What is the difference between Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans?

Asked by: Bradley Harris  |  Last update: December 20, 2022
Score: 4.3/5 (31 votes)

Medicare Advantage is a Medicare-approved plan from a private company that offers an alternative to Original Medicare for your health and drug coverage. These “bundled” plans include Part A, Part B, and usually Part D. In most cases, you can only use doctors who are in the plan's network.

What is the biggest difference between Medicare and Medicare Advantage?

Original Medicare covers inpatient hospital and skilled nursing services – Part A - and doctor visits, outpatient services and some preventative care – Part B. Medicare Advantage plans cover all the above (Part A and Part B), and most plans also cover prescription drugs (Part D).

Why would someone choose a Medicare Advantage plan?

Under Medicare Advantage, you will get all the services you are eligible for under original Medicare. In addition, some MA plans offer care not covered by the original option. These include some dental, vision and hearing care. Some MA plans also provide coverage for gym memberships.

What is the biggest disadvantage of Medicare Advantage?

Medicare Advantage can become expensive if you're sick, due to uncovered copays. Additionally, a plan may offer only a limited network of doctors, which can interfere with a patient's choice. It's not easy to change to another plan. If you decide to switch to a Medigap policy, there often are lifetime penalties.

Is Medicare Advantage cheaper than original Medicare?

The costs of providing benefits to enrollees in private Medicare Advantage (MA) plans are slightly less, on average, than what traditional Medicare spends per beneficiary in the same county. However, MA plans that are able to keep their costs comparatively low are concentrated in a fairly small number of U.S. counties.

Original Medicare vs Medicare Advantage

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Can I drop my Medicare Advantage plan and go back to original Medicare?

Yes, you can elect to switch to traditional Medicare from your Medicare Advantage plan during the Medicare Open Enrollment period, which runs from October 15 to December 7 each year. Your coverage under traditional Medicare will begin January 1 of the following year.

Do you have to pay for Medicare Part B if you have an Advantage plan?

In addition to your Part B premium, you usually pay a monthly premium for the Medicare Advantage Plan. In 2022, the standard Part B premium amount is $170.10 (or higher depending on your income). If you need a service that the plan says isn't medically necessary, you may have to pay all the costs of the service.

Who Has the Best Medicare Advantage plan for 2022?

For 2022, Kaiser Permanente ranks as the best-rated provider of Medicare Advantage plans, scoring an average of 5 out of 5 stars. Plans are only available in seven states and the District of Columbia.

Who is the largest Medicare Advantage provider?

UnitedHealthcare is the largest provider of Medicare Advantage plans and offers plans in nearly three-quarters of U.S. counties.

What are 4 types of Medicare Advantage Plans?

Medicare Advantage Plans
  • Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) Plans.
  • Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) Plans.
  • Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) Plans.
  • Special Needs Plans (SNPs)

What percent of seniors choose Medicare Advantage?

Recently, 42 percent of Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in Advantage plans, up from 31 percent in 2016, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Does Medicare Advantage cost more than Medicare?

Medicare spending for Medicare Advantage enrollees was $321 higher per person in 2019 than if enrollees had instead been covered by traditional Medicare. The Medicare Advantage spending amount includes the cost of extra benefits, funded by rebates, not available to traditional Medicare beneficiaries.

How much is a Medicare Advantage plan?

The average premium for a Medicare Advantage plan in 2021 was $21.22 per month. For 2022 it will be $19 per month. Although this is the average, some premiums cost $0, and others cost well over $100. For more resources to help guide you through the complex world of medical insurance, visit our Medicare hub.

Does Medicare cover 100 percent of hospital bills?

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), more than 60 million people are covered by Medicare. Although Medicare covers most medically necessary inpatient and outpatient health expenses, Medicare reimbursement sometimes does not pay 100% of your medical costs.

Can I switch from a Medicare supplement to an Advantage plan?

If you currently have Medicare, you can switch to Medicare Advantage (Part C) from Original Medicare (Parts A & B), or vice versa, during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. If you want to make a switch though, it may also require some additional decisions.

What are the disadvantages of Medicare?

There are some disadvantages as well, including provider limitations, additional costs, and lack of coverage while traveling. Whether you choose original Medicare or Medicare Advantage, it's important to review healthcare needs and Medicare options before choosing your coverage.

Do Medicare Advantage plans cover prescription drugs?

Most Medicare Advantage Plans include Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D). In addition to your Part B premium, you usually pay one monthly premium for the plan's medical and prescription drug coverage. Plan benefits can change from year to year.

What is the out-of-pocket maximum for Medicare?

Does Medicare have a maximum out-of-pocket limit? There is no limit to your potential medical bills under Original Medicare. Under current rules, there is no Medicare out of pocket maximum; if you have a chronic health condition or an unexpected health crisis, you could pay thousands in medical costs.

Who is the best person to talk to about Medicare?

Do you have questions about your Medicare coverage? 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) can help. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.

Is Humana a good Medicare Advantage Plan?

Mixed reviews: Humana ranks fourth-highest in J.D. Power's 2021 Medicare Advantage member satisfaction survey, and the National Committee for Quality Assurance gives several Humana plans a 3 or below out of 5 on its ratings scale.

Do Medicare Advantage plans cover cataract surgery?

Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, as an alternative to Original Medicare, also cover cataract surgery. MA plans provide the same benefits as Original Medicare does, so if a service is covered under Original Medicare, in this case, cataract surgery, it is also covered under a MA plan.

What is the cost of Medicare Part B for 2022?

Medicare Part B Premium and Deductible

The standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B enrollees will be $170.10 for 2022, an increase of $21.60 from $148.50 in 2021.

Why is my first Medicare bill so high?

If you're late signing up for Original Medicare (Medicare Parts A and B) and/or Medicare Part D, you may owe late enrollment penalties. This amount is added to your Medicare Premium Bill and may be why your first Medicare bill was higher than you expected.

Does a Medicare Advantage plan replace Medicare A and B?

Medicare Advantage doesn't replace Original Medicare Part A and Part B coverage; it simply delivers these benefits through an alternative channel: private insurance companies. Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies that contract with Medicare.

What is Medicare Part C called?

A Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO) is another Medicare health plan choice you may have as part of Medicare. Medicare Advantage Plans, sometimes called “Part C” or “MA Plans,” are offered by private companies approved by Medicare.