Medicare Advantage plans offer a wide range of benefits and services. As a beneficiary, you’re entitled to take advantage of your plan and maximize your coverage. By using your covered services, you can save money and improve your health!
Here are five tips to help you make the most of your Medicare Advantage plan this year:
- Use preventative services
- Fill prescriptions right away
- Make the most of the additional benefits and programs
- Cut costs on your prescriptions
- Budget for your out-of-pocket maximum
1. Take advantage of the preventative services
Reduce your healthcare costs by preventing issues before they happen. All Medicare Advantage plans offer preventive services, such as:
- One-time “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit
- Annual wellness visits
- Annual mammograms
- Cardiovascular disease screening
- Cervical cancer screenings
- Diabetes screening and self-management training
To get your preventative services covered at 100%, you have to use an in-network provider and meet the eligibility requirements.
2. Fill your prescriptions in the first 90 days
When you join a new Medicare Advantage plan with a drug benefit, all your existing medications are covered during the first 90 days, whether they are on the formulary or not. For medications not on the formulary, you are allowed one 30-day refill during the first 90 days, so it’s in your best interest to fill those prescriptions right when your new plan takes effect.
After those first 90 days, you’ll need to switch to a covered alternative. Medicare Part D plans, including Medicare Advantage plans with a drug benefit, must cover at least two alternative medications within the same therapeutic class.
3. Check out the special programs available to you
Many Medicare Advantage plans may offer other programs, including:
- Health rewards programs: get rewarded for attending exercise classes or using preventive care services like annual wellness exams. Many plans offer gift cards or fitness equipment in exchange for your healthy habits.
- Over-the-counter benefits: check your plan policy packet to see if you have coverage for items like nonprescription medications, bandages and even electronic activity trackers.
- Non-emergency transportation: more plans are now offering transportation to health-care related destinations, like doctor’s appointment’s, lab tests, pharmacies, physical therapy, and fitness centers.
4. Save money on your prescription drugs
- Sign up for home delivery: Many Medicare Advantage plans offer a mail-order pharmacy service. Not only will this save you money, but it’s convenient too! Copays are usually lower, and you can often save even more by ordering a 90-day supply of your drugs at one time.
- Use a preferred pharmacy: most Medicare Advantage plans have a network of pharmacies that you can choose from. By using an in-network pharmacy, you can get extra savings because of special pricing agreements.
- Try generic drugs when possible: You can get more bang for your buck by choosing generic drugs over the expensive name brand version. Rest assured, generic drugs are a safe option - drug makers must prove to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that a generic drug is the same as its brand name counterpart in safety, strength, quality, and effectiveness. Also, generic drugs use the same active ingredients as brand name drug.
5.Plan yearly expenses with your out-of-pocket maximum in mind
One of the benefits of a Medicare Advantage plan is that you have predictable copays and a cap on your annual out-of-pocket expenses. Once you reach the out-of-pocket maximum set by your plan, all additional costs for Medicare-covered services for the rest of the year are covered at 100%.
If you’re planning to undergo a major medical procedure, you might want to schedule it earlier in the year because you’re likely to hit your annual out-of-pocket max. That means, all other treatments for the rest of the year are covered at 100%.
That cap can mean peace of mind if you have an unexpected illness or injury.
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