Medicare Advantage (MA), also known as Medicare Part C, are private health plans offered to beneficiaries eligible for Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). Medicare Advantage Plans are not the same as supplemental Medicare insurance, like Medigap plans. They are a complete alternative to traditional Medicare health insurance that have the flexibility to offer additional services.
With an MA plan you get all of your Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) coverage, Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) coverage, and other health benefits through a single plan. By law, an MA plan must offer the same health insurance coverage provided by Original Medicare. Most offer more coverage and benefits.
It’s important to note that joining an MA plan does not take you out of Medicare. You still have all of the rights and protections the government guarantees, however, your healthcare services are covered by your private insurer. Also, Medicare Advantage is not the same as Obamacare. If you qualify for Medicare you are not eligible for Obamacare, regardless of your income status.
Most people choose one of three types of Medicare Advantage Plans: Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans, Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans, or Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) plans. These common plans are offered in most areas. However, there are other types of plans that may or may not be offered in your area, including HMO Point-of-Service plans, Medical Savings Accounts (MSA), and Special Needs plans (SNP). If you are looking for an MA plan that can replace a Medigap policy that gives you fee-for-service flexibility at a reduced overall cost, investigate MSA plans in your area.
How do I qualify for a Medicare Advantage Plan?
Most people qualify to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan when they meet these conditions:
- You qualify for or already have Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B coverage.
- You live in an area serviced by the MA or MAPD plan you want to join (plans are regional, not national).
- You do not have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).
Still have questions about Medicare Advantage Plans?
Try one of these additional articles:
- What do Medicare Advantage Plans cover?
- How much do Medicare Advantage Plans cost?
- When is the Medicare Annual Election Period?
- What are Medicare Advantage Plans?