Is searching for the best Medicare Advantage Plan futile?
Anyone who has ever enrolled in an Advantage plan has hoped that they found the best Medicare Advantage Plan available. But what qualifies for the best Plan?
There are countless search queries for some variation of the phrase all in the hope that the name of the best plan will be presented in the search results. The truth of the matter is that there is no “best Medicare Advantage plan” in the universal sense.
That’s not to say that the best plan is not available… out there somewhere for you to find. It’s just going to take a little work on your part. Once you find the best Advantage Plan available you have to ask yourself if it’s the best type of Medicare Plan for you in general.
What I mean to say is, if you have decided that an Advantage Plan is the best way for you to receive your Medicare benefits but you have very few plans available in your area, you have to decide if you have a large enough sample to find anything that will suit your needs.
Maybe through you search for the best Advantage Plan you determine that given the limited choice available, you may be better off with original Medicare or original Medicare and a Medicare supplement.
What determines which Medicare Advantage Plan is best?
The best Advantage Plan for you may not be the best for someone else. Because there are several types of plans available
with different costs and benefits you will need to assess your individual situation to choose the best plan. And because Medicare Advantage Plans are annual plans and can change from year to year you will need to re-assess your plan options every year. If the following factors all fall into place you may have found the best plan:
- The plan is affordable both in monthly premiums and in cost-sharing when using the plan.
- Your providers including specialists and hospitals are in network.
- You understand the rules of the plan and can abide by them. For instance, if requesting a referral to see a specialist is not something you are willing to do, do not choose a Medicare HMO plan.
- Your drugs should be included in the plan’s formulary if you are enrolling in a plan with drug coverage.
- The plan should include the extra benefits, i.e. dental, vision, etc. that are important to you.
- You should also check with Medicare to see if the plan has been flagged as having been rated poorly.
If you have found a plan that meets with your satisfaction it could be described as the best plan. When considering plans you need to be realistic. If your budget is very limited you may have to settle for what is available. Just remember that the best Medicare Advantage Plan is a plan that is suitable to your circumstances and not a universally accepted plan with a blue ribbon attached.