As with most things, insurance is something that should be evaluated annually to see if your plan still fits your needs within your budget. With your Medicare, it’s remarkably easy to find a different plan if you’re not satisfied.
Medicare Advantage and Drug Coverage
One of the best ways you can save money on Medicare is to choose a Medicare Advantage plan. During the fall Open Enrollment Period, you have the option to switch your Medicare coverage plan. A Medicare Advantage plan can give you prescription drug coverage as well as dental, vision, or hearing coverage.
Medicare can save you money on prescription drugs with Part D prescription drug coverage. These plans can save you money compared to the out-of-pocket costs you face without insurance intervention. Part A and B do not come with this coverage; you have to buy the Part D plan separately.
Many of the variable costs come from unexpected medical expenses and visits to healthcare providers. By anticipating your specific healthcare costs, you can find a plan with the right coverage and premium for you. There are several supplement plans available, but you might be overspending if you choose one that offers coverage beyond your needs. For a lower premium and copayments for the few visits you need, you can avoid all-expenses-paid higher-premium plans that would unnecessarily blow your budget.
It’s important that your provider accepts your Medicare coverage. To save money, you can check with your healthcare provider before scheduling a visit to see if they accept the terms of your plan.
Medicare Savings Programs
Medicare has programs for those with low income and few resources to help pay Medicare costs with lower monthly premiums. There are four of these Medicare Savings Programs: the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB), Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB), Qualified Individual (QI), and Qualified Disabled and Working Individual (QDWI). Each program pays for some portion or all expenses for Medicare Part A and Part B.
For help with prescription drug costs, you can determine your eligibility for Medicare’s Extra Help, also known as the Part D low-income subsidy. Extra Help is a program to help pay prescription drug costs for people with low income and limited resources. The three levels of Extra Help are based on your monthly income and the worth of assets you own.
Late Enrollment Periods
One of the other costs associated with Medicare is the late enrollment penalty. This is especially important for Part B because if you are late to enroll in Part B, you pay the penalty for as long as you hold Part B coverage. Make sure that for each plan you intend to hold, you sign up as soon as you are eligible. There are no late fees to sign up for Part D unless you go without creditable prescription drug coverage for more than two months before you sign up.
The best thing you can do to save money on medical insurance is to stay healthy! Take advantage of preventive services and screenings.
For all of your Medicare questions, go to Medicare on Video.