A Medicare Advantage Plan, also known as “Part C” is a health plan offered by private insurance companies. The private insurance carrier will become your primary, however, you will need to remain enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. Medicare will pay the Advantage Plan to cover your health expenses for as long as you stay on the plan.
If you join a Medicare Advantage Plan, the plan will cover all of your Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and your Medicare Part B (medical insurance) coverage. Some of these Medicare Advantage Plans will cover your Part D (prescription coverage) as well. Some advantage plans have extra added benefits that is not covered by traditional Medicare such as dental, vision, hearing aid coverage, gym membership etc.
Most Medicare Advantage Plans are either an HMO or PPO so you will have a specific network of doctors. Each plan has its own set co-pay, formulary and out of pocket costs. For example, one plan might charge a hospital co-pay while another plan may not. You will want to be sure to review the plans costs, formulary and physician network (especially if you are wanting to keep your current doctors).
Medicare Advantage Plans may change annually (January 1st) so you will want to review the plans benefits when they are mailed out in September. The notice is called “Annual Notice of Change” which will explain plan changes, if any, for the following year.