List of Medicare Advantage Plans
Medicare Advantage is a type of Medicare plan that seniors can enroll in when they turn 65. It gives them some great benefits that they cannot get elsewhere, and it does so at a very affordable price. While many seniors are saving money by choosing these plans for their health insurance coverage, they might not be right for everyone. To help you decide if this kind of insurance might be suitable for you, we are going to provide you with a list of Medicare Advantage plans and tell you all about this high coverage healthcare insurance option.
Advantage plans are health insurance policies that have been designed by Medicare, but private insurance companies are the ones selling them. These companies get to set the rates on their Advantage plans and decide on the lineup of Advantage plans they will sell. However, only Medicare decides which base medical benefits will be included in each and every Medicare Advantage plan.
Advantage plans require an Original Medicare plan in order to function. You can enroll in both of these at age 65, and many seniors will be automatically enrolled in Medicare. The Advantage plan always has to be signed up for manually, though.
When you sign up for Medicare Advantage, your insurance company will replace Medicare as your Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B plan provider, for the most part. Medicare Advantage offers most of the benefits of Original Medicare, as well as other medical benefits, so it essentially replaces Original Medicare for you, giving you greater coverage and probably better peace of mind.
Medicare Advantage conflicts with some kinds of healthcare insurance. You cannot be enrolled in both Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans. You also won’t be able to keep a union health insurance plan or a health insurance policy from your employer at the same time as Medicare Advantage. They simply overlap with one another and will not be compatible according to Medicare’s regulations. You will have to choose between one or the other.
As you will see when you read more about these plans, they are powerful and comprehensive enough that you probably don’t need any other kind of health insurance plan to accompany them. They can do enough for you on their own that you should not need additional medical insurance, in most cases.
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Which Medicare Plans Are Available?
Now that you know the basics of Medicare Advantage, let’s talk about the specifics of the medical benefits that they provide. When you enroll in Medicare Advantage, no matter where in the country you live, no matter how much you pay for your plan, and no matter which insurer you buy your plan from, you always get at least the same base benefits. This foundational coverage is known as guaranteed coverage, so you can always expect it to be included, unless Medicare changes up the base benefits at some point. No announcements have come out of Medicare regarding changes to the base benefits, though, so don’t expect any changes to occur for a very long time.
What’s included in the base Medicare Advantage plan? We already said before that all Medicare Advantage serve as replacement for Original Medicare. That means that they cover the majority of Medicare Part A and Part B benefits. They will cover medical expenses for hospitalization, doctor’s office visits, nursing care, at-home care, some prescription medications, some emergency services, preventative care, hospital service costs, lab testing and more.
Those are the Part A and Part B benefits, and they include everything you would get from the Original Medicare plan except for hospice care benefits. However, since you still have to be enrolled in Original Medicare to get coverage from a Medicare Advantage plan, then you will receive hospice benefits from Original Medicare. You won’t have to worry about paying for that on your own.
In addition to these Part A and Part B benefits, all Medicare Advantage plans include in their base coverage benefits for any emergency medical services that are not already covered. This can include ER visits, care received while outside the hospital, ambulance transport, ambulance services, and other lifesaving care.
You also get coverage for any urgently needed care. This can encompass a large number of services and expenses and will really be determined on a situation-by-situation basis.
This is all basic coverage and what you are guaranteed every time you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. There are other kinds of Advantage plans beyond just the basic ones. The most common Advantage plan actually includes more than just basic coverage. Standard Medicare Advantage plans will have the basic benefits to offer you along with coverage for prescription drugs that goes far beyond what you get with Medicare Part B. This drug coverage is known as its own, separate plan, called Medicare Part D. You can buy it on its own, but many Advantage plans include Part D coverage to give you more complete protection against common medical expenses.
With Part D coverage in your Advantage plan, you will now be covered for most of the common, generic drugs that seniors need to get, with refills costing you next to nothing, in many cases. You also get some coverage for name brand drugs and expensive medications, but the coverage level is much lower on those. Still, any sort of coverage can help when you are dealing with expensive prescription drugs.
A third kind of Medicare Advantage is able to provide you with checkup benefits. This means it will cover routine visits to the general healthcare practitioner, the dentist, the optometrist and the hearing specialist (audiologist). You can be covered for various tests, visits, x-rays, scans, and even some durable medical equipment costs. Prescription eyeglasses and hearing aids are included in its benefits package. Some Advantage plans that come with checkup coverage will take care of the cost of various dental services, like bridgework, cavity fillings, crowns, tooth replacement, emergency dental work and even orthodontic care.
Some insurance companies that sell Medicare Advantage plans will allow you to add coverage to your Advantage plan to include benefits that are not typically part of the Advantage plan package. You may be able to get these at a cheaper cost when added to the Advantage plan than if you were to sign up for those services on their own. When you are comparing Medicare Advantage plans and providers, be sure to look at these added coverage options to find out if any of them might benefit you.
The Network and Your Options
Medicare plans are typically accepted anywhere that Medicare is accepted. That would be most medical care facilities. The majority of clinics, doctor’s offices, hospitals and pharmacies will accept Medicare, but not all. Medicare Advantage plans are more restricted and will not be fully accepted in as many places. Advantage plans only provide you with full coverage at those medical care facilities that are part of the insurance company’s network. If you sign up with one insurance company over another, you are missing out on some coverage opportunities and getting to enjoy some others. Each insurance company has their own network, and this directly affects how much coverage you get and how much you have to pay out of pocket, depending on where you live.
