What are Medicare Advantage Plans?
Medicare Advantage (MA) plans are health plans offered by private insurance companies that contract with Medicare to provide you with all your Part A and Part B benefits. Medicare Advantage Plans include Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO), Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO), Private Fee-for-Service Plans (PFFS), Special Needs Plans (SNP), and Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans (MSA). If you're enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, Medicare services are covered through the plan and are not paid for under Original Medicare. http://www.medicare.gov
Most Medicare Advantage Plans offer prescription drug coverage (Part D). If the plan provides prescription drug coverage, it is called a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD) plan. It is important to note that MA and MAPD's are not Medicare supplemental plans.
How do you qualify for a Medicare Advantage Plan?
You can generally qualify for a Medicare Advantage Plan if you meet these conditions:
- You have Medicare Part A and Part B coverage.
- You live in an area serviced by the plan you want to join.
- You do not have End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant)
What will a Medicare Advantage Plan cost?
The costs of a Medicare Advantage Plan depend on a number of factors. Questions to consider when purchasing a Medicare Advantage Plan are:
- Does the plan charge a monthly premium in addition to your Part B premium?
- Does the plan pay any of the Part B premiums?
- Does the plan have a yearly deductible?
- Does it charge any deductibles for any of the services?
- How much will you pay for each service or visit (copayments), both in network and out of network?
- What type of health services do you need? How often?
- Will you be using network providers or out-of-network providers?
- Are there any additional benefits in the plan, such as vision and dental coverage? Do you need them? What do these benefits cost?
Since private companies sponsor Medicare Advantage plans, costs will vary.
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