Who is managing your health?Jan 12, 2021
There is only one acceptable answer to this question and that answer is "you."
However, if you make the wrong decision about how to receive your Medicare, your health could be managed by an insurance company's budget analyst often more concerned about the profits of his employer than your best health outcome.
When you first go on Medicare - usually at age 65 but often later if you are still working - you can choose to receive your Medicare benefits through regular Medicare combined with a Medicare Supplement and a Medicare Part D drug plan.
Or, you can instead assign your Medicare benefits to a private, for-profit, restricted-choice Medicare Advantage plan such as Humana Gold Plus or Kaiser Permanente.
When you choose to stay with regular Medicare, you can go to any doctor or hospital anywhere in the country that accepts Medicare as almost all do. This includes such noted medical facilities as Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, M.D. Anderson and Cancer Treatment Centers of America.Importantly, with regular Medicare combined with a Medicare Supplement, all or almost all of your costs are covered 100 percent regardless of your health situation now or in the future.
This scenario allows you, along with the doctors you choose, to make the best decisions for your health.
On the other hand, if you choose to receive your Medicare through a private, for-profit restricted-access Medicare Advantage plan, your health care decisions are often made by a budget analyst who is more focused on managing the costs of your care than working to deliver the best health outcome for you.
With a Medicare Advantage plan, you have a limited choice of doctors and hospitals and you are not fully covered when you travel.
Even worse, because a Medicare Advantage plan is focused on its own profits, it will often say "no" to treatments and tests your doctor may think is right for you when regular Medicare would have said "yes."
A Medicare Advantage plan can even say "no" to a cancer treatment most likely to save your life and require you to take a less expensive but less effective treatment.
With today's internet, you have access to a wealth of information about your health and the health care providers you can choose with regular Medicare. You have more control and input into the decisions about your health than any generation before.
You should never give up this benefit by assigning your Medicare benefits to a private, for-profit, restricted-choice Medicare Advantage plan.
Charles Bradshaw is the President and Founder of MedicareAnswerCenter.com.
p.s. If you know of someone who needs help with their Medicare, please share this with them.
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