Medicare and Cancer: A Guide Part 2

medicareCancer is a trying time for anyone, but if you or a loved one are trying to navigate the complicated cancer treatment process while on medicare it can be especially difficult.

In the first part of our series of posts on medicare and cancer, we discussed financing your treatment with medicare A and B. In this second part, we’ll dive into medicare C and D.

Medicare Part C or Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage has a number of different benefits (dental, hearing, vision), there is little difference in what cancer treatments are covered. In addition, these private plans might even restrict which doctors and hospitals you are able to visit, so it is important to do your research thoroughly.

The is one possible advantage — although it is highly dependent on the terms of each individual plan. Medicare Advantage might reduce the out of pocket cost for the medical procedures covered by Part A and Part B.

Medicare Part D Coverage

Part D is designed to alleviate some of the burdens of prescription drug costs. This plan can be purchased either on its own or in addition to a Medicare Advantage plan. While these plans will not cover every single prescription you might need, they can greatly help take the financial pressure off your or your loved one.

One issue that you might experience with Part D, especially if you need many prescriptions, occurs when you have reached the limit of your initial coverage. During this period of time, you will need to pay a higher percentage of the medications cost. While there are a number of steps you can take to limit your costs during this time, there is little you can do with this plan but wait until you have reached the next phase of your insurance, called the catastrophic coverage phase, which requires a small co-pay and lasts until the end of the year.

Medicare is a very popular program: as of 2015 there were 55.7 million Americans enrolled — that’s up from 39.7 million in 2013. In fact, experts at the Commonwealth Fund expect that it will grow to cover 81 million people. But that does not mean the program is all inclusive.

In the third and final part of these series, we will examine the various medicare supplement insurance plans and cancer care insurance, and how they can help you and your loved one.

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