Medicare provides prescription drug coverage for millions of Americans, but understanding the different types of plans available can be difficult. Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans with prescription drug coverage, and stand-alone Part D plans all offer varying levels of coverage and cost structures. it’s important to compare each option before deciding which Nevada drug plan best suits your needs.
Americans spend approximately $335 billion on prescription drugs annually. Attempting to pay for the medication you need out-of-pocket can be extremely expensive. This is why exploring all of your Medicare drug coverage options is vital.
In this article, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of each type of plan so that readers can make an informed decision when selecting their health insurance options.
The Importance of Comparing Different Medicare Drug Plans
Medicare drug plans are important because they can help you save money on the medications you need. It is important to compare different Nevada drug plans to find the one that offers the best benefits for you. Doing this will help ensure that your medications are covered and that you get the best deal possible.
Before you decide which Nevada drug plan is the best for you, it is important to understand your needs. Consider what medications you take, the cost of those medications, and the coverage you need for other medical services. Nevada offers several different drug plans depending on your personal needs and budget.
An Overview of Medicare Drug Plans
When choosing the right Medicare drug plans, it is important to consider Original Medicare (Parts A and B), Part D, Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans) and stand-alone plans.
Original Medicare (Parts A & B) includes prescription drug coverage and covers some generic drugs. Medicare Part D is a stand-alone plan that provides additional coverage for prescription drugs.
Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans) includes prescription drug coverage and additional benefits like hearing, vision and dental. Finally, Nevada offers several stand-alone plans that provide coverage for prescription medication.
Comparing the Cost of Each Plan
Medicare drug plans can be a cost-effective way to manage your out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions. The cost of a Medicare drug plan depends on the type of plan, the level of coverage you need, and the medications you take.
For example, while some plans may offer lower premiums, they may not cover all of the medications you take. Other plans may have higher premiums but offer more generous coverage for your medications.
Plan costs can also vary depending on where you live. Plans offered in different states may have different premiums, deductibles and co-pays. It is important to research the different plans in your area. If you want to explore Nevada drug plan options, Comprehensive Medicare Solutions is here to help.
Explore All of Your Options Before Making a Decision
The worst thing you can do when attempting to choose a Medicare drug plan is to get in a hurry. Taking your time and consulting with the professionals at Comprehensive Medicare Solutions can help you make an educated decision.
After being in the hospital, going home is usually a welcome change. Not only that but being where you are comfortable is great for recovery. However, it's only smart to go home if you have the support and systems in place to ensure your recovery.
This is particularly true for seniors, who are at a higher risk of readmission. Use the tips here to help prevent this from happening.
Steps to Take Before Going to the Hospital
Before you leave for the hospital, it's important to prepare your home. A common reason people are readmitted to the hospital is because of a fall. Be sure to move any hazards, such as excess clutter or throw rugs, to reduce the possibility of tripping or falling. Make sure everything you need is easy for you to reach and ask for assistance when going to and from the bathroom. It's also smart to have rubber-soled slippers or non-skid socks available to help you keep your balance.
You should also discuss the level of care you will need with your doctor. There's a good chance you may need help from family, friends, or an in-home healthcare provider.
Steps to Take After You Are Discharged from the Hospital
Before your release from the hospital, let the staff know how you feel. Sometimes, you may have symptoms that need ongoing monitoring and that your doctor needs to know about.
Certain signs of needing to be readmitted can be monitored. However, you need to let your doctor know before you leave if you are experiencing issues breathing or lightheadedness. Usually, these are symptoms that will result in readmission.
Make sure you know your discharge instructions and ask questions before leaving. It's best to have someone with you when you are discharged so they can listen to your doctor's instructions.
Get Your Medications and Specialized Equipment Ready
You need to ensure that you know what medications you need to keep taking when you are discharged. Find out about changes to medicines, new medicines added to your routine, and ones you should discontinue taking. Get your prescriptions from the hospital filled right away too.
You may also need specialized equipment at home, such as a hospital bed, oxygen, wheelchair, and other safety equipment. You must arrange to have this equipment delivered to your home before discharge. This can help you avoid being readmitted to the hospital.
Preventing Hospital Readmission
If you want to prevent hospital readmission after you are discharged, be sure to keep the tips and information here in mind. While the tips apply to everyone, they are particularly important for seniors. In many cases, Medicare will cover the costs of necessary equipment and in-home health services.
There is help available with Medicare needs and filings. Be sure to keep this in mind, which will help you prepare for being discharged from the hospital. When you are prepared, it can also help prevent hospital readmission, which is something most people want to avoid.
Aging is a natural part of life. Most people look forward to reaching their retirement years and pursuing the passions they have. One of the biggest drawbacks of getting older is the rising cost of healthcare. If you don’t have a plan for dealing with healthcare costs when you retire, you run the risk of getting into a financial bind.
