If you have a chronic condition, you may be tempted to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan during open enrollment, which runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. Many plans are offering additional health-related benefits, such as transportation to medical appointments, nutrition counseling and in-home support services.
One-quarter of Medicare Advantage plans are providing supplemental benefits for people who are chronically ill, up from 19 percent in 2021, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In addition, the number of Special Needs Plans (SNPs), which provide benefits for Medicare Advantage enrollees with specific chronic conditions, is growing.
While the new benefits are appealing, it’s important to understand a plan’s overall coverage before signing up. You’ll want to make sure you can see the doctors who have expertise in your condition and that you can go to the hospital of your choice. Original Medicare offers this flexibility.
“People with serious illnesses may approach their health care differently than people who are generally in good health,” says Tricia Neuman, executive director of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Program on Medicare Policy. “They begin to establish a relationship with a specialist and seek treatment in places that specialize in the type of illness they have.”
Your health care needs and Medicare options can change from year to year, so it’s a good idea to compare Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans during open enrollment. Visit Medicare.gov to find out more about the coverage and costs for the plans available in your area. You can also get help from your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).
Here are some benefits to consider if you have one of the following conditions.