Medicare Open Enrollment begins on October 15. If you are a Medicare recipient it is a good idea to review your policy to be sure it still meets your needs. The options are many and the choices can be very confusing. If you are a snowbird or spend significant time away from your primary residence, it is important to be sure your policy covers non-emergency medical care (emergency care is usually covered but make sure you are familiar with the procedure) where you go. Medicare Advantage plans have restricted networks for non-urgent care and these approved provider groups range in size depending on the plan. Traditional Medicare on the other hand, can be used anywhere that Medicare is accepted. Many people who choose traditional Medicare also buy a Supplemental Insurance policy to offset co-pay costs. There are many supplemental plans to choose from and the right plan for you is dependent on how much healthcare you historically have consumed. The Medicare Advantage plans and Supplemental plans are approved and sold based on your resident state and county. Many counties have a service through their Office for Aging to consult with consumers to find the best plan for your individual circumstances. In New York state you can find your local county resources at New York State Office for Aging HIICAP: Health Insurance Information, Counseling and Assistance.
If there is no help though your county services a good option is to find an independent insurance agent who can write plans from several insurance companies. These agents can offer unbiased information and help you choose a plan to fit your health needs and budget. There is no cost to you for this consultation as the agent is paid through the commission when selling you the policy.
It is a good idea to know what your policy covers, what restrictions there are and how to access care if you need it. Stay healthy and be proactive with you health insurance.