There is a chunk of information on the internet on how to enroll in Medicare. However, most of the information is overwhelming. But it’s important to know that for more than half of us, the decisions we make today about this program will affect our health care and out-of-pocket costs for the rest of our lives. If one is 65 or older, it’s a reality they’ll face when they become eligible for Medicare. Before understanding Medicare choices, learn how it works.

Keep the Timing in Mind

While it’s important to enroll during the right time, it is often more crucial to research the options and choose a plan that fits one’s needs as soon as possible. As the enrollment period closes, one will have access to fewer health care providers. For example, if one has a negative experience with one doctor or hospital, they may not have the ability to conveniently switch providers through a variety of plan options on an annual basis.

It’s true that when one reaches the age of 65, they will need to enroll in Medicare. But there are special enrollment periods that allow delaying enrollment if one is covered by an employer health plan or has other health insurance.

Consider Your Options

The right Medicare plan is the one that meets one’s unique needs and budget. It’s important to compare Medicare Advantage plans to Original Medicare, as well as private insurance. Find a preferred plan and check out additional health insurance options to help pay for prescriptions, dental care, and vision through a combined plan.

One can investigate the possibility of switching to a Medicare Advantage plan or consider private insurance with a Medicare Advantage option. Medicare Advantage plans offer all the care and costs that Original Medicare costs and more. Some options include vision and dental coverage in addition to prescription drug coverage.

Explore Prescription Drug Coverage

Medicare drug plans come with a variety of coverage levels that one can choose from. In many cases, one’s current medications will be covered under more than one plan. The costs of each plan need to be compared to find the one that makes the most sense.

Choose the Right Plan

When one selects a plan, think about priorities. Compare monthly premium amounts. Find out about other costs, coverage, and how Medicare rates the plans in the area. It’s all part of choosing the right plan that fits one’s health needs.