Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C, is a health plan offered by private companies that are approved by Medicare to cover Medicare benefits.
Unlike original Medicare, Parts A and B, Medicare Advantage enrollees receive all of their coverage via one plan.
Similar to going to a large discount, one-stop shop to cover multiple shopping needs, Medicare Advantage Plans allow patients to combine hospital, doctor, drug and bonus coverage, such as dental and vision, in one fell swoop. Medicare C plans aim to cut down on the groundwork involved in senior health coverage and cut down on coverage costs.
However, while Medicare C may be less costly than supplemental health coverage plans, there are drawbacks to consider. Since Medicare Advantage Plans are care plans managed by private companies, enrollees are often required to visit doctors and hospitals within their advantage plan network; this is primarily how companies keep their advantage plan costs low. If an enrollee visits a hospital or doctor out of their plan’s network, unless it is an emergency, the bill becomes his responsibility.
Prospective enrollees must have Medicare parts A and B to qualify for an advantage plan. Additionally, potential enrollees cannot have terminal renal disease that would require a kidney transplant or dialysis, and they must live within the plan’s service area to qualify.
Medicare Advantage Plan costs depend on a variety of factors. Enrollees are often required to play a single monthly premium, ancillary to their Medicare Part B premium, for coverage included in the advantage plan. On average, the total cost paid under an advantage plan is lower than costs of deductibles and coinsurance under the original Medicare plan. However, each Medicare C plan offers different costs, so it is important to check the costs on individual plans prior to joining.