Retirement is a time to enjoy. It’s hard to do so when you’re spending an inordinate amount on health insurance. The goal is to find the least expensive Medicare option that still fully meets you needs.
Original Medicare is not offered by private carriers. Therefore, you can’t really shop around the get the least expensive plan.
Luckily, for most people, there is no premium for Part A. There is, however, a monthly premium for Medicare Part B. This is based on your income. Although you can’t shop around, there is a way to potentially save money on Medicare Part B: make sure to stay on top of your tax returns!
Medicare calculates your monthly premium based on your tax returns from two years prior. If you have retired and are making less money, make sure to file SSA-44 to update your income.
Find the Least Expensive Medicare Supplement Plans
Medicare Supplement Plans (Medigap Plans) are the most common type of supplemental Medicare coverage. There are many plans to choose from with different benefits and price points. Medicare Supplements are standardized so the benefits do not vary from carrier to carrier. First, you must choose the appropriate plan for your needs.
There are many plans to choose from, but let’s focus on three main options.
Medicare Supplement Plan G: is your most comprehensive coverage option. It will cover all of the gaps of Original Medicare except for the Part B deductible. So, for Part A, your deductible and coinsurance will be covered. You will not have to pay anything if you utilize these services. For Part B, there will be no coinsurance for any covered services.
Your yearly healthcare costs with Medicare Plan G are: 12 X (Part B Monthly Premium + Plan G Monthly Premium) + Part B Deductible
If you want to ensure no surprise medical bills OR you have doctor’s and specialist visits or medical procedures needed, this may be the best way to find the cheapest Medicare Plan.
Medicare Supplement Plan N is almost identical to Plan G. The exception is Part B Excess charges. Some doctors charge more than what Medicare will cover. If this is the case and your Medicare Supplement Plan doesn’t cover these charges, you will be responsible for them. However, in some states, there are no Part B Excess Charges and in general, they are not very common. So if you feel comfortable with taking the risk of Part B Excess Charges and you can find a Plan N with a much lower monthly premium, this way be the way to find the least expensive Medicare Plan.
Cost Sharing Supplement Plans are Medicare Supplement Plan K & Medicare Supplement Plan L. These will cover a portion of your coinsurance and may offer lower premiums.
Remember, if your doctor accepts Medicare, they accept your Medicare Supplement Plan, so use a broker and shop around!
Consider Medicare Advantage Plans
Medicare Advantage Plans (Medicare Part C) replace Original Medicare entirely. It may appear to be the least expensive Medicare option, but you will be giving up A LOT when enrolling in a Medicare Advantage Plan.
Although you will give up access to the extremely broad Medicare Network, you will have access to:
- Additional benefits not offered by Medicare such as hearing, dental, vision, and prescription drug coverage
- Out of Pocket Maximums not offered by Original Medicare
- Potentially lower copays or coinsurance
- Lower monthly premiums than Medicare Supplement Plans
If you decide a Medicare Advantage Plan is right for you, make sure you look at:
- Monthly Premiums
- Benefits and Networks
- Copays and Coinsurance
- Out of Pocket Maximums
Comparing these costs will help you find the cheapest Medicare Plan. Additionally, look at prescription drug coverage if it’s offered by your plan. If your plan offers dental, make sure your dentist is in the network. Finally take into consideration DSNPs, CSNPs, and insulin savings plans if applicable.
Find the Least Expensive Medicare Part D
Medicare Part D is your prescription drug coverage. Although it is offered by private carriers, it is federally regulated. Make sure to compare:
- Monthly Premiums
- In-Network Pharmacies
- Copays and Coinsurance for your prescriptions
The best way to find the least expensive Medicare plan is to use a broker. Contact iHealthBrokers at 888-918-0518 or schedule an appointment today. Our services are 100% FREE.
Jesse Smedley is the Principal Broker for iHealthBrokers and the founder, president, and CEO of Smedley Insurance Group, Inc. and iHealthBrokers.com. Since the inception of SIG in 2007, Jesse has been dedicated to helping people save money on their health insurance by providing them with resources to educate themselves on all their health insurance options, both under age 65 and Medicare beneficiaries. He is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for expert columns regarding health insurance and Medicare.