Each year you are given a chance to enroll into a Medicare Advantage plan if you have both Medicare A and Medicare B. The Medicare Advantage Enrollment period is right around the corner so I wanted to put together this list of 10 things that you should know before enrolling into a Medicare Advantage plan.
- Medicare Advantage Is Still Medicare – When you enroll into a Medicare Advantage plan, you DO NOT lose your Medicare benefits. You STILL have the same rights and protections awarded you under Original Medicare
- Medicare Advantage Has You Covered -By law, the Medicare Advantage companies have to provide you with at least the same benefits that you would receive with just Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. This even includes Hospice care which will be covered under Original Medicare if you ever needed it.
- A Built-In Financial Safety Net – One of the best reasons for you to join a Medicare Advantage plan is for the MOOP or Maximum Out of Pocket that each plan is mandated to provide. Unlike Original Medicare where your costs are indefinite; Medicare Advantage plans include an annual Cap on your expenses in the plan!
- The EXTRA Advantage – Many Medicare Advantage plans include EXTRA benefits like Dental, Vision, and Hearing benefits as well as the very popular Silver Sneakers program!\
- More Benefits, Not More Costs – Although you are receiving EXTRA benefits with many of the Medicare Advantage plans; you typically can find plans that have a low or even $0 monthly plan premium. It’s like literally getting something for nothing!
- The Deal With Drug Coverage – Perhaps the 2nd best benefit of a Medicare Advantage plan is that most include drug coverage. This means that you do not have to go out and PURCHASE a separate Medicare Part D drug plan. Again something for nothing! The average Medicare Part D premium is now over $31/month.
- Location, Location, Location – You can only sign up for plans available in your area as each plan is county specific. Also, you want to make sure your providers accept the plan.
- Review Your Choices Once a Year – Many times it’s easy to keep things the same. This is not the best course with Medicare Advantage plans. Each plan will change it’s benefits on a yearly basis meaning that it may not cover you the best next year. You can review those options on www.medicare.gov
- Not All Networks Are Created Equal – This is VERY important! Make sure that every provider you use is in the plan network. Also, note that many of the regional PPOs like Florida Blue and Humana Reader’s Digest Healthy Living Plan are extending their networks to include their own national network giving you even more FREEDOM and CHOICES!
- No Health Qualifications – The one exception to this is that each plan must ask if you have ESRD, but that is it! Otherwise, you do not have to qualify with your health in order to enroll into a Medicare Advantage plan.
I hope this helps with your decisions involving Medicare Advantage enrollment, and if you are looking for more information about Medicare in general make sure to sign up for my FREE Mini-Course on Medicare Made Easy in the upper right hand corner.