Medicare FAQs: Choosing Coverage that’s Right for You

Medicare FAQs: Choosing a Company that’s Right for You

There are five things that you want to consider when choosing an insurance company for your Medicare Supplementary or Medicare Advantage. Ask yourself these 5 questions:

1. Is the company that provides your coverage important to you?

That’s the number one factor. If you’re familiar with the insurance company, you may have been a policyholder of theirs in the past. Or the brand name of the company, someone that you’ve heard about for years, and many companies have a nationally known brand name that you’re very familiar with. You see it on TV or in advertising or you’ve heard about the company before. That’s definitely a major consideration when you choose an insurance company. Today these companies are all very well managed and regulated. So it’s hard to make a mistake just with the overall makeup of the company. But your choice/ your preference of company is very important.

2. Does the plan have a reputation for dropping doctors from their health plan network?

Yes, so that’s an excellent question. With Medicare Advantage companies and doctors in the networks, the providers come in and out of the networks once a year at least. So some doctors may drop out themselves and sometimes the insurance companies as part of the overall quality review will drop some doctors. So, do you want a company that has a reputation that your doctor may or may not be in the network from year to year? So it’s an important consideration you should research to make sure that your doctor is reliable, what their reputation is, and they may have an opinion on which company does a good job of that.

3. Does the Medicare plan have a reputation for changing coverage each year?

Yes well you know each of the companies in the Medicare Advantage area you can count on them changing their coverage each year. And that’s common. They do that to refresh their product offerings. There are changes with Medicare sometimes and they need to rearrange their benefits and various other things. But if you want a company that doesn’t change very much and that has a good reputation this should definitely be a consideration.

4. What are the Medicare plan’s overall and individual star ratings?

That’s very important when you talk about the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid the CMS star rating. So each insurance company is given ratings in different categories. So you have a rating of one star, two stars, three stars, four stars, and then five stars. That’s the highest rating. And they’re based on different categories in the company’s overall performance. And then you have of course the overall star rating. So if that rating is important to you then you’d want to consider that. There are only a few markets where there are five-star ratings. So with three and a half, four or a four-and-a-half star rating is fine. Some individuals want five stars always, so you would want to research the companies in your particular location and really study those star ratings if that’s what you want.

5. Does the company provide printed material and services in your native language?

That’s really important there. You know it is a very diverse population that we live with here in the United States. Virtually every language you can think of is printed. Some companies do an excellent job of printing the materials in your native language. I think there would be an advantage to that. Spanish and English for example, you can get these printed materials, your policies, or membership forms, all in your native language. I would check on that. If English is not your first language and you would prefer to read it in your own language just find out if that’s available to you.

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