What is Medicare Advantage?
Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C, is a private insurance plan that gives you all of the benefits of Original Medicare but also additional privileges that do not come standard.
Am I eligible for Medicare Advantage?
If you are eligible for Medicare Parts A and B, you are eligible for Medicare Advantage.
You will have to enroll in Parts A and B before you purchase an Advantage plan. You cannot drop them or you will lose your Part C plan.
When can I enroll in a Part C plan?
Your initial enrollment period is three months before you turn 65 and lasts until three months after.
There is also an annual election period and an open enrollment period.
Your annual election period, or AEP, begins October 15 and runs through December 7 every year. Coverage will begin January 1 the following year.
Medicare Advantage’s open enrollment period is from January 1 through March 31.
During this time you can switch to another MA plan or disenroll and go back to Original Medicare.
You may also qualify for a special election period. If you have missed your initial enrollment or AEP and are interested in adding an Advantage plan to your health coverage, you can speak to a licensed Medicare agent to see if you qualify for a special election period.
Some examples of life events that would qualify you for a special election period include loss of job, getting married, and moving out of your current plan’s area. But there are many events that would trigger a special election period.
What does an Advantage plan cover?
Part C plans come with all the benefits of Parts A and B like inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility, hospice, lab tests, surgery, home health care, outpatient care, medical equipment, and some preventative services.
But they also provide additional benefits like:
- Adult day-care services
- Fitness memberships
- Nutrition programs
- Over-the-counter drugs
- Services and supports for those with chronic conditions
- Transportation to doctor visits
- Wellness programs
If you have a chronic health condition, you may also receive additional benefits specific to your situation. These could include things like meal delivery, home cleaning, education programs for your disease, visits to a nutritionist, or transportation to grocery stores.
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