“As if the rising cost of gas and groceries wasn’t enough… my healthcare costs seem more expensive these days! After 15 years on Medicare I thought I would have it all figured out, but do you have any tips and tricks for using my benefits to the fullest capacity?”
Once you’ve navigated the Medicare maze and enrolled in your Medicare plan, it’s important to periodically revisit your benefits – there might be some you don’t know about! From free health screenings to discounts on prescriptions, learn how you can maximize your Medicare benefits and make the most out of your health care plan.
1. Choose the Right Healthcare Provider
The first step in maximizing your Medicare benefits is choosing the right healthcare provider. Of course, you should choose a doctor who treats Medicare patients, but you should also ensure that they accept your Medicare payment as the full payment for services.
Some doctors may be considered non-participating providers, which means that they can charge you up to 15% more than your Medicare payment covers for services. Some doctors may also be “opt-out” providers, meaning they can charge whatever prices that they outline in their private contracts with patients.
When searching for a Medicare provider, check the Medicare provider search to find one that accepts your Medicare payments. People with Medicare Advantage plans (sometimes called “Part C plans”) should also use the search above to confirm their doctor accepts Medicare. Make sure your provider is in-network so you aren’t hit with any additional charges for services.
2. Compare Your Prescription Options
As a Medicare participant, you have different options when it comes to prescription drug coverage. During open enrollment, you can opt into Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, which may help reduce your prescription co-pay. But don’t write off cash payments as an option. Paying cash for a prescription can sometimes be cheaper than the Part D copayment. Many pharmacies and drug companies offer coupons that can be applied to a cash payment to reduce the cost of certain prescriptions.
Speaking of drug options, consider taking a preferred generic medication instead of a brand name. Medicare Part D classifies prescriptions in four tiers covering different categories of drugs, with Tier 1 being the cheapest and Tier 4 being the most expensive. Talk to your doctor to see if there is a comparable drug in a lower tier.
3. Take Advantage of Covered Preventive Care
In addition to prescription and medical coverage, your Medicare plan may also include a number of free services and benefits that many Medicare patients might not even be aware of. According to Medicare.gov, here are some of the many preventative services that you may be eligible for:
- Wellness screenings
- Flu shots and COVID-19 vaccines
- Diabetes screenings
- Cognitive assessments
These are just a few of the free preventive services that Medicare may include. Even if you’ve been enrolled in Medicare for a long time, it is a good idea to revisit your updated Medicare benefits to see what additional services may be available for you.
4. Check Your Medicare Summaries
Every quarter, you will receive a Medicare summary that shows all the services and supplies that your healthcare providers billed to Medicare. If you notice that a claim has been denied, you have the right to investigate the charge. First, contact the provider to make sure that the claim was submitted correctly. If it was, you may consider filing an appeal with Medicare if you think the cost is an error. You can also contact Medicare to verify the charge.
If you’re paying for Medicare, you probably want to get the most bang for your buck! From examining your options for prescription drugs to taking advantage of free services, there are a number of things you can do to maximize your Medicare coverage. For more information, join our webinar on Thursday, September 22nd at noon Eastern Time. called “Navigating the Medicare Maze”. Click here to join the webinar live.
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