Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicare Advantage Plans are healthcare plans provided by insurance companies contracted with Medicare to fulfill the same basic coverage as Original Medicare but provide additional benefits.


Medicare pays a set price to the insurance companies to foot the bill for your Medicare-covered healthcare, so sometimes the additional benefits you receive will come at no extra cost!


You just continue to pay your normal premium to Medicare. 

What are the additional benefits Medicare Advantage Plans provide?

Benefits vary between plans but your plan could include coverage for:

  • Dental

  • Vision

  • Hearing

  • Prescription drugs

  • Chiropractic

  • Acupuncture

  • Fitness center memberships/classes


New in 2020, plans could include benefits specific to chronic illnesses. If you have a chronic illness, your plan could include:

  • Meal delivery

  • Transportation to grocery stores

  • Healthy food and produce

  • In-home support services

  • Home cleaning

  • Education programs for your disease

  • Visits to a nutritionist

Types of Medicare Advantage Plans

There are various types of plans you can join depending on your situation.

Here are different MA plans you may be able to choose from:

  • PPO plans — you’re not required to choose a primary care physician and you don’t have to get a referral to see a specialist.

  • HMO plans — you do have to choose a primary care provider and get referrals to see a specialist.

  • Private Fee for Service — most often, don’t have a network. The insurance company, instead of Medicare, determines how much it will pay your healthcare provider and a covered health service.

  • Dual-Eligible — for those who have both Medicare and Medicaid benefits.

  • Chronic-Condition Special Needs plan — for Medicare beneficiaries with disabling chronic conditions.

  • Institutional Special Needs plan — for those who live in an institution, like a nursing home.

Enrollment periods

Your initial coverage election period starts three months before the month you turn 65 and ends three months after the month you turn 65. If you are under 65 and receive Social Security disability, you qualify for Medicare in the 25th month after you begin receiving your Social Security benefits. If that is how you are eligible for Medicare, you can enroll into an Advantage plan three months before your month of eligibility until three months after you became eligible.


There is also an annual election period that runs from October 15 through December 7. During this time you can add, change, or drop coverage. If you add a plan, coverage will begin January 1 the following year. 


There are numerous events in life that can also trigger a special election period. Some examples are loss of employer coverage, moving outside of a plan’s service area, and etc. 


Basically, if something big happened in your life that caused you to lose coverage or would require you to need extra coverage, it’s likely going to allow for a special election period.

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