What You Need to Know about Men and Medicare
Over the next year, more than 1.6 million Americans will turn 65. Discounts in movie theaters, restaurants, and hardware stores are waiting for you. New health care options that parents and grandparents have never considered could also be considered. For generations, the 65th birthday means that Medicare’s health care is insured and the only real decisions are to decide whether or not to take out additional insurance and, if so, with whom? All this took a new twist the passage of the Balanced Budget Act, 1997, that allowed participants of Medicare to obtain benefits under Medicare Advantage (MA) policies. (Many older people had already done so via an array of demonstration projects which date back to early 80s). In 2003, these policies were expanded with the innovative Medicare prescription enhancement and modernization act, which provides benefits to therapists for seniors and persons with disabilities.
MA policies offer all the traditional benefits of Medicare, as well as many other benefits that make them attractive to the specific health and lifestyle needs of seniors. These extra benefits could include visual, dental, gymnastics, transportation and personal case management, especially for people with chronic conditions. But what policy do you choose and how do you reach that decision? For men entering the world of Medicare supplement plans for the first time, this can be particularly difficult in areas where many carriers offer a variety of policies that offer seniors dozens of options to choose from. If you make this important decision, consider the following:
• Remember that you make this choice for yourself and not for your spouse, child or others. When choosing a commercial shipper, most people ask what is best for their health needs and those of their family members. But becoming 65 is an opportunity to be selfish – know what works for you. If you are 65 years old and in good health, you can have a relationship with a health policy that will just say “be there when I need you” and you are able to interact with your policy through online non-invasive health information and preventive care plans that suit a busy lifestyle. If you have chronic health problems, you can focus on affordable doctor visits, manage complex medications, and provide additional assistance to nurses to help you understand the health system.
• Medicare has a quality assessment system that evaluates policies from one to five, with five stars being the highest. The system was created to inform consumers about quality and to make quality data more transparent and comparable across policies. The ranking takes into account factors like clinical outcomes, access to prevention services such as vaccination and screening, treatment of chronic diseases, preparation and client satisfaction. The number of stars is calculated each year and may vary from one year to another. Use them to make your decision. • Co-payments and monthly premiums can vary considerably from policy to policy. The good news is that some MA 2016 policies do not have a monthly premium. But there are more than just bonuses. Look carefully at the deductibles and co-payments you have to pay for them. Think about what best suits your needs and your budget.