Medicare Advantage Plans
Medicare Advantage Plans are also referred to as Part C. These are additional options offered by the Medicare program. Signing up for a plan like this means you have a Medicare Health Plan and a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, all in one plan.
Some Advantage Plans may or may not have a monthly premium and may include prescription drug plans, with or without monthly premium payment.
The Advantage plans also include Medicare Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO), Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO), Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) Plans and Special Needs Plans (SNP).
Once you join a Medicare Advantage Plan, the health insurance card provided can then be used to pay for your health care. Most of these plans offer additional benefits and lower costs than those associated with the Original Medicare Plan. Medicare Advantage Plans are mostly managed care plans, which means you might need to visit doctors or hospitals pre-listed in the plan’s network to avail your Medicare Advantage Plan benefits.
It is mandatory to have Medicare Parts A and B to be eligible to join a Medicare Advantage Plan. You may also have to pay your Part B monthly premium to Medicare. Premium payments for the additional benefits of the Advantage Plan may also be due. The approximate payment for Part B is USD 134, but this figure varies depending on your income. Individuals entitled to Social Security benefits may pay as less as USD 130 monthly.
When Do I Enroll?
As soon as you are eligible to apply for Medicare, you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan. The eligibility criterion for this plan starts 3 months prior to the day you turn 65 and comes to an end 3 months after.
Medicare has a strict limit on when you can join, switch or terminate a Medicare Advantage Plan.