Getting the most out of your Medicare coverage is not only smart for your money, but it can also be beneficial for your health. There are many moving parts when it comes to Medicare, so here are 10 tips to help you get the most out of your coverage in 2021.
Pay Attention to Your Special Enrollment Period
Your Special Enrollment Period takes place when a certain life event or change occurs and gives you the opportunity to make changes to your existing Medicare Advantage plan and Medicare Prescription Drug plan. Some of the most common events that can activate a Special Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage include:
- Moving to a new address that isn’t in your current Medicare plan’s service area
- Moving to a new address that is in your current Medicare plan’s service area, but there are new plan options available
- Returning to the U.S. after living outside the country
- Moving in or out of a skilled nursing facility or long-term care hospital
- Being released from jail
Additionally, if you delayed enrollment in Medicare Part A and Part B because you or your spouse had coverage through an employer, you typically qualify for a Special Enrollment Period for Original Medicare (Part A and B).
Take Advantage of Medicare’s Free Services
Medicare covers many preventative services and screenings that you don’t want to miss out on. Mammograms, colonoscopies, diabetes screenings and prostate screenings are all services typically covered by Medicare and can be critical to your health. Since they are covered by Medicare, there’s no reason to not go in for your 2021 check-up.
Review Your 2021 Medicare Advantage Plan’s Out-of-Pocket Limits
The out-of-pocket limits for Medicare Advantage plans change each year. The maximum out-of-pocket limit for Medicare Advantage plans in 2021 is $7,550, however your plan may set a lower limit.1 Your out-of-pocket limit is the maximum amount you pay out of pocket each year, which includes deductibles, coinsurance and copayments. This protects you from excessive costs if you need a lot of care or services.
Check Your Pharmacy Networks
If you have a preferred pharmacy, it’s important to make sure it is in your Medicare plan’s pharmacy network, otherwise you’ll end up paying more for your prescriptions. An easy way to check if your pharmacy is in-network is by calling your pharmacy and telling them the name of your Medicare plan.
Look for Savings on Expensive Prescription Drug Medications
The cost of prescription drugs can add up, but there are ways to get savings on your medications. Your Medicare Part D coverage or Medicare Advantage plan might offer a prescription discount program. Some pharmacies offer discount programs, as well as prescription discount cards if you don’t have prescription drug coverage.
Take Advantage of Medicare Open Enrollment Period (OEP) 2021
If you enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan during the Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan Annual Enrollment Period and find that you don’t like your plan, you may have the opportunity to switch your coverage during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period. The Open Enrollment Period runs from January 1 to March 31 each year and allows most Medicare Advantage participants to make a one-time plan change. You can also find Part D coverage during this time if you are switching from a Medicare Advantage plan back to Original Medicare (Parts A and B).
Register for the COVID-19 Vaccination
Both Medicare Part B and Medicare Advantage plans should cover the cost of the COVID-19 testing and vaccination. Your local health department determines how the vaccines are distributed but you should not have to pay for your COVID-19 vaccination if you are a Medicare beneficiary.
Understand Changes to Medicare if You Have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)
Historically, those with ESRD have been restricted from enrolling in Medicare Advantage plans. However, starting in 2021, those with ESRD are allowed to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, giving them more options for chronic-disease management and potentially more flexible or affordable payment opportunities.
Learn About the New Services Medicare Covers
There are a variety of services and preventative screenings that you may not know Medicare covers. Starting in 2021, some Medicare plans offer coverage for acupuncture visits for chronic lower back pain.2 Taking the time to learn about various services and screenings covered by Medicare is a great way to make sure you’re getting the most out of your Medicare coverage.
Compare Medicare 2021 Plans with the Help of SelectQuote
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by your Medicare options, that’s why we’re here. At SelectQuote, we’ll cut through the clutter of Medicare, comparing Medicare plans from some of the most trusted companies to find you coverage that works for both your needs and your budget. We’ll make sure you get all of the benefits you deserve.