I keep hearing ads on television about Medicare Part C plans that offer additional benefits. I want to know exactly what these plans are and if they are worth it. I don’t want to lose the coverage I have now, but it would be nice to have some dental and vison benefits.
-Elaine (Stone Mountain, GA)
Your question is one we hear every day, so you are not alone. We are bombarded with advertisements through printed mail, TV, and radio for Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage. But many are still unaware of what that is. Let’s break down what this coverage entails.
Medicare Advantage Plans are a type of Medicare health plan that replaces your Original Medicare Part A and B. Although your Original Medicare will not actually terminate, your Medicare Advantage Plan will be your primary and only insurance that will be used.
These plans cover hospital care, medical services, and prescription drugs under one plan; however, you can choose an Advantage Plan without drug coverage if you wish. Medicare Advantage Plans use a network of providers much like an HMO or PPO, so you will want to make sure any providers you currently see accept the plan’s terms. Unlike Medicare Supplement Plans, Medicare Advantage Plans are not portable. So, if you move to a new area you will have to change your plan.
Medicare Advantage plans usually have lower monthly premiums, or even no premium in most areas. But keep in mind that you will have copays, coinsurance and possibly deductibles as you use the plan for different services like lab work and hospital care. This is why they are often referred to as “pay-as-you-go plans.”
Medicare Advantage Plans can offer benefits over and above what Medicare covers, like dental, vision, acupuncture, fitness memberships, transportation, and over-the-counter benefits. A person may consider enrolling into a Medicare Advantage Plan if they are comfortable with paying copays in exchange for a lower premium and don’t mind using network doctors.
It is important to know that you may not have another Medicare health plan, Medicare Supplement, or employer coverage in addition to your Medicare Advantage Plan. It is either one or the other. So, if you do not want to lose your current coverage, you may want to investigate the Advantage Plans further to see if it is something that would benefit you instead of the coverage you have now.
Thank you, Elaine, for reaching out to your Medicare Advisors here at AMAC!
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