So many people start studying plans a year or so before they are eligible for Medicare.  I speak with many people doing this and have to hold back my laughter.  Everyone seem to do this.

Medicare is really not complicated, especially for those of us who have been helping people for 25 years or more.  There is no reason to contact every company offering benefits.  If you simply call an independent agent who represents most of the major companies offering plans this can be a relatively painless time.

Many areas have a variety of HMO plans, sometimes a PPO or two, and always 10 Medicare supplement plan choices offered by 30 or more companies.

Please do yourself a favor and let a professional sit down and narrow down the choices for you.  If you are in an HMO now maybe you’d like to continue in that type of plan.  PPO plans might be a good choice but it’s important to compare price, benefits.  But even PPO plans have a network albeit not as restrictive as an HMO.

In some areas the premium for a PPO are not much less than a Medicare supplement.  The price of insurance has to include the potential cost for a catastrophic claim such as hospitalization, cancer treatment or stroke.  Most PPO plans have a share of cost of $6,000 or more.  While the premium might be a bit higher for a supplement, the out of pocket can range from zero to $2,240.

An HMO might have a premium as low as zero.  That sounds great until you want to go to UCLA, Cedars, or the City of Hope.  Then the zero premium plan likely is not going to help you at all.  Those hospitals will most likely not be an option.

People that do their own research (which usually means asking their friends) tend to spend much more money than necessary.  Plan F is the most popular Medicare supplement.  It’s also the most expensive.  Review other plans to see if you can find the plan that provides you with the most value.