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Britt Erica Tunick is an award winning financial journalist who has spent the past 17 years writing about virtually every aspect of finance.

Steps You Should Take Before Applying for Medicare

Steps You Should Take Before Applying for Medicare

By Britt Erica Tunick

Medicare is not one size fits all. And choosing the Medicare plan that is right for you can be a bit confusing, especially given some of the subtle differences between the various parts of Medicare coverage. Before deciding on a specific plan, take the time to figure out exactly how each one will impact your life and the way that you currently approach your personal healthcare.

While the differences between the various parts of Medicare may not seem significant on paper, there can be major differences in the coverage that they provide –particularly when it comes to the doctors that they cover and the cost of specific medical services. As with anything, doing your homework can pay off in the long-run. If there are doctors you currently use that you really like and you aren’t willing to switch providers, call and find out exactly what kinds of Medicare your current providers do and do not accept. Ask about and the costs that you will incur if you switch to Medicare as your insurance provider and then make your decision accordingly.

There are also differences in the costs of certain types of healthcare services based on which type of Medicare plan you choose. You will want to look up the costs of  routine services, as well as any procedures you may be planning to have or anticipate you may need down the road. Depending on the plan you choose, you could wind up paying vastly different amounts for the exact same medical treatments. Fortunately, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services introduced a program in 2018 that enables Medicare recipients to look up the cost of specific procedures and medications. This enables you to determine the out-of-pocket costs that can be expected based on where such procedures are performed or where medications are filled. As crazy as it may sound, choosing to have your doctor perform a routine surgery in a hospital can yield drastically different pricing than choosing to have the same doctor perform the exact same procedure at an independent surgery center. To determine pricing differences for procedures under different Medicare parts, go to: https://www.medicare.gov/procedure-price-lookup/