Medicare Advantage Plans are health plans offered by insurance firms which have a contract with Center for Medicare and Medicaid, CMS. Persons who enrolled for Medicare Part A and B are qualified to select a Medicare Advantage plan. There are special plans for people with certain health conditions, but moreover, general health-based plans must not be rejected except for very specific reasons.
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If a person is enrolled in the plan, they will not lose their Medicare. You may cancel your Medicare Advantage plan, and you can return to your original Medicare the following month. If you signed up for Medicare Advantage, you will need to use the Medicare Advantage plan in place of the Medicare card.
These plans may not cost the participants anything or very little, although many still need the Part B amount. However, a Medicare Advantage Plan is not free. The plans receive a monthly contribution from CMS rather than the tax dollars going to the original Medicare. So the bulk of the plan is paid out of taxpayers’ money.
Medicare Advantage plans were traditionally conceived as HMO plans whereby an insured participant can use the plan to cover doctors, hospitals, and other medical providers. Many Medicare Advantage plans are HMO plans. Mean while, PPO Medicare Advantage plans are also available. Service Fee Medicare Advantage Plans or plans that cover all healthcare providers who accept the insurance are aggressively marketed today.
Your own medical needs and preferences determine which plan is good for you. If your present healthcare provider has a contract with the HMO plans, you can be really comfortable with a comprehensive coverage with very small additional payments. If you have a wider choice and the region’s doctors accept a free-for service plan, then you can consider a plan for “Any Doctor”. Be aware that not all doctors work with the free-for-service plans, although the insurance company claims that it will work with any doctor! A big compromise is offered by PPO plans. You will get the best coverage at the lowest price within the network, but you will still covered by other healthcare providers.
Most, but not all, Medicare Advantage plans also include Part D, or prescription drugs. Medicare Advantage Plans may have a very low or no premium for insured persons beyond the normal Part B premium. Some plans even refund the Part B cost. Even Medicare Advantage Plans may not allowed to choose based on health, so they may be a good choice for applicants who are less healthy.
A typical Medicare supplement is much different from Medicare Advantage. For Medicare supplements, you will still maintain your original Medicare card while adding your Medicare Supplement health card. The plans are offered by insurance companies also, but they only supplement the coverage gaps and deductibles that were not provided by Original Medicare Part A and Part B.
If you have Medicare Part A and Part B, your Medicare supplement plan will pay for the portion of your medical bill that Medicare will not pay. Of course, Medicare supplement plans differ, and you need to know exactly which parts a Medicare supplement plan will pay before you sign up. For example, Medicare may be 80% of your hospital bill and your supplement will offset the other 20%.