Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C, is a health care alternative to what is commonly known as original Medicare. Original Medicare comprises Medicare parts A and B. Part A covers hospitalization expenses, and Part B covers expenses related to visits to the doctor, lab testing, and preventative screenings. Medicare Advantage/PartC includes both Part A and B coverage, in addition to prescription drug coverage, known as Part D.
There are several differences between Medicare Advantage and original Medicare, the primary difference being the fact that Medicare Advantage plans are run by private insurance companies, which original Medicare is run by the government. Medicare Advantage is however regulated by the government, which means that it must offer the same services as original Medicare. The differences are found in how an Advantage plan offers this coverage. Monthly premiums, copays, coinsurance, and out-of-pocket limits differ between original Medicare and Medicare Advantage, as well as between different Medicare Advantage plans. So what are some of the reasons you might consider Medicare Advantage over original Medicare?
The Benefits of Medicare Advantage
Out-Of-Pocket Spending Caps
One of the biggest benefits of a Medicare Advantage plan is that it offers a cap on your out-pocket-spending. This cap is set at a maximum of $6,700 by law, and in 2013 almost half of all plans had a cap of $3,400 or less. Once you hit this limit, all of your expenses are covered by the plan.
Many Medicare Advantage plans offer additional coverage not provided by original Medicare. Depending on the plan, this could include coverage for vision, dental, nursing home or assisted living care.
Alternative to Medigap
Medigap coverage is supplemental insurance that you can buy as an add-on to original Medicare for coverage that original Medicare does not offer. Because a Medicare Advantage plan already offers additional coverage, it may make more sense to choose this plan than original Medicare with Medigap coverage.
Different Payment Structure
Original Medicare charges a 20-percent coinsurance for most services. With a Medicare Advantage plan you may have lower coinsurance costs. However, other costs in the plan may be more than original Medicare. Review the plans you’re considering carefully and weigh the costs against your health care needs.
Prescription Drug Coverage
The majority of Medicare Advantage plans offer prescription drug coverage, whereas this coverage must be added on to original Medicare.
About Global Premier Benefits
Global Premier Benefits offers education for seniors on healthcare options available to them that could improve their quality of life and defray their healthcare costs as well. We have agents and clients in more than 16 states, including the District of Columbia. Our goal is to enable seniors to live healthy, rewarding lives without compromising their finances. Please follow us on our blog for weekly information on seniors and health care. You can also keep up with Global Premier Benefits on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and Pinterest.