Page Reviewed / Updated - August 17, 2020
Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Medicare Part C, are alternatives to traditional Medicare that offer coverage through private insurers rather than the government. While not right for everyone, there are many people who can benefit from coverage under Medicare Advantage plans. This includes those who have specific medical needs not necessarily covered under traditional Medicare, those who would like more flexible coverage options and seniors on a fixed income.
Traditional Medicare Parts A and B have very defined coverage limits, which include both hospital care and preventative health services. However, Medicare Advantage plans do not. Plans must contain, at minimum, the coverage provided Parts A and B, but they are not required to stop there. As such, many Medicare Advantage providers offer coverage that goes above and beyond what traditional Medicare alone can do.
Due to increased flexibility, Medicare Advantage is a great opportunity for those who want a plan that can provide more options than traditional Medicare has to offer. Medicare Part C plans are exceptionally diverse, with the potential for coverage options including:
For seniors who would like to coordinate all medical needs under a single insurance provider or who have medical complications that require an advanced level of care, Medicare Advantage can be a good choice.
For some seniors, the cost of Medicare can be a concern. However, for shrewd shoppers in areas with diverse plan offerings, Medicare Advantage can be a cheaper option than Medicare Parts A and B. This is especially true for Medicare Advantage plans that include prescription drug coverage; the combined cost can be less than adding Part D to traditional Medicare.
In some cases, even if premiums are higher, the ways in which coverage works can lead to savings. For example, co-pays under a Medicare Advantage plan may be cheaper than Parts A and B, reducing out of pocket spending. Alternatively, some Medicare Advantage plans often include costly items in coverage not available with traditional Medicare, such as hearing aids and mobility aids, giving seniors another way to save.
For seniors on a fixed income who are worried about the costs of Medicare, a Medicare Advantage plan can be a good way to save on the expense of health insurance. Pricing is dependent on coverage options offered, as well as service location and insurance provider, but many plans provide benefits that can reduce the financial burden of steep medical expenses.