LATHAM — With the Dec. 7 Medicare Advantage Annual Enrollment deadline three weeks away, BlueShield of Northeastern New York is offering several resources to help the region’s Medicare-eligible residents make a confident decision about their 2021 health care coverage.
As the region continues to battle COVID-19, BlueShield shifted the way it connects with members to review coverage options and answer questions. This includes through convenient virtual meetings, phone calls, email and socially-distanced appointments at its Medicare Centers.
BlueShield encourages individuals to review their coverage each year, offering the following tips to help individuals find the plan that best meets their needs:
Do your homework – Plans can change and new options are introduced to the market each year. On top of this, your own health care needs change. It’s important to review your coverage each year and make sure the plan you are in is right for you.
Consider total cost – Everyone looks at a plan’s monthly premium, and that’s an important component of your total annual health-care costs. But there are other out-of-pocket costs, including hospital expenses, prescriptions, and doctor bills that need to be taken into consideration. Finding the lowest premium plan may not necessarily be the most affordable option for everyone.
Understand access to doctors and hospitals – Which doctors and hospitals are important to you? Do your research now, to make sure your plan includes your preferred network of health care providers. If you fall into the “snowbird” category or typically travel often, there are plans that offer coverage in all 50 states.
Review your medications – Prescription drug coverage is a significant cost for most Medicare-eligible people. Make a list of your medications and review that with your insurance company before enrolling in any plan. Not all coverage is equal, so finding a plan that gives you the best access and coverage for your medications is important.
Seek help – There are licensed consultants in the community who can help make the process easier for you. To get the answers to your questions and seek questions you may not even know you have, it’s important to speak with a Medicare expert.
Medicare Advantage is the portion of Medicare through which private health plans like BlueShield provide comprehensive medical coverage to eligible consumers and individuals with disabilities.
With the annual enrollment period running through Dec. 7, individuals have a variety of options to switch or enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan for 2021.
Call BlueShield’s dedicated Medicare Advantage number at 1-877-258-7453 (TTY 711), 8 a.m.-8 p.m., seven days a week; Schedule a virtual visit with a BlueShield representative; Email a BlueShield representative at SalesCenterNENY@bsneny.com; Visit bsneny.com/enrollmedicare to complete the application online.
To ensure the safety of its members, BlueShield’s Medicare Centers be open by appointment only. Individuals should call BlueShield’s dedicated Medicare Advantage number to schedule their appointment. BlueShield’s Medicare Centers are located at 1704 Western Avenue in Guilderland and 29 Kendall Way in Malta. Additional information about COVID-19 safety guidelines are available at bsneny.com/medicarecenters.