The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is upon us once again. It started back on October 15, and will run through December 7.
If you are eligible for Medicare coverage, it’s important that you understand that this isn’t just about picking a plan. It’s really about finding a plan that represents the best fit based on your individual health and your financial goals.
Because of the financial implications inherent in health care, choosing the right plan is a fundamental part of creating and enjoying a secure retirement.
Below are tips that I have summarized from Cigna-HealthSpring’s Know Your Benefits that will help you to navigate your Medicare choices during the AEP.
Here are the highlights:
List Your Priorities
When choosing a healthcare plan, know what it is that’s most important to you. For example, if retirement assets are limited, you may be most interested in having low out-of-pocket costs. If maintaining good health is a priority, you’ll want a plan that is proactive when it comes to prevention.
There is no one plan that will have all of the options you’ll want and need, and that’s why you have to know what’s most important to you.
Never Ignore Preventative Care Benefits
The best way to deal with illness and injury is to make sure they don’t happen in the first place.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 100,000 lives could be saved each year if everyone received the recommended preventive care. One of your focuses should be finding a plan that will provide comprehensive preventative care benefits.
Understand the Nuances of the Network Offered
It’s not just your primary care physician and local hospital that need to be included in your health care network. You also need to include specialists and even specialized medical facilities. This will improve communication between providers and reduce your out-of-pocket costs.
Look for Plans that Pay for Options to Stay Healthy
If you’re interested in keeping fit, you might be interested to know that there are a few Medicare Advantage plans that offer coverage for gym memberships and fitness programs. They can make these available even though primary Medicare doesn’t cover them.
Take Advantage of Free Resources
There are free resources available that will help you find the best plan for your needs and goals. One is the CMS Plan Finder from the US government. It will help you to compare costs, covered medications and other important information. Local and state agencies on aging also connect older adults and caregivers with community resources.
According to a 2014 Cigna survey, consumers are seeing the connection between healthcare costs and a secure financial future. If you will be applying for Medicare during this year’s AEP, get a copy of Cigna-HealthSpring’s free Medicare Guide. The more you know about the process beforehand, the better prepared you’ll be to make the right choice. For more information, you can also visit the website: www.cignahealthspring.com.
I was compensated by Cigna-HealthSpring for this post. However, the opinions expressed here are strictly personal.