(WGHP) — You don’t need Joe Namath to throw you some facts, William Shatner to show you the way to go boldly into the future or Jimmy “JJ” Walker's DYN-O-MITE tips to understand your options for Medicare.
Yes, this is Medicare enrollment season – it ends on Dec. 7 – and perhaps you’ve come across one of those celebrities and many vociferous others imploring you to dial a number and find out every benefit you can get from the multitude of supplemental Advantage plans that are available on a geographic basis.
Those are sales pitches of various sorts, but if you have reached the age of caring, you don’t need a celebrity or a phone call to sort through the various layers of information.
Basic Medicare hospital coverage is available to any of us 65 and older for an annual premium based on a sliding scale of how long we’ve paid into the system as a worker.
For instance, Forbes reported that those who paid Medicare taxes for fewer than 40 quarters must also pay a Medicare Part A premium. This year, that premium is $259 for individuals who have contributed taxes between 30 and 40 quarters. It is $471 for those who have contributed for fewer than 30 quarters.
For those of us who have paid Medicare taxes for 40 quarters – think 10 years – or more, Part A is premium-free.
But then there are the supplemental plans for doctor visits, for prescriptions, for dental and vision and various other specific services, even for rides to the doctor (you’ve heard Namath pitch that for sure).
They come at a cost that can be offset based on where you live, and, thus, free. Every major provider has a variety of plans, and it’s up to you to choose the one that best serves your needs.
To help with that, we poured through the plans offered at medicare.gov by using a basic ZIP code from each of 15 counties in the Triad, from Alleghany to Montgomery, and put together a searchable list of 85 plans that you can skim and compare.
There are about 47 basic plans available to just about everyone in the area, but then there are nearly 40 plans tailored in certain geographic areas.
Even within the plans there can be differences large and small on items such as out-of-pocket caps or copays or even whether over-the-counter medicines or fitness clubs are covered.
But then you’ve heard Joe, JJ and Bill telling you all of that.
The bottom line is that you can see a full array or details by visiting this link and entering your ZIP Code.
Tips for using our interactive guide
You can use the interactive chart above to help find the right Medicare plan for you or your loved ones. Here are some tips to help you find exactly what you're looking for.
Search by County: The search bar allows you to type in the name of your county. Our chart features the counties of the FOX8 viewing area, including:
- Patrick (VA)
Search by Benefit: Need a plan that includes over-the-counter drugs? You can search for that! Below is a list of the benefit features included in this chart. Type in the feature you're looking for, and the chart will show you which plans include that feature.
- Over-the-counter drugs
- Emergency response device
- In-home support
Sort by Cost: Want to know which plan has the lowest premium or deductible? At the top of the chart, click the category that you would like to sort by. The chart will automatically put all of the plans in ascending order from the lowest number to the highest. Click again to put all of the plans in descending order.