By Michael Crotts
Getting the most from your health plan is important to many seniors, but it is not always easy to navigate your way through all of the benefit plans and options. Your plan choices may vary depending on the county in which you live, the medical conditions you have, and your financial status. Many people even mistakenly believe spouses need to be enrolled in the same health plan. The following tips and tricks are provided as a conversation starter. For a more thorough conversation about your current health plan and available options, we welcome you to stop by our office or schedule an in-home appointment by calling Best Plan Choice at 727-845-5297. Our services are always provided by a licensed agent and are without cost to you.
Transportation to the grocery store:
If your health plan offers transportation services the benefit typically only covers trips to and from the doctor or pharmacy. By transferring your prescriptions to a store that also sells grocery items you can use your transportation benefits to pick up some necessities. Just remember you may have a short wait for the return trip so you may want to pass on buying ice cream.
Lower your specialist copayment:
Health plan copayments are generally higher for specialist care because a specialist has more extensive training. This encourages patients to first seek medical attention from their primary care provider. If you are under the care of a specialist consider this tip; select a health plan with lower specialist copayments, go to a medical center offering an in-house specialist, or select an internist with a sub-specialty as your primary care physician.
Never pay for bandages again:
Many health plans cover over-the-counter (OTC) products. There is no charge for the items and each month you are given an allowance to order products such as bandages, cough syrups, and blood pressure monitors. The trick is remembering to place your monthly order because it is a “use it or lose it” benefit. Unused credits do not carry over to the next month. Feel free to stop by our office if you have misplaced your catalog or want to learn how you may be eligible for up to $50 a month in OTC items.
Bigger social security checks:
Enrollment in a health plan requires you to have both Part A and Part B of Medicare. Your $134 monthly premium (in 2018) for Part B is automatically deducted from your social security check. There are health plans in Florida offering an automatic rebate of Part B premiums to members of certain plans. Rebates currently range from about $60 to over $100 a month, and new rebates for 2019 will be shared around October 1st. Keep in mind when you first enroll in a rebate plan it could take a few months for the money to show up in your social security check. Once it is set up, you will be paid retroactively from your effective date.
Exercise for free:
Fitness centers usually experience less use between the early morning and after-work crowds. It is a perfect time for the centers to host classes specifically designed for seniors. Health plans may offer access to fitness centers and classes to encourage its members to be active and social. If you haven’t been to Zumba or yoga class, grab your sneakers and try a class. All skill levels are welcomed, and you’ll find yourself feeling better as you meet new friends.
Cut your prescription costs by a third:
To encourage the use of mail order services many health plans offer a three-month supply of medications for the cost of two month’s copay. This option not only saves you money on your drugs, but it may also eliminate a monthly trip to the pharmacy, and you will be more likely to take your medicines if you always have a supply. Signing up is simple, and we are always glad to assist you.
Give your health plan an annual checkup:
It is important to review your benefits each year between October 1st and Dec 7th. Unless there is a special exception, this is the time you can enroll, disenroll or change your plan. Now is the perfect time to call us to schedule an appointment to review your current plan by calling 727-845-5297.
Best Plan Choice
727-845-5297 | 1-855-BOOMER65
Tips and Tricks: Get the Most from Your Health Plan
By Michael Crotts