By Matilda Charles
When it’s time to sign up for Medicare, we’re advised to start three months in advance. That three months might not be enough time to get all the information you need. Your enrollment period is three months before and three months after the month you turn age 65.
Start by going online to www.medicare.gov and look at the drop-down menus under What Medicare Covers and Your Medicare Costs.
One thing to consider (and it takes the most time) is whether you need a Medicare Advantage Plan, and whether it should be an HMO or a PPO, or possibly a Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) or Special Needs Plan (SNP).
Go online to the Advantage Plan search and put in your ZIP code. Enter the names of the drugs you take, plus your pharmacy. Review the plans that are available in your area and look for the five-star plans.
Here are some questions to consider: Will you get to stay with your own doctor? Will you have Plan D drug coverage, and does it cover the drugs you need? Does the plan have extras, like dental, hearing and vision coverage? Are you covered if you travel or if you get out-of-network care?
And the big question: How much will it cost? Don’t just look at the monthly premiums, but also review the extras, such as office-visit charges and co-pays, as well as hospital-stay coverage.
Start your search early for Medicare information and what plans are right for you. It might take longer than you think.
If you don’t enroll when you’re eligible, your monthly premium could go up as much as 10 percent as a penalty for each year you weren’t enrolled.
(c) 2016 King Features Synd., Inc.