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Eric Bohannon

Eric Bohannon

Making a list and checking it twice isn’t just for the holidays this year. If you’re 65 or older, or eligible for Medicare because of disability, developing a detailed list of what you have spent on your health care this past year — including hospital expenses and prescriptions — and what you need to have in your health plan next year, is an important step.

The 400,000 Medicare-eligible people in West Virginia have until Tuesday, Dec. 7, to select their Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Plan coverage for 2022.

Whether you’re new to Medicare or are evaluating plan options for 2022, I encourage anyone who is eligible to take the time now to ensure you have adequate coverage, since the plan you select by the deadline is the plan you’ll have for all of next year, with few exceptions. I know many people with Medicare already are thinking about what matters most in selecting coverage, which is great.

A new national poll from Humana found that, when it comes to choosing a health plan, 69% of seniors indicated their top concern is ensuring that a plan has adequate coverage for all their health care needs. In addition, 67% of seniors said having access to all of their health care providers will be key in choosing a plan, and 64% stated that low out-of-pocket costs will be a factor in choosing their plan.

While I recognize that everyone’s health needs are unique, other key considerations might be if the plan includes vision, hearing and dental coverage, if telehealth services will be covered, if transportation to medical appointments is included, or even if a gym membership is offered as a benefit.

Regardless of what’s most important to you, eligible beneficiaries in Kanawha County should be aware of available options and utilize trusted sources that can help you with this major decision before the Dec. 7 deadline. For example, the Medicare Plan Finder, at Medicare.gov, can help you compare plans, benefits and get an estimated cost for each plan based on an average member. If you are interested in Medicare Part D, which helps cover the cost of prescription medications, you also may enter the names of your prescription medications, to ensure that those medications are covered by the plan you are considering.

Licensed sales agents are available for one-on-one meetings, whether in-person in the Kanawha Valley area or by phone or video chat, on behalf of an insurance company. I encourage these meetings, so people can get answers to questions and better understand plan options that can help meet your needs, financially and medically. These conversations will help ensure that you have the right Medicare plan in place for you, come Jan. 1 of next year.

Medicare-eligible people may visit www.Medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Eric Bohannon is regional president for Humana of West Virginia.

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