The latest economic data from the federal government show that many of us are paying more for essential goods like groceries and fuel and prices for many everyday products continue to climb, posing a challenge for New York seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries who often live on fixed incomes.
Concerns about inflation make it important for these people to choose a health plan that can save them money during Medicare annual enrollment, which runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7.
A recent study by ATI Advisory found that beneficiaries who chose Medicare Advantage plans saved almost $2,000 per year in out-of-pocket costs compared to Original Medicare.
Affordability is one of the reasons Medicare Advantage plans continue to grow in popularity. Nearly half of people eligible for Medicare in 2022, including 47% of beneficiaries in New York, chose Medicare Advantage plans.
In 2023, seniors and other beneficiaries will see even more innovative benefits from Medicare Advantage plans, like enhanced dental coverage, for example, to help them achieve significant savings and live a healthier life.
Dental care is not covered by Original Medicare – not even routine cleanings – leaving the beneficiary on the hook to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars for procedures like crowns, fillings, implants, dentures and more. The average Medicare beneficiary spent nearly $1,000 in one year on out-of-pocket dental costs according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans now provide comprehensive dental benefits that cover all non-cosmetic dental care including dentures and implants with zero out-of-pocket costs up to the annual coverage limit on most plans. Members can see any dentist nationwide who accepts Medicare, reducing worries about the cost of seeing an out-of-network provider.
Many people don’t know that through Medicare Advantage, they may even have access to benefits that will help pay for common everyday expenses. In 2023, with food and utility prices rising higher than the average inflation rate, UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage members who are “dually eligible” for Medicare and Medicaid will receive a credit of up to $2,200 to spend on many over-the-counter products, healthy foods, home heat, electricity, water, sewer, home internet, and more.
These are only some of the ways Medicare Advantage can benefit your health and wallet. These benefits are simple to use and focused on personalized, modern, coordinated care.
Importantly, Medicare Advantage plans are on the cutting edge of a trend towards more in-home and remote care through programs like UnitedHealthcare’s HouseCalls, which offer an annual wellness visit in the home at no added cost.
There is little we can do to control inflation or economic pressures, but by understanding the benefits that are available through programs like Medicare Advantage, seniors and other beneficiaries can take steps to save and put themselves on a path to better health in 2023.
Dr. Steve Angelo represents UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement, New York.