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Medicare Plans: A Comparison

Are you considering signing up for Medicare? If so, you can benefit from doing a compare-and-contrast of different Medicare plans before you make your decision and sign up. It is good to start early on this, since today's Medicare plans are more varied than you might expect. If this is your first time signing up for Medicare, you have one chance each year to change your mind and choose a different Medicare plan instead. This period is called "open enrollment." So if you do your research and select a plan only to discover it doesn't fit as well as you thought, you can change your plan next year during open enrollment.

Medicare Plan Types: An Overview

There are four basic types of Medicare Plans. Original Medicare, often called "Parts A and B" cover basic care services such as you would find in any insurance plan. Part A covers hospital stays and associated costs. Part B covers preventative care and treatment in physician offices and outpatient clinics. Medicare Part D is dedicated to prescription drug coverage and benefits. Medicare Part C, often called "Advantage Plans," is provided through a number of private insurers. Part C gives you the option of customizing your Medicare benefits further to meet your specific healthcare needs.

Original Medicare is designed to offer healthcare benefits at a low overall cost. However, because of this, you will discover it won't cover everything you may need. Part C was developed to offer additional coverage as desired. By working with an authorized independent private insurer, you can find a medical insurance plan that offers coverage for other health needs you have that not everyone has, such as vision care, hearing care, dental care and similar benefits. Also, since many Medicare Advantage Part C plans also include coverage for prescription drugs, you won't be faced with shopping for that type of coverage separately.

Why Compare Medicare Plans?

The comparison process permits you to select the Medicare plan option that best fits your financial situation and healthcare needs year by year. If you are like many Medicare subscribers, your finances and your health can and often do change from year to year. For example, perhaps for a time Original Medicare covers all your medical meets. But then as the years go by, this is no longer the case. So then you can sit down and go through the comparison process again until you find just the right combination of benefits through a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan.