Seven tips for choosing your health benefits for 2023 – InsuranceNewsNet

* Medicare Members: When weighing your options, make sure you understand the difference between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage. If you need an exam, find a knowledgeable counselor to help you understand eligibility, plan choices, basic costs, prescription coverage and more.

2. Check your prescription benefits. Knowing how to get the most out of your prescription benefits can help you manage costs. For example, check discounts and lower-cost alternatives, including generics, that may be available. You may also be able to fill your prescriptions at a participating network pharmacy or with home delivery by mail – two other money-saving options.

* Medicare Members: You may be surprised to learn that original Medicare generally does not cover prescription drugs. Consider adding Part D or a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage to help control your drug costs.

3. Check mental health coverage. In addition to in-person mental health care, you can access an extensive virtual network of therapists and psychiatrists. Some health insurers also offer advocacy services to help you find the right kind of behavioral health care.

* Medicare members: Some plans offer virtual mental health care with a $0 share.

4. Don’t forget about specialty perks. Additional benefits, such as dental, vision, hearing or critical illness insurance, are often available and can contribute to overall well-being.

* Medicare members: You may be surprised that original Medicare doesn’t cover most dental, vision, and hearing services, but many Medicare Advantage plans do.

5. Ask about wellness programs. Many health plans offer incentives that reward you for taking healthier actions, such as taking a health survey, exercising, or avoiding nicotine.

* Medicare Members: Many Medicare Advantage plans also offer gym memberships and wellness programs for members at no additional cost.

6. Anticipate next year’s health expenditures. If you are expecting a major health event in the next year, such as surgery or the birth of a child, compare the differences in plan design for that specific situation, including out-of-pocket expenses.

7. Consider a plan with virtual care services. If you’re busy or just prefer connecting with a doctor from the comfort of your home, consider choosing a plan that includes 24/7 virtual care. You can get access to virtual wellness visits, emergency care, and chronic disease management.

* Medicare members: Most Medicare Advantage plans provide access to virtual care, which can be an easier and more affordable way to speak with doctors about common health issues on a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Mark Briggs is the CEO of Medicare for Idaho, Nevada and Utah at UnitedHealth Group.

About Evelyn C. Heim

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