How to pick a Medicare Advantage plan

Medicare Drawing on Blackboard with Clipping PathThe following article gives step by step advice on how to go about finding the best Medicare Advantage plan for you. Read on to learn more, and thanks for visiting Advocare. We provide Medical Care Management, Home Care Management, Transition Care Management and Life Care Planning for area seniors throughout South Florida. 

In the months leading up to the fall Medicare open enrollment season, your mailbox may be overflowing with sales brochures from Medicare Advantage plans. Our advice is to ignore them. There are better, unbiased ways to pick the right plan for you.

First and most important is to read the Annual Notice of Change. This is a notice your Advantage plan sends you in September. It will tell you if there are going to be any changes in your plan in the coming year. Sometimes you will find that your plan is no longer being offered.

If you like the plan you have, you don’t have to do anything. But it’s a good idea to check anyway to see if you can get a better deal with another plan.

Finding plans available in your area

Your first stop should be the plan finder on Medicare’s website, Medicare.gov. On the home page (pictured above), click on the green button titled “Find health & drug plans” to get started. Follow the screen instructions carefully and you should be ok. If you mess up, you can always start over.

After you have entered your ZIP code, you will be asked to list the drugs you take and the drugstores you like to use. It’s very important to give this information if you take any drugs on a regular basis. The plan finder will use the information to figure your exact yearly cost for your drugs over the coming year. It will even tell you whether and when you will enter the donut hole.

If you don’t put in this information, you will be shown the average drug cost for people on this plan.

Even if you are not planning to change plans, you should enter this information every year. Just because your drugs were on your plan’s “preferred” list this year does not mean they will be on it next year. Plans change their drug lists frequently.

Once you have finished answering all the questions, you will come to a page titled “Refine your plan results.” Check the box that says you want to see “Medicare Health Plans with drug coverage.” Finally click the brown box that says “Continue to Plan Results.”

Choosing your plan

The first thing to do is make sure you are seeing all the plans in your area. At the top of the list you will see a choice between seeing just 10 plans or seeing all of them. Ask to see all of them.

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