Open Enrollment - Page 15 - Medicare from page 11

Open Enrollment
- Page 15
Medicare from page 11
does not, there are two ways to go. One is to get coverage from a private insurance company. Depending on the plan, you may have a wide choice of doctors and hospitals that they will cover. What they cover and how much of the cost beyond Medicare they pay varies from plan to plan, as do their premiums. This is the “alphabet soup” of Medicare plans, and it takes some research to find the one best suited for your circumstances.

The other option is to get Medicare Part C, which is a Medicare Advantage plan. These plans offer managed care through health maintenance organizations or preferred provider organizations. A Medicare Advantage plan must cover everything that Original Medicare Parts A & B cover. But they may also offer other benefits as part of the plan such as prescription drug coverage, vision, hearing and dental.

Enrollment in an Advantage Plan has different out-of-pocket costs and co-pays than Medigap plans. Your choices of doctors and hospitals are also different. Before enrolling in an Advantage Plan, really take the time to research what is best for your health situation. A more traditional Medigap plan might be the better choice for you if you can keep your current doctors or the care is offered near where you live.

The sidebars below give sources for more information and some advice on Medicare and how to choose Medicare plans in Maryland. Another source, and a good place to start, is your local library. Most will have books explaining Medicare in layman’s terms. With a little background information and advice about pitfalls to avoid, you will be better able to ask the right questions and make the right choices in the world of Medicare. •