A list of Medicare Advantage plans will show you which insurance companies sell those plans. When you search on our site, you will get a list of plans detailing the insurer and the price of the plan. This helps you to find the best rates and determine which insurer you will want to go with.
As each insurer offers their own network of healthcare provider that they have partnerships with, you want to be careful about which insurer you go with. No matter which one you pick, you will be limiting yourself and your coverage area in some way. The major insurers tend to have the largest networks, but it isn’t always necessary to go with a major insurer and to have a lot of network coverage across the United States or just your individual state. If you don’t travel often and you live near a medical facility that has a partnership with a small, affordable insurance company, why not go with that smaller company?
You will have some options that help you receive coverage no matter where you live and who your insurance company has partnerships with. Most insurance companies offer several network options with their Advantage plans. These do not give you greater or fewer medical benefits, but they do affect who your coverage is provided base on where you go for care.
HMOs are the most common and most basic kind of Medicare Advantage network option. They are also very affordable, which is why they are so popular. An HMO will only cover you within your network area. You will find many Medicare Advantage plans listed as HMOs, and that tells you that you get no coverage from your plan if you go outside of your insurance company’s network area.
Next up are PPOs. These are slightly less common but are still pretty easy to find. PPO Medicare Advantage plans will give you medical benefits in full while within the network and then partial benefits outside of the network. Of course, they cost a bit more than the HMO plan, thanks to their higher level of coverage.
HMO-POS are a bit more flexible and will be priced between the HMO and PPO plans. They cover you fully on the network and then discount any off-network medical care that you receive, acting as a discount plan rather than an insurance plan outside of your insurer’s network.
You may also be able to choose a Special Needs Medicare Advantage plan. This gives you powerful coverage and low, low rates, and you can enroll in one of these if you qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. If you have questions about eligibility, please give us a call. We will be happy to advise you and provide answers.
Bear in mind that not every insurance company will offer all of these options. You are more like to find HMO plans being offered in urban and well-populated areas. PPO plans are more likely to be sold in rural areas and sparely-populated sections of the country where healthcare providers are fewer and farther between.
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Medicare Advantage Insurance Companies
Let’s look now at some health insurance companies that operate throughout the United States and that offer some decent member benefits, low prices or just a great customer service experience for their clients. These are all health insurance providers that operate in at least a couple of states and that sell Medicare Advantage plans:
AARP- The insurance provider stands out for a few reasons. They are much more than just an insurance company, offering financial counselling, senior living services of all kind, fitness programs and concierge services. They also have a partnership with United Healthcare that gives them a massive insurance network. AARP has also been around longer than most of the other insurers on this list and they know how to care for their senior clients.
Humana- When you enroll with Humana, you can get access to great healthy living services, such as gym membership and personalized diet and exercise plans. Humana is known for having excellent customer service, listening to their customers’ suggestions and making their online services very easy to use.
Blue Cross Blue Shield- This is another insurer who is known for having superb customer service. They also have very low prices, and you can use our site and see how their rates compare to those of other companies. Blue Cross may go by some other name in your state, and they are owned by parent company Anthem and operate with many smaller subsidiaries, but all of these companies share the same values of low cost health insurance and great customer service.
Aetna- One of the biggest insurers in the country, Aetna has a lot to offer its customers beyond just a large network of healthcare providers. They also have a great fitness and gym membership program. They provide numerous membership perks for their clients and add value to their plans that make them a good deal, especially with the low, competitive pricing that is available on most of their Medicare Advantage plans.
Cigna- Offering both family and individual healthcare insurance plans, Cigna has one of the most diverse and comprehensive health insurance policy lineups in the country. Their customer tools and services are designed to be very easy to use, and their customer service is very responsive. Cigna can have some very competitive prices at times, and you will want to use our site to search for a list of plans from providers like Cigna to see who has the best deals to offer you.
Compare Prices on Advantage Plans to Save Money
Medicare Advantage plans are priced by the insurance companies, as we said before. That means that the prices are going to be all over the place sometimes. There will be some insurance companies that will charge way more than others for what is basically the same medical insurance plan with the same benefits. If you want to avoid paying too much for your plan, then you should be using our site and the free plan finder here to get a list of Advantage plans that are being sold in your area.
We suggest using our site because it gives you local search results. That is important since the price of the plans is partially determined by where you live. People in New York will pay a different price for a Cigna Medicare Advantage plan than people in Tennessee will, for example. The cost of living and the kind of competition in the area you live help to inform the pricing, so you definitely want to get local quotes to ensure that your pricing information is accurate.
The prices on Medicare Advantage plans will change periodically. They increase and even decrease at times, and you can keep track of all that by using our site. We will give you accurate quotes for Medicare Advantage plans to ensure that you have what you need to make an informed choice. We want you to feel good about the insurance plan that you pick and feel like you got a good deal. You can do that if you have looked at all of your available options and compared them to find out which one will save you the most money. Our site makes that simple to do by giving you a list of plans to sort through.
The list to Medicare Advantage plans on our site will be provided when you search. We don’t store prices on our site, and this ensures that we only provide up-to-date pricing details. Come and check us as often as you like to find out how much Medicare Advantage insurance plans will cost you in your area of the country and to see which insurance companies are offering you the most value for their plans.