When considering Medicare Advantage Plans for your future comfort and convenience, it is important to understand what exactly they are and how they work. There are more than 3,000 Medicare Advantage Plans currently available nationwide in 2021. 1 in every Medicare beneficiary will have access to a Medicare Advantage Prescription drug plan (MA-PB) without any monthly premium (or monthly premium payment) in2019. Most Medicare Advantage Plans include long-term care insurance (LTCI), vision and hearing aid coverage, and certain health care services such as physical therapy, mental health, and nursing home services.
So, what makes Medicare Advantage Plans different from traditional Medicare? Advantage Plans are not a guaranteed issue, so they can vary by plan year. Some plans offer extended benefits and select drug plans; others may limit the types of covered services or medications or provide less benefit with fewer restrictions. To help you compare Medicare advantage plans, keep reading for some helpful information about each program.
Advantage Plans provide many benefits to Medicare patients. Most plans have copays, coinsurance, and other types of reduced-rate medical costs. Some plans also offer free preventive care visits and vision coverage. These limited but valuable benefits are only available to specific patients with selected illnesses or conditions. For example, a Medicare Supplement Plan for high blood pressure patients will cover the cost of doctor visits and blood tests, but will not cover the costs of prescriptions.
Another way to compare Medicare plans is to look at Part D vs. Part B. Part A plans focus on prescription drugs, including brand names, generic drugs, and certain brand names used by pharmacies outside the United States. Part B covers hospital expenses and certain medical supplies. It also covers health insurance costs, disability and insurance payments, medical testing and imaging services, and eyeglass and cosmetic surgery. While both part A and part B must be taken under the Medicare supplemental insurance plans, they are very different from one another.
For most people, the difference in cost for enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan is insignificant. Even with the lowest monthly premiums, the annual maximum for receiving Medicare benefits is $1300, and most enrollees have no health care costs other than that provided by the Medicare Advantage plan. However, when considering a Medicare Part A and/or B enrollment, it’s important to compare the rates for the same types of medical services between the two plans. If one plan covers more of the items listed above than the other, it may be a better value to enroll in the Medicare Advantage plan to cover those items.
The bottom line is that anyone can enroll in Medicare benefits, regardless of their current health status or financial situation. Millions of people already have Medicare coverage and have never even considered signing up for Medicare Advantage Plans. For those who are not covered currently and are considering the possibility of enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan, the time to compare the available plans is now. These easy-to-use resources will help ensure you’re getting the most for your money while maximizing your health care benefits and peace of mind.