Health Insurance Conveniences Program
Medicare Advantage plans are different from Medicare supplements in that they offer several advantages. I recommend to my clients that Medicare Advantage plans be considered alternatives to Original Medicare coverage. Original Medicare covers Parts A and BC. Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Part C or MA plans, are part of Original Medicare. Original Medicare doesn’t cover Medicare Advantage plans. Medicare Advantage plans have to include all of the services Original Medicare covers.
Original Medicare is where providers bill Medicare first and then bill a supplement provider. After Medicare and private supplement companies have paid their portion, individuals might be responsible for the rest. Medicare Advantage plans have the private insurance company being billed. If an individual who has a Part C or MA plan with company XYZ visits his primary doctor, or receives services in a hospital setting, the bill will be sent not to Medicare but to company XYZ. In this instance, the individual might be responsible to pay a copay or deductible.
Medicare Advantage plans can sometimes be called “all in one” plans, as they include other coverages. Part C plans may include prescription drug coverage. These plans are also known as MAPD (Medicare Benefit Prescription Drug) plans. Some plans offer coverage for hearing, vision, wellness programs, and/or additional ancillary benefits. Medicare Advantage plans come in many forms and must be evaluated individually.
Medicare Advantage plans can have a premium. These premiums are variable. There are plans that offer a $0 monthly Premium. Individuals still need to pay Part B premium to be able to enroll in Medicare Advantage plans. The availability of plan access can vary greatly from one county to the next. For example, a $0 monthly Premium Plan may be offered in one county, but not in another.