Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Is Medicare Advantage A Good Choice

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Can I Get My Health Care From Any Doctor Other Health Care Provider Or Hospital

Is Medicare Advantage a better choice for you than Original Medicare?
Original Medicare

You can go to any doctor or hospital that takes Medicare, anywhere in the U.S.

In most cases, you don’t need a


to see a specialist.

Medicare Advantage

In many cases, youll need to only use doctors and other providers who are in the plans network . Some plans offer non-emergency coverage out of network, but typically at a higher cost.

You may need to get a


You can join a separate Medicare drug plan to get Medicare drug coverage.

Medicare Advantage

Medicare drug coverage is included in most plans. In most types of Medicare Advantage Plans, you cant join a separate Medicare drug plan. You can join a separate Medicare drug plan with certain types of plans that:

  • Cant offer drug coverage
  • Choose not to offer drug coverage

Youll be disenrolled from your Medicare Advantage Plan and returned to Original Medicare if both of these apply:

  • Youre in a Medicare Advantage HMO or PPO.
  • You join a separate Medicare drug plan.

Why Sign Up For Medicare Advantage

Here are some reasons to favor Medicare Advantage plans:

  • Many Medicare Advantage plans, unlike original Medicare, cover hearing, vision and/or dental care. Medicare Advantage plans also typically include prescription drug coverage, while those with original Medicare have to sign up for — and pay for — Part D coverage.
  • A Medicare Advantage plancan cost you less. Original Medicare will often have you footing 20% of many bills with no limit on how much you might have to pay out of pocket. A Medicare Advantage plan might charged you a certain copay per doctor visit or service, and many services will simply be paid for through your premium. Medicare Advantage plans also feature out-of-pocket spendingcaps. Once you hit the limit, the plan will pay all further costs. Better still, many plans charge the enrollee nothing in premiums. The average monthly premium for Medicare Advantage plans was recently$33.
  • While original Medicare can’t be used outside U.S. borders, some Medicare Advantage plans offer coverage abroad.

Medicare Advantage plans are probably sounding pretty good right now. They’re not perfect, though.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Customer Service

BCBS customer service varies depending on what region youre in and on which plan you purchase. For example, BCBS Medicare Advantage plans are rated 3.5/5 stars by Medicare in Chicago but 4/5 stars in California. If youre considering a BCBS plan, look at its rating from Medicare and look at local online reviews when making your decision.

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Are Medicare Advantage Plans Worth It

Medicare Advantage plans are certainly worth the zero-dollar premium however, its your choice to decide if the coverage is right. The value of an Advantage plan depends on your location, healthcare needs, budget, and preferences.

Some healthy people live in prime Medicare Advantage areas, and they prefer to pay as they go. But at the same time, people do leave Medicare Advantage plans for good reasons.

What Is The Best Medicare Advantage Plan

What Are the Advantages &  Disadvantages of Medicare ...

If youve read this far, youre probably wondering which Medicare Advantage plan is the best. Is it Humana, AARP, Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Wellcare, or Kaiser?

Its easy to answer the question, What is the best Medicare supplement insurance plan? Its Plan F. It offers the most coverage.

We wish the answer was as clear-cut with Medicare Advantage, but its not. Heres why.

When you combine all of the standard Medicare Advantage plans, employer plans, and Special Needs Plans, there are literally over 70,000 plan options. Its a truly staggering number.

The good news is that all of those plans are organized across nearly 2,800 U.S. counties. Why? Because most plans use local provider networks, making county boundaries the most logical way to organize private health insurance.

To find the best private health plan for you, use our Plan Finder tool. It will show you all of the plans in your area, their 5-star rating, premiums, copaymentsA copayment, also known as a copay, is a set dollar amount you are required to pay for a medical service…., and extra benefits, too. If you have both Medicare and Medicaid, use the SNP Plan Finder. Plus, every plan page has a free PDF document you can download with basic cost and coverage information.

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Medicare Choice: 2022 Guide To Medicare Advantage And Prescription Drug Plans

2022 Medicare open enrollment begins Oct. 15, 2021.Shutterstock

Welcome to our Medicare Choice guide.

We offer features Medicares guide does not. For instance, you can filter Medicare Advantage plans according to Medicares quality ratings, according to their likely cost to you, and according to the plans monthly premiums. If you want to see only the highest-rated plans with the lowest cost, well help you do that.

In fact, choosing the set of plans you want to explore is the first step in using our guide.

Medicare Advantage plans are made available at the county level, so your state and county of residence are the first two questions to answer.

The next step is to enter a cutoff level for overall quality ratings, which Medicare calculates on the basis of patient feedback and data on medical outcomes. Ratings are conferred on a 1-5 scale. If you want to see only the highest-rated plans for your area, select 5 stars.

Bear in mind, though, that some plans are too new or too small to have been given quality ratings by Medicare, and that some plans may suit you better even if they have somewhat lower overall quality ratings. If you want to see all the plans, or every plan that does have a rating, those are options, too.

