Medicare Advantage can be thought of as an alternative to Original Medicare, a package deal that comes with a network of providers and a yearly contract.
Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Medicare Part C, are plans which you purchase from private health insurance companies that have been approved by Medicare to handle your Part A and Part B coverage.
When you sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan, you still need to pay your premiums for Medicare Part A and Part B. You show your plan card at your medical appointments instead of your Medicare card.
Most plans operate using a network of health care providers. That means that instead of going to any physician who accepts Medicare, you see providers within your plan’s network. The network has negotiated costs with these providers, which is how they save you money. Going outside of the plan’s network means you may have to pay up to the full amount for services.
Medicare Advantage plans have the same basic coverage as with Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). Many plans have additional packages you can purchase to secure coverage for dental, hearing, or vision care. This supplemental coverage adds an additional premium to your bill each month.
Medicare Advantage plans can also come with prescription drug coverage equivalent to Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. These are called Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MA-PD) plans. By choosing a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage, you have the same provider for all of your benefits, which simplifies costs.
Another benefit of Medicare Advantage plans is that they have maximum out-of-pocket limits. Unlike Original Medicare, which has no limit, you have the security of knowing your spending will not go over a certain amount. Once you reach the limit, your plan will cover your health care costs for all covered services.
For your health care services under a Medicare Advantage plan, you will need to pay a plan premium, along with a deductible and copayments. These costs will vary for each plan. You will also need to continue to pay your monthly premiums to Medicare for Medicare Part A and Part B.
A plan that suits your needs and offers the coverage you want will be a good choice of Medicare Advantage plans. If you are looking for dental, hearing or vision coverage and want to avoid the hassle of enrolling in separate supplement plans, look for a Medicare Advantage plan that offers those benefits as packages with additional premiums. Likewise, if you want prescription drug coverage and want an all-in-one plan, look for a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan.
Once you are enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B, you can start looking for a Medicare Advantage plan that covers your region. The best time to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan is during the Annual Enrollment Period, which falls from October 15 to December 7 each year. During this time, you can sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan, switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another, or drop your Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare.
The types of Medicare Advantage plans include:
It can be difficult to know which plan will best meet your budget and health care needs. For assistance in choosing the right Medicare Advantage plan, contact Jones Insurance Group today.