Many factors come into play when choosing insurance. It’s important to know your options and what might work best for you and your situation. Asking the right questions, researching, and knowing your needs can help ensure you get the most from your Medicare plan.

Read on to discover tips on how to take full advantage of your Medicare plan benefits, including using preventive coverage, opting for add-on drug coverage, and more.

When thinking of preventive care, some people may think that taking care of yourself is the first and only step. This might include eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising, and getting regular checkups.

While healthy habits go a long way, there are other ways to get ahead of potential health issues.

Preventive care also includes getting routine screenings, health exams, and immunizations that can help you prevent health-related problems and detect illnesses early on, potentially making them easier to treat.

Medicare covers some of these beneficial preventive care tests and screenings, including:

  • abdominal aortic aneurysm screening
  • alcohol misuse screening and counseling
  • bone mass measurements
  • mammograms to screen for breast cancer
  • heart disease screening
  • cervical and vaginal cancer screening
  • colorectal cancer screening
  • diabetes screening
  • glaucoma tests
  • hepatitis C screening test
  • HIV screening
  • prostate cancer screening
  • certain vaccines
  • smoking and tobacco use cessation counseling

You never know when you might need to take medication. Having prescription drug coverage can help save you money in the long run in the event that you need medication down the road.

You can sign up for the Medicare Drug Plan or Part D if you have Original Medicare. You can also get prescription drug coverage through a privately-administered Medicare Advantage Plan.

How do you know if a plan covers the drugs you’re taking? Check the plan’s list of covered drugs or formulary, or call the provider directly to ask.

In-network services are a collective of healthcare professionals within the “network” or system of your insurance plan. It’s important to consider whether your preferred providers are within network. You may not have coverage for out-of-network healthcare services and professionals.

When in doubt, check your insurance provider’s website for a list of doctors or services in-network.

Knowing the ins and outs of your insurance plan can help you make the most of your coverage. As you review your plan, you may find you’re covered for things you didn’t know were available to you.

Understanding your benefits and how your insurance plan works can also help you avoid sticky situations down the line. For example, going over the claims process can help you avoid common pitfalls, like forgetting to keep receipts or submitting too late.

Medicare coverage can be confusing. And if you’re too overwhelmed by all the details, you might even miss important conditions or benefits that could apply to you.

Whether you’re thinking about switching or want to find out more about your current plan, knowledge is power.

If the search for information is making your head spin, consider calling or chatting with a Medicare representative. And if you’re considering switching, you can use the Medicare plan finder tool to compare plans

The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) also offers unbiased counseling to help you navigate Medicare. SHIP can answer your questions about and guide you on:

  • making changes to your coverage
  • reviewing your health coverage options
  • costs
  • eligibility
  • plan benefits

Medicare coverage represents a safety net for now and the future. But knowing how to use your benefits to get the most out of your plan isn’t always obvious.

Taking advantage of preventive coverage, adding prescription drug coverage, using in-network services, reading up on your plan, and asking for help when you need it are all ways to maximize your Medicare plan benefits.