You know by now that you’re your own best advocate when it comes to your health care. And equally important is to have other people in your corner who can help you make the best decisions for your health. Your doctor is one of those people. You can talk to your doctor when you’re getting ready to shop for a Medicare plan.

Tips for talking to your doc

1. Know your questions

Think about your top concerns and write them down in advance. Have a plan for how you’ll use your time with the doctor.

2. Focus on your current health needs

Your doctor is not a Medicare expert. But your doctor does know you, your health history, etc. So make sure you’re focused on understanding your current health needs and using that information to understand how your future Medicare benefits could apply.

3. Think about prevention

Basic preventive and screening services are covered by Medicare. Your doctor may be able to tell you about the additional preventive measures you should take for your health in the coming year. As you shop, you can figure out if those items are covered benefits on different Medicare plans.

4. Medications matter

Most Medicare plans offer prescription drug coverage (Part D). As you think about your Part D options, you may want to talk to your doctor and get a list of the drugs you’re taking so you can see if your drugs are covered by the plans you’re considering.

5. Expand beyond your doctor

There is other staff in the doctor’s office who can answer questions. Consider asking the billing staff your Medicare billing questions. You want to have a plan you can afford. Most Medicare plans and have online shopping tools you can use to compare and see how much plans cost.

With some research and good, candid conversations with your doctor and other office staff, you’ll be well on your way to finding the Medicare plan that meets your needs.