Unlike Original Medicare, where the federal government administers your insurance benefits, Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private companies, like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network, and provide comprehensive and tailored coverage. Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period is here and you may be wondering what a Medicare Advantage plan has to offer and why you would choose one over Original Medicare. From cost caps to dental and vision coverage, Medicare Advantage offers several benefits that you may not realize are not covered by Original Medicare.
Medicare Advantage plans are legally required to cover all of the services that Original Medicare covers (excluding hospice care). That means that no matter which Medicare Advantage plan you go with, you’ll always be covered for emergency and urgently needed care (care for a sudden illness or injury that you get outside of your Medicare health plan’s service area).
Here are a few of the benefits available when you opt for a Medicare Advantage plan:
- Prescription drug coverage: Most Medicare Advantage plans include Medicare Part D, also known as prescription drug coverage. If you take prescription drugs, Original Medicare won’t cover them unless you pay extra to add a Part D plan. Medicare Advantage plans have more comprehensive coverage and many include Part D coverage.
- Dental and vision coverage: Many Medicare Advantage plans include features like zero copay, annual vision and dental exams, and voluntary enhanced dental, vision and hearing enhancements cover even more care. Original Medicare plans typically do not include routine dental coverage, like cleanings, exams, fillings, crowns or bridges.
- Health management programs: To ensure that you are keeping up with your health, Medicare Advantage plans offer health assessments, chronic condition management, and often, nurse lines are available 24 hours a day, every day.
- A single plan for all of your coverage: Everything is simplified with a Medicare Advantage Plan; a single plan provides coverage for all of your care, including medical and prescription coverage (if you choose a plan with drug coverage). With Original Medicare, you’ll have to separately manage Medicare charges and your Part D prescription drug plan, if you have one.
- More extensive travel benefits: Some Medicare Advantage plans include emergency coverage outside the U.S. Also, pay attention to the networks when you’re considering a PPO plan or HMO-POS plan. All plans must provide emergency coverage in the U.S., but some have nationwide coverage for more routine care at in-network costs. Plans that are more localized will require you to pay out-of-network costs, if they provide coverage outside the network at all.
Ensuring you understand your Medicare plan will help you avoid frustration and financial hardship down the road. Be sure to speak with your health care insurer to fully understand everything that is included in your plan and head here to learn more about the wide variety of Medicare Advantage plans from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network.
Looking to learn more? Check out these other posts:
- Almost Eligible for Medicare? 4 Must-Knows Before You Enroll
- 4 Resources to Better Understand Your Medicare Plan
- Medicare 101: Understanding Medicare Plans A-D
This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact the plan for more information. Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply. [Benefits, premiums and/or co-payments/co-insurance] may change on January 1 of each year. Medicare Plus BlueSM, BCN AdvantageSM and Prescription BlueSM are PPO, HMO, HMO-POS and PDP plans with Medicare contracts. Enrollment in Medicare Plus Blue, BCN Advantage and Prescription Blue depends on contract renewal.
Y0074_W_16SurprisingBenefitsBlog CMS Accepted 11292015
Photo credit: Ann Larie Valentine