You asked, we answered

We are committed to getting you the information you need to navigate Medicare with confidence. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of our customers’ most-asked questions. Did your question make the list?

1. What does Original Medicare cover? How does that compare to Medicare Advantage?

Original Medicare consists of two parts: Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. Medicare Part A is hospital insurance and helps cover inpatient hospital care, limited skilled nursing care, and hospice care. Medicare Part B is medical insurance and helps cover outpatient care, like doctor’s visits. 

Medicare Advantage covers the same hospital and medical benefits as Original Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans are sold by private insurance companies to replace your Original Medicare benefits, and often give you the option to choose a plan with additional benefits, such as prescription drug, dental and vision coverage (Original Medicare does not provide this coverage). 

Medicare Advantage plans also have an out-of-pocket maximum, which limits how much you could potentially pay for your health care costs in a single year. 

2. What is the difference between Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement Insurance?

Medicare Advantage plans are plans you purchase to replace your Medicare Part A and Part B benefits, meaning you’ll get the same hospital and medical coverage that you’d get with Original Medicare. The difference is, you’ll receive these benefits from a private insurance company. It’s important to know that Medicare Advantage plans set their own rules and usually have provider networks and different cost-sharing than Original Medicare.

But unlike Original Medicare, most Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage, and some plans may provide additional benefits, such as:

  • Vision & dental coverage
  • Hearing coverage and hearing aid discounts
  • Fitness classes and gym memberships

Medicare Supplement Insurance plans work alongside your Part A and Part B benefits to help cover some of your Medicare out-of-pocket costs, like certain deductibles, coinsurance and copayments. 

Let’s take a look at the two options side by side:

If you want...

You may choose...

Additional benefits like vision and dental

Medicare Advantage

Help paying some of your Medicare out-of-pocket expenses

Medicare Supplement Insurance

A PPO or HMO plan

Medicare Advantage

The freedom to keep your doctor who accepts Medicare

Medicare Supplement Insurance 

Nationwide coverage with no provider networks

Medicare Supplement Insurance

All of your benefits – hospital, medical and prescription drug coverage – bundled together on one plan

Medicare Advantage

At least partial coverage for emergency care costs while traveling abroad

Medicare Supplement Insurance

An out-of-pocket maximum

Medicare Advantage

Guaranteed renewable plans

Medicare Supplement Insurance

As you can see, both Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement Insurance plans bring something unique to the table. And although it’s ultimately up to you to decide which type of plan makes the most sense for you, we are always here to help answer your questions if you need it!

Important: You cannot have a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan and a Medicare Advantage plan at the same time.

3. Do Medicare Advantage plans offer additional benefits like transportation and meals?

Yes, some Medicare Advantage plans may offer these types of benefits to beneficiaries. In 2020, some Medicare Advantage plans are also offering additional benefits to people with chronic illnesses, such as asthma and diabetes. Transportation is limited to plan-approved locations. Meal delivery is typically limited to a number of days following a qualifying medical event or procedure.

Below, Medicare expert John Barkett talks a bit about these added benefits. 

4. What expenses can I expect to pay with a Medicare Advantage plan?

How much you’ll pay in out-of-pocket Medicare costs depends on the specific Medicare Advantage plan you enroll in.

For instance, some Medicare Advantage plans have $0 premiums, which means you won’t pay a Medicare Advantage premium in addition to your Part B premium each month. 

Similarly, it may be possible to find a Medicare Advantage plan with $0 deductibles and $0 copays for many services However, there still could be other out-of-pocket costs for other services.

The key here is to shop around to find the plan that best suits your needs. A licensed insurance agent can help you find Medicare Advantage plans in your area and help you compare plan benefits and costs across carriers.

5. Do Medicare Advantage plans include SilverSneakers?

Yes, some (but not all) Medicare Advantage plans include SilverSneakers, a fitness program designed for seniors that provides access to gym memberships, weight training, aerobics, and group exercise classes. Some plans offer gym memberships from other, similar programs.

When shopping for a Medicare Advantage plan, ask your licensed insurance agent for assistance finding a plan that includes SilverSneakers. 

6. Can I change my Medicare Advantage plan?

Once you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you have the chance to make changes to your coverage each year during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. 

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period begins on October 15 and ends on December 7 each year. 

During the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, you can:

  • Change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
  • Change from a Medicare Advantage plan back to Original Medicare
  • Switch to a different Medicare Prescription Drug Plan* 
  • Drop your Medicare Prescription Drug Plan*

Note: If you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (for instance, if you move outside of your Medicare Advantage plan’s service area), you may be able to switch plans outside of the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period.

Find Medicare Advantage plans in your area

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Or call 1-800-557-6059 (TTY: 711) 24/7 to speak with a licensed insurance agent.