Get the Best Medicare Advantage Plan

This step-by-step guide will help you compare options from private insurers to find the best coverage for your needs.

Thanks for your step-by-step guide to picking a Medicare Part D prescription-drug plan. I would like to look for a Medicare Advantage plan during open-enrollment season this year instead of a Part D plan. What resources can help me compare Advantage plans?

Comparing Medicare Advantage plans is more complicated than shopping for Part D coverage because Medicare Advantage covers health-care as well as prescription-drug expenses. You can compare the overall costs -- premiums, co-payments and deductibles -- for the types of doctor’s visits, drugs and other medical care you typically receive. But you also have to look carefully at how the plan covers the more expensive care that you may need if you have an accident or become sick. And because Medicare Advantage plans often have more rules about which doctors and hospitals are covered, what preauthorization you need before getting certain types of care, and what procedures are excluded, it’s essential to study the coverage details and customer-service ratings before picking a plan.

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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.