Medicare Advantage Plans - Alternative to Traditional Medicare and Its Supplements:
Most people are unaware there is another option to the limitations , out-of pockets, and unlimited risk of traditional Medicare and its supplemental policies. Medicare Advantage Plans are made possible under Medicare Part C. A Medicare Advantage Plan is a federal plan that is offered and administered by a private company such as Universal AARP, Humana, or others. These private companies contract with Medicare to provide all the benefits of traditional Medicare Part A & B services plus provide coverage for such services as vision, hearing, dental, and/or health and wellness programs.
In order to be covered by a Part C Medicare Advantage Plan, you would have to leave traditional Medicare and enroll in a plan with a private company that offers you the best coverage for your circumstances at the lowest cost. Often these plans will also include coverage for your prescriptions and not cost more than what you were already paying under the Part B traditional Medicare!
It is important to know Medicare Advantage Plans will have a network of doctors you may choose from for your care. When choosing a plan, it is important to examine your provider network and the list of drugs the plan covers. If your doctor is not in the network, and/or you cannot find a suitable alternative, this option may not be the best for you. However, if your doctor(s) accept the Medicare Advantage you choose, this choice can save you considerable amounts of money over the course of a year, offer you expanded coverage, and limit your risk of total out-of-pocket costs.
Many Medicare Part C Advantage plans include Part D options within a single package.
How Do I Choose Between Traditional Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage Plans?
In traditional Medicare (or Medicare plus a Medigap plan), I can choose any doctor that accepts Medicare coverage. You are not limited to a network of specific doctors. This is especially important for people who travel a lot or live part of the year in one part of the country and the rest of the year in another state.
Medicare Advantage Plans are generally less expensive that traditional Medicare supplemented with Medigap and a Prescription Drug Plan, and will likely offer expanded coverage for vision, dental, hearing, and health club memberships.
In other words, the ability to have complete choice of doctors will cost more in traditional Medicare and Medigap option.
How You Pay For Medicare
Each part of Medicare has different charges associated with it.
Private insurance for Medicare Advantage Plans and prescription drug coverage involves paying monthly premiums to insurers that provide your policy. What you'll pay in premiums depends in large part on the extent of the coverage the policy provides, with more all-inclusive policies charging higher monthly premiums.
In addition to premiums, you may be responsible for deductibles, copayments, and other costs. For instance, hospital stays and covered skilled-nursing care care often requires a per-day copayment from the patient.
How It All Adds Up
Medicare is a complex system that has many interlocking parts. By understanding how they all work, however, you'll be in the best position to get everything you're entitled to receive under Medicare.
For more information on Medicare, visit the government's Medicare website here.