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How Can Medicare Advantage Be Free

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Is Medicare Part C Free

FAQ Can Medicare Advantage Actually Be FREE? (NO!!!)

Medicare Part C plans are private insurance plans that combine the aspects of both Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B, plus other services. Private companies receive funding from Medicare, so some plans may still offer reduced or even $0 monthly premiums.

Specific Part C premium costs vary by plan. There are a variety of service options, coverage types, and prices for Medicare Part C plans. Some even cover services like eye exams, dental care, hearing aids, and fitness programs.

Plans that offer no monthly premiums may still have other costs, though, like copays, coinsurance, and deductibles. Most plans, however, include out-of-pocket maximums. Medicare offers an online tool to compare costs and services included with Medicare Advantage plans offered in your area.

Understanding Your Medicare Costs: Can Medicare Advantage Plans Be Free

While Medicare is designed to make health care more affordable, you must still pay out-of-pocket costs including monthly premiums, deductibles and co-pays. These costs can add up quickly, leading some people to opt for Medicare Advantage Part C plans without monthly premiums. On the surface, these private insurance plans seem to be free. Keep in mind, however, that while you arent asked to pay plan premiums up front, you still incur costs when you receive health care services later. Lets take a closer look at standard costs involved with various Medicare Advantage plans so you can find a plan that fits your particular needs.

Why Are Some Medicare Advantage Plans Free

  • Why are some Medicare Advantage plans free? And are they actually free? Our Medicare plan review gives you the full scoop on $0 premium Medicare Advantage plans and whether one might be a good deal for you.

Youve likely seen advertisements for $0 Medicare Advantage plans and have wondered how they can possibly be free and whether they actually are free.

Its true that many Medicare Advantage plans offer $0 premiums. In fact, 60% of all enrollees in a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage paid no premium for their plan in 2020. And 96% of Medicare beneficiaries have access to at least one $0 MA-PD plan.

So are some Medicare Advantage plans actually free? And if so, how? Read our Medicare plan review to learn more about Medicare Advantage plan costs. You can also compare Medicare Advantage plans online for free, including plans that may feature $0 monthly premiums.

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Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period

If you decide that you are not happy with your MA plan, you have a few options.

You can switch to a different type of plan during the Annual Enrollment Period, or you may be eligible for the Open Enrollment Period .

If you realize that the plan you chose does not actually cover everything you want, or your doctor is not in your network, you can make one change from January 1 through March 31.

During the OEP, there are only a few types of changes you can make. You can switch from one MA plan to another MA plan, or you can switch from a MA or MAPD plan back to Original Medicare with the option to add Part D.

Can A Medicare Advantage Plan Be Free

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In some respects, yes. There are Medicare Advantage plans available that have premiums that are $0. However, it is important to know that it does not mean that all of your care is free. You may not have a plan premium to pay, but you will still have to pay your Medicare Part B premium. Additionally, $0 premium plans typically have higher out-of-pocket costs than other Medicare Advantage plans with higher premiums. Additionally, you will likely have few if any supplemental benefits like dental, vision, hearing, transportation, and the variety of other supplemental benefits you see on higher-priced plans. So is a $0 premium Medicare Advantage plan right for you? That depends on many factors, including your health status and financial situation. Talk to your independent Medicare agent, and they can help you make the right choice given your unique situation.

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Why Consider A Medicare Advantage Plan

Medicare Advantage plans may offer lower out-of-pocket expenses than Original Medicare. This is because they set a limit on what you must pay out of pocket each year for covered prescription medications.

Most Medicare Advantage plans also include drug coverage . They may also cover dental, vision and hearing services.

Why Should I Choose Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage covers some of the gaps of Original Medicare and usually offers a $0 premium through a private company. It can be an affordable option for patients who are not currently sick or in need of intense medical care. If a patient’s situation worsens, it might be difficult or expensive to switch plans.

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Rules For Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicare pays a fixed amount for your care each month to the companies offering Medicare Advantage Plans. These companies must follow rules set by Medicare.

Each Medicare Advantage Plan can charge different

. They can also have different rules for how you get services, like:

  • Whether you need areferralto see a specialist
  • If you have to go to doctors, facilities, or suppliers that belong to the plan for non-emergency or non-urgent care

These rules can change each year.

Medicare Advantage Benefits Explained

Are Advantage Plans Really Free?

