If you're one of the 14 million Americans enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you already know that your plan covers hospital stays, doctor visits and other major medical needs. But are you aware of the additional benefits and features that your plan offers?
Being familiar with your Medicare Advantage plan will not only help you maximize the value you are receiving in benefits, but, in many cases, it will also help you achieve better health and well-being.
Here are five important ways you can take "advantage" of your Medicare Advantage plan.
• Preventive Care: Medicare Advantage plans place a strong emphasis on preventive health care services that help keep you healthy, detect diseases at an early stage and avoid preventable illnesses. That's why we encourage you to schedule regular health screenings fully covered by your Medicare Advantage plans, as well as an annual medical exam. These screenings can help your doctor catch things early when they're easier to treat.
• Care Management: If you are living with a chronic condition, such as diabetes or heart disease, what educational programs and support does your plan offer? Some Medicare Advantage plans offer personalized, telephonic care management, health coaching, education and support provided by registered nurses and other health professionals. These plans also offer a toll-free help line where you can speak with a registered nurse about your health concerns anytime.
• Wellness Programs: Many Medicare Advantage programs offer fitness programs at no extra cost and, in some cases, even include a fitness center membership. Through your health plan you may also be eligible to participate in exercise classes specially designed for older adults.
• Immunizations: Flu and pneumonia shots are another important part of your covered preventive care, since people 65 and older are at greater risk of serious side-effects of these common illnesses. Because this year's flu season was one of the worst in recent years, make sure you are up to speed on your shots.
• Community and Financial Resources: If you have limited financial resources, you should be aware that there are plans available that provide extra services and lower plan costs for low-income beneficiaries, along with additional choices and benefits. If you qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid you may also be eligible for significant support and assistance from the government. If you're not sure, visit medicare.gov, or call 1-800-MEDICARE.
These are just some of the benefits and features that can help you maximize your Medicare Advantage coverage and improve your health and well-being. Be sure to take a look at your health plan today to make sure you're getting the most from your plan.