When most people speak of Medicare, they are usually referring to Medicare Parts A and B. Part A covers a person's hospital bills, while Part B is generally for outpatient procedures. Medicare Advantage is an alternative to traditional Medicare. Also called Medicare Part C, there are differences that may be something of interest to you.
Medicare Part C may offer lower costs
Although you are still on the hook for paying premiums under Medicare Part B, many of the Medicare Advantage plans are cheaper because the amount of money you have to pay out of your own pocket is often lower. Whether this is true for you will depend upon your specific circumstances.
Medicare Advantage plans are wide ranging
Traditional Medicare is run by the government, but Medicare Part C plans are offered by the private sector. Although these plans are regulated, they offer a wide range of health care coverage. Some plans are a Preferred Provider Organization or PPO. These plans consist of a network of doctors and specialists that are a part of the insurance company's network. Many insurance plans are set up this way, so if you already have a doctor that is in the Medicare Advantage plan, it may be simple to switch over to Medicare Part C when you turn 65. Some insurance companies offer a Health Maintenance Organization or HMO policy. This is another popular option that you may already have prior to your retirement. Ultimately, what is best for you will depend on your specific medical needs and what is available in your area of the country.
Medicare Advantage plans extend traditional Medicare coverage
Medicare Part C always includes everything found in traditional Medicare, but it also extends coverage to things that are not addressed by traditional Medicare. Examples include hearing aids, dental procedures, and vision coverage.
Some plans cover prescription medication
Traditional Medicare does not cover prescription medication. This is what Medicare Part D is for. However, some Medicare Advantage plans have prescription drug coverage. This coverage may be better than Part D, but some plans do not have coverage at all, so in this situation, you will need coverage under Medicare Part D.
One important thing to keep in mind about a Medicare Advantage plan is that you are not signing up for life. You can drop the plan and go back to traditional Medicare during the enrollment period each year. Conversely, if you decide not to purchase a Medicare Advantage plan and later change your mind, you can always sign up during the next enrollment period.
Check with a company like Senior Care Insurance Services for more information.