Over the past several months, youve probably been inundated with Medicare ads promising lots of free benefits. If you feel overwhelmed or confused, youre not alone! Its important to know that if you just have Medicare parts A and B, theres no limit to how much you could pay out-of-pocket, says Andromada DeBerry, a licensed insurance agent and spokesperson for If you need surgery, if youre hospitalized, or if you visit the doctor a lot your Medicare costs could add up quickly. Continuing, she says, An affordable option is Medicare Advantage. These plans cover the same benefits as Medicare parts A and B and may offer extra benefits as well! For more information on how you can limit your out-of-pocket costs, including vision and hearing care, dental care, prescription drugs, and more, watch the video above, then visit, or call 800-916-4176 to speak to a licensed insurance agent.

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Choosing A Medicare Advantage Plan

As was mentioned earlier in the article, the Medicare Advantage replaces Medicare Part A and Part B rather than being a supplement to Medicare and as such, are similar to a private health insurance plan.

Your plan generally has a yearly limit on total out-of-pocket expenses, typically around $8,000. Regardless of the plan, most services are covered after a small co-pay. Plans might offer an HMO or PPO network and all plans require that you continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium.

There are several different types of Medicare Advantage plans. Some plans require a referral to see a specialist, while others do not. Some plans only cover doctors who are in the HMO or PPO network, while others will pay for out-of-network care.

Each plan has different benefits and rules, so make sure you speak with a Medicare Solutions Team specialist so you can understand all of the nuances of the plans you are considering.

Choosing a plan with a low or no annual premium is important, but you need to know how much your copay and coinsurance could be. For example, if youre looking for plans for hospital stays or procedures, you should examine how much you would spend annually so you can make the best decision.

Moreover, if you watch any TV from October through February, youll likely see commercials about zero premium Medicare Advantage plans and plans that will refund a portion of your Medicare Part B premium.

Can You Be Dropped From A Medicare Advantage Plan

Medicare Advantage plans cant drop you because of a medical condition. You may be dropped from a Medicare Advantage plan if it becomes unavailable or if it no longer services your area. You may also be dropped from a Medicare Advantage plan if you dont make your payments within an agreed-upon grace period.

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Who Qualifies For Medicare Advantage Plans

Youre eligible for an MA plan as long as you live in the plans service area and you have Original Medicare .

The only exception is for those who have End-Stage Renal Disease . Only a few MA plans cover people who have ESRD, and they are available only in a few specific service areas.

A Medicare Plan Finder agent in your area can help you find out if there is an ESRD-friendly Medicare Advantage plan available to you.

Can Medigap Plans Help Mitigate The Cost

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Medigap plans, also known as Medicare Supplement plans, are plans that cover out-of-pocket Medicare costs. These plans don’t directly cover health care services, but just cover other fees like your Part B deductible and coinsurance, depending on which plan you choose.

Medicare Supplement insurance can help keep you from paying high out-of-pocket costs, but it doesn’t apply to Medicare Advantage plans. If you have a zero-premium plan, you will have to fully pay the out-of-pocket costs, with no help from Medigap.

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Choosing Between Original Medicare Or Medicare Advantage

Now that you know that Medicare Advantage plans are not free, you continue to pay your Part B monthly premium, they have shared costs when you use services, but they have an out-of-pocket limit, how do you choose?

Its easy.

Look at your cost under Original Medicare with a Medicare supplement plan vs. your cost in a Medicare Advantage plan. With the private-fee-for-service system, Original Medicare uses, coming to a cost estimate is as easy as looking at a chart. With Medicare Advantage, it takes a little more effort.

Once I Disenroll From Medicare Advantage Am I Automatically Enrolled In Original Medicare

You shouldnt have to take any extra steps once you disenroll in Medicare Advantage. If you were enrolled in Medicare Advantage, you would have already continued paying your Original Medicare premiums anyway.

You may encounter issues, though, when leaving Medicare Advantage. If you voluntarily drop your Medicare Advantage coverage, you may run into difficulty when signing up for Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage or a Medigap supplemental insurance plan.

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When You Can Enroll In A Medicare Advantage Plan

Most people are eligible to enroll in Original Medicare during their Initial Enrollment Period . The IEP is a 7-month window that lasts from three months before your 65th birthday, includes your birthday month and ends three months after. During that time, you can also enroll in an MA plan.

If you dont enroll in MA during your IEP, you can select a MA plan during Medicares Annual Enrollment Period . It takes place every October 15 through December 7.

Some special circumstances may also allow you to enroll during other times of the year.

You Fail To Pay Your Plan Premiums

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Not paying your premium is perhaps the easiest way to lose Medicare coverage.

If you fall behind on your premium payments for Original Medicare, you will receive a Second Notice . If you do not pay by the deadline indicated on the Second Notice, you will receive a Delinquent Notice. If you do not pay your premium by the 25th day of that month, your Medicare coverage may be terminated.

