Medicare Advantage Plans – A Real Advantage?

Many people don’t understand that Medicare Advantage plans are health plan options. Anyone joining such a plan would get all their health care through that particular plan, including drug coverage.

Medicare Advantage plans don’t ring a lot of bells with Americans because they aren’t familiar with that term. What they are familiar with is the following abbreviations (that are actually Medicare Advantage plans) – HMO, PPO, PFSP and MSNP. HMO is health maintenance organization, PPO is for preferred provider organizations, PFSP means private fee for service plans and MSNP represents Medicare special needs plans. All these various options offer people a lot of choices when it comes to choosing a health insurance plan that works for them.

People who belong to an Advantage plan are issued a health insurance card, plus they have extra benefits and lower co-pays than if they opted to join Medicare. There is a restriction that people need to be aware of: they might only be allowed to see doctors who belong to the plan or use designated hospitals for services.

While this may seem restrictive, it actually has more to do with how a patient feels about using certain physicians and going to certain hospitals. This is a personal choice and many people do have personal preferences in selecting health care service providers.

To join an Advantage plan, a person needs to have Medicare part A and B and also be paying a monthly part B premium to Medicare. If there are extra benefits involved, the recipient will be paying for those. In many instances, the payments are less than getting health insurance through a private carrier. Something else that should be noted is that a Medigap policy won’t work if an individual has the Advantage plan.

There are many things to consider when deciding what type of health coverage is needed, not the least of which is combining the original Medicare with Medigap, or instead opting for the Advantage plan. Talking to a fully qualified health insurance broker makes the difference between choosing something that sounds just OK and choosing something that works because all the details have been fully explained.

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