Helping a loved one choose a Medicare plan

Are you one of the millions of U.S. caregivers helping a family member or loved one navigate their health care as they age? With annual enrollment season upon us, one of those tasks on your plate might be choosing Medicare coverage or shopping for a new plan that fits their individual needs.

Medicare annual enrollment offers those eligible for Medicare the opportunity to select or switch their health coverage plan before the enrollment deadline of Dec. 7.

Assessing coverage options can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are five tips to consider when helping a loved one choose a plan that may lead them to better health and cost savings in 2022.

1. Understand the options

Take the time to explore the available options and understand the benefits and costs of each plan, so you can find what will work best for your loved one.

If they are eligible for Medicare, ensure you’re familiar with the difference between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage. And be sure to pay attention to more than just the monthly premium. You also should understand the out-of-pocket costs — deductible, copays and coinsurance — they may be responsible for.

2. Learn the lingo

Speaking of key terms, develop an understanding of basic Medicare lingo. If you need a refresher, check out this this guide to help decode the terms. Also get familiar with the ABCs of Medicare and specific terms related to Part D — Medicare’s program for prescription drug coverage — as they’ll be most helpful when reviewing plan options.

3. Anticipate next year’s health expenses

If your loved one is expecting a significant health event in the next year, such as a surgery or entering a long-term care facility, compare the differences between plan designs, including out-of-pocket limits.

4. Look for ways to save

Ask about programs that reward people for living a healthier lifestyle. Some plans offer incentives for members who complete certain health-related activities, like a health survey, regular exercise or avoiding nicotine.

5. Don't forget about specialty benefits

Additional benefits, such as dental, vision, hearing or even gym memberships, are often available and may contribute to overall well-being.

Following the Medicare Annual Enrollment season, coverage will take effect on Jan. 1, 2022.

To view UnitedHealthcare Medicare plans available in your loved one’s area, visit

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