8 Things to Ask about Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicare Advantage plans are Medicare plans offered by private insurance companies. These plans are specially designed to offer our nation's seniors with all the benefits of Medicare parts A and B and to even address services not offered under the Original Medicare. Greater prescription drug coverage is also available as an option under Medicare Advantage plans. For seniors, preventative healthcare as well as routine screenings are essential as is treatment for chronic issues. For our most vulnerable and venerated citizens, Medicare Advantage offers the healthcare coverage seniors need to maintain and preserve the quality and standard of life they are accustomed to enjoying. Seniors and their families should ask these questions to learn more about what they should know about Medicare Advantage plans.

Do Medicare Advantage plans cost more?
Yes. However, despite the higher up-front costs of Medicare Advantage plans, they tend to offer superior coverage and benefits that will save you money in the long term.
When should I enroll in Medicare Advantage?
As with all Medicare plans, the best time to enroll is during the initial enrollment period after you become eligible. Open enrollment periods are great times to start a plan or make changes to your plan and occur at the beginning and end of each year.
What types of Medicare Advantage Plans are available?
Medicare Advantage offers HMO plans in which you go to specific doctors as well as PPO plans that allow you to choose your own doctor or choose a doctor from a list of pre-approved doctors from the insurer's list.
Will I be subject to out-of-pocket costs?
Under Medicare Part A, benefits cannot be subjected to out-of-pocket costs and therefore all benefits that are available under part A should be free for those with a Medicare Advantage plan.
What happens if my insurer leaves the Medicare program?
In the event your Medicare Advantage insurer chooses to quit the Medicare program, you will be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare. Insurers can only leave the program at the end of the year, which is when the open enrollment period begins, so you can change to a Medicare Advantage Plan if you decide that is best.
Is prescription coverage included in all Medicare Advantage plans?
No. Prescription drug coverage is called Medicare Part D and you can opt in for the coverage plan you desire in addition to your Medicare Advantage plan.
Are there any plans I should avoid?
PFFS plans, or Private Fee For Services plans, should be avoided. They charge significantly more than other Medicare plans and you will technically not be part of a network which can make it difficult to find a doctor or affordable services. 
Does Medicare Advantage replace Original Medicare?
Yes. Medicare Advantage is also known as Medicare Part C. All benefits previously covered by parts A and B are included and you will not need to be enrolled in either A or B to get part C.

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