Have you just realized that Medicare doesn’t pay for all of your health care expenses? If you are currently enrolled in Medicare, now is the final chance to get a Medicare Advantage plan for 2012. These plans can expand on Medicare’s coverage, and may not raise your monthly premiums. That’s because Medicare Advantage plans are subsidized by the federal government.
Open enrollment ends December 7, but since there could be several plans available where you live, you may want to start investigating your options as soon as possible. There are a couple of things to aware of when you’re comparing benefits. Medicare Advantage plans have their own network of health care providers, so you’ll want to see whether your doctor is in-network. You won’t have any coverage to see out-of-network doctors.
If you’re taking medication, you’ll also want to see whether your medicine is covered. Medicare Advantage plans do pay for prescriptions, but they do not cover every drug. When it comes to prescriptions, if you decide not to go with one of the Medicare Advantage plans, you might like one of the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plans. You may sign up for these until December 7, as well.
While Medicare Advantage plans actually combine the benefits of Medicare Part A, B and D in a single plan, you can also combine other plans. If you prefer Original Medicare, you may expand your benefits by adding a Medigap Insurance plan and a Part D Prescription plan. Medigap plans, however, do not offer help with dental care, eyeglasses or hearing aids as Medicare Advantage plans do. We’ll be happy to answer questions for you whether you call us directly or join us for our Question and Answer Medicare Teleseminar. Just sign up on our website for free and start writing down your questions.

Wiley Long is founder and president of Medigap Advisors, and is passionate about helping people navigate the confusing waters of Medicare. He is the author of The Medicare Playbook: Designing Your Successful Health Coverage Strategy, a clear and simple explanation so you can make the most of your Medicare coverage.