What is Medicare Advantage?
A Medicare Advantage plan is private health insurance offered through companies approved by Medicare as an alternative to the original Medicare program. Medicare Advantage plans often provide additional benefits and prescription drug coverage, along with preventative care and sometimes even dental, eye, and hearing coverage.
If you purchase an Advantage plan, you are still a part of Medicare and the plan must offer the same Part A and B coverage (hospital and medical) as the original Medicare with a Medigap policy. These plans often work within provider networks, using certain doctors, hospitals, and medical centres to provide care and coordinated services to policy holders.
The Medicare Advantage program is funded through Medicare, which pays a fixed amount to private insurance companies who offer these plans and work under a strict set of Medicare’s guidelines. There are many different Medicare Advantage plans users can choose from, with varying premiums and benefits, however users will always be covered in the event of emergency or urgent care needs.
Who should purchase a Medicare Advantage plan?
Medicare Advantage plans are a popular alternative to the original Medicare program, offering users simplicity, flexibility, and oftentimes additional benefits not covered under Medicare Part A and B, such as dental, vision, and preventative check-ups.
Medicare Advantage plans offer simplicity over the original Medicare program -- which functions with a Part A (hospitalization), Part B (doctor visits), Part C (Medigap), and Part D (drug coverage) -- with one single policy to cover all of a user’s medical and prescription drug needs. In addition, most policy holders are enrolled within health maintenance organizations (HMOs) where they received coordinated care from their choice of approved doctors, hospitals, and specialists.
Medicare Advantage plans also often offer free or discounted drug coverage, low co-payments for doctor visits, low deductibles, and added benefits such as glasses and hearing aids, all for a price comparable to the original Part B premium payment.