What is Medicare Advantage?


Quick Answer

A Medicare Advantage plan, sometimes known as Medicare Part C, is a private insurance option for Medicare subscribers that is administered separately from standard Part A and Part B programs. Subscribers who choose Medicare Advantage plans may receive better coverage or enjoy reduced copayments, and many Advantage plans include prescription-drug coverage in addition to medical and hospital benefits.

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Full Answer

The cost of Medicare Advantage plans may vary. The company receives a payment from the government for each subscriber who switches from traditional Medicare to Medicare Advantage. Some companies are able to cover their costs with this stipend, requiring no further payment from subscribers. Other plans require a monthly premium on top of the Medicare payment. In return, these more expensive plans may offer additional services, such as dental, vision or even chiropractic services. Many Advantage plans lack deductibles, offering first-dollar coverage for medical services.

Medicare Advantage plans can be HMO or PPO plans, similar to traditional health-insurance plans. By law, however, they must cover the same services that Medicare itself would pay, and if a patient must go out of network to receive services that would be covered under Part A or Part B, the Advantage plan must provide those services without additional costs.

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