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A step-by-step guide to choosing a Medicare plan

Ready to start shopping for Medicare plans? There is a lot to consider, like costs and whether to choose a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Supplement policy. Use the tips below to help you find the Medicare plan that best fits your lifestyle and meets your health care needs. 

How to choose a Medicare plan

Consider these factors when looking for the right Medicare plan.

Cost

What is the overall cost of the plan, from your monthly premium to out-of-pocket expenses like deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance?

Benefits

Do you want a plan that offers extra benefits like vision, dental and hearing? Are you interested in fitness programs, ways to save money and wellness incentives?

Doctors and Hospital Choice

Do you want to be able to choose the doctors you prefer to see? Do you want a primary care doctor coordinating your care?

Prescription Drugs

Is a Medicare prescription drug plan provided? If you take regular prescriptions, are they on the formulary (list of covered drugs)?

Travel

Do you travel often or have a home in another state? Do you need a larger provider network to cover you?

Convenience

Are providers who accept Medicare located near your home? Can you get prescription or specialty drugs through the mail?

Use our Online Provider Directory to see if your doctors and specialists are in-network.

Explore the types of Medicare plans available to you to help you make a confident decision.

Find your Medicare plan in three easy steps

You have plenty of options when it comes to choosing the Medicare plan that best meets your needs. Follow these steps to make finding the best Medicare plan as easy as possible.

  • Step 1
    Decide whether you want to use Original Medicare or get your Medicare benefits through a Medicare Advantage plan. 

    Original Medicare (Parts A and B): 

    •    Covers your hospital visits
    •    Covers your doctor’s visits
    •    Doesn’t cover routine dental, vision or hearing care
    •    Doesn’t include prescription drug coverage
    •    Doesn’t include other wellness benefits, like a gym membership
    •    Allows you to see any doctor or go to any hospital that accepts Medicare
    •    Includes some out-of-pocket costs you’ll have to pay, for premiums, copays, coinsurance and deductibles

    Medicare Advantage: 

    •    Includes the same coverage as Original Medicare (You have to sign up for Medicare Part A and Part B to get a Medicare Advantage plan)
    •    Covers your hospital visits/inpatient care
    •    Covers your doctor’s visits/outpatient care
    •    Often includes routine dental, vision or hearing care
    •    Often includes other fitness and wellness benefits, like gym memberships and more
    •    Often includes Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage
    •    Includes a network of doctors you can choose for your care
    •    Includes some out-of-pocket costs you’ll have to pay, for premiums, copays, coinsurance and deductibles

    If you choose a Medicare Advantage plan, make sure to find out if your doctors are listed in the plan’s network. Also, think about what type of Medicare Advantage plan will best fit your health care and lifestyle needs you want. 

    PPO: If you select a Medicare Advantage PPO plan, you’ll have more freedom to see the doctor of your choice. For example, you typically won’t have to check with your primary care doctor before you see a specialist. And most PPO plans often include greater coverage for people who travel away from home frequently. But your out-of-pocket costs may be higher with this type of plan. 

    HMO: If you choose a Medicare Advantage HMO plan, you’ll have a close relationship with your primary care doctor. Your primary care doctor will coordinate the care you receive from all the doctors you see. Typically, your out-of-pocket costs will be lower with this type of plan

  • Step 2
    Will you get Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage? 

    If you are choosing to use Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), make sure to select a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan to cover your medication costs. Original Medicare doesn’t cover the costs of your prescription drugs. And if you don’t select a Part D plan when you are first eligible, you may have to pay a Late Enrollment Penalty if you decide to enroll in Part D coverage later. 

    If you have to pay a Late Enrollment Penalty, you will have to pay this fee as long as you have Part D coverage. So, it’s important to select a Part D plan when you are first eligible.  

    If you decide to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, make sure your plan comes with Part D prescription drug coverage, too. 

    No matter whether you enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan or get Part D prescription drug coverage through your Medicare Advantage plan, keep these things in mind:

    •    Make sure to look at the formulary (list of covered drugs). Are your medications covered? 
    •    What will your medications cost?
    •    Is mail-order offered for prescription medications?
    •    What retail pharmacies are included in the plan?
    •    Your out-of-pocket costs will depend on the plan you choose.

     

  • Step 3
    Will you get a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) policy to help pay your out-of-pocket costs? 

    Medicare Supplement (Medigap) policies help pay out-of-pocket costs Original Medicare does not cover, like copays and coinsurance for the health care you receive and your monthly Medicare Part B premium.

    Here are some important things to consider about buying a Medicare Supplement policy:

    •    Most Medicare Supplement policies allow you to choose any doctor, specialist or hospital that accepts Medicare. In most cases, you will have more freedom to select the doctor of your choice.
    •    Your specific benefits and costs will depend on the policy you choose. 
    •    When you apply for a Medicare Supplement policy, the insurance company you choose may factor in your age, tobacco use and county of primary residence to determine if you qualify for their plan. Make sure to ask what criteria the company considers before you apply for a policy.

Call a licensed Medicare agent.

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Download a Medicare education guide.

Medicare Basics Guide

Florida Blue provides the information you need to choose the Medicare plan that meets your needs and budget.

Medicare Basics Guide

Medicare & You

U.S. government handbook on Medicare benefits, rights, and protections, available health plans and more.

Medicare and You Guide

Medicare Planning Checklist

Florida Blue provides a checklist with the steps you need to get started with Medicare as you approach age 65.

Get Ready for Medicare

U.S. government handbook explaining important decisions you need to make before Medicare coverage starts.

FBM PLN 003 F 082022
Last Updated: 10.01.2022
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