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Understanding Medicare

12 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Medicare Plan

Your Medicare checklist and resources

En español | To get the most from Medicare — and your health care dollars — you need to carefully evaluate the costs and benefits of all of your plan options.

When making your selections, compare what you need to what the various plans offer. Start by asking the following questions:

  1. How much will I have to pay for premiums, deductibles, doctor visits or hospital stays?
  2. Will my doctors accept the coverage? If not, are there doctors near me who will?
  3. Will I have to choose hospital and health care providers from a network?
  4. Will I need referrals to visit specialists?
  5. Is there a yearly limit on out-of-pocket costs?
  6. Will the plan cover me if I get sick while traveling in another state?
  7. What will my prescription drugs cost?
  8. Are my drugs on the plan's drug list (or formulary)?
  9. Does the plan include the pharmacies I currently use?
  10. Can I get my prescriptions through the mail?
  11. Does the plan have a 24-hour customer service line?
  12. Does the plan have a good quality rating?

Whether you are new to Medicare or are deciding if you should change plans during Medicare's Annual Enrollment Period, more commonly called Medicare open enrollment, you should gather information from a variety of sources.

If you're considering a Medicare Advantage or Part D prescription drug plan, both of which are run by private insurers, don't rely solely on information from the sponsoring insurance company.

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Download a PDF of AARP's "Understanding Medicare" guide or request a copy by mail.

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