Know your medical cost history during the past year. Know your resources. Know your options.If you have Medicare but haven’t selected a Medigap Policy or prescription drug plan for 2016, you still have time before the Dec. 7 Medicare deadline. This checklist can help you find the best Medicare plan for you.

• Know your medical cost history. Review your records to see how much you spent on health care during the past year. Then, determine if the past year was typical, and try to estimate costs for the year ahead.

• Know your resources. With your prior medical spending in mind, research the costs, benefits and network of doctors and hospitals associated with each Medicare plan. The government’s Medicare website, www.medicare.gov, can help you make a choice.

• Know your options. You will want a plan that provides the coverage you need and makes the most of your health care dollars. In general, your options include:

• Original Medicare, or Medicare Parts A and B, with basic coverage for hospital and medical expenses but no coverage for deductibles, coinsurance or prescription drugs. You typically must pay a premium for Part B coverage.

• Medicare Advantage, which provides all of the same coverage as original Medicare but generally includes extra benefits and services, including prescription drug coverage (You must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium and may or may not pay an additional premium.) These plans frequently include dental and vision coverage, a nurse advice line and even a fitness club membership.

• Medicare Supplement plans, often called Medigap plans that pay some of the costs that original Medicare doesn’t cover, such as deductibles and coinsurance. You must pay an additional premium.

• A Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, or Medicare Part D, provides prescription drug coverage and most often helps lower your prescription drug expenses. You must pay an additional premium.

Research the quality of the plans you are considering before the Medicare deadline.

Source: http://www.sctimes.com/