Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Medicare Part C, offer the same benefits as Original Medicare Part A and Part B, and then some. Medicare Part C plans are held by private insurance companies and accompany the usual benefits along with vision, dental, hearing, and prescription drug coverage, none of which are covered by Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). If you opt into a Medicare Advantage plan, you will still need to pay Original Medicare premiums, which raises the price of coverage overall.
Some popular Medicare Advantage carriers are listed below:
- Medicare Advantage AARP
- Medicare Advantage Aetna
- Medicare Advantage Blue Cross
- Medicare Advantage Humana
Medicare Advantage plans (sometimes called MA plans) also require you to use a local network of providers. You cannot sign up unless you live within a certain distance of a plan’s network (via Investopedia). With Original Medicare coverage, you can go to any health care provider in the country that accepts Medicare. The Medicare program is run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), a federal agency, but Medicare Advantage plans are run by private insurers.
For that reason, Medicare Advantage plans often look similar to traditional health insurance plans. Prices are lower than regular private insurance, but the types of costs and the structure of plans are the same.
You can purchase a Medicare Part C plan as long as you have enrolled in Original Medicare (via Medicareresources.org). You must also live in a particular Advantage plan’s network to buy it. As for timing, check out our article on when Medicare Advantage becomes available during Open Enrollment.
Medicare Advantage prices vary greatly by plan, so how much you pay really depends on your individual plan (via AARP). There are some particular costs you should pay attention to, though. In particular, let’s cover the basics of your monthly premiums, copays, annual deductible, coinsurance, and maximum out-of-pocket limit. Enrollment in Medicare Part C plans has been growing, largely because Advantage plans offer more benefits than standard Medicare plans. Medicare Advantage plans usually aren’t the best option for low-income recipients because they can often qualify for other Medicare savings programs. Medicare Advantage also isn’t generally necessary if you’re still receiving employer-sponsored coverage.
To learn more about Medicare Advantage plans, call Hubby Health.