Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C, offers a
value that Original Medicare may not. Medicare Advantage
consolidates your Traditional Medicare, Medicare Part A
(hospital) and Part B (medical), into one plan. Plus, many
Medicare Advantage plans include additional benefits.
Medicare Advantage plans have a yearly limit on what you pay out-of-pocket for services typically covered by Traditional Medicare. Once you hit that limit, you’ll pay nothing for those covered services for the rest of the year.
Many Medicare Advantage plans come with additional benefits not typcially offered by traditional Medicare plans Part A and Part B. These benefits may include vision insurance, dental insurance and Prescription Drug Plans (Medicare Part D). Remember, not all Medicare Advantage plans are the same, so make sure your plan includes any additional insurance coverage you may need.
The cost of a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C) depends on several factors, primarily if the plan charges a monthly premium. Some plans offer $0 monthly premiums or may help pay all or part of your Medicare Part B premiums.
Medicare Advantage plans are government-approved health care plans offered by private insurance companies.
People can join a Medicare Advantage plan if:
They have both Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.
They live in a plan’s service area.
They’re a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or lawfully present in the U.S.
There are only specific periods during the year when you can
enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan or make changes to your
plan. Here’s when you can do it:
Initial Enrollment Period – This period lasts for seven months, beginning three months before the month of your 65th birthday. This period also includes your birthday month and the following three months.
General Enrollment Period – This period begins January 1 and ends March 31. If you have Medicare Part A and get Part B for the first time, you can also enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.
Open Enrollment Period – This period begins October 15 and runs through December 7 and is available for anyone enrolled in Medicare.