Medicare can be hugely beneficial for many seniors; it offers a way to pay for medical care that might otherwise be out of reach, and some care is even covered at no cost. However, it can also be a complicated process to get into, and when it comes to signing up for new coverage or making changes to your existing plan, you may feel overwhelmed due to the sheer amount of information. If you don’t feel comfortable tackling their website, you may feel as though there are few options when it comes to finding the right insurance policy for your needs.

Even though Medicare has many parts and can often seem like a puzzle, there are many ways you can learn more about Medicare without any confusion. It’s important to note that there are some rules about when you can sign up or make changes to your existing policy, and as far as finding the right plan for you, it’s crucial to take stock of what your needs are at the moment as well as what they might be a few years down the road.

Read on for more on Medicare and how to get the most benefits from it.

Learn More About Supplemental Coverage

When you turn 65, you become eligible for Medicare Parts A and B, which cover hospital care and physicians, respectively. However, many seniors find that they need some help paying for things like vision or dental care, or certain prescriptions that aren’t covered under A or B. A Medicare Advantage plan, such as those offered by private insurance companies like Humana, may be the right way to go, so do some research on how to sign up and what it can do for you. Under the Advantage plan, you’ll be eligible for the Silver Sneakers program, which will help you stay fit and keep your overall wellness a priority.

There’s also Medigap care, which is a policy in which you pay a premium in exchange for extra coverage when Plan A or B won’t pay for the services you need. The costs vary, so it’s important to do some research and price comparisons online before making a decision.

Understand What You’ll Be Responsible For

Just as important as knowing what Medicare will pay for is understanding what you’ll be responsible for out-of-pocket. For instance, your plan may cover a brief hospital stay but not long-term care or a nursing home visit. If you become seriously ill or injured and can’t stay at home, you may have to cover those costs on your own. Some seniors start a savings account for this, or they initiate a payout from their life insurance policy to get a large lump sum payment. Talk to your significant other or family members about the best way to plan for possible long-term care.

Think About Your Needs

The things you need to stay fit and healthy will change over the years, so it’s crucial that you think about what you require now as well as what you’ll need in the future. Declining vision, mobility issues, and diseases like diabetes can play a role in the way you feel and what sort of health care you require, as well as how much you’ll pay. If you don’t have the right policy, you may find yourself in debt when it’s time to go to the doctor. Preparing now will save you quite a bit of trouble down the road, and sometimes simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference.

Understanding your Medicare policy — and knowing how to make changes when you need to — is imperative when you’re a senior, so do some research online, and don’t hesitate to ask for help from a loved one if you can’t pinpoint what you need right away. With a little planning, you can find the right policy for both your current and future needs.

Article by Sharon Wagner