3 ways to get the most from your Medicare Advantage plan
Posted: February 28, 2023 | Word Count: 789
How well do you know your health coverage? Now is the perfect time to review your Medicare Advantage (MA) plan and make sure you're getting the most from your benefits.
It can be challenging to figure out how to use health plan benefits. And you might not be aware of all the benefits that come with your MA plan. “Reviewing your benefits is important because good health isn’t just about not being sick,” says Terri Swanson, senior vice president of Medicare for Aetna®, a CVS Health® company. “It’s also about having access to the resources and support you need to maintain your physical and mental well-being. By understanding your benefits, you can make sure you have the coverage you need to stay happy and healthy.”
To make the most of your plan and prioritize your health and well-being in the year ahead, check out these three tips.
1. Get to know your benefits
The first step to getting the most from your health plan is to know what benefits are included in your plan. Your plan’s member website is a great resource for understanding your benefits. Many of them include tools that describe your benefits and also help you find care. Also, check your Evidence of Coverage document, which outlines exactly what’s covered. You can also download your health plan’s app if you want to view the info from your cell phone.
If you have questions about your benefits, you can call the Member Services phone number listed on your member ID card.
2. Schedule your preventive care visits
MA plans often offer more preventive care benefits and services than Original Medicare. These may include routine dental, vision and hearing exams. It's important you schedule these exams early in the year:
- Dental: Most plans cover routine dental exams and cleanings so you can keep your teeth and gums healthy. Many plans may cover routine work, like fillings, but some plans may include an allowance or coverage for things like crowns and dentures.
- Vision: You may be entitled to an annual routine eye exam at no extra cost. Most plans also include a yearly allowance to buy prescription eyeglasses.
- Hearing: Your plan may cover an annual hearing check and a fitting for a hearing aid, if you need one, at no added cost. It may also include an allowance to buy hearing aids.
Even if you don't have a toothache, poor eyesight or hearing problems, don't skip these annual exams. These checkups can help you catch an issue before it becomes a bigger problem. For example, during a routine exam, your dentist may detect signs of leukemia or immune deficiency. Your eye doctor can see early signs of glaucoma and cataracts, as well as diabetes and some types of cancer. Early detection and timely treatment of these conditions can help you maintain your health as you age so you can continue doing what you love.
3. Check for other benefits
Some plan members may not know about other benefits that come with their plan. These benefits, which help care for your overall health, may surprise you because they’re not your typical medical benefits. For example, your plan could offer debit cards to buy healthy foods and pay for utilities.
Also, some MA plans provide an allowance for certain over-the-counter items such as hand sanitizer, cold medicine, bandages and more. Sometimes these are quarterly allowances, so be sure to use them early in the quarter, or you could miss out.
Many plans even offer fitness programs at no extra cost. If you've been paying for a monthly gym membership, you may be able to cut this expense. Some plans cover a basic membership to SilverSneakers®. Their fitness program offers in-person and online classes for all fitness levels. And they’re led by trained instructors.
Other plan benefits may include rides to doctor's appointments, the pharmacy and more. You may also get help quitting smoking and receive home-delivered meals when you return from a hospital stay.
You should also check to see if your plan has a rewards program, another bonus. You may earn rewards to use at various stores, just for completing healthy activities.
You can also visit BenefitsCheckUp® to see if you qualify for other programs that can save you money.
Following these tips will help you use your MA benefits wisely this year. And they can help you stay healthy, too. To learn more about Medicare, visit AetnaMedicare.com.
See Evidence of Coverage for a complete description of plan benefits, exclusions, limitations and conditions of coverage. Plan features and availability may vary by service area.
SilverSneakers is a registered trademark of Tivity Health, Inc. © 2023 Tivity Health, Inc. All rights reserved.