Kathie Mancini: Eligible for Medicare? Here’s what to consider when choosing a plan

As inflation causes us all to stretch our dollars, the majority of Americans are likely focused on finding the best prices without sacrificing quality. Health care can be expensive, so picking the right insurance plan that meets your individual or family needs can be critical to maintaining a balanced budget.

Right now—during an annual election period that lasts through Dec. 7—people eligible for Medicare have the opportunity to select a plan that provides the affordability, convenience and benefits they want as well as the quality healthcare they deserve.

For the 1.3 million individuals in Indiana who rely on Medicare for their health insurance, I encourage you to make a list of what’s necessary to have in your plan and then think about what else you’d like to have included.

Network of doctors and hospitals. If you have specific doctors and hospitals you prefer, make sure they are in network for the plan you select.

More than medical coverage. Determine what benefits are important to you based on your health status and medication requirements. Do you want dental, vision and hearing coverage? What about prescription drug coverage?

Additional benefits. If you need transportation assistance to and from doctors’ appointments; allowances to cover out-of-pocket dental, vision or hearing expenses; access to fitness programs; or services to support your mental health, these are all considerations when selecting a plan. If you’re interested in receiving care in your home, consider looking into a Medicare Advantage plan with providers that can provide care in the home.

Prescription drug coverage. Prescription drug coverage is included in many Medicare Advantage plans, but it is not part of original Medicare. Have a list of your medications handy, so you can compare estimated prescription costs as you evaluate plan options. Some plans even offer $0 copays for prescriptions.

Your list will help you determine if original Medicare or Medicare Advantage would best fit your lifestyle.

With all-in-one plans that include dental, vision, hearing and prescription drug coverage in addition—to consumer savings of nearly $2,000 per year compared with what beneficiaries pay in original Medicare—Medicare Advantage plans are increasing in popularity every year.

Take time now to research your options. There are many new Medicare Advantage offerings this year, so it is worth taking the time to evaluate your options to find the best plan for your healthcare needs – and your wallet.

The Medicare Plan Finder on Medicare.gov can help compare plans, benefits and get an estimated cost for each plan. For more information, visit www.Medicare.gov or call 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) 24 hours a day, seven days a week. (TTY users should call 877-486-2048).•

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Mancini is Humana’s regional president of Medicare for Indiana

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