For other types of Medicare plans such as Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D or Medicare Supplement Insurance, the protocol for termination may vary by carrier. But its important to remember that enrollment in these types of Medicare coverage is contingent on your enrollment in Medicare Parts A and Part B.

This means that if you lose Medicare Part A or Part B because of failing to pay plan premiums, you may also lose your private Medicare plan coverage. Be sure to contact your plan carrier for more information.

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Why Is Medicare Advantage A Bad Choice

Medicare Advantage can become expensive if you’re sick, due to uncovered copays. Additionally, a plan may offer only a limited network of doctors, which can interfere with a patient’s choice. It’s not easy to change to another plan if you decide to switch to Medigap, there often are lifetime penalties.

What Is The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period To Switch Unitedhealthcare Medicare Advantage Plans

Lets say you enroll in a UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plan and change your mind. Youll have another chance to make changes. During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period from January 1 to March 31, you can make these changes to your UnitedHealthcare coverage:

  • Switch Medicare Advantage plans.
  • Disenroll from your Medicare Advantage plan and go back to Original Medicare. You can then also enroll in a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan if you need to.

During this time, there are some things you cant do. For example, if you have a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan already, you cant switch to a different Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. You also cant switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan.

These rules apply to all Medicare Advantage plans, including UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans.

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If You Lose Your Medicaid Eligibility:

If youre covered by both Medicare and Medicaid and then you lose eligibility for Medicaid, you can switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare up to three months from the date you lose Medicaid eligibility, or the date youre notified, whichever is later.

  • If youre told in advance that youll lose your Medicaid coverage for the following year, you can switch to Original Medicare between January 1March 31.

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Original Medicare Plus A Medigap Plan

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Although almost 60% of seniors and people under 65 with disabilities enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B, over 80% of them enroll in a Medigap plan, Medicaid , or Medicare Advantage plan.

The only reasonable method in deciding which will best serve your circustances and budget it to compare each plan by learning what they offer or dont offer.

Keep reading because this article is going to provide you the importan up-to-date information and help you make an informed decision about your healtcare coverages.

Considering a Medicare Plan?

Get online quotes for affordable Medigap insurance

Medigap or Medicare Supplement insurance is designed to supplement the coverages provided by Medicare Part A and Part B. It will not supplement Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage should you elect to buy it.

Although Medigap Plans are offered by private insurance companies who have been approved by Medicare, Medicare controls the minimum coverages that must be offered in every plan. Additionally, in all but a few states, the 10 Medicare Supplements plans that are currently offered are standardized.

This means that the Plan G sold by company A is exactly the same as a Plan G sold by company B. The insurance companies set the prices for the plans they offer, not Medicare. Additionally, the insurance companies are allowed to offer additional benefits that are not a part of the actual plans they offer.

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Is Medicare Advantage Free

Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part C is a plan that combines the services of Medicare Part A and Part B, as well as some additional services, such as prescription drug coverage. Some plans also cover vision and dental services. Medicare Advantage is available through private health insurance companies.

When a person is shopping for Medicare Advantage plans, they may find that some offer free monthly premiums. The exact price will vary depending on the Advantage plans available in a certain area.

However, a person will still pay a premium for Medicare Part B. People may also find that the plans offering free premiums have higher out-of-pocket costs.

Private health insurance companies can offer premium-free services in some instances because they receive money from Medicare.

The insurance companies then use this money to negotiate costs with their network of physicians, hospitals, and healthcare organizations. As a result, they can pass along cost savings to their plan members.

As with other aspects of Medicare, having a Medicare Advantage plan does not mean a person will not pay for healthcare costs at all. Medicare Advantage plans often have specific deductibles and copayments for certain services.

The cost-effectiveness of an Advantage plan depends upon the types of healthcare services a person normally uses.

Your Preferred Providers Are No Longer In

One downside to Medicare Advantage is that unlike Original Medicare, it limits you to a specific network of providers. If you have a trusted doctor or facility thats no longer considered in-network, it pays to find out if theres an affordable alternative that allows you to continue seeing the providers who know your medical history and make you the most comfortable.

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You Need To Be Enrolled In A Medicare Advantage Plan To Receive The Benefit

According to the official U.S. government website for Medicare, some Medicare Advantage plans cover part or all of your Medicare Part B monthly premium. In order to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll need to be enrolled in or eligible for both Medicare Part A and B.

To receive the Medicare give back benefit, you’ll need to enroll in a plan that offers to pay your Part B monthly premium.

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