Medicare Advantage plans are alternatives to Original Medicare.
Medicare Advantage plans are different.
Sometimes referred to as Medicare Part C or MA plans, these plans are an alternative to Original Medicare Parts A and B. These plans have many things in common with Original Medicare, but they may also offer expanded benefits that aren’t available otherwise.
What is a Medicare Advantage plan?
These are plans that usually act as a bundle for Medicare Parts A and B. In many cases, they may also include Part D and prescription drug benefits. Some plans may also include vision, hearing, and dental plans, making them more attractive than Original Medicare, which does not offer these benefits.
What are the benefits?
In addition to the expanded coverage noted above, there are other reasons a person may choose to enroll in an Advantage plan. While Original Medicare requires you to see a Medicare provider, some Advantage plans allow for out-of-network coverage, although this tends to cost more. Unlike Original Medicare, Advantage plans often have limits on out-of-pocket costs, which can take some of the guesswork out of anticipating expenses for those on a fixed income. Here are more examples of benefits:
How do these plans work?
These plans contract with Medicare and also follow the Medicare rules and regulations. They are also reimbursed by the United States government. These plans can charge different premiums, copays, and deductibles than Original Medicare, and these will often differ from plan to plan. The plans are provided through private insurance companies, which allows someone who has Parts A, B, and D to have all their coverage managed by one company.
Additional things to know.
It is possible to buy an Advantage plan that does not include prescription drug coverage. If you enroll in one that does not, such as a Medical Savings Account plan or a fee-for-service plan, you can still enroll in a separate Part D plan. However, if your Advantage plan does offer prescription drug coverage and you enroll in a separate Part D plan, you’ll be disenrolled from your Advantage plan and be placed into Original Medicare.
Medicare Advantage and Medicare supplement plans.
Advantage plans do not work with Medigap (Medicare Supplement Insurance) plans. Medigap plans are designed to cover out-of-pocket costs like deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments of Original Medicare. They cannot pay for the out-of-pocket costs of Advantage plans.
If you’d like to explore your options with Medicare Advantage plans, contact us to learn more.