Whether you're already on Medicare or about to become eligible, you may have heard of an alternative form of health coverage known as Medicare Advantage. These plans are administered by private health insurance companies and provide extra benefits compared to traditional Medicare, such as dental and vision coverage or supplemental benefits such as free gym memberships.
While some of these plans will require you to pay monthly premiums, others are zero-premium plans that do not cost anything extra aside from your usual Medicare Part B premium. For many seniors, enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan is the right choice. To help you understand the benefits, here are three major ones you'll receive when you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan instead of relying on traditional Medicare.
1. You Receive Supplemental Benefits Not Found in Traditional Medicare
Medicare Advantage plans often offer supplemental benefits that you won't receive from traditional Medicare. These benefits can include free membership at local gyms, help paying for transportation to medical providers and help with food or grocery delivery. Medicare Advantage plans provide these benefits because they have a financial interest in helping their participants stay healthy and free of disease — participants are more likely to use the gym if it's free and they're more likely to go to the doctor if transportation is easy. By taking advantages of the benefits provided by these plans, you help yourself stay active and healthy in your senior years.
2. Out-of-Pocket Limits in Medicare Advantage Plans Protect You Financially
One of the biggest downfalls of traditional Medicare is that there's no out-of-pocket limit on medical spending. Medicare Part B works on a co-insurance model — you pay a small portion of the bill you receive for medical services and Medicare pays the rest. Unfortunately, some types of medical care such as treatment for cancer are very expensive. Even with Medicare paying the majority of the bill, you may still owe your providers tens of thousands of dollars afterwards. With no out-of-pocket limit, you'll be expected to pay the entirety of your share.
Medicare Advantage plans protect you financially by limiting the amount of money you're required to spend out-of-pocket during any single year. Even if your required medical care is expensive, the maximum amount you'll pay is the out-of-pocket limit specified by your plan.
3. $0-Premium Plans Expand Your Benefits for No Additional Cost
Some Medicare Advantage plans are $0 premium plans. You still have to pay your monthly Medicare Part B premium, but you're not required to pay anything extra on top of that amount in order to enroll in the plan. You'll still receive supplemental benefits, and many plans provide additional forms of medical coverage such as vision and dental.
Offering these plans is financially possible because Medicare Advantage carriers are managed more like traditional health insurance than Medicare — they're allowed to negotiate prices with hospitals in order to reduce the cost of providing healthcare. The savings from the reduced healthcare costs are passed along to you in the form of extra benefits you wouldn't receive on traditional Medicare.
The benefits provided by Medicare Advantage plans go beyond those of traditional Medicare, and in some cases you can receive them at no additional cost when you enroll in a zero-premium plan. Additionally, the plans help to protect your finances during retirement by limiting the amount of money you pay for medical care in any single year. Shopping for your plan is similar to shopping for private health insurance — research which carriers are available in your county and compare the available plans, then select the one that covers all of your medical needs at the lowest cost. Contact a company like Senior Care Insurance Services for more help.