Chapter 11

Making Smart Choices If You Opt for Medicare Advantage

In This Chapter

arrow Comparing Medicare Advantage plans with two useful searches

arrow Picking the right Medicare Advantage plan for you

In this chapter, I assume that you’re aware of the differences between traditional Medicare and the Medicare Advantage (MA) program and of how the various types of MA plans work. (If not, flip to the explanations I give in Chapters 1 and 9.) And I assume that you now want to consider the details of plans available to you to see whether you want to enroll in one. What kind of choice do you face? That depends on where you live. All of Alaska and a few rural counties elsewhere in the United States don’t have any MA plans operating there — and in those places, your only choice is traditional Medicare. But most places have at least ten MA plans, and dense urban areas may have more than 50. What’s more, each plan has its own mix of costs and benefits. I won’t pretend that choosing among them is necessarily easy when you’re not comparing apples to apples. For example, how do you compare one plan’s flat-dollar co-pay for visiting a doctor with another plan’s percentage of the cost charge? Still, taking a hard look at the differences among several plans makes your final decision an informed one.

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