In summary, Medicare Advantage is designed to allow private operators such as Anthem Blue Cross, United HealthCare, Humana and others to create health care plans designed for people using Original Medicare. The plans would be standardized to cover what Original Medicare offers, as well as improved benefits such as preventive, dental, visual and even auditory care.
These Medicare Advantage plans come with additional support for seniors to help minimize overhead. Medicare Advantage is approximately a 17% allowance, in addition to the 80% paid by Original Medicare.
Even if Medicare A and B are not active, you still receive the Part B premium from your social security check. The government is using this payment as part of the financing mechanism of its Advantage plan. In fact, the private insurance plan receives even more money from the government for taking full financial risk for providing medical care.
Advantage plans will generally have prescription drug coverage as part of the package at no additional cost. Supplements do not. If you have a Medigap policy, you must purchase a separate Part D prescription drug plan if you want drug coverage at a pharmacy.
Do you feel comfortable with the plan’s network of providers? In many service areas, Medicare Complete has a strong network, but you should research this yourself.
Does the plan offer as many additional benefits as other Medicare Advantage plans may be available to you? Many plans offer dentistry, vision, hearing and, in many cases, the Silver Sneakers program. Do you consider that the maximum amount that can be paid is reasonable compared to paying a higher monthly premium for a supplement? If the maximum annual value is high and you have several expensive health conditions, consider whether a supplement would be a better option.
Advantage plans generally include benefits beyond what Medicare includes. Extras may include dentistry, vision, hearing, gym membership, discounts on alternative health services and transportation to and from medical appointments.
A special needs plan may be available for qualified chronic conditions. These plans include a comprehensive level of managed care related to your health status. An Advantage plan can offer a more comprehensive health plan than just Medicare, while costing considerably less than a Medicare supplement. When you compare the available options, it is easy to see that a Medicare Advantage plan has a lot to offer if you receive Medicare disability benefits.