Americans over the age of 65 spend over $11,000 a year on healthcare costs. If you are trying to reduce the financial burden of doctors’ visits, medical procedures and medications, then it is time to develop a plan. Below are some effective ways you can lower healthcare costs in your golden years.
Thoroughly Review Your Medicare PolicyOne of the first things you need to do once you reach the age of 65 is to apply for Medicare. This government-funded insurance option is a favorite of senior citizens throughout the United States. Once you get approved for Medicare and choose a policy, spend some time going over the fine print. Getting to know more about the medical and pharmacy-related insurance benefits associated with your policy is imperative.
Knowing what is covered and what isn’t can help you strategically select the procedures and medicines you seek out. If you feel like your existing Medicare policy isn’t meeting your needs, you can always take advantage of the upcoming open enrollment period.
During this period, you can make changes to your Medicare policy online. Allowing the team at Comprehensive Medicare Solutions to walk you through the perks and restrictions of your current insurance policy is a wise move. We can also help with things like filing Medicare claims and changing your existing policy.
Prevention Can Pay OffGoing into your golden years with serious health problems can be quite expensive. If you are a few years away from retiring, now is the time to start thinking ahead. Taking steps to reduce the risk of things like heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes can pay off big time in the future.
Some of the main things you need to focus on when trying to prevent serious health conditions is getting plenty of sleep, exercising daily and eating a healthy diet. Making these healthy changes will be difficult at first. However, the longer you practice these healthy habits, the easier it will be.
Assess Your Long-Term NeedsAs you get older, your healthcare needs will change. Planning for these changes is crucial when trying to avoid financial ruin in your golden years. There might come a time when you need home healthcare services to help with things like cooking, cleaning and other daily tasks.
Advanced care planning is a good way to get ready for the changes that might occur in the future. This planning involves doing things like getting financial/legal documents in place and establishing a healthcare proxy.
There is no denying just how expensive healthcare can be. Using the tips in this article can help you lower healthcare costs in your retirement years.
In past blogs, we’ve been going over each of these Medicare parts and what they generally cover. Today, let's look closely at Medicare Part A to start seniors thinking about what they need in terms of Medicare and supplemental Medicare plans.
First of all, Part A is the part of Medicare coverage that covers in-facility treatments.
That can mean hospital or hospice stays, or a stint in a skilled nursing care facility. So how are these elements covered under Medicare? Knowing more will help you to navigate this system in a better way.
One of the first things that's important to understand is that although Part A covers skilled nursing care, it doesn't cover it long-term.
Here, the word “covers” can seem deceptive, because of the way that the coverage is structured.
Here's, essentially, how it works: for the first number of days, Medicare pays all costs in a skilled nursing facility.
After that number of days, coinsurance applies which is set at over $100 per day.
After about 100 days, Medicare Part A stops paying completely, and the customer is on the hook for the rest of the costs for that year. So if someone stays in a skilled nursing facility year-round, they are paying about 260 days out of the year out-of-pocket.
Daily Skilled Nursing Costs
Now, Google average daily skilled nursing facility costs, and you come up with a number – $275.
That's over $9000 per month, so for the additional six or seven months, you're paying over $50,000 for the year.
Of course, Medicare Part A did pay a significant component of all of the skilled nursing costs, but patients who thought they had very little financial responsibility are sadly surprised when they exceed the stay limitations.
Now, it's important to clarify here that people don't choose how long they are in skilled nursing care. It's a clinical determination. Let's also add that most patients don't suddenly stop needing skilled nursing care. When they are deteriorated to the point where they have limited range of motion and mobility, they often need skilled nursing care year-round. That’s not an unreasonable care need! But then there can be significant logistical problems with how that works.
Medicare Advantage and Supplemental Plans
Here's where supplemental Medicare plans come in. Patients have to choose additional coverage to limit their financial responsibility. We can help make those decisions! Do your research to come up with a plan that will make you feel financially secure in a rapidly changing world.
Have you ever received a Medicare survey in the mail? These usually arrive in your mailbox in an “official” envelope. Upon opening it, you find a letter requesting that you fill out a health care survey.
You may not realize this thick envelope is your chance to ensure your voice is heard. Learn more about these surveys and why they are important for your health and well-being here.
Who Sends Medicare Surveys?Most of the surveys for Medicare are sent from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It’s a federal organization that is tasked with keeping tags on how Medicare plans around the country are doing – be this positive or negative.
With these surveys, you are encouraged to give honest responses. Every survey goes through a third-party survey group, ensuring your identity is fully protected. Answers are confidential, and therefore it is such a great opportunity. You have the chance to say what you really think without having your name known by a hospital, clinic, or health insurance plan.
