A Medicare Advantage plan is another way to obtain the benefits of Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans replace the original benefits of Medicare Part A and B through a private insurance company. To be competitive, most Advantage plans add additional coverage. For example, many help with hearing aids, glasses, dental services and prescribed medications, while Medicare does not, with one exception. It leads to the development of cataracts. Affordable premium is one biggest selling point behind the growth of Medicare Advantage enrollment. In some areas, there are available plans which cost nothing, exceeding the Medicare Part B premiums. A big draw is that the Medicare Advantage Plans insures all health problems in addition to end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
However, there are some things you need to know before enrolling for these plans. Many plans cover only non-emergent care through their own list of hospitals and physicians. Because Medicare Advantage plans replace Medicare coverage, you do not need to have Medicare coverage if you need an out-of-network doctor. Each of the Medicare Advantage policies sets its own rules, but everyone must stick to Medicare’s policies. All Advantage plans must provide coverage equal to or better than Medicare. To make sure you are able to get the necessary medical care, check the list of doctors and what prescriptions a plan will pay before you enroll. It is rare for health insurance companies to offer evaluation periods, but that is exactly what you can do with many varied Medicare Advantage plans. Register before December 15 and, if you change your mind, you can switch to Medicare between January 1 and February 14 of the following year.
There is a special period of “experimentation” that Medicare Advantage plans have. This is really the time to try one of the Medicare Advantage (MA) plans after the first enrollment phase, when you were qualified for Medicare. This is an event that occurs once a year, where you can evaluate the type of MA plan that you receive from the approximately ten insurers and insurance companies that you chose. If you miss this opportunity you may end up paying more and getting less coverage than expected. Depending on where you live, you may find a broader option among MA plans than Medigap insurance plans. Unless you live in Wisconsin, Massachusetts or Minnesota, there are only 10 options for Medigap plans. The mentioned states have their own version of the Medigap plans.
This year, open enrollment was delayed to an earlier date so that it is done well before the end of the year. The beneficiaries will now be informed that their benefits will begin on January 1. From October 15 to December 7, Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan from a private health insurance company, but it is best to seek a plan as quickly as possible. MA plans are not widely available, but in the urban environment there may be a range of options. There are reports that more than 24 different plans are available at specific locations.