Medicare benefits can be confusing! We are already more than halfway through AEP and the OEP is fast approaching. As always, there are plenty of TV ads, direct mail pieces filling up your inbox touting the newest MAPD plans or the different PDP plans available in your area. You’re not alone – this stuff is confusing for both consumers and medical professionals alike. There is a plethora of details in conjunction with the plans that are available for obtaining your Medicare coverage, as well as the amount of deductibles, copayments, and / or coinsurance amounts that you may be required to pay for various types of services.
Never fear! We’re here to make Medicare simple for you. Insurance companies have already mailed you your 2019 MAPD and PDP plan changes or new offerings. Make sure you read the fine print. The Annual Notice of Change as it outlines all the changes to expect. Premiums often change, benefits get worse (or better) and formularies can, too. I’ve written a good post about this previously, click here to check it out.
A great way to keep abreast of the plan changes every year is to browse the annual publication the U.S. Government does every year. It’s a booklet entitled, Medicare & You: The Official U.S. Government Medicare Handbook. Within this booklet, you will find news and updates regarding the current year’s program, as well as many details about any changes that have been made to Medicare and its benefits.
For instance, the Medicare & You 2019 book contains in-depth details about Medicare Parts A and B (also referred to as Original Medicare), as well as Medicare Advantage (which is also known as Medicare Part C).
Likewise, even though Medicare Part D prescription drug plans are sold via individual private insurance carriers, this booklet provides details on how these particular plans operate, as well as information regarding how you can determine whether or not your medications are covered.
Other information can also be found within the Medicare and You handbook, such as a comparison that can help you in deciding whether going with Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan is right for you.
And, if you go with Medicare Part A and B, the Medicare and You book can also assist you in determining whether you should purchase a Medicare Supplement insurance plan, and if so, what all ten of these plans will offer.
Because Medicare enrollees will all be receiving new ID cards over the next few months, the 2019 Medicare and You handbook provides details on what these new cards will look like, and when each enrollee can expect to receive his or her new card.
In addition, in order to make the numerous terms and other information in the Medicare & You booklet easier for readers to understand, there is also a Glossary of Medicare-related definitions in the back of the publication.
Having a good handle on what the many Medicare-related terms mean can be extremely beneficial in guiding you towards the right plan and coverage for meeting your specific needs, as well as your budget.
If you would like to get a free copy of the Medicare and You 2019 handbook, there are several ways that you can do so. For an online copy of the Medicare & You publication, you can click here for the brand new 2019 version.
If you want a printed copy, call Medicare by phone at 1-800-633-4227 (1-800-MEDICARE).
While this is a good guide and helps to explain what the changes are, I’d really urge you to get answers to questions that specifically have to do with your plan(s) and / or geographic location by calling a local Medicare insurance representative who may be able to provide you with more detailed information.
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Author Bio: Ben started Prepare for Medicare in 2014 to help people help people get objective answers to questions about Medicare. He’s held leadership roles at numerous Fortune 500 Medicare health insurers in product development, sales, marketing and strategy for over 20 years.