Once youve selected a set of priorities, our guide will show you the plans that meet your criteria. To drill down into the ones that seem most interesting, tap or click on the plan name.

Medicare Advantage Plans Coverage For Some Services And Procedures May Require Doctors Referral And Plan Authorizations

Medicare Advantage plans try to prevent the misuse or overuse of health care through various means. This might include prior authorization for hospital stays, home health care, medical equipment, and certain complicated procedures. Medicare Advantage plans often also require your primary care doctors referral to see specialists before they will pay for services.

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Advantages Of A Medicare Msa Plan

For seniors who might struggle to pay the higher premiums on a traditional plan, high-deductible plans may offer a more affordable path to health care. An MSA helps to reduce the total costs, creating a Medicare plan that has several advantages, particularly for seniors with moderate to minimal annual health care expenses.

  • The original deposit is not an out-of-pocket cost. Since Medicare provides the initial MSA funds, seniors have no added costs associated with enrollment.
  • Funds roll over each year. For seniors in good health, the ability to continue saving from year-to-year helps them grow a healthcare fund.
  • Contributions and covered expenses are tax-free. Any money used to pay for copays and other health care services is available with no tax penalty. This allows seniors to spend money on health care without the need to report the money as income.

As The Popularity Of Private Health Insurance Coverage Grows A Broker Makes The Case For Original Medicare

MEDICARE ADVANTAGE: The Best Choice to Lead the Way Forward

Susan Morse,

CDPHP health plan in upstate New York is working with Mom’s Meals to offer home-delivered meals at no cost to Medicare Advantage members returning home from the hospital.

Consumers and insurers love Medicare Advantage plans. The federal government has also touted the benefits of the private health insurance coverage for those 65 and older.

Insurers are all-in on medical, supplemental and wellness offerings and are doing well financially in a market only expected to grow as baby boomers retire.

In a recent Morning Consult poll, beneficiaries reported near-universal satisfaction with Medicare Advantage’s coverage and provider networks, the latter being the often-cited drawback of the plans which have been compared to the narrow network HMO plans of the 1980s.

It’s hard to argue with MA’s lower, and sometimes zero-premium, supplemental benefits for vision, dental and wellness and now telehealth coverage.

But North Shore Insurance Brokers managing partner, Ina Goldberg, does take issue, making the argument for original Medicare over a Medicare Advantage plan.


Goldberg, whose business is in Chicago, specializes in selling Medicare supplemental plans, which cost beneficiaries money out of their Social Security payments.

Through a Medicare Advantage plan, premiums are lower, and sometimes free, and will also likely include benefits for vision and dental, something original Medicare doesn’t offer.


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Aarp Unitedhealthcare Medicare Advantage Review

With 26% of all Medicare Advantage enrollees receiving their coverage through AARP UnitedHealthcare, it’s the largest Part C provider in the country. Because of its size, AARP UnitedHealthcare is able to offer both rate stability and a broad range of plans for every budget and lifestyle.

  • Most plans offer dental, vision, and hearing coverage

  • Unlimited virtual visits with $0 copay

  • $0 doctor visit copay for many plans

  • Above average satisfaction rating

  • Wide variety of preventive services and disease management programs

  • 24-hour nurse line

  • Most complaints filed are regarding coverage issues

  • Availability in 24 states

  • Limited online resources

AARP UnitedHealthcare provides coverage to one quarter of the 24 million Medicare beneficiaries who enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan in 2020. Because of the size and scope of the company, AARP UnitedHealthcare is able to offer a variety of plans to meet your needs for a reasonable price.

Each plan offered by AARP UnitedHealthcare is given a star rating by Medicare. On average, the company’s plans receive three-and-a-half stars to four stars, which is considered above average but not excellent. One area that AARP UnitedHealthcare plans did receive five stars for excellence was in customer service.

Can I Enroll In A Medigap Plan Later If I Enroll In A Medicare Advantage Plan Now

If you enroll in an Advantage plan now, you may leave the plan and switch to Medigap later. However, youll have to wait until either the Annual Enrollment Period or the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period to make changes.

Its important to know that most beneficiaries will only get a one-time Medigap Open Enrollment Period. This is your only opportunity to enroll in a Medigap plan without answering health questions.

If you miss this one-time opportunity to enroll, and you choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan instead, you will have to answer the health questions, go through medical underwriting, and the carrier could deny your application due to pre-existing conditions.

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Are Medicare Advantage Plans Worth The Risk

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list ofour partnersandhere’s how we make money.

About 1 in 3 people 65 and older in the U.S. enroll in Medicare Advantage, the private insurance alternative to traditional Medicare. Its not hard to see why: Medicare Advantage plans often cover stuff that Medicare doesnt, and most people dont pay extra for it.

