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Testing, Testing 123: Phlebotomy Basics

When my mother underwent chemotherapy, we spent a lot of time visiting the phlebotomy lab for blood testing. I was always impressed by how easily the phlebotomist was able to find and puncture a vein to draw blood on the first try. I knew there had to be a method to it, and was astounded by how effortless and painless they made the process. It led me to research a lot about blood tests, from drawing to the actual screening. I've created this site to share what I've learned in the hopes of teaching others. The more you understand, the more control you can have over your own health care.


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Testing, Testing 123: Phlebotomy Basics

Those Medicare Advantage Plans: How Do You Know If They'll Be Enough?

by Francisco Arnold

When you sign up for Medicare, you can go with traditional coverage or Medicare Advantage. As you'd expect, each works better for different people. You have to find out which is going to be best for you before you do anything, and that means making sure you know what's covered and what can happen if you suddenly need more care.

How Vital Is It That Vision and Dental Be Included?

Traditional Medicare plans typically don't include coverage for vision, hearing, and so on. That's a problem for many people and a reason why many choose Medicare Advantage plans instead. Now, remember, you can buy individual vision and dental coverage from companies outside Medicare. It could be that those plans plus traditional Medicare would be enough coverage for you at a reasonable price. But you still need to look at overall costs and the number of premiums you pay. You have to decide which will be easier for you to handle.

Will Your Budget and Income Allow You to Cover Co-pays?

Medicare Advantage co-pays can be higher than those of traditional Medicare plans. That's not often an issue for someone who is healthy and rarely needs to see the doctor, but as you get older, you may need more medical attention. That can add up very quickly. If you had to see your doctor and get more tests in the coming year, would the cost of the co-pays overwhelm any savings you got on your Medicare Advantage premiums? If yes, you may want to consider going with a traditional Medicare plan. The premiums might be a little higher, and you wouldn't have certain coverage like vision, but the co-pays would be lower should you need more medical care.

How Extensive Is Your Doctor Network?

Medicare Advantage plans sometimes have a lot more restrictions on who you can see. If the clinic and doctor networks that you'll use with your Advantage plan are extensive, then that's not much of a problem because you'll have plenty of doctors to choose from. However, if your doctor is part of a small network and there aren't many options in your area, limiting who you can see and who your Advantage plan will pay for could mean that, if you need specialized care, you'd be faced with higher out-of-pocket costs. And if your primary doctor moved away, you'd be limited in your ability to choose another primary doctor, possibly being stuck with someone with whom you really didn't agree.

Medicare Advantage plans are useful for some people, while other people benefit more from traditional Medicare plans. While you can switch back to a traditional plan, do think carefully before doing so or before choosing to move to an Advantage plan.

For more information, contact a company such as Medicare For Cheap LLC.