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Selecting a Medicare plan: making the right choice

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Updated: 1/30 3:53 pm

(BPT) - Seventy percent of people 64 and older say that selecting the right Medicare coverage impacts their ability to live a healthy life, according to a national survey of Medicare-eligible Americans conducted this year by Humana Inc., one of the nation's leading health and well-being companies. As a result, seniors are taking the plan-selection process very seriously - spending nearly a full day, an average of 22 hours, on their plan decision.

Medicare's Annual Election Period runs through Dec. 7, and Medicare beneficiaries are utilizing specific criteria and turning to different resources to navigate their coverage options.

Quality is king: Sixty-four percent of people eligible for Medicare cite plan quality as the key factor driving them to switch their Medicare coverage, rating overall quality as more important than plan cost and the ability to continue receiving care from their current primary care provider. In order to help people eligible for Medicare find quality plans, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) offers a Plan Finder Tool available on their website. People 65 and older and those with disabilities who qualify for Medicare can compare health-care plans based on available options within their Zip code. Other online resources include Humana-Medicare.com, a website that highlights the basic information about Medicare plans and also provides tools to help find a plan that meets a person's health and wellness needs.

Help is here: The survey also found that one in 10 seniors say they would like someone else to do their Medicare planning. Saving seniors an average of three hours in the planning process, Humana agents help Medicare beneficiaries pick a Humana plan that's right for them.

'Online resources and Medicare agents offer valuable information on Medicare options,' says Dr. Roy Beveridge, Humana's chief medical officer. 'By using these resources, eligible adults ensure they understand their options and select the best Medicare plan for their individual needs.'

Here are some helpful tips to remember during Medicare enrollment this year:

1. Talk to your doctor about your health to get a better overall picture of your coverage needs.

2. Do your research. Understand the difference between the different parts of Medicare - Parts A, B, C and D.

3. Decide what benefits you want based on your health care needs.

4. Enroll in the plan that best fits your needs and budget.

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