Medicare 101: Your Guide to Additional Benefits

Learn about the additional benefits you could get by switching to Medicare Advantage.

Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) helps cover some hospital and medical costs for people age 65 and older and people younger than 65 who have a qualifying disability or medical condition.

Additional benefits with a Medicare Advantage plan

In most cases, Medicare beneficiaries can replace their Original Medicare coverage by enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan (Medicare Part C) that may provide additional benefits.

Every Medicare Advantage plan must provide at least the same minimum benefits as Original Medicare, but they may include additional benefits not covered by Medicare Part A or Part B, such as:

  • Prescription drug coverage
  • Dental coverage
  • Vision coverage
  • Health and wellness programs

Beginning in 2019, some Medicare Advantage plans began offering additional benefits such as transportation to doctor's appointments, bathroom grab bars and home-delivered healthy meals. And now some Medicare Advantage plans are offering new benefits to beneficiaries with chronic illnesses. 

Below, Medicare expert John Barkett talks more about these new benefits and what to expect. 

And unlike Original Medicare, which has no out-of-pocket maximum, Medicare Advantage plans limit how much you can pay out of pocket for care each year.

Prescription drug coverage

Many Medicare Advantage plans provide coverage for prescription drugs. In addition to your Medicare Advantage out-of-pocket costs, you’ll typically pay a copayment or coinsurance for covered drugs.

Specific drug costs will vary depending on the plan’s formulary (a list of drugs the plan covers) and the tier the drug falls into. Drugs in lower tiers generally cost less than drugs in higher tiers.

Medicare dental coverage

Some Medicare Advantage plans help cover common dental procedures such as:

  • Routine preventive and diagnostic care such as teeth cleanings
  • Basic dental procedures such as fillings and root canals
  • Major dental procedures such as bridges

Without dental coverage, you could be responsible for 100% of the costs for these services.

If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan that covers dental, you will pay a coinsurance (a percentage of the total cost) for covered dental services once your deductible is met. Specific coinsurance amounts will vary by plan.

Medicare vision coverage

Some Medicare Advantage plans help cover routine vision care and vision products such as:

  • Basic preventive care
  • Eyeglass lenses
  • Eyeglass frames

Without vision coverage, you could be responsible for 100% of the costs for these services.

If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan that covers vision, you will pay a coinsurance for covered vision services once your deductible is met. Specific coinsurance amounts will vary by plan.


Some Medicare Advantage programs include SilverSneakers, a wellness program for seniors that encourages physical fitness and healthy living.

When you enroll in SilverSneakers, you gain access to:

  • Community fitness programs
  • A network of gyms
  • A variety of fitness classes
  • A community of your peers

To find Medicare Advantage plans in your area that includes SilverSneakers or coverage for vision, dental, vision and prescription drugs, speak with a licensed insurance agent at   TTY Users: 711.

Original Medicare costs

Original Medicare doesn’t cover everything. Medicare beneficiaries are responsible for some out-of-pocket costs, including (all costs for 2022):

  • Part B premium
    $170.10 a month, though you could pay more if you have a higher income
  • Part A deductible
    $1,556 per benefit period
  • Part B deductible
    $233 per year
  • Part A coinsurance
    $0 for days 1-60 spent in the hospital, $389 per day for days 61-90 spent in the hospital, $742 per each “lifetime reserve day” for days 91 and beyond spent in the hospital
  • Part B coinsurance
    20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount for most doctors services after your deductible is met

*Most people do not pay a premium for Medicare Part A. If you pay for Part A in 2022, your premium could be up to $499 per month.

Additionally, there is no maximum for how much you could end up paying out of pocket for care, and Original Medicare does not cover routine dental care, routine vision care or prescription drugs.

Medicare Advantage costs

Listed below are basic costs for people enrolled in Medicare Advantage.

  • Part B premium
    Even with Medicare Advantage, you will have to pay the Medicare Part B premium.
  • Medicare Advantage premium
    Medicare Advantage premium amounts vary from plan to plan, but some MA plans have monthly premiums as low as $0.
  • Deductibles and coinsurance
    Medicare Advantage deductibles and coinsurance vary by plan. You can speak with a licensed insurance agent at   TTY Users: 711 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to learn more.

Compare Medicare Advantage plans from a number of brands

As you shop for a Medicare Advantage plan that offers the benefits you're looking for, you can consider a plan from a number of different providers that may offer plans where you live.

Learn more about your plan options, which could include:

Learn more about Medicare Advantage plans today

If you’re not satisfied with Original Medicare and would like an insurance plan that provides more coverage, call to speak with a licensed agent at today.

Find a $0 premium Medicare Advantage plan today.

Speak with a licensed insurance agent



About the author

Christian Worstell is a senior Medicare and health insurance writer with MedicareAdvantage.com. He is also a licensed health insurance agent. Christian is well-known in the insurance industry for the thousands of educational articles he’s written, helping Americans better understand their health insurance and Medicare coverage.

Christian’s work as a Medicare expert has appeared in several top-tier and trade news outlets including Forbes, MarketWatch, WebMD and Yahoo! Finance.

Christian has written hundreds of articles for MedicareAvantage.com that teach Medicare beneficiaries the best practices for navigating Medicare. His articles are read by thousands of older Americans each month. By better understanding their health care coverage, readers may hopefully learn how to limit their out-of-pocket Medicare spending and access quality medical care.

Christian’s passion for his role stems from his desire to make a difference in the senior community. He strongly believes that the more beneficiaries know about their Medicare coverage, the better their overall health and wellness is as a result.

A current resident of Raleigh, Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

If you’re a member of the media looking to connect with Christian, please don’t hesitate to email our public relations team at Mike@tzhealthmedia.com.

MarketWatch logo

Yahoo Finance logo 


WebMD Logo

South Florida Sun Sentinel Logo

WRAL.com Logo

Deseret News Logo

Healthcare Finance Logo