What Are Medicare Advantage Plans?

MEDICARE-UPDATEA Medicare Advantage Plan (such as an HMO or PPO) is one way to receive your Medicare benefits.  Unlike “Original Medicare,” in which the government pays for Medicare benefits when you receive them, Medicare Advantage Plans, sometimes called “Part C” or “MA Plans,” are offered by private companies approved by Medicare, and Medicare pays these companies to cover your Medicare benefits.

If you join a Medicare Advantage Plan, the plan will provide all of your Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance) coverage.  Many also cover prescription drugs (Part D).

This is different than a Medigap (Medicare Supplement Insurance) policy, which just pays for costs that Medicare does not cover.  In all types of Medicare Advantage Plans, you are always covered for emergency and urgent care.

Medicare Advantage Plans must cover all of the services that Original Medicare covers except hospice care.  Original Medicare covers hospice care even if you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan.

Make sure you understand how a plan works before you join.  Cal 1-800 MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to speak with a Medicare specialist who can answer your questions.

–Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services