Medicare Advantage enrollment has been on the rise for more than a decade, and now 1 in 3 people age 65 and older enroll in the plan – which is about 30 percent of the entire Medicare market. It’s not hard to see why many Medicare beneficiaries opt for Medicare Advantage plans; it often covers items that Original Medicare doesn’t, and most beneficiaries don’t pay additional money for it.
However, Medicare Advantage isn’t for everyone. Should you sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan? Here are some of the things you may need to consider to make an informed decision.
How Medicare Advantage is Different
Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Medicare Part C plans, are provided by private health insurance companies approved by Medicare. Rather than add to Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage typically serves as an alternative option. Medicare Advantage provides all the benefits of Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B), and most plans include Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage.
In addition, Medicare Advantage plans usually cover certain healthcare expenses that Original Medicare doesn’t, such as dental, hearing, and vision care. And, many Advantage plans don’t have a premium, so you won’t have to pay an additional premium for your coverage, other than the standard Medicare Part B premiums.
Drawbacks of Medicare Advantage Plans
To be covered by Medicare Advantage plans, you must choose health care providers that are within the plan’s provider network. The network may be limited if the plan is HMO or slightly larger if it’s a PPO. Also, you may need referrals or pre-approval for certain types of care to see specialists. In the case you have to go out of the network, you may not receive coverage. Moreover, Medicare Part C plans typically depend on location. If you move out of your region or travel, the plan may not cover you.
Now, let’s say you join a Medicare Advantage plan but realize it’s not exactly for you. If you want to drop the Medicare Advantage plan and sign up for Original Medicare, you can do this during the annual enrollment period (October 15 – December 7); however, you won’t have guaranteed access to a Medicare Supplement plan. That means the insurance company may charge you more or refuse to issue you a policy.
Is a Medicare Advantage Plan Right For Me?
When it comes to choosing the best Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare plan in general, there is no one size fits all solution. Consider all your options and see which is more suitable for your healthcare needs and budget.
If you need help in choosing the right Medicare plan for you, don’t hesitate to contact Medicare Sharks today to talk to an experienced Medicare insurance expert.