Nearly 60 million consumers are enrolled in some type of Medicare health insurance. That number is expected to grow rapidly, with more than 11,000 Baby Boomers aging into Medicare eligibility each day.
For many of these individuals, this is the first time they won’t have an employer giving them access to a health plan. And for those who already have Medicare, they may benefit from understanding their options if they want to switch their coverage.
Medicare is complex so it may be confusing to understand.
Original Medicare has two parts: Part A is hospital insurance that covers hospital stays, skilled nursing care, and more; and Part B is insurance that covers care including doctor visits and outpatient services.
Part A and B do have coverage gaps. Without extra protection, people on Original Medicare could pay thousands of dollars in deductibles, copayments, out-of-pocket expenses, and other costs associated with prescription medicines, long term care, some dental care, hearing aids, and other health services. That’s partly why more than 30 million consumers have chosen to expand coverage through a Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, and/or Medicare Part D plan.
• Medicare Advantage – also called Part C – is an alternative to Original Medicare. These plans include all the benefits of Original Medicare and many plans also have Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage). Additionally, some may have extra benefits like dental, vision, hearing, and membership to a fitness program.
• Medicare Supplement plans – also known as Medigap – can be paired with Original Medicare plans and will help pay for costs not covered by Parts A or B. Some supplement plans provide additional benefits, such as fitness program membership. These plans allow enrollees to keep their primary care provider.
• Medicare Part D plans provide prescription drug coverage and complement Original Medicare. They can be purchased alongside a Medicare Supplement plan.These three types of Medicare plans are offered by private healthcare companies, such as Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and many plans have a monthly premium, which are in addition to the Part B premium.
When searching for a Medicare plan, consumers should examine factors including affordability of plans to fit their budget; access to network of doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies that meet their needs; drug formulary that aligns with medication needs; availability of wellness and preventive care programs; and a health plan with experience they can rely on.
People can go to Medicare.gov or visit a healthcare company’s website – like www.anthem.com/medicare – to learn more about Medicare options.
Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by Michele Dube of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Connecticut.
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of Anthem Health Plans, Inc. Independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is an HMO plan with a Medicare contract. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is a D-SNP plan with a Medicare contract and a contract with the Connecticut Medicaid program. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is a Medicare Advantage organization and a Prescription Drug Plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield depends on contract renewal. This policy has exclusions, limitations and terms under which the policy may be continued in force or discontinued. For costs and complete details of the coverage, contact your licensed insurance agent, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield or visit us on the web. Not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. Government or the federal Medicare program. The purpose of this communication is the solicitation of insurance. Contact will be made by an insurance agent or insurance company.