Best Medicare Plans of January 2022

Alice Townsend

Medicare is a major part of your healthcare if you are 65 or older. We’ve reviewed Medicare plans based on treatment, customer satisfaction, and overall quality.

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Overview

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Is Medicare worth it?

Medicare is the federal health insurance plan that helps to provide health care coverage for Medicare beneficiaries. Once you turn 65 years old, you are eligible to begin coverage under Medicare. Additionally, some younger people with certain disabilities, or people with End-Stage Renal Disease, are eligible for Medicare coverage.

Regardless of which group you’re in, chances are, Medicare coverage is worthwhile. It can help cover medical treatments and procedures you may need throughout the rest of your life. Without it, you could be paying tons of money out of pocket. Medicare ensures you do not need to worry as much about the cost of medical treatments as you get older.

How does Medicare work?

Every person who qualifies for Medicare insurance coverage has two main options they can choose from: Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B), or Medicare Advantage. Original Medicare is the federal health insurance program that helps provide health care coverage for Medicare beneficiaries, while Medicare Advantage is an alternative offered by private insurance.

What are the parts of Medicare? The different parts of Medicare helps cover specific services:

  • Medicare Part A: Part A consists of hospital insurance, which generally covers for stays in the hospital, hospice care, or nursing home care. This also covers select home healthcare options.
  • Medicare Part B: Part B makes up medical insurance, including doctor treatments and procedures, outpatient care, and some preventive care.
  • Medicare Part D: Part D includes coverage for prescription drugs, as well as some shots and vaccinations.

With Original Medicare, you generally will pay a monthly premium for your overall coverage. You are typically required to pay a monthly premium for Part B (and sometimes Part A) and can add on Part D as a separate plan. Original Medicare includes a yearly deductible and requires you to generally pay about 20% of the medical services you receive throughout the year.

Medicare Advantage, alternatively, bundles Parts A, B, and usually D. Medicare Advantage is also known as Part C, and also often includes additional coverage Original Medicare does not, like vision and dental coverage.

Those who choose a Medicare Advantage plan will have to go through a private insurance company, while generally offering health maintenance organizations (HMOs) or preferred provider organizations (PPOs) types of plans. Both require you to receive care in the network affiliated with your insurance provider.

What does Medicare cover?

Regardless of whether you go with Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan, you are covered for a range of medical treatments and procedures. Generally, these coverage options include:

  • In-patient hospital care: If you are admitted to hospital, you are generally covered for your stay, as well as any treatments or surgeries you receive while at the hospital.
  • Cancer treatments: If you are diagnosed with cancer, and need conventional treatments like chemotherapy, your Medicare plan will cover the costs associated.
  • Medical equipment: Walkers, wheelchairs, and other medical equipment that has been deemed medically necessary by your doctor is covered by Medicare.

Medicare covers many treatments and procedures that you may need throughout your life. However, it does not cover everything. Medicare does not usually cover ambulatory services, as well as therapies like speech therapy, occupational therapy, podiatry, or psychological services. Additionally, Original Medicare does not cover dental or vision services.

How are Medicare insurance costs determined?

Medicare insurance costs vary depending on whether you go with Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage. For Original Medicare, your premiums are determined by:

  • Income level: Premiums for Part B of your Medicare plan is determined by your income level. Your adjusted gross income will factor into whether you are required to pay more on average if you exceed a certain income level.
  • Social Security benefits: This only applies to individuals that receive Social Security. Social Security checks are determined based on the cost of living, and Medicare premiums are deducted from Social Security. If the Social Security benefits are unable to cover a change in Medicare premiums while still providing you with your regular amount of Social Security, the premium will remain the same.

Your costs will be determined by which services you receive under your Medicare Advantage plan, the yearly deductible you are responsible for, whether you visit in-network providers, and more.

When to get Medicare insurance coverage?

Medicare insurance is automatically given to some individuals, however, there are instances where you need to apply for coverage. Those 65 years and older are eligible, as well as some younger people who have kidney failure or certain disabilities.

If you fall into any of these categories, it is best to get Medicare insurance coverage as soon as possible. This is so that you can ensure you get coverage for the medical attention you may need, and know you are covered when unexpected things occur.

How to choose the best Medicare insurance

When deciding on the right Medicare coverage for you, you need to decide between Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage. To help you pick what’s best for you, consider the following:

  • Consider your medical needs: If you have specific medical needs that need certain types of treatments, you will want to ensure your Medicare will cover you for these procedures. Medicare Advantage typically covers a wider range of benefits, but requires you to receive care through your private network.
  • Location: Certain areas may not have certain Medicare Advantage plans available. If there is a Medicare Advantage plan you were interested in, be sure to confirm it’s offered in your area ahead of enrollment.

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