Those new to Medicare, and seasoned veterans alike, have found that joining a Medicare Advantage plan offers certain perks, like additional benefits without an increase premiums, the opportunity to choose a personal physician to help you to coordinate your care, and proactive disease management and more.
In the third part of our A-B-Cs of Medicare series (go back and read Part A and Part B), we’re going to talk about Medicare Part C.
Medicare Advantage plans sometimes offer additional services including vision, hearing, dental, prescription drug coverage and in some cases gym membership! Best of all, most cases require no additional premium beyond what you are already paying Medicare for Part B. In fact at this point some plans are even rebating some of the part B premium. (Please have a licensed agent certified by the health plans review all benefits before deciding on coverage).
If you are accustomed to getting HMO or PPO coverage at work, you know how these plans work.
These plans used to be called Part C, or Medicare Choice, or even more recently, Medicare Advantage Part D (MA-PDP). They cover Part A (hospitalization), Part B (physician) and Part D (prescription drugs). Many offer additional perks like gym memberships, transportation and over-the-counter vitamins or medications. As long as you have both Medicare A and B, live in the approved service area, and do not have ESRD (end stage renal disease) or are hospice you qualify for these plans anytime regardless of health condition.
Medicare Advantage is a great example of private industry working with the Federal Government. In most urban markets there are multiple plans to choose from that will compete for your business.
When someone new to Medicare hears about these plans for the first time... More benefits... Lower or no premium... Drug coverage included... the typical reaction is, “What’s the catch?”
If there is a catch, it is only that plan members pick from a list of physicians, and generally can only be referred to specialists and hospitals “in the network”. Typically, you will find that your doctor, or a doctor that you know of, is part of the network, as is your preferred hospital. Remember there are many to choose from. However, when you look at it statistically most Medicare Advantage members stay with Medicare Advantage plans. So the value proposition must be strong.
Medicare Part D
We’re almost through, but we still have to figure out a way to afford all those medications… Read on about Medicare Part D