Paul Tarins, RICP®,WMCP®,CSRIC™
Medicare is a vital resource for many Americans and has many benefits that you might not even know about. From free health exams to discounts on prescriptions, learn how you can maximize your Medicare deductions to potentially save money on your healthcare expenses.
How to Maximize Your Medicare Deductions
Here are a few tips to help you maximize your Medicare deductions and make the most out of your health care plan.
Choose the Right Healthcare Provider
The first step in maximizing your Medicare benefits is choosing the right healthcare provider. Of course, you should choose a doctor who treats Medicare patients, but you should also ensure that they accept your Medicare payment as the full payment for services.
Some doctors may be considered non-participating providers, which means that they can charge you up to 15% more than your Medicare payment covers for services. You are responsible for the additional charges. Some doctors may also be “opt-out” providers, meaning they can charge whatever prices that they outline in their private contracts with patients.
When searching for a Medicare provider, check the Medicare provider search to find one that accepts your Medicare payments.1 People with Medicare Advantage plans should also use the search above to confirm their doctor accepts Medicare. Make sure your provider is in-network so you aren’t hit with any additional charges for services.
Compare Your Prescription Options
As a Medicare participant, you have different options when it comes to prescription drug coverage. You can opt into Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, which may help reduce your prescription co-pay. But, don’t write off cash payments as an option, as well. Sometimes, paying cash can actually save you money versus the Part D copayments because you can choose generic options. Also, some pharmacies and drug companies may offer coupons for certain prescriptions.
Speaking of generic drug options, also consider whether or not you can take a preferred generic medication instead of a brand name. Talk to your doctor to see if there is a comparable drug in a lower tier. Medicare Part D has four tiers: Tier 1 includes most preferred generic prescription drugs; Tier 2 includes preferred, brand-name prescription drugs; Tier 3 includes non-preferred prescription drug brands; Tier 4 is for specialty drugs.2 Tier 1 (preferred generic) is usually the most affordable tier.
Take Advantage of Free Benefits
In addition to prescription and medical coverage, your Medicare plan may also include a number of free services and benefits that many Medicare patients might not even be aware of. According to Medicare.gov, here are some of the many preventative services that you may be eligible for3:
- Yearly wellness exams.
- Flu shots.
- Diabetes screenings.
- Depression screenings.
- Cardiovascular disease screening and behavioral therapy (tips from a doctor about how to lower your risk for cardiovascular disease).
- COVID-19 vaccines.
These are just a few of the free preventative services that Medicare may include. To truly maximize your Medicare deductions, take advantage of these services if they make sense for you.
Check Your Medicare Summaries
Every quarter, you will receive a Medicare summary that shows all the services and supplies that your healthcare providers billed to Medicare. If you notice that a claim has been denied, you have the right to investigate the charge. First, contact the provider to make sure that the claim was submitted correctly. If it was, you may consider filing an appeal if you think the cost is an error. You can also contact Medicare to verify the charge.
If you’re paying for Medicare, you probably want to get the most bang for your buck! From examining your options for prescription drugs to taking advantage of free services, there are a number of things you can do to maximize your Medicare deductions. Make the most of the resource by knowing your benefits.
Paul Tarins is an investment adviser representative of and offers investment and advisory services through Portfolio Medics, a registered investment adviser. Nothing contained herein should be construed as a solicitation for investment advisory services. Sovereign Retirement Solutions and Portfolio Medics are not affiliated.