Is Medicare Advantage Right for You?
Medicare Advantage Plans are quite different from traditional Medicare plans in a number of ways. Medicare Advantage Plans are operated by private insurance companies and not by Medicare itself. Under the terms of the Medicare Advantage Plans, these plans must include all of the benefits available under Part A and Part B of traditional Medicare. Medicare Advantage Plans usually offer more benefits than traditional Medicare. For instance, those enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan will not need to purchase a separate Medigap plan to cover the deductibles and co-pays that traditional Medicare does not cover. Also, those in a Medicare Advantage Plan will usually not find it necessary to purchase Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage as most Advantage policies have prescription drug coverage.Coverage under Medicare Advantage comes in a variety of plans. Seniors may choose an HMO plan, a PPO plan, a fee for service plan or a health savings account.Almost anyone can enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan during the open enrollment period. Only those with end stage renal disease are prohibited from enrollment.So, now the question is, are these plans right for you? What are the advantages and the disadvantages?The major benefit of a Medicare Advantage Plan is that there are more benefits available for seniors without a great deal of additional cost. These plans also avoid the hassle of having to purchase separate gap coverage and coverage for prescription drugs under Medicare Part D.However, there are some disadvantages to keep in mind. If you choose a HMO or PPO plan, you will be limited in the doctors that you can choose to provide your care. You will only be able to see in-network providers unless you are willing to pay a substantial amount of out of pocket expenses. Some of these plans also require a referral from a primary care provider to visit a specialist. This is not the case with traditional Medicare. In traditional Medicare, you may see a specialist when you choose. You are not limited to seeing doctors within a network.