By: Lupe Bruneman, HCMBA
Ph: (786) 322.8633
17 Medicare Advantage Health Insurance Carriers, 83 products in Dade County, and over 10,000 licensed health insurance agents in Florida!! This is what Medicare recipients in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties are faced with every year when and if they need to choose supplemental Medicare coverage.
There’s also the constant marketing received in the mail, phone calls, television commercials, and retail store kiosks in food supermarkets and pharmacies offering to help you choose “the right plan for you”! So who can you trust? How can YOU take control of YOUR healthcare, so you have the best coverage when you are sick, which is when you need it most?
Here are a few tips to help you become a more educated consumer:
1. Know that you have options: If anyone shows you only ONE plan, ask them to explain why THAT plan is best for you, out of the 83 products available in Dade County and 93 products in Broward County. Ask them to show you a comparison of several options, not just ONE.
2. Each person has different needs and situations: This is why there are so many choices. Talking to friends, family or neighbors will give you some idea of the choices available, but their situation may not be the same as yours. Make sure you talk to a licensed and experienced agent who can discuss ALL the options available to you.
Make sure the options you are being offered cover medications and any doctors and facilities you want to be able to visit. If the person helping you doesn’t take these 2 things into consideration when offering you a health plan, get a second opinion from someone who can include your medications and doctors into your comparison.
For example, when it comes to medications, the price that is charged to you at the pharmacy can be very different depending on the insurance company you choose. Additionally, the price could be different at different pharmacies!! If you choose 1 insurance company, you can pay one price at 1 pharmacy and a different price for the same medication at another pharmacy! This is why it is so important to work with someone who can show you these different options to make sure you know the best scenario for you.
Also, there is Federal and State assistance available to help pay for medical costs and most people don’t know how to access this help. The right broker should be able to pre-qualify you to see if any of these programs are available to you.
Overall, ask questions, and don’t settle on one plan until you are sure it will meet your specific healthcare needs. Remember you can always make a change at least once a year, so seek help and don’t give up on finding the right healthcare for you!