Earlier this week I went to the supermarket to buy a half-gallon of milk. (If I didn’t, my wife and I would be drinking our coffee black on the following day.) I went into the store, wheeled my shopping cart up and down the aisles and threw in lots of items I suddenly realized I needed – everything from shaving cream to brussels sprouts.
I then paid and went back to my car and – you guessed it! – I realized that while picking all those items that were not on my shopping list, I had forgotten to buy milk. Milk, you might remember, was the reason I went to the store in the first place. So after some griping at myself, I had to go back into the store and snag a carton of milk. At least I remembered it on the second try!
Why am I relating this story at the start of an article about selecting a Medicare policy? There is a very simple reason . . .
When we are signing up for Medicare, we can forget our most important priorities.
And just as I did after I realized I had forgotten to buy milk on my first ramble through the supermarket, we can end up scrambling to get what we most need from our health care coverage.
To make the situation even worse, it can be difficult to claim what we most want after we have opted for a policy. Suddenly we remember what our priorities for coverage were and by then, it is too late to arrange for them.
There Is a Better Way to Plan for Medicare
And it is a simple way too. Instead of wandering into a wilderness of dozens of new considerations about the Medicare coverage you could choose, you can create a list of priorities ahead of time for what your policy must cover and make sure it will satisfy them.
That’s right, simply start by defining your priorities. They could be:
- Your preferred physicians and other caregivers. Can they be paid by the policy you are considering? For example, let’s say you are under the care of an oncologist for prostate cancer. . . will that caregiver accept payment through the policy you are considering? Another way of asking this is, is your preferred caregiver- in network or out of network?
- The need for certain medications and/or care protocols. Again, will they be paid for by the policy you are considering? Let’s say, for example, that you are a candidate to have a partial hip replacement. It’s an advanced treatment that your orthopedist would like you to have – one that she can perform at a hospital near you. So, will that be covered by the policy you are considering?
- Geographical considerations. Perhaps you are retiring to a different part of the country – maybe moving from New England to the Pacific northwest. Can you find a policy that will still offer you coverage after you relocate? Will there be differences in coverage that you should anticipate? The time to think about them is when you are considering new policies, not after you have relocated, and it is too late to get what you are looking for.
- Family issues. If you and a spouse are approaching age 65 and are both covered by your prior employers’ health plans, how could that affect your choice of plans? Or if your spouse is dealing with a chronic health condition, will the policy you are considering provide uninterrupted coverage? Again, the time to think about these issues is early in your period of planning what kind of Medicare policies you should be considering.
How Do You Use Your List of Top Priorities When Signing Up for Medicare?
The most important thing to remember is, don’t forget them! Don’t set them aside while you are signing up for Medicare plans and then suddenly remember them at the last minute.
Instead, take that list of priorities to the very first meeting you have with a Medicare expert who can help you select a policy that meets your most critical needs and requirements.
One good choice. Walkthrough the CoverRight platform which asks you a series of questions and presents you with options to best match your needs. You can have a customized Medicare recommendation in a few minutes along with access to a dedicated advisor who can help you navigate the Medicare signup process from start to finish.
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