But Medicare Advantage can be more expensive if you get sick because copays and other costs can be higher, says Katy Votava, president of Goodcare.com, a health care consultant for financial advisors and consumers.

Unhappy customers who want to switch back to traditional Medicare may find they no longer qualify for the supplemental policies to help pay their medical bills, or that they would face prohibitively high premiums.

“These are complicated products,” says Votava, author of “Making the Most of Medicare.””Theyre like nothing else, no other insurance that people encounter anywhere until they get to Medicare.”

Medicare Advantage Plans May Cost You Less

Medicare Advantage Plan

If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium and you may pay an additional premium. The insurer determines the Medicare Advantage plans premium, which can vary from one Medicare Advantage plan to another. Some Medicare Advantage plans may have premiums as low as $0.

Your cost sharing may also be less under Medicare Advantage. For, example, if you visit a primary care physician under Medicare Advantage, you may pay a copayment of $10. However, if you visit a primary care physician under Original Medicare, you may have a coinsurance of 20%, which could be more than $10.

Also, a Medicare Advantage plan limits your maximum out-of-pocket expense. Once you have spent that maximum, you pay nothing for covered medical services for the remainder of the year. Original Medicare does not provide a maximum out-of-pocket cap, so your potential expenses are limitless.

Often a Medicare Advantage plan can be less expensive than comparable coverage you would receive if you stayed with Original Medicare. To get all the benefits of Medicare Advantage with Original Medicare, you would also need to enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan as well as a Medicare Supplement plan.

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Pros And Cons Of Unitedhealthcare Medicare Advantage Plans

What we like about UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage Plans: The drawbacks of UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage Plans:
  • $0 annual deductibles and free telehealth services
  • A wide range of options that fit diverse needs and budgets
  • Specialized plans for dental, eyewear, insulin, and other needs
  • Monthly premiums are a bit higher than average
  • Plans are not offered in all states

How Does Pricing Work With Cigna And Can I Get Discounts

Nearly 90 percent of Cigna plans will offer $0 premiums. You still have to pay the standard Medicare Part B premium of $148.50, which is required no matter which Advantage plan you choose.

You will be responsible for certain copays, but many of Cigna’s HMOs do not require you to meet deductibles for health or drug spending.

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Most Medicare Advantage Plans Bundle Prescription Drug Coverage With The Health Plan

At first glance, it might seem like having your prescriptions included with your health insurance plan is a good thing. And for many people, particularly healthy seniors, it works out just fine. However, what happens if your Advantage plan has favorable copays for the health services you use but the prescription drug plan portion has unfavorable copays on the medications you need most? Or vice versa.

This is exactly the position many seniors find themselves in with their Medicare Advantage plan, and it happens because plan features are difficult to compare, and insurers know it. It also happens when a healthy person joins a plan, because it has a zero-dollar premium, and is later diagnosed with a chronic illness.

The simple fact is that bundling Medicare Part DMedicare Part D plans are an option Medicare beneficiaries can use to get prescription drug coverage. Part D plans provide cost-sharing on covered medications in four different phases: deductible, initial coverage, coverage gap, and catastrophic. Each… prescription drug plans with Medicare Advantage plans makes it infinitely more difficult to choose the best plan. It works out great when you are healthy and your prescription needs are few, but the onset of chronic health issues makes plan selection challenging.

What Does A Medicare Advantage Plan Cost

Doctor Choice Can Be Limited with Medicare Advantage

Depending on your Medicare Advantage plan, the costs you pay out-of-pocket can vary:

  • You may pay a deductible, a certain amount you must meet before your plan begins to pay.
  • There may be copays for doctor visitsthis is a flat fee usually due at the time of the visit.
  • You may have to pay a share for lab services and medical equipment.
  • You will pay a monthly plan premium if there is one.
  • You will continue to pay the Original Medicare Part B monthly premium, as well.
  • Additional coinsurance or copays if you see providers outside your plan network.

To help control your costs, make sure you understand the terms of your plan and the out-of-pocket costs you may be required to pay.

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Most Medicare Advantage Plans Use A Managed Care Approach To Service Delivery

Managed-care plans are health plans that contract with health care providers and medical facilities to provide care for Medicare beneficiaries. The contracted providers make up the plans network. Health plans that restrict your provider choices usually cost you less, because they require you to get prior authorization to receive care.

In Medicare Advantage, there are three primary types of managed care plans:

  • Health Maintenance Organizations usually only pay for care within the network. You choose a primary care doctor who coordinates your care.
  • Preferred Provider Organizations usually pay more if you get care within the network. They still pay part of the cost if you go outside the network.
  • Point of Service plans let you choose between an HMO plan or a PPO plan each time you need care.
  • Most people who have been covered by an employers group health planA group health plan is a health plan offered by an employer or employee organization that provides health coverage to employees, their families, and retirees…. are familiar with how managed care works. To the extent that your plan maintains its provider network, or your primary care doctor remains in the network, this style of care typically works out pretty well.

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