Medicare Advantage (MA)

Medicare Advantage (MA) plans are plans offered by private companies that cover the same benefits offered in Medicare Part A and Part B (as well as some additional benefits not found in traditional Medicare). By selecting a MA plan, you are choosing to have a private company to manage your Medicare Part A and Part B benefits. Some MA plans will cover prescription benefits others do not. Please Note: Medicare Advantage is very different than Medigap.

Medicare Advantage FAQs

What does Medicare Advantage Cover?

Medicare Advantage (MA) is required to cover at a minimum the equivalent benefits offered in Original Medicare.

MA plans can also cover dental, vision and prescription drugs. It is important to review the benfits of the plan you are considering to see what exactly will be offered in the plan.

How Much Does Medicare Advantage Cost?

Medicare Advantage (MA) can be very affordable. Plans with no prescription drug benefits are sometimes available at no cost. In order to keep the cost low many MA plans have a much smaller network of doctors.

If you want an MA plan with drugs it will be more expensive

Can I switch Medicare Advantage Plans?

Medicare Advantage (MA) plans have open enrollment every year. This means you can switch for one MA plan or provider to another once a year. This year’s enrollment is October 15–December 7. Any change you make during the Open Enrollment period will take effect on January 1st of the next year.

If you currently have an MA plan and would like to compare prices during open enrollment click on the button below

Can I drop Medicare Advantage?

Each year you may “dis-enroll” from your current Medicare Advantage (MA) plan and return to Original Medicare. This years MA Dis-Enrollment period is from January 1 - February 14. Changes to your coverage start the first day of the month following your request to drop. You will have the chance to join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan after you cancel your MA plan.

Remember, if you drop your MA plan and want to join a Medigap plan, you will most likely be subject to medical review for approval.  Medigap typically only offers guaranteed approval during initial enrollment (for example when you turn 65)

Can I Apply for Medicare Advantage if I’m under 65?

There are two ways to apply for a Medicare Advantage plan if you are under 65:

1) If you are almost 65 and preparing for Medicare you may want to start getting a Medicare Advantage quote by calling the number above.
2) If you are under 65 and qualify for Medicare Part A and Part B and do NOT have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) you may qualify for Medicare Advantage. Call the number above to learn if you qualify for Medicare Advantage.

Medicare Advantage vs Medigap?

Medicare Advantage, as we have explained on this page,  is coverage you sign up for instead of Medicare part A and B. In fact, if you purchase a Medicare Advantage plan, you can no longer be enrolled in traditional Medicare.  Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private companies that cover the same benefits offered in Part A and Part B (as well as some additional benefits not found in traditional Medicare).

Medigap is the nickname of Medicare Supplemental Insurance plans that you purchase to fill in the 1000’s of dollars of “gaps” not covered in Medicare Part A (Hospital coverage) and Medicare Part B (Doctor coverage).  In most cases, unless you are on a limited budget you will want to purchase a Medigap plan. Click here to jump to our Medigap section to learn more.

HOW DO THEY COMPARE ON…
Plan Benefits:
The benefits of Medigap plans are standardized by the federal government, meaning that Medigap plans sold by different insurance companies all offer the same benefits. Most Medigap plans will cover deductibles, extra days in the hospital and most co-pays.  Medicare Advantage plans, in contrast, must provide at least the same coverage as Medicare A and B, but vary widely beyond this minimum set of benefits.

Doctor Networks:
Medigap plans typically have a large network of doctors and facilities while Medicare Advantage plans usually have a smaller network. This varies by each Medicare Advantage plan provider. Those that travel extensively typically choose Medigap over Medicare Advantage for this reason.

Price:
Medigap plans always require an additional monthly premium while some Medicare Advantage plans may have no monthly cost at all.  In the past Medicare Advantage plans were often cheaper than selecting a Medigap plan. Many of the Medicare Advantage plans, however, require significant cost sharing by its members should medical services be required.  Due to recent health care reforms, Medicare Advantage federal reimbursement have changed and many experts believe that future prices of Medicare Advantage plans will increase. 

CONCLUSION
Because Medicare Advantage plans often have reduced benefits, we suggest enrolling in one if you are on a budget. If you can afford the extra amount each month, Senior65 encourages enrolling in a Medigap plan. To speak to someone about Medicare Medigap or Medicare Advantage plan please call 800-930-7956 x3.