Wellness Wednesday: Choosing the best Medicare plan

Posted at 11:11 AM, Nov 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-03 13:11:49-04

IDAHO — Idahoans covered by a Medicare plan can now switch or drop a plan during the Annual Election Period. The period runs until Dec. 7, with coverage beginning on Jan. 1, 2023.

To help clear up any confusion, Idaho News 6 sat down with Ken Azbill, an independent insurance agent who specializes in Medicare, to talk about plan options.

What is the difference between Medicare Advantage and a Medicare Supplement Plan?

Medicare Advantage plans come from companies that partner with Medicare, offering extra benefits.
It offers a network of doctors to work with, with benefits such as dental and vision coverage. These plans are usually low priced, and low out of pocket.

Medicare Supplement Plans are known as 'gap' plans, and are slightly more expensive. These plans allow patients to see any doctor that accepts Medicare. Prescription drug plans must be purchased separate with this option.

Is the Medicare Annual Election Period the same as an open enrollment?

The Annual Election Period is the same as open enrollment. However, this is a good time for those who are on a Medicare plan to review their plan and determine if any changes need to be made.

Before selecting a plan, Azbill suggests Idahoans take the time to sit down with a professional, to determine which plan is the best for them.

"Get in touch with someone who is licensed, who is certified that can help. There are many, many plans to choose from that all have small differences, and it really makes a difference if you can sit down with someone who is trained and certified and has expert training in that area," said Azbill.

If you need help finding an expert, Azbill suggests searching on the website for more information, or visiting the local SHIBA office with the Idaho Department of Insurance.