The Impact of Surveys on Your HealthUsually, health care plans and care systems use survey results for planning purposes. It helps them understand where they can improve to improve health care options and opportunities. This includes how easily you can get the care needed, what the care is like, the cost of the care, customer service quality, and anything else that ensures a health care plan works as expected.
When you give honest answers, these organizations receive the information and will know what they aren’t doing well.
Modern health care plans have quite a few incentives to do better.
Some of these incentives include:
Star RatingsEvery Medicare plan, which includes dual-eligible Medicaid and Medicare plans, has star ratings from one to five. It indicates how they performed over the prior year—one factor in determining that rating is the surveys and the answers received.
There’s Power in NumbersIf enough people don’t answer the surveys, the results won’t be posted. That’s another way that your responses make a difference.
Your Time Makes a Huge ImpactWhen you fill out a survey, you are doing something good for yourself and your health. Surveys don’t take a lot of time, but they can make a huge difference in providing health care. Also, the purpose of the surveys is to help ensure things get better. If you make a point of answering the questions, you also can make things better.
How to Tell if It’s a Real SurveyMost people get a lot of junk mail. Because of this, you may wonder if it’s a real survey.
All real surveys include a cover letter to see a 1-800 number to find out who sent the survey. There are only certain times that these surveys are sent, as well.
If you get a survey that is not in this period, you may want to call and find out more about it before taking the time to fill it out.
Medicare's open enrollment period from October 15th, 2021, to December 7th, 2021, is a time for you to review your benefits and make changes as needed. This could be as routine as signing up again if your current plan offers coverage through 2022. It could also mean changing plans or providers because you want to change your prescription drug coverage or need extra living help. If you're enrolled in Medicare or getting ready to register you might have questions. Here's what you need to know.
What Is The Difference Between Medicare Advantage And Original Medicare?
Original Medicare is managed by the federal government and offers you hospital (Part A) and outpatient (Part B) coverage, including doctors' visits, tests, and procedures. Medicare Advantage plans are designed for people with Medicare Parts A and B who get additional coverage from a private insurance company.
These managed-care plans provide the same basic coverage as the original Medicare program but may offer additional benefits such as prescription medication coverage and vision and hearing care. If you are on original Medicare, you can purchase supplemental plans to help cover any of your additional healthcare costs or a Part D prescription drug plan.
Which Plan Is Right For Me?
Between Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage plans, there are wide-ranging effects on the cost of healthcare for you—and your budget. These differences apply even if you already have employer-sponsored insurance. Original Medicare is accepted by most doctors across the country, which could be an asset if you ever need care while traveling out of state.
Like most employer-based insurance plans, Medicare Advantage plans come with a specific network of doctors and hospitals. You have to use a doctor or hospital on the list. If you visit any other doctor, it may not be covered or may cost extra.
What Is The Difference Between Coinsurance, A Copay, A Premium, And A Deductible?
There are three cost-sharing types: premium, deductible, and copay. Plans may require copays when you receive treatment or purchase prescriptions. Copays are set by your plan and may vary from one plan to the next. The annual premium is the amount charged for each year of insurance. You should also consider other fees, such as the application fee and any discounts you may qualify for, including multi-vehicle, non-smoker discounts.
Your new plan will have a predetermined yearly deductible, depending on the plan selected. The amount you'll have to spend out of pocket before your plan starts to pay its share of covered benefits is called the deductible. Your new plan has a yearly deductible plus a percentage of your medical expenses after you meet that deductible. We call this percentage coinsurance. Original Medicare has an annual deductible plus coinsurance that is 20% once your deductible is met.
Children with elderly parents can find it challenging to stay on top of their healthcare needs even as they lead their own lives. It is easier to seek the help of a licensed agent who can ensure that the enrollment is done on time and the premiums are paid promptly. You never know when your parents may be in need of urgent medical care.
Do You Need A Medicare Agent?
Invariably, senior citizens and their caregivers find it more than a tad challenging to navigate the various Medicare options. It can be time-consuming and seem complicated. A Medicare agent who is licensed and qualified can provide the necessary education, assistance and help translate the information making it easier to understand. This is helpful even if you have been paying the health insurance premiums year after year and are not new to it. A knowledgeable source can help you make an informed decision and pick the best plan for your family.
What Can Medicare Advantage Agents Do?
Medicare advantage agents keep abreast of the latest news in the Medicare industry and have access to all the pertinent information. They also have access to different plans from various insurance providers and can zero in on the plan most suited to you quickly. The best part of working with an agent is that you get personalized attention.
The agent gathers the information and the quotes and is better positioned to guide you, keeping your financial situation in mind. They can advise you on the most cost-effective options for Medicare Advantage, Prescription Drug Plans, and the Supplemental Insurance Plans (Medigap) that will fit in your budget.
Find The Right Medicare Agent
The key to selecting the right Medicare advantage agent is checking their credentials.
Licensed: The agents must be licensed, and the state insurance department can verify that. These agents would have a license number on their cards.
