Medicare Advantage plans are an alternative to basic – or so-called Original – Medicare. Sometimes referred to as Medicare Part C or MA Plans, they are offered by Medicare-approved private companies. They must follow Medicare rules and provide Medicare Part A and B coverage. Most Medicare Advantage Plans also include Part D drug coverage.
In many cases, you can obtain the lowest plan rates by using an in-network provider in your area. Some plans do have an out-of-network option, but it will sometimes be at higher cost. An attractive benefit of Medicare Advantage plans is that they set a limit on the amount you pay out-of-pocket for covered services annually, which helps protect you from unexpected expenses.
When seeking treatment, you must present your Medicare Advantage card to receive Medicare covered treatment.
The most common types of Medicare Advantage plans are Health Maintenance Organization or HMO Plans, Preferred Provider Organization or PPO Plans, Private-Fee-For-Service or PFFS Plans, Special Needs Plans or SNPs. Each type has its own set of benefits, costs and limitations, so be sure to research your choice carefully. But no matter what plan you choose, do not discard your red, white and blue Medicare card, because you’ll need it if you ever decide to switch back to Original Medicare.
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