When American seniors turn 65, they become eligible to enroll in Medicare. Yet, within this simple statement lies a web of coverages and general confusion – a veritable alphabet soup of options – that leaves many older adults struggling to understand.
Consider this: All recipients are covered under Part A, which covers basic hospital visits, some home health care, skilled nursing services, and hospice—all with no premiums. They can also enroll in Part B, which covers doctor’s visits, but they must pay a base premium of around $170 per month or more. They can opt out of Part B if they have other primary insurance, but may have to pay penalties. And they can sign up for Part C if they want an HMO or PPO, but they’ll pay various out-of-pocket costs and may need a referral to see a specialist. And if they want prescription drug coverage, they’ll also need to enroll in Part D, with drug prices varying based on which meds are covered, what “tier” the drug is in, which pharmacy is used, and a variety of other if’s, and’s, or but’s.
Confused? You’re not the only one.
Affordable insurance is essential, but so many retirees feel overwhelmed when choosing the best Medicare plan. Some seniors have sufficient savings to cover the cost of private care plans, but some are on a tight budget and can’t afford anything more than basic coverage. Some married seniors have been responsible for a spouse’s insurance for years, and that will change after retirement when they enroll in Medicare. The list of variants goes on and on, making the system hard to navigate without help from an expert.
Fortunately, help is available, thanks to a digital platform built to guide consumers in finding the right plan. Richard Chan and Thomas Ness developed CoverRight to make navigating Medicare as simple as possible—by pairing technology with the ability to access expert licensed advisors.
“Technology has long overlooked one of the most important segments of the population,” Chan said, “and we’re determined to drive change in the Medicare industry to better serve the interests of seniors.”
CoverRight’s concierge-style website is 100% free and walks beneficiaries and caregivers through scenarios that best fit their situation. Using unique technology, it requests just a few key pieces of information to determine which combination of plans will provide the best coverage—eliminating the need for consumers to do all the research themselves. Then, it provides instant quotes without the bait-and-switch tactics a lot of other platforms use.
“So often, insurance websites offer ‘free quotes’ with the stipulation that you must provide your personal details and phone number, which then get sold to multiple parties,” said Chan. “This can get really frustrating for consumers as their inboxes fill up and their phones begin to ring with pushy salesmen on the other end. It’s not something seniors should have to deal with just to find out how much their health care coverage will cost.”
After receiving recommended plans and price quotes, seniors using CoverRight can contact a dedicated licensed advisor whenever they’d like help. They can also shop Medicare plans across a broad panel of regional and national insurance companies, search doctor networks, and compare drug prices. Being able to shop on their own terms – armed with the right knowledge – can be empowering for seniors, especially when it comes to prescriptions.
“Studies have shown nine out of 10 people could have saved money by optimizing their Medicare coverage based on their prescription needs,” said Chan. “When the Senior Citizens League compared prices of the top 10 most-prescribed drugs among 23 prescription plans available in one ZIP code, they found the average price difference on that list was $593 per month.”
The cost of Medicare Supplement plans can also vary greatly, so it’s important for seniors and caregivers to have a broad picture of what’s available. In a single area, the price of a policy can differ by up to 100%, meaning customers could be paying double what they should be. And while many seniors like to support local businesses, local agents typically only represent one or two insurance companies, and therefore only shop a fraction of available plans. This could mean missing out on critical benefits and/or savings.
Because CoverRight doesn’t favor or work with any particular insurance company, the company is able to list a large variety of plans and prices, allowing consumers to get a transparent picture of their options.
How caregivers can use CoverRight to better care for an older adult
By using CoverRight, caregivers can help find a Medicare plan that meets their loved one’s budget and medical needs—and ensure their needs continue to be met as time progresses. The right plan in one year may not be the best for the next, so a broad range of options is essential in providing affordable, high-quality care.
When a caregiver is dedicated to keeping a loved one safe and healthy, having a foolproof system to help them do so can make their job a lot easier.
“Caregivers’ lives are busy already,” said Chan. “We help them navigate the Medicare system and understand what plan their loved one should be selecting, and then we make sure they are still on the right plan each year after that. In other words, we do all the hard work so caregivers can focus on what’s important.”