Be informed about Medicare plans

Dear Editor,

We are being inundated with advertising for Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans, from phone calls to mailings to TV commercials and even in the trusty AARP magazine. Being owned by large corporations allows for dollars to be spent on advertising compared to the lack of advertising by Original Medicare, which is managed by the federal government. That’s why you are not seeing advertising for Original Medicare. Do your research and know your facts before making any changes to your health care plan. Original Medicare is accepted by 99 percent of providers while Medicare Advantage plans have strict and narrow provider networks, leaving the patient with additional out-of-pocket costs and coverage that does not always travel with the patient. Original Medicare does not require prior approval or authorization for labs, procedures, etc. whereas most Medicare Advantage plans do require authorization which delays care and 53 percent of the time, the Medicare Advantage plan overrules your physician, denying the prior approval. Once you sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan, you have chosen to terminate Original Medicare (Part A, Part B, Part D, and your Medigap or Supplement). If you choose to re-enroll in Original Medicare during the next enrollment period, your Medigap or Supplemental plans can take into account any pre-existing conditions which could potentially raise rates or decline coverage. So, before you make any changes to your healthcare coverage, reach out to your trusted healthcare provider and see if they are in network with the plan you are considering. Knowing your provider is in network could save you from unexpected costs down the road.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Ploeger

Communications & Community Outreach Coordinator

Sabetha Community Hospital

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