Medicare Open Enrollment Season has returned for 2017 to run from October 15th to December 7th. Many seniors wonder if they should enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. If you haven’t heard of Medicare Advantage, maybe you should consider it too. But do you really know how much it costs and does it make sense to you? If you are currently enrolled in A&B’s Medicare part, you may be eligible to enroll in Medicare Advantage. Before switching, consider the facts.
Doctors discuss. Source: Getty.
Advantages of medical insurance coverage
Medicare Advantage plans generally offer the same benefits as original Medicare, plus some additional benefits. This means that both hospital insurance (Medicare A) and medical insurance (Medicare B) cover Medicare Advantage. Many Advantage plans will also cover additional benefits such as prescription coverage, dental, vision, and wellness plans, which is why some seniors prefer Advantage plans.
Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage
While all Medicare Advantage plans cover Part A and B components, not all Medicare Advantage plans are the same. You may identify types of Medicare Advantage plans, including HMOs and PPOs. The reason these plans are similar to traditional employer plans is that the Medicare Advantage plan is actually offered by a Medicare-approved private company and paid (in part) through your Medicare benefits. The additional benefits of most Advantage plans are not free because beneficiaries typically pay a monthly premium on top of their Part B premium. You need to make sure you fully understand your ongoing benefits and premiums before making changes.
Financial Benefits of Medicare Advantage
Medicare Parts A and B will not cover all medical expenses. If you’re on a regular income, unexpected medical bills and prescriptions can quickly eat into your savings. Many seniors prefer these Medicare Advantage plans over the original Medicare because they limit it from pocket costs for copies, deductions, and prescriptions. Of course, there’s no free lunch, so you might end up paying for these things in one form, whether it’s in the form of a co-pay or a monthly premium.
Limitations on Medicare Advantage Coverage
There are a few issues with the Medicare Advantage plans you should consider because your care will be different. For example, with the HMO Medicare Advanced plan, your bill may be higher at a network provider, and your current doctor or provider may not be in the network. Additionally, the timing and accessibility of treatment options may be limited. Check if your chosen plan requires a pre-authorization procedure. You may even be limited by spending on catastrophic illness treatment. Before picking a plan, you will think about your research on coverage.
If you’re 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B, you have a six-month open enrollment window for Medicare supplemental coverage. These supplemental plans can serve as an alternative to Medicare Advancement if you qualify. Learn how to buy Medicare supplemental coverage.
If I switch to Medicare Advantage, can I switch back?
Yes, you can switch back to the original Medicare during the next Medicare open enrollment period. During open enrollment, you can also switch from one Medicare Advanced plan to another if your needs change.
Conclusion Medicare Advantages
Medicare Advantage plans are a good option for providing additional coverage for Medicare Parts A and B, and they allow you to limit your nudges for services not covered under Original Medicare.