Research can take time, and many people find working with a licensed health insurance agent helpful when deciding between Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans, Prescription Drug Plans and Medicare Supplement plans. Answering these three questions can help you make an informed choice during the Medicare Annual Election Period, October 15 to December 7:
* Are my doctors, hospitals and specialists in network? Most Medicare Advantage plans offer online tools to help you find doctors and hospitals that are in a plan's network. A licensed agent can also help you look up hospitals and doctors to see if they're in a plan's network and taking new patients, and confirm what's in network if you're a seasonal resident.
* Which plans will cover my prescription drugs? Original Medicare does not cover most prescription drugs. Many Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage, or you can sign up for a Part D Prescription Drug Plan separately. A licensed agent can look up the medications you would like covered and help you estimate what the cost of each drug would be on a plan.
* Are there new, innovative benefits I should consider? Beyond vision, hearing and dental coverage, if you aim to become healthier, look for fitness program benefits as many Medicare Advantage plans offer a gym membership. If you travel or appreciate technology, virtual doctors are helpful services when you can't see a doctor right away. Most Medicare Advantage plans now offer transportation to doctor appointments and the gym.
Resources are available to help you in this process, including licensed sales agents, local seminars, and websites such as medicare.gov and humana.com/Medicare. You can also call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) (or TTY: 1-877-486-2048) 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or call Humana at 1-800-213-5286 (TTY: 711) 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time seven days a week.
Humana is a Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO, and PFFS organization, and stand-alone prescription drug plan, with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in any Humana plan depends on plan renewal.