Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Part C, is an alternative to Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) and is offered by private insurance companies. Each and every Medicare Advantage plan must provide the full coverage offered by Parts A (Hospital Insurance) and B (Medical Insurance) together. Most MA plans also cover prescription drug care (Part D). Some also offer extra benefits like dental, vision and hearing.
How does it work? Medicare pays the private companies a fixed amount for your monthly care. These companies in turn must follow all of Medicare’s rules. However, each Medicare Advantage Plan can charge different out-of-pocket costs and can have different rules on how you access your services. Make sure you take the time to find and compare plans in your area.
There are a number of different types of Medicare Advantage plans
- Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) Plans
- Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) Plans
- Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) Plans
- Special Needs Plans (SNP)
To read about these and more types of Medicare plans, click here.
Enrolling in Medicare Advantage can be a bit confusing. You must first enroll in both Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B if you want to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. Don’t worry, you can switch back and forth from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan as long as you are enrolled in both Parts A and B. You can make this switch every year during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP).
PLEASE NOTE: If you enroll in Part A, Part B or both you will receive your benefits through Original Medicare. You must choose and enroll in a specific Medicare Advantage plan should you wish to receive their specific benefits.
You can use this Medicare Advantage plan catalog to browse plans by state or compare plans based on your exact prescription drugs and location.