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How do I know what coverage is right for me?

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If you’re shopping for a Medicare plan, this information can help you choose the coverage that fits your needs.

You have choices when it comes to Medicare coverage. And that's a good thing. Everyone has different health care needs.

Choosing the right plan for you starts with finding out what's offered and matching a plan with the particular benefits you're looking for.

You'll also have to find the sweet spot that balances the lowest out-of-pocket costs with a monthly payment you can afford. 

Here are some steps that can help you weed through the choices to find the best plan for you.

Step 1: Understand how Medicare works

First, understand the basics of Medicare and how the Parts work together.

Step 2: Determine your health care needs

How much do you use your insurance? Do you see the doctor a lot? Do you take prescription drugs regularly? Or are you fairly healthy and rarely go to the hospital? These are just some of the questions to ask as you think about what kind of plan you need.

Tip: If you travel, you should think about plans that have nationwide coverage and pay for some of the costs of emergency care outside the U.S.

Step 3: Understand your coverage choices

Once you have an idea of what's offered, you'll decide if Original Medicare offers enough coverage for you. A Medicare Advantage plan has all the benefits of Original Medicare and more. We also offer plans that supplement Medicare.

Tip: Unlike the private insurance you're used to from your working years, Medicare doesn't have an out-of-pocket limit. If you want a cap on the total amount you'll pay in a year, consider a Medicare Advantage plan.

Step 4: Enroll in a plan

When you're ready, you can enroll in a plan. If you opt for Original Medicare, you'll have to enroll through Social Security.

If you choose a Medicare Advantage plan, call the private insurance company that you've picked.

There are important times and dates to remember for signing up if you want to make sure your coverage starts on time.

Step 5: Maximize your benefits

Once you pick a plan, make sure you get the most out of it. Some plans cover annual check-ups and immunizations. Others offer a free fitness club membership, discounts and more savings. Some plans even offer a consultant who will work with you to get the most out of your plan.

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Page Last Updated Wed Dec 03 11:31:35 EST 2014