How Do I Shop for a Plan?
To get the plan that best fits your needs, you can contact a broker and/or shop for plans online.
Working with a Broker
There is no additional cost to work with a broker, nor is there a discount by going directly to a provider. Brokers receive a commission from providers, not from you the subscriber.
Brokers should shop to compare multiple providers because not all brokers are true brokers; some may only represent one or two providers. Ask questions!
During Open Enrollment
When the Open Enrollment Period nears (see chapter 11), you might notice an increase in Medicare commercials encouraging people to research and shop plans carefully. This is done because the costs and benefits vary widely between plans.
What private insurance companies know that you don’t, is that once you are enrolled in a specific plan, and your price increases the following year, most people assume the costs of care have increased and accept the increased costs.
However, your same insurance company might be offering an identical plan, at a lower price, to remain competitive in the marketplace.
Resources to Compare Plans
Here are the websites to help shop for and compare Part D (Prescription Drug), Medicare Advantage Plans, and Medigap Plans:
Part D Drug Plans and Medicare Advantage Plans:
State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)
This program was established to help people navigate the complexities of Medicare.
The SHIP Mission is to empower, educate, and assist Medicare-eligible individuals, their families, and caregivers through objective outreach, counseling, and training to make informed health insurance decisions that optimize access to care and benefits.
Use the following link to learn more about SHIP and the resources it offers in all 50 states:
Bottom Line: You are encouraged by Medicare to shop your plans every single year. They know you can find comparable plans to fit your needs, at possibly even lower costs, and encourage people to do so.