Updated: May 31
There is something to say about convenience. It seems everything in today’s society is geared towards making our lives easier. I will let you be the judge if this is good or bad thing. I will say this, the trend seems to be going in the same direction when it comes to Medicare. Medicare can be confusing for seniors with so many different options available. Medicare Advantage can make using Medicare a little more convenient with the "all in one" concept. For the most part, you have one card and one company that is responsible for administrating your healthcare. Medicare advantage or Part C can be configured in many ways, but today we are talking about “all in one”. It combines Part A, B, and D into one. If you do not understand these other parts of Medicare, please read refer to some of my previous articles. The same card you show to the doctor is the same card you show to the pharmacy for your medicine. Just like a traditional healthcare plan before beginning Medicare.
There are other similarities to traditional health plans as well. Most plans have networks. PPO and HMO are two of the most popular. HMO stands for health maintenance organization. You must stay in the plans network unless it is an emergency. PPO stands for preferred provider organization. You have the option to go in or out of network. Going out of network will result in higher costs. Most Medicare advantage plans do not have health deductibles but do have co-pays and coinsurance. A co-pay is a set amount you would pay for a service. For example, paying $15 to see your primary care doctor. Coinsurance is a percentage you would pay for a service. For example, paying 20% of the entire cost of an outpatient surgery. There are many reasons that Medicare Advantage is outpacing supplements and stand-alone Part D plans. Let us start with the most obvious...low premiums. Many Medicare advantage plans have low or no premiums at all. This is highly attractive considering everyone is paying Part B right out of the gate no matter which route you go. Part B’s premium for 2022 is $170.10. Suddenly you could be paying over $300 a month If you ad a supplement and a Part D plan on top of that. That can be a challenge for seniors on a fixed income. The next biggest reason, in my humble opinion, is the additinal benefits that many Medicare Advantage plans cover. These are additional benefits that Medicare does not cover. I have been asked numerous times over the years this question, "why doesn't Medicare cover dental and vision?" I do not have a solid answer, but fortunately Medicare advantage may help cover some of these costs. Many plans will offer a free eye exam and a set amount towards prescription eyewear. Another popular option is offering a set amount for preventive dental such as exams, cleanings, and x-rays. Sometimes plans will offer an add-on comprehensive dental plan for an additional cost. On top of vision and dental, many plans will add in over the counter debit cards. Members will get a fixed amount on a card every three months to go to a local pharmacy and get vitamins, minerals, and other non-prescription goods. This is an extremely popular benefit. Other benefits may include: -Set amount of trips per year to and from medical appoints from a private transport. -Free hearing exams and discounted hearing aids -Free memberships to a fitness facility -Meals provided after an inpatient hospital stay. Reach out to me with your specific questions about Medicare advantage plans. Many Medicare agents discourage new to Medicare people from enrolling into an advantage plan. I Personally will not. I think both supplements and advantage plans have their place. Reach out to me with your specific questions about Medicare advantage plans. You can contact me through my website at ncseniorsolutions.com. I would love to hear from you are feel free to comment and start some dialog. See you next week as we continue to make “Medicare Simplified”.