Medicare can be a complicated program to navigate. Whether you’re just aging into Medicare or are prepping for another year of enrollment and would like to better understand the program, these medicare tips for seniors will help you simplify the process.
Know What You Need
Before you enroll in any insurance program, make sure to check in with your primary care physician. Make a thorough list of the different types of treatment and medication you’ll need before you begin the Medicare enrollment process. Also ask your doctor if any major changes to your treatment plan are needed. Taking these steps will help you choose a Medicare program that provides the best coverage for what you need, preventing headaches down the road.
Medicare is not a single, all-encompassing insurance program. According to Medicare.gov, there are two main ways that you can get covered by Medicare. Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), or Medicare Advantage (Part C). Some seniors need to get Medicare drug coverage or Medigap, as well.
In short, Original Medicare includes hospital insurance and medical insurance. Drug coverage is separate. Medicare Advantage covers hospital insurance, medical insurance, and often drug coverage, vision, hearing, dental, and more. Spend some time on Medicare.gov to compare plans and determine what will work best for you and your family.
Choose Doctors Carefully
Before you choose a new doctor, check if they accept your preferred Medicare plan. There are several ways a doctor can be a part of the Medicare program:
- Participating: These providers accept Medicare’s approved payment; you or your supplemental insurance will be responsible for 20%
- Non-participating: These providers take Medicare, but can charge you an additional 15%. This is known as a limiting charge
- Opt-out: These providers do not accept Medicare, and can charge patients whatever they please
Take the time to interview your doctor in advance as well—you want to look for a doctor who is sensitive to the specific physical and mental health requirements that seniors have.
You might be comfortable with your Medicare benefits or not be interested in changing anything anytime soon. That being said, be sure to stay updated on changing laws or policies in order to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible. During every open enrollment period, do your research to determine that your plan is still the best fit for your current needs. You might be tempted to just keep the same plan year to year, but you might be able to save thousands by conducting a bit of research.
Use Your Benefits
Once you have your benefits, be sure to use them. There are a lot of services that Medicare will cover for you that the average person doesn’t know about. You’re paying for it, so take advantage!
There are a few different things you should incorporate into your care:
- An annual wellness visit
- Telehealth services
- Counseling to help you quit smoking
- Nutrition counseling
Head to Medicare.gov for the full list of services that Medicare covers.
More Tips for Seniors
At Copeland Oaks, we want to help you make the most of your retirement. Take a look at the Copeland Oaks blog for helpful posts and articles. We have healthy, senior-friendly recipes, medication management tips, strategies to improve your overall health, and more!