Experienced: An insurance broker or agent would ideally have sufficient experience selling
Medicare plans in the state. Referrals from family and friends would help. Another way of checking their experience would be to ask them about their existing customers and the type of plans they have handled.
Needless to say, Medicare or Medicare Advantage plans are essential for senior citizens. Sudden illnesses can be unpredictable and with medical expenses so high across the country, having healthcare coverage is critical for your peace of mind.
Lots of us know that Medicare is a very complicated government entitlement program with its own rules and regulations and a pretty complex design.
But that idea is also front and center in new campaigns from Medicare supplement plans that describe Medicare as a pyramid of various levels, with different parts and pieces fitting together in an interlocking design.
It's enough to make you dizzy. Some of these descriptions of the Medicare program compare it to the vintage government food pyramid, where you have things like grains, proteins, green vegetables, sugar and fat in an ascending set of shaped levels that show us a little bit about how our daily diet should look. But where the food pyramid is intuitive, the Medicare pyramid is just confusing, partly because the parts and pieces themselves may not be labeled well to help people understand just what it is that they do.
Medicare Parts and Pieces
In the Medicare pyramid, you have Medicare parts A and B, and then you have part C and part D, and even part E, where each of these addresses specific parts of your Medicare coverage. It is not a straightforward process, as we pointed out in past blog posts. It really takes some research and some critical thinking to understand how Medicare works. One part covers prescription drugs. But which part is that? One part is essentially an overlap for certain kinds of supplementary cost. All of it is infuriating to someone’s sense of organization and neatness. But when you turn 65, it’s your turn to navigate this world, because not having this unique senior coverage provided by the government is virtually unthinkable, given the costs of modern healthcare.
In addition, many professionals would admit that Medicare is one of the ultimate examples of alphabet soup. What is a BNI or CCIP? The casual reader knows next to nothing about these terms, and finds themselves helplessly marooned on an island of acronyms. Everything in a Medicare transmittal does something different, and the rules that the system gives out to providers are elaborately arcane.
So what if you’re just a regular person who needs help with Medicare?
Get help from Comprehensive Medicare Solutions in Nevada to access the Medicare resources that you need. Or ask for an elderly family member. We’ll walk you through the process and help you to make the decisions that are best, with our experience handling Medicare and related policies. It doesn’t have to be scary, although, without a light, it really is quite a dark forest.
For many children of aging parents, navigating the complexities of government programs for their loved ones can be an overwhelming experience. Yet, caregivers of seniors are often called upon to give advice on Medicare and help guide their loved ones through the process. Like anything in life, being prepared is essential to success, so we’ve gathered a few basic tips to help make navigating the Medicare process less stressful for senior caregivers.
Know The ABC’s Of Medicare
Medicare has several different parts which need to be understood to make the process of helping your loved one easier. Once you are familiar with these parts, you will be better prepared to assist in navigating Medicare. Part A is hospital insurance, and Part B is medical insurance. Original Medicare includes both Parts A and B; the caveat is that Part A is free, where Part B contains premiums, deductibles, and co-pays.
It is important to note that Part A typically covers nursing home care, home health services, hospice, and hospital and skilled nursing facility care. Part C covers Parts A and B. Part D covers prescription drugs and supplemental insurance added to Original Medicare, which requires premiums.
Meeting Deadlines Is Vital; Missing Deadlines Is Bad News
As overwhelming as it may be to take on helping a loved one manage their Medicare, remaining prudent with timing is vital. Missing deadlines to apply for Medicare can lead to higher premiums and penalties that create unnecessary, burdensome costs. Caregivers must remain vigilant of Medicare deadlines when aiding their loved ones.
Typically, people are eligible to apply for Medicare three months before their 65th birthday. An Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) includes the three-month periods before and after the 65th birthday and is the primary opportunity to enroll in Medicare. Medicare sign-up should take place during this window to be the most effective. Delays in signing up and missing the time frames may result in higher premiums throughout the lifetime of the Medicare coverage.
Meeting With A Medicare Professional
As with navigating any governmental program, meeting with a professional to discuss Medicare options can help you streamline the Medicare planning and process for your loved one. Experienced agents can more easily break down the cycle into manageable parts that will allow you to feel in control, informed, and ahead of the game.
For caregivers of seniors, navigating the world of Medicare can be a breeze with knowledge, time management, and help from Medicare solutions specialists.
We are super excited to announce that we are going to be launching a new podcast series on June 14 called "The True View of Medicare". You will be able to find us on all major streaming platforms such as: Spotify, Apple Music, Youtube, and here on Facebook.
We will be talking about Medicare and all the different aspects of aging, including: nutrition, fitness, mental health, and more! Feel free to let us know what kind of topics you want to hear on our show, and we will be happy to bring them up.
Our team can't wait to share this series with you!