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5 Steps to Selecting the Right Medicare Plan

For people with Medicare, it’s time to select a 2017 Medicare plan. The Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan annual enrollment period runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. It’s the time to research your options and select the plan that best fits your health needs and budget.

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Here are five simple steps to help you make the best decision:
1. Review your current Medicare health plan. Analyze how much you’ve spent on health care during the past year, including hospital expenses, prescriptions and doctor bills. This helps you benchmark your 2017 health-care expenses and determine if your current Medicare plan still meets your needs.

2. Select the type of Medicare plan that best fits your needs. Options include:
* Original Medicare, which provides basic coverage for medical expenses without coverage for most prescriptions, and includes cost-sharing in the form of deductibles and coinsurance. This is Medicare Parts A and B.
* Medicare Advantage, which includes all of the coverage offered under Original Medicare through a private insurer, and may include extra benefits, such as dental, hearing and vision coverage, a nurse advice line and fitness program, as well as prescription drug coverage. Medicare Advantage plans are steadily gaining popularity, with the number of enrollees more than tripling since 2004 to 17.7 million or nearly a third of Medicare beneficiaries, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. This is Medicare Part C.
* Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, which offer coverage for prescription medications, and can be added to Original Medicare, a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan that does not include prescription drug coverage. This is Medicare Part D.
* Medicare Supplement Plans, which pay some costs not paid by Original Medicare, such as deductibles and coinsurance. Enrollment in a Medicare Supplement plan is not limited to the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period and these plans do not have a set provider network.

3. Comparison Shop. Once you choose the type of Medicare plan that best fits your needs, research the costs, benefits and network of doctors and hospitals associated with each plan. Check to see if your hospital and doctors are included.

4. Consider the “extras” included. Some Medicare Advantage plans include extra benefits, such as a fitness program and exercise classes specifically designed for people with Medicare. Others include dental, vision and hearing benefits. Determine how important these extra benefits are to your lifestyle and wellness needs.

5. Seek help. Shopping for a Medicare plan can be daunting, but there are resources available to assist you. You can call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or TTY: 1-877-486-2048 24 hours a day, seven days a week for 2017 Medicare plan information. And websites like www.Medicare.gov and www.humana-Medicare.com can help you research plans available in your area before the Dec. 7 Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan annual enrollment deadline.

Humana is a Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO and PFFS organization and a stand-alone prescription drug plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in any Humana plan depends on contract renewal. This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact the plan for more information. Limitations, copayments and restrictions may apply. Benefits may change on January 1 of each year.

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