All-in-one Medicare Advantage Plans (also called Medicare Part C plans) combine Original Medicare coverage (Part A and Part B) with additional benefits not available through Medicare. In addition to prescription drug coverage under the Part D program, some policies cover dental, vision, hearing, and fitness. These services are often free of charge.
Service areas are defined geographic areas within which Medicare Advantage plans operate. A plan's coverage and costs can vary by location and by plan, so you must live in the plan's service area to become a member.
In addition to basic Medicare coverage, Medicare Advantage plans also offer additional benefits. Private insurance companies sell Medicare Advantage plans through Medicare contracts.
The different types of Medicare Advantage Plans
Depending on your needs, you can choose from several types of Medicare Advantage plans. Among them are:
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). HMO plans limit your access to in-network doctors and facilities. Referrals are often required for specialists.
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO). In-network providers, hospitals, and doctors are charged differently under PPO plans. You'll pay more if you use services outside your network.
Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS). With PFFS plans, you can receive services from any provider who accepts your plan's terms and conditions.
Special Needs Plans (SNPs). Chronically ill patients can benefit from SNPs if they require long-term medical care.
Medicare savings account (MSA). In Medical Savings Accounts, Medicare deposits funds for medical expenses into a high-deductible health plan.
Medicare Advantage is available once you have enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B.
What are the benefits of Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans?
As well as covering hospital and medical expenses, Medicare Advantage plans have additional benefits. The following may also be covered depending on the plan you choose:
Coverage for prescription drugs. Prescription drug coverage is not typically provided by original Medicare, but almost all Medicare Advantage plans do.
Dental, vision, and hearing care. Original Medicare does not cover non-medically necessary coverage. These options are covered differently by Medicare Advantage plans.
The following are covered by all Medicare Advantage Plans:
- (Hospital coverage may be provided, but if not, will still be covered by Part A)*
- Including all the benefits of Part B
The following are covered by most Medicare Advantage Plans:
- Drug prescriptions
Among the additional benefits offered by Medicare Advantage plans are:
- X-rays, cleanings, and dental exams
- Exams, glasses, and corrective lenses
- The use of hearing aids and hearing tests
- Fitness memberships and wellness programs
- Transportation to medical appointments and virtual provider visits are other extra benefits
Medicare Advantage Plans and drug coverage
Prescription drug coverage is usually included in Medicare Advantage Plans (Part D).Medicare Prescription Drug Plans are available for certain types of plans, including:
- Drug coverage is not available (such as Medicare Medical Savings Accounts)
- Some private fee-for-service plans do not offer drug coverage.
The following circumstances will result in your disenrollment from your Medicare Advantage Plan and your return to Original Medicare:
- You have a Medicare Advantage HMO or PPO.
- An additional Medicare prescription drug plan is added to your Medicare plan
2023's Best Medicare Advantage Plans
By researching the best Medicare Advantage insurance companies, we provide information on pricing, service areas (companies that serve at least 40 states), health plan quality, educational content, and accessibility of the website so you can quickly and easily find the right plan.
- UHC / AARP
- Blue Cross
Medicare Advantage Plan Costs
Costs for Medicare Advantage plans vary depending on where you live and the plan you choose. On top of the Part B premium, Medicare Advantage plans may have a deductible and monthly premium.
Medicare Advantage has the main benefit of capping your out-of-pocket healthcare costs, so you may save money overall.
There are many factors that influence the total cost of a Medicare Advantage plan, including premiums, deductibles, copayments, where and how often you seek services, the types of services you need, and whether you receive Medicaid.
Medicare Advantage plans typically cost between $0 and $50 per month.