By Rich Lewis, guest contributor
The Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP) is upon us! It runs from October 15th through December 7th, 2019. There are exciting new Medicare Insurance options available in 2020 and beginning October 1, 2019, you can meet with a Medicare insurance broker to explore all your options. As you explore options for 2020, there are some important things to consider.
Consideration #1: Cost
Spending more does not always get you more. The Medicare health insurance market is always changing and improving. This is due in large part to the competition between Medicare insurance carriers. As you consider options for 2020, look for the plan or carrier that will provide the greatest value for the money you spend. We find that “value” is different for each of our clients.
There is no “one size fits all” option when it comes to Medicare. That is great news! It is important to find a broker (someone who represents multiple insurance carriers as opposed to only representing one company) and express what is valuable to you. This will allow your broker to identify a Medicare insurance plan that will fit your needs while minimizing your cost to the greatest extent possible. For instance, Medicare Mentors LLC conducts NO COST Health Insurance Evaluations to ensure your Medicare Insurance plan fits your needs and wants at a cost that is affordable.
Consideration #2: Providers and Hospitals
We are fortunate to have great medical providers and wonderful hospitals in the Colorado Springs area! We believe that continuity of quality care is critical to effective health care. As you look at options, make sure that your doctors (primary and specialists) and your preferred hospital is available to you. If you are not happy with your doctor, you have the power to choose! A reputable Medicare supplement broker will be able to help you determine if the providers you want are available to you on certain plans.
Consideration #3: Location
Many of us love to travel and some even ‘snowbird.’ It is important to ensure that your Medicare Insurance plan supports your lifestyle. Some plans and options work wonderfully in your local area but may only provide you emergency or urgent care options when you are away. Share with your broker if you enjoy traveling and/ or are a ‘snowbird’. This information will help in finding the perfect option for you.
Consideration #4: Veteran status
Retired military and their spouses have a great program called TRICARE for Life (TFL). Most TFL beneficiaries do not realize that they have options to maximize their Medicare benefits (i.e. vision, dental, hearing, and fitness memberships). Many 2020 options will save TFL beneficiaries money and may provide greater benefits. If you use the VA Health System and are Medicare eligible, there are options that will optimize your freedom to choose and provide you greater benefits!
With new Medicare supplement options for 2020, it makes sense to consider them during open enrollment. When evaluating options, consider the value to you rather than simply the price of the plan. Do you have preferences for certain providers? Then make sure to consider whether those providers will be available in network on those plans. For frequent travelers or ‘snowbirds’, be aware that in certain locations you may not have full coverage, rather only emergency or urgent care on certain plans. Retired military folks may find greater benefits and choice through options that were unavailable before.
The bottom line? Medicare and supplements are complex. An experienced Medicare supplement broker who understands your situation can help simplify the complex information and break it down into understandable options. REMEMBER: Every year plans change. It is important to evaluate your options during the Annual Election Period (October 15 – December 7).
About Rich Lewis
Rich Lewis, US Army LTC (Ret), a service disabled veteran, serves people who are Medicare eligible with information about the options they have to optimize their Medicare benefit and assists with any issues associated with their Medicare insurance. A veteran himself, Rich specializes in mentoring Veterans and TRICARE eligible population on how Medicare, VA, and TRICARE work together. You can connect with Rich at his website medicarementorsllc.com or by phone at (719) 886-3377.