Op-ed | Choosing a Medicare plan: Three key benefits to consider

Doctor talking to a patient in the corridor of a hospital while wearing face masks
In the Bronx, there are more than 709,000 residents enrolled in seven Medicaid managed care plans, and thousands more senior citizens who are enrolled in managed long-term care plans.
Photo courtesy Getty Images

The Medicare Annual Election Period begins on Oct. 15 and nearly 200,000 individuals in Bronx County are ages 65 or older and may be eligible to select a healthcare plan for 2023. From Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, people eligible for Medicare can review plans to find the best one for their health needs, as well as their wallets. Although it may seem intimidating, it is important that eligible individuals start by identifying their top priorities – like convenience or quality of care – and then find an accommodating plan.

While some people will opt for traditional Medicare, an alternative is Medicare Advantage, which typically offers additional benefits, such as prescription coverage, fitness plans and routine checkups or cleanings. Additionally, home-based health care continues to be a service offered by many plans, which is something to consider as you choose your plan for 2023. Specifically, I encourage you to consider the following benefits when reviewing your options:   

  • In-Home Primary Care. Did you know that you may be able to see your primary care provider in your home? House calls are back in popularity and companies, such as Heal, will send a provider and care team to your home – and offer telemedicine services – for both routine and sick visits. The best part is that in-home visits typically last around 45 minutes, compared to a 15-minute office visit, allowing more time to review concerns with your doctor and allow them to treat all your health needs.
  • Telemedicine Services. A recent survey by AARP indicates that nearly 1-in-3 adults 50-plus are highly interested in using telemedicine for themselves or a loved one. Telemedicine not only offers the convenience of visiting with a health care provider from the comfort of your home but also provides safety from picking up germs and contamination from in-office appointments. Check to see if your Medicare Advantage plan covers telemedicine, including online counseling, prescription management and urgent care issues.
  • Pharmacy Mail Order. For convenience, consider a plan that offers home delivery for your prescriptions. Often, mail-order programs allow beneficiaries to set up automatic refills for prescriptions to be delivered to their doorstep, ensuring you never run out of your medications. Many mail-order pharmacies offer 24/7 service which is helpful if you have questions about your medication outside of business hours.

For additional information on choosing the right Medicare plan for you or a loved one, visit the Medicare Plan Finder on Medicare.gov.

Laura Sander is the northeast regional medical director of Heal.

More from Around NYC