A Medicare Advantage plan serves as an alternative to Original Medicare (Part A and Part B).
When you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan (also called Medicare Part C), you receive your Part A and Part B benefits through a single plan sold by a private insurance company.
Many Medicare Advantage plans may also offer additional benefits that aren’t covered by Original Medicare, such as prescription drug coverage and hearing, dental, and vision benefits.
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By law, Medicare Advantage plans must provide at least the same coverage as Original Medicare (with the exception of hospice care, which beneficiaries still receive through their Medicare Part A benefits).
As mentioned above, many Medicare Advantage plans may offer their own set of extra benefits not covered by Original Medicare.
Some of the most common additional benefits that may be offered by Medicare Advantage plans can include coverage for:
The list of potential benefits offered by Medicare Advantage plans continues to grow. Some Medicare Advantage plans may offer a broader range of services and items, such as home meal delivery services, bathroom grab bars, wheelchair ramps and more.
The Medicare Advantage program has seen a surge in popularity in recent years.
Unlike Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans are sold by private insurers. This means that the cost of plans can vary from one provider or location to the next.
In 2021, the average premium for a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage is $33.57 per month.1 Some Medicare Advantage plans feature $0 premiums, though $0 premium plans may not be available in all locations.
Deductibles and coinsurance or copayment costs will also vary among Medicare Advantage plans. Some plans may offer $0 deductibles, but these plans may not be available in all areas.
You must manually enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.
These plans are sold by private insurance companies all over the U.S., and plan selection will differ from one state to another.
To compare Medicare Advantage plans that may be available where you live, call a licensed insurance agent at TTY Users: 711 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
To enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you must first be enrolled in both Part A and Part B of Medicare. There are only certain times of the year in which you may sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the various enrollment periods.
The share of Medicare beneficiaries signing up for Medicare Advantage plans is steadily rising. In 2021, more than 24 million people on Medicare are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan.2
Many people who sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan choose to do so in order to get more value out of their coverage. If you wear eyeglasses or hearing aids, Original Medicare typically doesn’t help pay for those items. But a Medicare Advantage plan that offers coverage for vision and hearing care could help you pay for some of these costs.
Contact a licensed insurance agent today to learn more about how the Medicare Advantage program works and to compare plans that may be available in your area.
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Or call TTY Users: 711 to speak with a licensed insurance agent. We accept calls 24/7!
1 MedicareAdvantage.com's The Best States for Medicare in 2021 report. (Oct. 27, 2020).
2 Fugelsten Biniek, J. et al. (Oct. 29, 2020). Medicare Advantage 2021 Spotlight: First Look. Kaiser Family Foundation. Retrieved from www.kff.org/issue-brief/medicare-advantage-2021-spotlight-first-look.
Christian Worstell is a licensed insurance agent and a Senior Staff Writer for MedicareAdvantage.com. He is passionate about helping people navigate the complexities of Medicare and understand their coverage options.
His work has been featured in outlets such as Vox, MSN, and The Washington Post, and he is a frequent contributor to health care and finance blogs.
Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He currently lives in Raleigh, NC.
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