. 

An experienced Medicare Health Plan Professional can help seniors make changes to their health plans that will actually save them, in many cases, $3,000 to $4,000 per person per year! 

If you are a senior already on Medicare and have a Medicare Health Plan, the same guidelines as above still apply. Maybe it’s been years since you evaluated your plan choice. Maybe you are not sure what to do. Maybe you, like many other seniors, are nervous about change…I cannot stress enough the importance of evaluating your Medicare Health Plan choice yearly with a competent Professional. I have been working with seniors for 13 years, and almost inevitably, when I meet a new client, they have not looked at their available options for a long time. After a carefully detailed discussion, they are floored to find out how much money they have left on the table. Often seniors believe that they cannot make changes to their plans during the year and have to wait until the Annual Enrollment Period in October, but I can confidently say that in most cases, I am able to help them make changes as early as the beginning of the following month. 

If you are trying to figure out how to make your budget work when inflation has robbed you of your limited financial resources, look to a Professional who is dedicated to finding you dollars that are being wasted on your Medicare Health Plan premium expenses. You certainly will not regret it. 

-Brad Dyer, CEO/Founder of Hometown Senior Solutions

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