Every year, from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, millions of Americans have the opportunity to update their health insurance plan. Deciding to do nothing could lead to unpleasant surprises or missed cost-savings in 2022. There is no one-size-fits-all approach when shopping for Medicare coverage, so people should take time to understand the options available. Choosing a health plan may feel overwhelming, so here are a handful of tips to help you pick the best health insurance plan for you.
A good first step toward understanding your options is knowing the lingo. For example, understanding what a premium, deductible or co-insurance is can help make informed decisions. The website JustPlainClear.com is a great resource for this. Next, you’ll want to check your current coverage to see if it still meets your health needs and if your benefits will change next year. Then, determine if the plan is still a good fit for your budget. That means paying attention to more than just the monthly premium. You should also understand the other out-of-pocket costs, including deductibles and copays, as these costs can add up.
Knowing how to get the most out of your prescription benefits may help you manage the logistics and cost of your medications. Check with your health plan or doctor to see if lower-cost pharmacy options including generics and mail order might work for you. Also, many people may be surprised to find out that Original Medicare doesn’t generally cover prescription drugs. You may want to consider a Part D plan or a Medicare Advantage plan to help keep your medication costs in check.
Another consideration is a plan that offers 24/7 virtual visits. It's not always easy to make time for an in-office doctor's appointment. You can talk to a doctor about common health issues in the comfort of your own home.
Managing your mental health is also an important step of caring for your overall well-being. In addition to in-person behavioral health care, consider looking for a health plan that offers access to a large virtual health network of therapists and psychiatrists. Some health insurers also offer advocacy services to help members find the right therapist and care.
Expecting a big change next year like an upcoming surgery? A good rule of thumb is to compare differences between plan designs and out-of-pocket limits to be as prepared as you can for what's around the corner.
If you are already taking steps towards better health, many health plans will reward you for the hard work, offering financial incentives for exercising, not smoking, even taking a health survey. Many Medicare Advantage plans even offer gym memberships at no additional cost.
When you are ready to make your choice, call 1-866-964-1547, TTY 711, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Optum Disclosure: Calling these numbers may direct you to a licensed insurance agent.