SOURCE: Humana

Humana

October 19, 2009 09:00 ET

Choosing a 2010 Medicare Plan

MIAMI, FL--(Marketwire - October 19, 2009) - Mike Seltzer, Humana Florida Medicare and Medicaid Products CEO, provides important tips for selecting a Medicare plan:

When selecting a Medicare plan, you have a wide variety of choices, so you'll want to select the plan that best suits your needs.

Use this time before the enrollment period begins to think about your healthcare needs and what's important to you. Here are five simple steps to selecting the best Medicare plan for you.

Step One: Review your medical spending

Give yourself a "health care audit." Review your records and receipts to see how much you spent on health care. Don't forget to include charges from physicians, hospitals and pharmacies. Many insurance companies provide annual summaries that track your spending for you. You can also ask your doctor's office or pharmacy for information.

Step Two: Identify future health care needs

While you don't have a crystal ball, you can estimate what health care services you might need. Think about whether you have a condition that requires ongoing care, whether you need to stay on your current medications or if you need annual screenings. Then use online resources such as the Family Health Budget (www.familyhealthbudget.com) to estimate your actual costs.

Step Three: Think about what you need from your Medicare plan

Now think about other things, including cost, benefits, networks and convenience. Here are some things to consider:

--  Cost -- How much will you pay for premiums, deductibles and
    copayments? Plans with lower premiums may have higher out-of-pocket
    expenses (the amount you pay when receiving care, such as copayments,
    deductibles and coinsurance). The inverse is also true: if you're paying a
    higher monthly premium, your out-of-pocket costs may be less.
--  Benefits -- Does the plan include prescription drug coverage? Does it
    include additional benefits, such as a gym membership?
--  Doctor and hospital choice -- Do the doctors, hospitals, pharmacies
    and other providers you use accept the plan? An HMO requires you to see
    doctors in its network, whereas a PPO provides you with more flexibility,
    but potentially higher out-of-pocket costs.
    

Step Four: Explore your options

There are many resources that can help you understand all the plan options available:

--  State Health Insurance Assistance Program -- All states have a State
    Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) that gives free local health
    insurance counseling. For contact information for your state, go to the
    Medicare Web site. Click the button marked "Do you want to find a specific
    organization?" and "Find Helpful Contacts and Web Sites." On the next page,
    select "SHIP -- State Health Insurance Assistance Program" from the drop-
    down menu and enter your state.
--  Medicare -- www.Medicare.gov enables you to find and compare Medicare
    prescription drug plans and health plans in your area. You can also call 1-
    800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
--  AHIP -- www.healthdecisions.org/guide, a resource from the health
    insurance industry trade group America's Health Insurance Plans, offers an
    easy-to-use, interactive online publication.
    

Once you understand the options available to you, you can visit the Web sites of the specific health plans and compare. Use tools like those available at: http://espanol.humana.com/enes/ and at www.humana-medicare.com/humana-medicare-drug-plan/medicare-rx.asp to compare plans, calculate prescription costs and learn about value-added wellness programs.

Step Five: Find out if you qualify for extra help

If you have limited resources, you may qualify for help paying for your Medicare health coverage. To find out if you qualify, contact your local Medicaid office or call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213. If you use a TTY, call 1-800-325-0778.

No matter which Medicare health plan you've chosen previously, you can switch to a different plan between Nov. 15 and Dec. 31. If you are satisfied with your existing coverage, you don't have to do anything. You will be automatically re-enrolled for the same plan.

Use this time to make sound choices and get a full understanding of your options. After all, this is an important decision that you are committing to for an entire year. At the end of the day, few things are as important as your health and health care.

Important Dates:

October 1, 2009 - benefit and premium information is available for all 2010 Medicare plans, including prescription drug plans.

November 15-December 31, 2009 - Enrollment period for 2010 Medicare plans.

About Humana

Humana Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, is one of the nation's largest publicly traded health and supplemental benefits companies, with approximately 10.3 million medical members and 6.8 million specialty members. Humana is a full-service benefits solutions company, offering a wide array of health and supplementary benefit plans for employer groups, government programs and individuals.

Over its 48-year history, Humana has consistently seized opportunities to meet changing customer needs. Today, the company is a leader in consumer engagement, providing guidance that leads to lower costs and a better health plan experience throughout its diversified customer portfolio.

The A, B, C and Ds of Medicare

Medicare has the following four parts:

--  Hospital insurance (Part A) that helps pay for inpatient care in a
    hospital or skilled nursing facility (following a hospital stay), some home
    health care and hospice care.
--  Medical insurance (Part B) that helps pay for doctors' services and
    many other medical services and supplies that are not covered by hospital
    insurance.
--  Medicare Advantage (Part C) that allows people with Medicare Parts A
    and B to choose their health care services through a private company, such
    as Humana.
--  Prescription drug coverage (Part D) that helps pay for medications.
    

Most people are automatically enrolled in Parts A and B when they turn 65 years old. If you are interested in Part C, you'll need to contact an offering company, like Humana. For details on Part D, visit www.Medicare.gov.

Contact Information

  • FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

    Mitch Lubitz
    Humana Corporate Communications
    813-287-6180
    Email Contact