If your mailbox is anything like mine (and you’re at Medicare age) you are receiving a ton of solicitations telling you about the benefits of various private health insurance offerings. Some of them are for Medicare Advantage plans or Medicare Supplement plans or for Medicare Drug plans. They all want your business.
You may want to throw most of it away, but there is at least one piece of mail I hope you do look at. That is the Medicare and You – 2020 handbook that comes from The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Look at the Contents on page 3. This lists the topics covered. All of them are useful. Here are some sections you may want to review:
• Check section 4 if you are planning to be in a Medicare Advantage plan in 2020. Note page 61 outlines some of the basics if you are in an HMO type of plan. With this type of plan the insurance company manages your health access with various rules. You will be required to see providers that are in your network, for example. Note also that the plan can drop or add providers every year. Make sure your doctor or hospital will still be in your plan in 2020.
• Check section 5 if you are planning to be in the Traditional Medicare plan and want to buy a Supplement to help pay for co-insurance. Note that every supplement policy is standardized. That means that every “A” plan, for example, must offer exactly the same benefits. If you want to compare prices you can find a handy one-page pdf on the CT.gov website. Find it with this url: https://tinyurl.com/y2k3brw6 or search online for “Monthly Medicare Supplement Rates CT”. Note the monthly prices for plan “A” range from $182 to $1233 – for the same benefits.
• Check section 6 for information about drug plans. You should have one. With Medicare Advantage it may be included in your policy. With Traditional Medicare most of us must buy it separately. Each plan has a different premium, co-pay and covered drug list. Make sure your drugs are covered.
• Check section 7 if you need help paying for your health and drug costs.
• Check section 8 if you want to file an appeal about an insurance decision or are concerned about Medicare fraud.
The handbook covers a lot of ground. But you may still have questions. If you need additional guidance from an unbiased source, make an appointment to see a Medicare Choices volunteer counselor at either the Senior Center 860-668-8830 or at Suffield Community Aid 860-668-1986. The enrollment period ends December 7. Call today.