Any major change to health insurance laws are sure to bring up a storm – that is what happened with Affordable Care Act as well. However, it seems to have settled to a great extent now with some apprehensions still alive.
Especially towards the end of the year people start speculating about the changes in health plans they might have to deal with in the coming year. Medicare open enrolment period starts in October and during this period changes can also be made to existing plans. If Medicare contracts are not renewed with the present companies, customers have to look for other plans. For seniors on Medicare it is always a cause of concern.
Many Medicare beneficiaries use Medicare Advantage plans to get their Original Medicare benefits as well as a few additional benefits. Since these plans are subsidized by government funding, seniors can get good coverage at reasonable rates or very low premiums. There was a possibility of a decrease in government funding for these plans which had led to a panic for policyholders because that meant substantial increase in premiums. However, that situation has been averted and people have been assured that there is not going to be a huge price hike, but some increase nevertheless will happen.
It is being predicted that health insurance companies who sell Medicare Advantage plans might offer more HMO plans and reduce the number of PPO plans. HMO plans are less expensive than PPO plans, but PPO offers more flexible choices.
Medicare Advantage Options in 2018
HMO and PPO are two most popular type of plans under Medicare Advantage. The rates will vary depending on the age, location and health condition of the applicant. You can go through the pros and cons of both before you decide.
Health Maintenance Organization or HMO plans, offers quality healthcare service and wide range of plans. All the care is coordinated through a primary care physician who has to be within the network of doctors in the plan. Any specialist visit has to be approved by the primary care physician in order to be covered by the plan. The members do not get to choose their preferred doctors in this system. If you can bear this disadvantage, you may get HMO plans even for zero monthly premiums.
PPO or Preferred Physician Organization is the more expensive option because it gives the members the flexibility to choose any providers who are within the network. Members do not need referrals to visit specialists. These plans require the payment of a premium apart from what is paid for Medicare Part B.
Both these options have advantages and disadvantages, so you need to weigh them carefully. Since PPO plans are more expensive many seniors with limited resources prefer HMO plans. You can also look for a low-cost PPO plan if your medical needs are high and you prefer to see any particular specialist.
Ways to Find the Best Medicare Advantage Plan
The best way to find the best plan – a plan which serves your medical needs and fits your budget- is to shop around and compare the rates and benefits. You should start with the best insurance companies to find out the plans they are offering at the lowest or zero premium rates. It is always best to buy plans from a reliable company with high ratings. Once you know the options available to you, it will be easier to choose the right plan.
This comparison will take some time and effort, but it is worth it in order to find the most suitable Medicare Advantage plan. Another way to do this research is through the internet. You can take help from the websites which offer free insurance comparison tools. Some basic personal details will get you quotes from the best Medicare Advantage companies serving your area and you can proceed with the best one. Insurance professionals can help you too.
Some of the leading insurance companies which offer Medicare Advantage plans are – AARP, UnitedHealthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Anthem, Aetna, Cigna, Wellcare etc.