Know Your Plan Benefits and How to Access Them Easily: 4 Things You Must Know
Medicare Advantage plans are the most popular way to receive Medicare benefits. The reasons are many: generous benefits, no deductibles and $0 premium on most plans; includes ancillary services like dental, vision and hearing; many offer Part-B givebacks, reducing your monthly deduction from your Social Security check, and more. As a matter of fact, there are SO MANY benefits that many lose track and do not use them – leaving hundreds-to-thousands of dollars on the table annually. One way to avoid this waste is to know your Summary of Benefits and Evidence of Coverage (read more on this here). Another way, use your online member portal from your insurance company.
I’ve heard stories from my clients on how they’ve lost money, because they did not know or use the benefits available to them. Stories like:
The reason for this is typically out-of-sight out-of-mind. Few people actually read their Summary of Benefits and Evidence of Coverage, because either they misplaced the documents or find it too overwhelming to read. However, there is a simpler way to have this information at your fingertips and in your pocket. You see, every insurance company provides a Member Portal/Website and/or App for your phone, tablet or iPad that makes finding all the information you need quick, easy and useful.
Things you can do on your member portal include (but are not limited to, depending on the carrier):
Since insurance companies understand not all beneficiaries are familiar with technology, they try to make these portals as easy as possible to understand and navigate. Some are better than others, but all offer a simpler method for accessing your benefits.
If you’ve not taken the time to register for your portal, January is a good time to do so – it’s the beginning of your plan year. Doing so now will avoid losing benefits and money for the new year.
On the internet, you would most likely go to the main website of your carrier. For example, if Humana were your insurance carrier, you would go to Humana.com. The same for any plan (e.g., WellCare, Aetna, Cigna, CarePlus, etc.). Then, you would need to read the screen. Since the homepage is made for ALL traffic, what you are looking for is either:
When you click on these links or buttons, they will take you to separate page to start the process of creating your profile and logon for your account. You will want to make sure you have your insurance ID card handy, as you will need your member ID number. You will also want to have a working email address. They will need this to verify your account.
Once you’ve created your account, explore all the links. Click and see what’s available. You will be happy to see things you may have forgotten. Also, you may have access to additional incentives you may not have been aware of (like reward programs that give you gift cards for doing healthy activities, for example).
Here are some direct links to the registration/login pages for five (5) common plans.
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If you don’t have a computer, tablet or iPad, you can download their mobile apps to either your Android Phone or Tablet, or Apple iPhone or iPad. Here are the links for the five (5) aforementioned carriers above.
When you click on these links, if you’re clicking on them from your smartphone, tablet or iPad, it will automatically open the App or Apple stores for you to install them. If you click on these on a computer and you are logged in to your Google account or Apple ID, it will allow you to click on the install button, and it will show you your phone as an option for installation. By clicking on it, it will send the instructions to your device and install it for you.
Knowing you have a certain benefit is fine, but if you don’t know how to access it, it’s useless. Make sure you create your account. You will be happy you did so. Once you see the ease of using your benefits and empowerment that comes from being able to do so, you will come to appreciate your plan – and more importantly, actually use it to its full potential.
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