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For the nation’s older residents, the stakes can’t be higher when it comes to choosing health-care coverage.
That’s partly because under Medicare — you’re eligible at age 65 — changing plans can be challenging in some circumstances and costly if you get your choices wrong. So whether you’re giving your coverage an annual checkup during open enrollment (Oct. 15 through Dec. 7) or signing up for the first time, financial advisors say there are some key considerations to factor into your decision-making.
“I encourage people to get the best plan they can, because you don’t know what will happen with your health,” said certified financial planner Carolyn McClanahan, a physician and founder of Life Planning Partners in Jacksonville, Florida.
“The most important thing when it comes to health-care costs is to be adequately insured,” McClanahan said.
Roughly 62.8 million individuals are enrolled in Medicare, the majority of whom are age 65 or older (the remainder are younger with disabilities or individuals with end-stage renal disease).
About a third choose to get their benefits delivered through Advantage Plans, which are offered by private insurers and typically include Part D prescription drug coverage. The remainder stick with original Medicare: Part A (hospital coverage) and Part B (outpatient care). Those beneficiaries often pair that with a stand-alone Part D plan and a Medicare supplemental plan (aka Medigap), both of which also are offered by private insurance companies.