By Tricia of Allsup
In just weeks, about 54 million people have the opportunity to make new Medicare choices for 2015. Medicare’s annual open enrollment period runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, with plan choices taking effect Jan. 1, 2015.
One of the more common questions we get through the Allsup Medicare Advisor® is: Should I try a Medicare Advantage plan?
Like many choices in life, our answer is: It depends.
I can explain some of the reasons that people take a closer look at Medicare Advantage plans.
- They want to receive all their coverage through one plan. Medicare Advantage can combine traditional Medicare Parts A, B and D—which are hospital, medical and prescription drug services, respectively—into one plan. This means that you have one insurance coverage provider for your health claims.
- They want the predictability of a cap on their out-of-pocket costs. Medicare Advantage plans typically include an out-of-pocket maximum expense that beneficiaries can expect to pay. In 2014, the average out-of-pocket limit was estimated at $4,797.
- They want more options for reducing healthcare costs. Many people buy Parts A, B and D, as well as supplemental coverage, or Medigap. Getting coverage in the form of four separate plans can add up. Some people may find that one Medicare Advantage plan has comparable coverage for less. However, your options will vary depending on where you live.
- They take a number of prescription drugs. Medication can be a big part of your healthcare costs. Some seniors find a Medicare Advantage plan with drug coverage provides them with more cost savings.
- They would like some additional benefits such as dental and vision coverage. Medicare Advantage plans can offer some additional features that may not be provided with traditional Medicare. Options vary depending on where you live.
A few years ago, predictions were that Medicare Advantage enrollment would decline. But it’s clear seniors and people with disabilities are finding positives to choosing this path to Medicare coverage.
Compared to four years ago—there are 3 million more people enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. The total was nearly 16 million participants in 2014, which is 1 in 3 of all Medicare beneficiaries.
If you are interested in your options, then get ready for Medicare annual enrollment. It starts soon: Oct. 15. If you’d like to get a jump on your Medicare plan choices this year, contact a Medicare specialist at Allsup Medicare Advisor® at (866) 521-7655.
You also can visit Medicare.Allsup.com to fill out an online form and reach a Medicare specialist.
By Jim of Allsup
I was mesmerized by what a retired Marine three-star general told me recently. He’s involved with active duty military members. He’s also very familiar with the new legislation that will try to fix the Veterans Administration’s ailing healthcare system.
We talked for hours and shared our mutual experiences working with service members and others with disabilities over the last 30 years.
He talked in detail about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and how the savagery of these wars compared to Vietnam. And he talked about the crippling mental effects of combat, and how men and women on active duty are uncomfortable to acknowledge their mental health issues for fear of being discharged.
Because of the lack of treatment, he said, their problems are like ticking time bombs. Many don’t turn to the VA for help because they don’t think it can help.
I listened in silence, thinking about how many vets leave active duty with limited resources to find and get both the healthcare treatment and benefits they deserve.
The general is extremely passionate about the needs of these GIs. So am I, and that’s why Allsup is doing everything we can to help veterans who have been denied VA disability benefits.
If you or someone you know has been denied the benefits the VA promised, click here for information on our Veterans Disability Appeal Service. Or call (800) 279-4357 and ask to speak with one of our VA-Accredited Claims agents.