Medicare Advantage Plans are health plan options
that are approved by Medicare but run by private
companies. They are part of the Medicare Program,
and sometimes called "Part C." When you join a
Medicare Advantage Plan, you are still in Medicare.
(see Medicare Part C)
With Medicare Advantage Plans:
Some of the plans require referrals to see specialists.
In many cases, the premiums or the costs of services
(co-pays and deductibles ) can be lower than they are
in the Original Medicare Plan or the Original Medicare
Plan with a Medigap policy. Medicare Health Plans
charge different premiums and have different costs of services, so it is important to check with the plan before you join.
The plans provide all of your Part A (hospital) and Part B (medical) coverage and must cover medically-necessary services.
They often have networks, which means you may have to see doctors who belong to the plan or go to certain hospitals to get covered services.
They generally offer extra benefits, and many include prescription drug coverage.
In many cases, your costs for prescription drug coverage can be lower than in the stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plans.
Some of the plans coordinate your care, using networks and referrals, more than others. This can help manage your overall care and can also result in savings to you.
You don't need to buy a Medigap policy.
Medicare Health Plans include:
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO),
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO),
Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) Plans,
Medicare Medical Savings Account (MSA) Plans,
Medicare Special Needs Plans.