5 allies who can help you navigate Medicare
In a time when many of us are paying extra attention to our health, it is even more important to get off to the right start when it comes to your Medicare coverage. We want to be able to confidently maneuver the health care system so we can get the care we need, when we need it.
Whether you recently enrolled for the first time or have started coverage under a new plan, you should know that with Medicare, you have knowledgeable support around to help make it easier on you. Goodbye hassles, hello helpers.
Here are five allies in your corner:
1. Your primary care physician (PCP)
This physician is the “go-to” personal doctor who provides guidance on your health care needs, taking the time to really get to know you, your medical history and your health goals. Think of your PCP as the “quarterback” of your medical team – someone who can take charge of knowing the ins and outs of your health status and help drive decisions to get you on the right track and keep you there.
2. A caregiver
The unsung hero or heroes of your health care team, these are the people you know are there to offer support and care for you when you need it. Whether a family member, neighbor, friend or professional assistant, these are the people in your life who help you along the way. Their assistance could range from emotional support to bringing you to appointments or picking up prescriptions to making meals or other daily task support.
3. Your pharmacist
This team member keeps an eye on the medications you take – prescription and non-prescription over-the-counter medicines – to make sure they work safely together. Your pharmacist is a great person to talk with about how medications are making you feel and answer any questions you have on topics including what side effects to expect, what to do if you miss a dose, or how to store your medicines.
4. An insurance agent
Original Medicare. Medicare Supplement. Part D. Medicare Advantage. There are many options and decisions to make when it comes to your Medicare coverage, and a licensed insurance agent can help you find the right plan, or plans, for you. Once you’ve selected a plan, you can also always call your agent to ask questions if your heath or coverage needs change or if your plan changes from year to year. Agents provide their services at no cost to you so check out licensed agents in your area; they are ready to meet with you in person or virtually – however you are most comfortable.
5. Your insurance company
You may not realize it, but within your insurance company there are many people working hard on your behalf to ensure you get the medical care and support you need. Insurers can offer tools, resources and support that can help you live a healthier life. UnitedHealthcare’s Navigate4Me program, for instance, shows how a company can be a valued team member and ally, invested in your health.
For people in UnitedHealthcare® Medicare Advantage plans who have complex health care needs, such as those facing an acute health event like a surgery or cancer treatment, those managing a chronic illness like COPD or diabetes or those in Dual Special Needs Plans, Navigate4Me offers one-on-one support. A single point of contact helps to coordinate care, address claims issues, provide social support and assist with other needs. For members impacted by COVID-19, this service also offers a helping hand to navigate safe quarantine, obtain medication and food when isolated and access clinical care, if needed.
UnitedHealthcare navigators spend time talking with individuals, their families and caregivers to fully understand all of the factors that play a role in someone’s overall health, asking questions on subjects such as:
- Medical needs: What ongoing conditions do they have? What doctors do they see and what services are they receiving? What else do they need to help coordinate and access care?
- Social support: Who do they interact with on a daily basis? Do they have family members or friends around? What support do they have in their community?
- Emotional support: How are they feeling? Are they happy, concerned, lonely? Are they showing signs of depression?
- Financial resources: Do they have the money to pay for their medications and food? Do they qualify for programs that can provide these items at lower cost?
Using this information, navigators develop a personalized care plan for each person, and keep in touch with them and their caregivers to address concerns, monitor progress and identify issues along the way. Navigators also have access to teams of professionals behind them, ready to step in when questions arise that may be best addressed by someone such as a registered nurse, behavioral health advocate or pharmacist.
Navigate4Me was designed to help make using the health system easier, reducing the fear and stress associated with managing a major health event. In addition to serving as the contact point for medical and social support needs, health navigators help people with administrative issues, from resolving questions about claims to identifying additional resources for which members may be eligible.
To learn more about Navigate4Me and how your Medicare plan can help you access the care you need, visit uhc.com/medicare.