The first thing you need to do is to evaluate your health needs. Examine your present drug prescriptions and how frequently you see your healthcare providers. Did you receive notification from your plan provider about changes to your plan? Make a list of your current medical needs and anything that has changed since your last registration in your Medicare plan.
Even if you want to keep your current cover, it may be time to make a change to your plan, because a similar plan may give you even more benefits or cut costs. With private insurers in the Medicare insurance industry highly competitive, premiums and plan benefits are constantly changing, to the benefit of consumers.
Compare your list of other available Medicare benefit plans in your area by carefully reviewing all benefits and costs. Make sure that you not only compare monthly premiums, but also take into account all your expenses – including all co-payments, deductibles, and co-insurance! You can begin your research on the Medicare.gov website or contact a licensed insurance broker specializing in Medicare.
If you choose a Medicare specialist, it is best to seek someone who is independent of a particular health insurance company so that he can offer you the full range of available plans. These counselors can also be more motivated to find a plan that works best for you, while an insurance agent will try to force you into one of the two or three plans he or she has for sale.
While it is usually a good idea to ask friends and family members for their recommendations, keep in mind that the medical needs are very individual and a Medicare plan that is perfect for your friend may not meet your health needs.
To make the right decision, you also need to know the differences between Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Supplement Insurance. There is no one size. For some, for example, those who do not see the doctor that often, Medicare Advantage plans may work better, while for others, particularly senior citizens in rural areas with a limited number of health care providers, a Medicare supplement plan with a wider choice of Doctors could be better – even if it costs a little more.
Here you can save money by evaluating all currently available plans and comparing them to your current medical needs. The variety of Medicare plans makes the selection more complex. However, if you want to find the best Medicare plan for your individual needs in 2013, you can compare the benefits and offer of the plan during the 2013 Medicare Open Enrollment period.
Finally, you should also note two changes to the Medicare registration this year:
1- The registration of Medicare starts earlier and ends earlier. From 15 October, eligible beneficiaries may join or change from a new Medicare plan. However, you can only register until December 7 of this year. (In the past year, the enrollment period lasted from mid-November to the end of the year.)
2- For some, there are year round registrations. There is an important exception to this registration period: you can switch to a five-star Medicare plan at any time this year from December 8 to November 30, 2012.