How Florida Medicare Advantage Plans Work
A Medicare Advantage Plan is often referred to as Medicare Part C. It’s when a private, Medicare-approved insurance company takes over your Medicare Part A and Part B from the Federal government and manages your healthcare in their network of healthcare providers. When you join a Medicare Advantage plan, you are technically still in the original Medicare program, and you must continue paying your Medicare Part B premium. The standard premium in 2017 is $134 per month.
How Can Florida Florida Medicare Advantage Plans Provide All These Benefits for Little or No Cost?
Many Florida Florida Medicare users are often surprised at the range of additional benefits Medicare Advantage plans provide and wonder if there is some catch to it. Private insurance companies offering Medicare Advantage plans are approved by the government before providing these insurance products. The federal government remits a per member per month fee to Medicare Advantage plan insurance carriers to administer and dispense Medicare benefits on their own terms, but with health coverage never less than what traditional Medicare offers. Also, Medicare Advantage plans sometimes offer additional benefits that original Medicare alone does not; such as vision care benefits, dental benefits, gym memberships and hearing related benefits. Most Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage.
Medicare Advantage plans can give the Medicare beneficiary financial exposure protection at a reasonable price and often times at a $0 monthly premium. For many Florida Florida seniors, this is a cost-effective way to manage their healthcare. Just remember that Medicare Advantage plans still have deductibles and gaps in coverage like original Medicare that will add to your out-of-pocket expenses.
So Why Doesn’t Everyone Join a Medicare Advantage Plan?
Most, if not all, Medicare Advantage plans have a well-defined healthcare provider network in your area in order to control costs. This means that healthcare services will only be covered if they are performed by a doctor or clinic in Florida that is approved by the Medicare Advantage plan insurance company and is considered in-network. This may not be an issue for you if you don’t particularly care which doctors you see or if your doctor is already in the plan’s network, but many people find these types of networks too restricting and time consuming. Hospitals, doctors and clinics can also drop out of a Florida Medicare Advantage plan without much warning to you, leaving you with the possibility of having to pay out-of-network costs or possibly the full cost of care.
Medicare Supplement Plans vs Medicare Advantage Plans
Medicare Advantage IS NOT a Medicare Supplement. Medicare Supplement Insurance, also referred to as Medigap Insurance, supplements original Medicare. Medicare Advantage, on the other hand, does not supplement existing Medicare. Instead, it replaces Medicare Part A and Part B insurance altogether.
Remember; Medicare Advantage plans contain gaps just like original Medicare, so members are still responsible for paying various deductibles and co-pays, which vary from one Medicare Advantage plan to the next. These gaps in coverage can be avoided by staying on original Medicare Part A and Part B and purchasing a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan. Medicare Supplement plans work with Medicare Part A and Part B to fill and pay for coverage gaps. The most popular Medicare Supplement is Medigap Plan F, and that particular plan has absolutely no gaps in coverage at all.
Medicare Advantage Plans Do Not Have Standardized Benefits, While Medigap Plans Do
You could purchase a Medigap Plan F from any insurance company doing business in Florida and it would have identical benefits nationwide, regardless of which company or how much you are paying for that Plan F. Medicare Advantage Plans have independent rules, limits and regulations, so you’ll need to read each plan summary separately. Just about every service on a Florida Medicare Advantage Plan will have a copy or co-insurance connected to it.
If you are flexible with your healthcare providers and on a budget, a Florida Medicare Advantage Plan can be a viable option for Florida seniors. But many experts agree that Medicare Supplement Insurance is preferable to a Medicare Advantage plan because you have the freedom to choose any doctor or hospital anywhere in the United States and referrals are unnecessary. Before making any decisions, sitting down with a qualified independent broker and discussing your healthcare and financial objectives can give you piece of mind and save you a lot of money.