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If you are looking for a MEDICARE ADVANTAGE read on:

Your Guide to Medicare Advantage Plans or call 1-800-MEDIGAP Toll Free Help Line

As you near retirement, it is important to investigate all of your options when it comes to Medicare. With so many different supplements available, choosing the right package can be more involved than you might think. If you fail to do the right amount of research, you may end up needing medications and covered medical care that is simply not covered. If you are more familiar with Medicare Advantage, also referred to as Part C, it is time find out what benefits are included and which plans are available to you. Read the following straightforward guide and find out what you need to know to make an educated choice.

What is Medicare Advantage?

Like an HMO or a PPO, a Medicare Advantage plan is a health plan you can choose when you qualify for Medicare. Often referred to as Part C or MA Plans, Medicare Advantage plans are sold to Medicare recipients by private insurers who offer Medicare and health insurance plans. If you choose to join a MA plan, the plan itself will provide you with Hospital Insurance, Medical Insurance, and Prescription Drug coverage. Some of these plans also include coverage for dental, vision, and wellness programs as well. As you might expect, the insurers can charge different out-of-pocket amounts for the plans based on what services are covered.

How Does Medicare Insurance Work?

If you have never enrolled in or joined a Medicare Insurance plan in the past, you might be wondering how Medicare works. As you may know, Medicare is a Federal health insurance program that is designed to cover individuals who are age 65 or older. The standard plan is a fee-for-service plan that is managed by the government. While it will pay for some costs of care and medical supplies, it will not cover all health care expenses. This is why private companies are offering different, more comprehensive plans like Part C to receive more benefits. When you purchase Part C privately through an insurance company, you can receive your hospital insurance, medical insurance, and prescription coverage through a private health plan. When you go this route, the government will pay the insurer a fixed amount for your care each month. The premiums you pay will depend on the services and benefits you choose.

What Makes Advantage Plans Different?

Advantage plans have not been around since Medicare was introduced. Recognizing that seniors and disabled individuals needed an option to invest in more coverage, the Federal government allowed private companies to offer more comprehensive advantage plans to individuals who were willing to pay the premiums. These plans are available in several different areas of the country and will provide the insured party with more choices and extra benefits. In order to join an advantage plan, you must have both Medicare Part A and B. As you may know, you must pay a premium for Part B. In most cases, you will pay a premium for your advantage plan based on the benefits you receive.

What Are Medicare Advantage Plans Costs?

Now that you have the answer to “What are Medicare Advantage plans?”, you might be wondering just how much you are going to have to pay to take advantage of the added benefits you will receive through an MA plan. The costs of the plan you choose will depend on several different factors. First, you must consider the cost of Medicare Part B, as this is required to join an Advantage Plan. The out-of-pocket costs of the Advantage plan you choose will depend on each of the following factors:

* Whether the plan you choose has a monthly premium.
* If you or the plan pays for your Part B premiums.
* If you choose a plan with a yearly deductible.
* How much your copayments are per doctor visit.
* What types of services are covered and how often you can use them.
* If you are required to see network providers.
* If you must pay for extra benefits.
* The limit of out-of-pocket costs on the plan.

Different Types of Medicare Advantage Plans

Now that you understand how your costs can be calculated, it is important to understand what types of Medicare Advantage plans you can choose from. The type of plan you choose will depend on your preference and what is available in your area of the country. The most popular plans offered by private insurance companies include:

* HMO or Health Maintenance Organization Plans (You will be required to see providers in the network.)
* Preferred Provider or PPO plans.
* Private Fee-for-Service plans also called PFFS plans.
* Special Needs Plans for the disabled.

While these are the most popular Medicare Advantage plans, you can also choose point of service plans to get service out-of-network. Medical Savings Account plans are also available when you have a high deductible plan and an attached qualifying MSA account.

What Will a Medicare Advantage Plan Cover for the Insured Party?

Not all Medicare Advantage plans offer the same type of benefits. While this is the case, all of the plans will provide cover for certain services like urgent care visits and emergency room visits. This is because the Federal government requires all of the plans to cover the services that are provided by the Original Medicare plan. Your Original Medicare coverage will still extend to provide hospice care later on in life. In the event that you need hospice services, you will file a claim through your Original Medicare plan and not your Medicare Advantage plan. Contrary to popular belief, Medicare Advantage is not a supplemental form of coverage. It is a private form of coverage available to individuals who qualify for Medicare.

How Can You Join Medicare Advantage Programs?

You need to make sure you take time to compare all of the Medicare Advantage programs that are available to you before you decide which program is right for you. You should review the cost, benefits, and the rules of the plan thoroughly before you make a decision. It is best to call each of the private insurers with Medicare Advantage programs and request a paper application. Once you do this, call a Medicare representative for assistance and they will help you choose the right program to apply for.

Compare Advantage Plans with Agents Through Medicare

If you want to compare advantage plans, it is best to have a professional by your side. While insurance agents can help you understand each plan, it is best to call a Medicare specialist so that you can make an informed decision. You need to make sure you understand the maximum out-of-pocket costs, the benefits, and the limits of the plan whenever you compare advantage plans.

Now that you have information, you can make an informed decision when choosing an Advantage Program. Do not rush into your purchase and make sure you understand even the fine details before you choose an insurer or a program.

Can I have both an accident, Cancer or Heart plan and a Medicare Advantage plan?

Yes, you can have a Cancer Heart Stroke Insurance plan that pays you directly in the event of critical silliness and a Medigap Plan.