Medicare Advantage (Part C)
Medicare Advantage is a combination of two standard Medicare offerings: Part A, also known as Hospital Insurance; and Part B, also known as Medical Insurance. Premiums are often low and $0 Premium plans are available in many areas. Most Medicare Advantage plans also cover prescription drug costs, or Medicare Part D. Some plans even include dental, vision and hearing coverage as well.
Unlike traditional Medicare plans, Medicare Advantage is provided by private insurance companies.
Medicare Advantage provides extensive coverage for patients, but it also requires that patients abide by certain rules and guidelines outlined in the plan itself. For example, Medicare may only provide assistance if the patient visits a doctor or hospital that belongs to a Medicare-approved network. Also, certain prescription drugs may be exempt from coverage.
Many Medicare Advantage plans offer health club memberships and also provide patients with routine preventative exams, disease management programs, and transportation services to physician’s offices – services which aren’t covered under Parts A and B alone.
Medicare Supplements (Medigap)
Although Medicare is a great asset for the aging population and for those with disabilities, it often is not enough to cover all of their medical expenses. In response to this need, private insurance companies offer extended plans called Medicare Supplemental Insurance, sometimes called a Medigap policy, to help fill in those gaps in coverage.
While Medicare can and often does pay up to 80% of a patient’s medical expenses, the remaining 20% can still be a tremendous financial burden. Even routine doctor visits can add up over time, especially for those with chronic ailments who need frequent treatment.
Although these plans may cost more than Part C Medicare Advantage plans, there are few to any extra out-of-pocket expenses.
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