It’s that time of year, open enrollment season! And for any of you who don’t know what that is, from October 15 to December 7 those 65 and over can change their Medicare plans. Are you getting ready to do that? Or do you know of someone going through this process? Want to know some ways that will help you save on your insurance bill? Read on!
- Assess your health.
What you needed before may no longer apply. For example, perhaps you signed up to a certain Medicare Advantage plan because the closest hospital was included in its network. And you had some condition that required multiple visits. Now? You are better and you no longer need that kind of coverage. Instead, you need to visit a different specialist who isn’t covered in your old plan. See what’s going on here? Needs change over the course of a year. You should approach health insurance plans as you would when you shop around for anything else. There are specialists who will help you compare Medicare Advantage plans in your area so that you see exactly what you are getting.
- Figure out your total bill.
$100 a month may not seem like much when buying insurance. But don’t forget to read the fine print and ask the right questions. How much coverage does a $100 premium actually provide? Consider the state of your health and last year’s doctor’s bills. How much did you pay out of pocket? And how much was covered by your last insurance plan? Will this year be one where you take care of various medical issues? If so, calculate your projected bill and see if there’s an insurance plan that will help you cover most, if not all of it. But if you are in pretty good health, it stands to reason you will not need as much coverage.
- Compare drug costs.
The average premium in 2015 was $34. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services predicts the average will remain steady. But you can still save on this amount. Because Part D providers change the drugs covered within their plan year by year, look into the changes your current plan will undergo. Assess your future needs and see if these will be covered in whatever plan you are considering. Remember, generic drugs are cheaper than their branded equivalents, so look for plans that cover generics.
- Stay well.
The best money saver when it comes to health is to stay healthy. While age may feel like it’s conspiring against you here, exercise is one of the best ways to get a mountain of benefits packed into one activity. Make your exercise and a healthy diet priorities in your day. Focus your attention on these important aspects. And you will be going far to keep ailments, disease, and mental decline at bay.
- Choose from the network.
Of course, even when you are doing your part to live a healthy lifestyle, genes and other factors can conspire against you. When you do need to visit a medical provider, make sure to choose from your insurance network. Not all medical and health providers are covered by Medicare. So booking an appointment at that clinic only a block away could actually leave you with a hefty bill. Always check if a provider you are considering is covered in your Medicare plan. Go to Medicare.gov and do a search for the service you are looking for. This is the fastest way to see if you will be covered. If you are part of a Medicare Advantage plan, which is provided by a private insurance company, call them up. Or look at their website to determine what providers are covered in your plan.
Taking these few simple steps will keep more money in your pocket and protect you from unexpected costs down the road.