When you are shopping for a Medicare Advantage plan, you may consider features such as a plan’s range of benefits and possible network rules. But above all else, perhaps the biggest thing you might consider is the cost of a plan.
When it comes to Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B), the cost of premiums is standardized across the board. But because Medicare Advantage is privatized, costs can vary from one plan or coverage area to another. Let’s take a closer look at the cost of Medicare Advantage plans and how they fit into one’s health insurance spending.
In 2021, the average Medicare Advantage plan premium for plans that offer prescription drug coverage is $40 per month.1
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A closer look at 2021 data also reveals:
In addition to premiums, many Medicare Advantage plans typically include some out-of-pocket expenses. These can include plan deductibles, copayments or coinsurance and an out-of-pocket spending maximum.
The coverage offered by each Medicare Advantage plan may differ. While a Medicare Advantage plan by law must cover the same benefits as Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B, benefits like prescription drugs, dental, vision and hearing can be covered at varying degrees (or not at all).
Also, as with the cost of many products and services, the differing local and regional market where you live can have an effect on the cost of Medicare Advantage plan available to you.
Aside from the benefits offered and where you live, there are several additional factors that can influence the cost of a Medicare Advantage plan, such as:
Coverage for dental, vision and hearing care are additional benefits that Medicare Advantage plans may offer and which are not covered by Original Medicare. So how does the cost of a Medicare Advantage plan compare to individual plans for these benefit areas?
Original Medicare does not cover routine eye exams for glasses or contact lenses. It does cover some vision tests and procedures, but only for people who have or are at risk for certain conditions.
Original Medicare does not cover common dental treatments, procedures or supplies. Routine cleanings or fillings are also not covered. Medicare Part A will only cover certain dental services in the event that you receive emergency or complicated dental care while admitted to a hospital.
Original Medicare also does not cover hearing exams or hearing aids and will only cover diagnostic hearing or balance exams if your doctor orders the tests to determine if you need treatment.
For these reasons, many people may decide to opt for a Medicare Advantage plan that offers more benefits than Original Medicare.
After familiarizing yourself with the costs of Medicare Advantage, it may be helpful to learn more about a few ways to save on some potential plan costs.
As you can see in the chart below, the average cost of a Medicare Part C plan can vary significantly from one state to another.
In fact, plan prices and availability can vary by county or service area.
|State||Average Premium||Percent of Plans Rated 4 Stars or Higher||Average Drug Deductible|
Working with a licensed insurance agent can help you find a plan in your area that suits your health care needs.
To shop for Medicare Advantage plans in your area or to learn more about the costs associated with this type of coverage, call today to speak with a licensed insurance agent. Or you can compare plans for free online.
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1 MedicareAdvantage.com's The Best States for Medicare in 2021 report. (Oct. 27, 2020).
2 Digiacomo, Robert. Is dental insurance worth the cost? (May 25, 2017). Bankrate. Retrieved from https://www.bankrate.com/finance/insurance/dental-insurance-1.aspx.
3 Glover, Lacie. Vision Insurance: Costs, Benefits and Who Needs It. (Dec. 21, 2016). NerdWallet. Retrieved from https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/health/vision-insurance/#2.
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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