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Medicare Advantage plans are great for people on tight budgets who travel infrequently. If this sounds like you, a Medicare Advantage plan could be a route to huge financial savings. Check out our video below or scroll down to our Brief Guide to Medicare Advantage for more details.
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Brief Guide to Medicare Advantage
Option 2: Medicare Advantage plans, also called Medicare Part C, are a great fit for people with high medical costs and tight budgets who don’t travel much. Medicare Advantage plans provided hospital and medical coverage (i.e. Medicare Parts A and B) from private insurance companies instead of the government. The major pro Medicare Advantage plans offer is low to no monthly premiums. In 2017, one-third (33%) of Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan.
Pros and Cons of Medicare Advantage plans:
Pros of Medicare Advantage
Low or no monthly premiums
Some areas have $0 premium monthly Medicare Advantage Plans available. In all likelihood though, you probably will have some sort of monthly premium, but Advantage plans make sure its small.
Drug plan included
Medicare Advantage plans are required to cover at least everything Original Medicare covers. Typically, Advantage plans include more benefits in addition to basic coverage to entice soon-to-be-retirees to choose them over Original Medicare plans. Almost all Advantage plans include drug coverage, which you have to pay for separately if you have a Medicare Supplement.
Dental and vision coverage
Along with drug coverage, many Medicare Advantage plans also include coverage for dental and vision, something Medicare Supplements don’t include.
Cons of Medicare Advantage
Medicare Advantage plans require members to stay within a network of certain doctors and hospitals. If you go out of network, you’ll likely have to pay more out of pocket than you would’ve otherwise and could even incur the full cost of medical services provided to you. To avoid a huge medical bill, you’ll have to be sure you’re in network every time you visit a doctor.
Does not travel well
Because of the network restrictions, Advantage policies don’t travel well. If you frequently visit family or friends in other locations, you might not want to go sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan.
Advantage plans are based on your zip code. This means you could have very limited choices in Advantage plans or the option could be unavailable entirely depending on where you live. Unfortunately, even if Medicare Advantage sounds like a good option for you, this can limit your ability to enroll.
Co-pays, co-insurance, and deductible
Medicare Advantage plans still require that you pay co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles when you use services. If you visit the doctor frequently, you might want to consider Medicare Supplements as they’ll likely be cheaper in the long run.
*Can only be switched during Annual Enrollment*
Medicare Advantage plans can only be switched during Annual Enrollment from October 15th – December 7th every year. This means if you purchase a policy and don’t like it, you’ll have to wait a year until you can get out of it. Medicare Supplements, on the other hand, can be changed at any time.
Make sure you call more than one company or use a brokerage that works with multiple companies. The approach will ensure you get the pricing information necessary to the cheapest and most informed decision for you and your family.
Learn more about Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage in our blog:
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When starting Medicare, most beneficiaries get the choice of going down two different routes. The most common route is Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) paired with a Part D prescription drug plan, and getting a Medicare Supplement. We talk about the...
In a perfect world, the day you turn 65, you retire, stop your work medical coverage, and start Medicare. While this is great in theory, most people do not live this lifestyle. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 40% of people over age 55...
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