The end of the year can be a little crazy for those of us in the Medicare world. Now that the dust has settled and the new year has begun, what should you be doing with your new Medicare plan?
It is common to start the new year with a new Medicare plan, and with an Advantage plan, you may have many extra benefits. It can be a bit of a project to start using them all! So you don’t miss out on what your new Medicare plan has to offer, use this list to help get you started.
New Medicare plan To-Do List:
Here are some things I am going to be working through with my clients right now. I realize everyone has a different level of confidence when it comes to technology, and you may need some help navigating your new Medicare plan. If you are not currently working with a local Medicare agent and would like help, please reach out to me. I would love to help you, too! You can contact me here.
1. Set up your member account.
Each provider will have some sort of a member portal. This is where you update your information, find in-network providers, and possibly access some of your extra benefits. Each provider will have some level of a member portal. You should receive information about this from your insurance company, and your agent can guide you on where to go. You will need to create a login and password. This is going to become a valuable resource for you! You will be able to update your information, find in-network providers, and possibly access some of your extra benefits. All of this can also be done over the phone if the technology is not your strong suit.
2. Place orders.
When you have a new Medicare plan, specifically an Advantage plan, it can be like Christmas Day; so many new benefits for you! However, it can be a bit of a project to get everything going. I do this as a part of the onboarding with my new clients, which is a huge benefit to working with a local agent. Depending on your plan, you may have a personal monitoring device, FitBit, or over-the-counter benefits that you can start taking advantage of! If you are unsure what benefits came with your plan, reach out to your agent or call member services.
3. Check for in-network providers.
You may have access to new dental, vision, or hearing benefits. Each company works a little differently, so it is important that you learn how your new Medicare plan covers these benefits. Locate in-network providers through the member portal you created or through links provided to you by your agent. It’s nice to have this task behind you, to have that information ready to go when you need to schedule your next appointment. If you are establishing yourself as a new patient, it may take a while until you can get in.
4. Start taking advantage of your health benefit.
Locate the local gyms that you can visit with your new Medicare plan. Many times, this benefit is not limited to one gym. With your insurance card, you can access all of the gyms that participate in their plan. If you are not comfortable going to the gym right now, you can also gain access to the virtual classes to stay active at home.
5. Let someone else know.
I call them “care partners”– someone who knows what the plan is if something happens to you. This could be a spouse, friend, or child. You can be as basic as, “this is my new Medicare insurance and where I want to go if something happens” to as detailed as pet care instructions and what all needs to happen in your absence. This will give you peace of mind in an emergency; you can rely on someone to advocate for you.
6. Seek help if you need it.
If you find that you are having trouble or are unhappy with the plan you selected, contact an agent you trust. If you enrolled through a 1-800, you may be left without support from an agent. As a local agent, I can help you navigate your current plan and advise you on future options. On the rare occasion a problem comes up, we can deal with it on a local level rather than having to go through the company’s catch-all customer service representatives.