Medicare Advantage plans offer health care coverage through traditional private insurance companies that are approved by Medicare. Because of this, Medicare is responsible for determining the rules on Medicare Advantage plans. Medicare is also responsible for regulating the Medicare Advantage plans themselves.
These types of plans work in coordinating the benefits that are received via Medicare Part A for hospital coverage and Medicare Part B for doctors’ services into one single health care plan for enrollees.
Therefore, there are a variety of benefits that are offered to those who join a Medicare Advantage plan. First, enrollees are provided with the same coverage that is included with Original Medicare, or Medicare Part A and Part B – as well as additional services such as emergency and urgent care.
In addition, most Medicare Advantage plans will usually offer additional benefits as well. This coverage may include services such as vision, dental, and / or certain types of health and wellness programs for participants.
One of the other benefits that is offered through many – although not all – of the Medicare Advantage plans is prescription drug coverage. The Medicare Advantage plans that also offer prescription drug coverage are sometimes referred to as MA-PDs. This stands for Medicare Advantage – Prescription Drug.
For those who wish to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan or an MA-PD plan, there are some criteria that must first be met. These include:
It is important to note that if you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan that already includes prescription drug coverage and you also join a separate Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, you will be automatically dis-enrolled from your Medicare Advantage plan and subsequently returned to Medicare Part A and Part B (Original Medicare).
It is also important to understand that if you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you do not also need to purchase a Medicare Supplement insurance policy for coverage of certain copayments, deductibles, and various other out-of-pocket expenses that are not paid for by Medicare Parts A and B.
In fact, if you own a Medicare Advantage plan, you cannot buy Medicare Supplement insurance unless you first dis-enroll from your Medicare Advantage plan and then subsequently return to Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) coverage. It is only at that time that you will be allowed to purchase Medicare Supplement insurance. At that time you will also be allowed to purchase a stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage plan as well.
Before making any type of changes to your Medicare Advantage plan, it is essential that you consider all of your potential benefit options. In addition, you should contact Medicare in order to determine how to take all of the steps that are needed should you decide to actually make a change to your plan in the future.