If you’re approaching your 65th birthday or just celebrated this auspicious occasion, you’ve got some choices to make.
Foremost of these is how to best enjoy your golden years, but aside from that, you’ve also got to think about your future healthcare needs.
The average stint in the hospital can cost almost $ 4,000 per day in the USA, and healthcare prices seem to escalate every day. So, it’s important to place health insurance towards the top of your priority list right now.
Fortunately, the federal government has a plan for you when it comes to ensuring you’re cared for in later life. All US citizens over the age of 65 years old are eligible for original Medicare as well as a host of Medicare Advantage plans.
Read on to find out how to choose the best Medicare Advantage plans for you.
Medicare in a Nutshell
If you receive social security payments, you’re automatically signed up for Medicare, but you can opt-out if you want to.
It’s important to find out what other options are available before you commit to Medicare since it can be tricky to go back if you change your mind.
Original Medicare consists of two parts as follows:
- Medicare Part A that covers inpatient hospital stays, some home health care, and care in a nursing facility
- Medicare Part B for additional doctor’s services, preventive care, medical supplies, and outpatient care
There’s also Medicare Part D to help pay for vaccines and prescription drugs. This is an optional plan and it isn’t included for those receiving social security.
Medicare Part C is the realm of the best Medicare Advantage plans and it serves as a replacement health insurance policy for those who need more than what Original Medicare offers.
Private insurers sell these policies and while they must include everything that Original Medicare offers, they also provide some appealing extras.
If you opt for Original Medicare, you always need to bear things in mind like copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. With Medicare Advantage, these costs are often included in your monthly fee.
Things to Consider When Choosing The Best Medicare Advantage Plan
You know your medical needs best, yet accidents and other unforeseen medical emergencies are largely a roll of the dice. So, if you want to cover all your bases, Medicare Advantage could be the right choice for you.
These are the questions to ask yourself while making the big decision:
- How much can I afford to pay for my premiums every month?
- Can I afford the cost of copayments for my needs?
- Do I want coverage for doctor’s appointments and prescription medication?
- What are the limits of Medicare and can I afford to make up the shortfall?
- Do I have any preferred medical suppliers that don’t accept Medicare?
- Do I want insurance cover for vision, dental, and hearing treatments?
- Can I afford to pay for my prescribed medications?
- Do I need health cover for international travel?
The best Medicare Advantage plans will ensure you’re covered for almost every eventuality – at a price.
Yet, depending on your needs, a Medicare Advantage plan often works out cheaper than Original Medicare when you consider copayments, deductibles, and medications.
Does this sound like something that could work for you? Keep reading for more.
Types of Medicare Advantage Plans Offered in Arizona
Opting for a Medicare Advantage Plan gives you a wide range of options when it comes to health insurance. Apart from a few basic provisos, each state has its own regulations regarding these plans.
Apart from these legal mandates, insurance providers have carte blanche concerning the medical services they cover. These are the main types of Medicare Advantage plans in Arizona.
Preferred Provider Organization Plans
These plans have a specific provider network. You’ll pay more for your premiums is you want to visit out-of-network facilities or doctors. With these plans, you don’t need a referral to see a specialist.
HMO Health Maintenance Organization Plans
These policies won’t pay for out-of-network medical services, but they’re among the most affordable Plan C options around.
Some plans don’t even charge a monthly premium. In these cases, you might still have to pay the Medicare Part B premium.
Private Fee-for-Service Plans
These plans have no network restrictions. The insurer only pays a portion of your bill for medical services though.
The more you pay for your premium, the less you pay for medical treatment.
Special Needs Plans
These plans work best if you’ve got chronic health conditions. They also cover institutional conditions like an end-stage renal disease.
Your insurance provider has to offer a Medicare Part D drug plan with this type of insurance.
Medicare Medical Savings Account
These types of plans have high deductibles. That means you’ll pay more copayments before you reach your annual limit.
You also pay towards a special medical savings account when you choose one of these policies.
Extra Perks Offered By Medicare Advantage Plans in Arizona
As of 2020, companies providing Medicare Advantage plans in Arizona can offer supplemental services like help with making structural changes related to installing ramps or widening doorways for your home.
Depending on the insurer you choose, you could also benefit from the following add-ons to your policy:
- Wellness programs
- Gym memberships
- Diet and nutritional advice
- Routine vision, hearing, and dental care
- Allowances for some over-the-counter medications
- Seminars and classes on healthy living
- Transportation to medical appointments
- Contributions towards your Medicare Part B premium
For more information on Arizona Medicare Advantage health insurance, you can compare plans on Medicare Wire.
What About Prescription Drugs?
Some Arizona Medicare Part C policies include prescription drugs in their coverage. These plans, called Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans, cover Medicare Part A, Part B, and Part D coverage in a single policy.
If you want to take advantage of this, be sure to choose one of these policies during your Medicare Enrollment Period. You can’t change this later on without undergoing a waiting period for coverage to kick in.
Often, these plans can work out more affordable in the long run despite their higher premiums.
Be sure to check the formulary and prescription drug portions of the relevant insurance policy when you’re considering your options.
Can You Visit Any Hospital or Service Provider in Arizona With Medicare Advantage?
While original Medicare’s widely accepted and standardized across the country, you’ll have to sign up for a new Medicare Advantage Plan if you move out of Arizona.
Some service providers want upfront payment if you have Plan C health insurance. Always check the network restrictions on any policy before you sign up.
HMO Medicare Advantage and PPO Medicare Advantage plans cover out-of-network treatment as well as out-of-state treatment in the event of an emergency.
When Can You Enrol for Arizona Medicare Advantage Plans?
If you’ve decided that a Medicare Advantage plan’s right for you, the next question is, ‘when do I sign up?’. You’ll have quite a few opportunities to get on board with the best Medicare Advantage plans or make changes to your existing cover.
These are the applicable periods for Medicare Advantage enrolment in Arizona:
- ICEP – the Medicare Initial Coverage Election Period when you sign up for Medicare Part A and B
- AEP – the Medicare Annual Election Period AEP from October 15 to December 7
- MA OEP – from January 1 to March 31st each year
- SEP – the Medicare Special Election Periods for special circumstances
The previous Medicare Advantage Disenrollent Period (MADP) isn’t an option anymore. Now, when you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you can’t change your policy for a year.
More on Choosing the Best Medicare Plan
As we age we’re likely to encounter more health issues, so it’s important to consider your future health needs when renewing your health insurance.
Review all the available options every year and use these pointers as guidance for choosing the best one. A policy that suits your needs right now, isn’t always the best choice for your future.
Now, to circle back to the first issue you need to consider at this time of your life, keep reading for more tips on how to live your life to the fullest.
Whether you’re searching for answers on the best Medicare Advantage plans or looking for the best ways to spend your free time, we can help.
Keep browsing our online magazine to find out more about the things you want to know.