Medicare That Works to Your Advantage

These private plans are the best all-around deal -- for now.

Joe Cameron, 78, pays $93.50 a month for health insurance through a Medicare Advantage HMO. That's the same premium he would pay for Medicare Part B alone -- and he doesn't need to buy a Medicare-supplement policy and separate prescription-drug coverage.

Five years ago, Cameron, who lives in Fort Worth, suffered a massive heart attack and was flown to Dallas for a bypass operation. His medical bills totaled more than $1.3 million -- but he paid only $2,300 out of pocket.

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Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.