By Rick Beavin, Desert Pacific Medicare President, Humana
In a year filled with unforeseen challenges and important decisions, people with Medicare have through Monday, Dec. 7 to select their Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Plan coverage for 2021. To ensure you have the right Medicare plan for you in place come January 1 of next year, it’s important to focus on these three key topics:
Navigating plan options during COVID-19 – Traditionally, the annual Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plan open enrollment period offers opportunities for in-person educational events and one-on-one meetings with licensed sales agents. This year, you can safely access the resources you need to choose the best plan for you, online or by phone. The Medicare Plan Finder is a great place to start.
Doctors in network, prescription drugs covered? As you connect with a licensed sales agent or research information online, remember to confirm which doctors and hospitals are in a plan’s network. If you have a preferred physician or health care facility, a licensed health insurance agent can help you see if a specific doctor or hospital is in a plan’s network and taking new patients.
Although 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 sales 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.
New, innovative benefits – Beyond vision, hearing and dental coverage, if you aim to become healthier, look for fitness program benefits as many Medicare Advantage plans include them. If you are comfortable using technology, access to virtual doctor visits is broadly available and enables you to seek care through your phone or computer, without having to leave home. Some Medicare Advantage plans offer benefits to help address the COVID-19 pandemic including offering home-delivered meals for members with a COVID diagnosis.
As we approach the Dec. 7 Medicare annual enrollment deadline, remember you’re not alone. Key resources are available including licensed sales agents and websites such as medicare.gov and www.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.
Rick Beavin is Desert Pacific Medicare President at Humana in California.