7 Resources for Making Sense of Medicare

It’s open enrollment season for Medicare. If you’re currently enrolled in Medicare, you have until December 7 to review the various plan options. This is the time when to decide which are right for your health insurance needs and finances.

These are the same decisions you would make if you’re enrolling for Medicare for the first time—which you can do starting three months before your 65th birthday and up to three months afterward (or eight months after retirement if you work past 65).

If you fall into either camp, or need to help make these choices for a parent or older spouse, it’s important to know the options and how they best align with your needs. Personal health situations change from year to year. Elements and rules that go with various Medicare plans often change too.

Medicare is a tremendous benefit for Americans 65 and older, one that most of us have been paying into throughout our working lives. However, navigating the system and all the variables to make the right choices can be a daunting process. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available to help you make these important decisions. Here are seven good ones:

  • Medicare.gov

    If you like your information straight from the source, visit the official Medicare website or call 800-633-4227 (MEDICARE), 24 hours a day. Front and center on the home page is a basic questionnaire and step-by-step selection guide that can help steer you toward the right plan(s).

  • State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)

    If you prefer personal assistance or want it to supplement your online research, SHIP counselors are available throughout the country.

  • National Association of Area Agencies on Aging

    This nonprofit organization works with a network of more than 600 Area Agencies on Aging can connect you with a SHIP counselor in your area. Their website also contains several helpful Medicare support features.

  • AARP

    No surprise that the folks at AARP have a wealth of information on choosing the right Medicare plan. Their Medicare Made Easy webpage offers comprehensive yet simple explanations of what’s covered and what isn’t, and any changes in Medicare plans/rules from year to year. Keep in mind that AARP offers its own Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan, which is insured by UnitedHealthcare, so the information may or may not be as objective as the three sources mentioned above.

  • Medicare Made Clear

    Speaking of UnitedHealthcare, they provide an informative website that covers all things Medicare: the basics, open enrollment, changing needs, even how to qualify for financial assistance. If you’re a visual learner, the video summaries can be a huge help. Similar to AARP, though, UnitedHealthcare offers its own Medicare Advantage (Part C) and Supplement plans. Keep that in mind when absorbing the site’s helpful content.

  • Get What’s Yours for Medicare: Maximize Your Coverage, Minimize Your Costs

    Philip Moeller, who co-authored the New York Times bestselling guide to Social Security, offers essential and in-depth advice on how to maximize your health coverage and save money. At only $11 for hardcover, it’s well worth the read. Available as low as $1.17 for a used copy, it’s an absolute steal.

  • SelectQuote Senior

    Did we save the best for last? You decide. We offer a combination of easy-to-understand online education about Medicare and personal consultation from independent, licensed agents who can help you simplify the process, answer your questions and help you get the right plan for your needs. We can quickly get you free quotes from dozens of different insurance companies.

 

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