Are you shopping for a Medicare plan in Colorado? There are a variety of plans available to suit every need. Research your options before you choose a plan, and find out everything you need to know about Medicare plans in Colorado.
Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) covers hospital and general medical care. If you’re age 65 or older, this government-funded health insurance program will help cover your health costs. You may also qualify for Medicare if you are under 65 and have a disability or chronic condition.
Coverage under original Medicare includes:
- hospital stays
- hospice care
- doctor’s appointments
- vaccines and preventative care
- ambulance services
Part D plans
Medicare Part D covers your prescriptions and medications. You can enroll in a Part D plan along with parts A and B to add this coverage.
Medicare Advantage plans
Medicare Advantage (Part C) provides comprehensive coverage through private health insurance companies.
A Medicare Advantage plan covers all the basics like hospital and medical costs, and many plans also offer prescription drug coverage. You can get extra coverage for vision, dental, hearing, wellness programs, or even transportation to medical appointments.
Medicare Advantage plan premiums are usually more than what you’d pay for original Medicare, but depending on your health needs, these plans may help you save on out-of-pocket costs in the long run.
Each county in Colorado has unique Medicare Advantage plan options, with different rates, coverage options, and network providers. The following carriers offer a range of Advantage Plans to Colorado residents.
- Aetna Medicare
- Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
- Bright Health
- Clear Spring Health
- Denver Health Medical Plan, Inc.
- Friday Health Plans
- Kaiser Permanente
Carriers vary by county, so make sure you select a plan that’s available in your area.
For Medicare Advantage eligibility, you’ll need to be age 65 or older and meet the following criteria:
- be enrolled in original Medicare, either Part A or B (if you collect Railroad Retirement Board or Social Security benefits, you will be automatically enrolled in original Medicare)
- be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- have paid Medicare payroll taxes while working for at least 10 years
There are several times when you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan in Colorado.
You’ll be able to apply during your initial enrollment period (IEP) starting 3 months before your 65th birthday month and ending 3 months after your birthday month.
You may also qualify for a special enrollment period if you’re no longer insured at work or have a disability.
After the IEP, you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan or switch between providers during the Medicare Advantage open enrollment period from January 1 to March 31. You can also enroll in a plan or change your coverage during the Medicare annual enrollment period from October 15 to December 7.
Before enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll first need to enroll in original Medicare.
Before you enroll in a Medicare plan, think carefully about what kind of coverage you need.
When shopping for the right plan for you, read reviews of several carriers, and analyze costs. Compare plans by looking at deductibles, drug coverage or copays, and the plan premium.
Ask yourself these questions:
- How much are my current premiums, deductibles, and other health care costs, and do I have the coverage I need?
- Am I happy with my current doctor, or would I be willing to switch to a network doctor? As part of your search, call your doctor’s office to ask what plans they accept. Look for a plan that will cover your doctor’s appointments or search for a network doctor.
- How much do I pay out of pocket per year in prescription medication? If you take regular medications, a prescription drug plan or an Advantage plan may save you money.
- Is there a better pharmacy nearby? Switching your pharmacy can also help lower medication costs. The pharmacy on the corner is convenient, but a pharmacy across town could provide better coverage, and save you money on your prescriptions each month.
You can also check the quality of the plan using the CMS star ratings system. This 5-star rating is based on the plan’s performance the year before, and a high rating means the plan is delivering great coverage. Choosing a plan with a 4- or 5star rating will ensure you’ll get the coverage you want, and easily access all the health services you need.
For more information on original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans in Colorado, reach out for help. You can find more information by contacting:
- State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP): 888-696-7213. Talk to a SHIP counselor, get more information on Medicare, receive enrollment assistance, and find out if you qualify for Low Income Assistance Programs to cover costs of Medicare in Colorado.
- Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies: 888-696-7213. Find SHIP Locations, learn about prescription drug benefits, get Medicare basics, and discover senior Medicare patrol.
- Old Age Pension Health and Medical Care Program (OAP). Get assistance if you receive Old Age Pension but do not qualify for Health First Colorado. Contact numbers vary by county.
- Prescription drug discount resources. Find information on how to purchase lower-cost prescription medication, and learn more about patient assistance programs.
- Medicare: 800-633-4227. Get more information on Medicare plans, coverage, and carriers in Colorado.
- Railroad Retirement Board: 877-772-5772. If you qualify for benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board, find all the information you need by contacting them directly.
Evaluate your health insurance in 2021, and find the Medicare Advantage plan that works for you.
- Choose the type of Medicare Advantage plan you need, and determine your budget.
- Compare Advantage Plans in Colorado, check the CMS star ratings, and make sure the plans you’re looking at are available in your county.
- Once you’ve found the right plan, visit the carrier’s website for more information, fill out a paper enrollment form, or call the carrier to start the application process on the phone.
Whether you opt for original Medicare coverage or a Medicare Advantage plan, make sure you carefully evaluate your options, and prepare for a healthy 2021.
This article was updated on October 6, 2020 to reflect 2021 Medicare information.
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