Medicare Open Enrollment season has returned for 2017, and runs from October 15 – December 7. Many seniors are wondering if they should enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan. If you haven’t heard of Medicare Advantage, maybe you should be considering it too. But how much do you really know about it, and does it make sense for you? If you are currently enrolled in Medicare Parts A & B, you are probably eligible to enroll in Medicare Advantage. Before you make a switch, consider the facts.
Medicare Advantage coverage
Medicare Advantage plans generally offer the same benefits as Original Medicare, as well as some additional benefits. That means Hospital Insurance (Medicare Part A) and Medical Insurance (Medicare Part B) are both covered under Medicare Advantage. Many Advantage plans will also cover additional benefits, like prescription coverage, dental, vision, and wellness programs, which is why some seniors prefer the Advantage plans.
Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage
Although all Medicare Advantage plans cover Part A and Part B components, not all Medicare Advantage plans are the same. You’ll probably recognize the Medicare Advantage plan types, which include HMO and PPO. The reason these plans resemble traditional employer plans is that Medicare Advantage plans are actually offered by private companies that are approved by Medicare and paid for (in part) by your Medicare benefits. The extra benefits that come with most Advantage plans aren’t free, as beneficiaries usually pay a monthly premium on top of their Part B premium. You’ll want to make sure you fully understand the benefits and premiums you’re committing to before making a change.
If I switch to Medicare Advantage, can I switch back?
Yes, during the next Medicare Open enrollment period you can switch back to Original Medicare. During Open Enrollment, you can also switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another should your needs change.
Conclusion on Medicare Advantage
Medicare Advantage plans are a good option to offer additional coverage over Medicare Parts A and B, and they allow you to limit your out-of pocket expenses for services not covered under Original Medicare.