3 Reasons to Consider a Medicare Advantage Plan

Once you become eligible for Medicare, you have a choice between original Medicare and Medicare Advantage coverage. With the former, you get hospital care under Part A, diagnostic and preventive care under Part B, and prescription medication under Part D. With Medicare Advantage, you buy a single plan that takes care of all of your health-related needs.

Here are a few perks of signing up for an Advantage plan worth considering for those seeking coverage or interested in improving their current Medicare benefits:

1. Coverage for More Services

The great thing about Medicare Advantage is that each plan is required to provide at least the same level of coverage as original Medicare. However, in many cases, your Advantage plan will cover much more. Most Advantage plans, for example, pay for services like dental care, vision exams, and hearing aids. Original Medicare, on the other hand, won’t pay for these amenities.

Furthermore, some Advantage plans offer lifestyle support services that can improve your quality of life as a senior. For example, depending on your plan, you may be eligible for transportation to and from medical appointments, or to have meals delivered to your home. Plus, you may be entitled to wellness programs, massage therapy, or in-home support for daily living tasks. Some plans even offer cooking classes for those who require nutritional support.

2. Annual Spending Caps

The scary thing about original Medicare is that under it, your annual out-of-pocket costs are potentially limitless. This isn’t the case with Medicare Advantage. Advantage plans impose an annual limit on what you’ll need to spend out of pocket to pay for your own care, and once that limit is reached, you won’t have to pay anything additional for the remainder of the year.

3. Overseas Coverage

Many seniors like to travel the globe once they’re no longer tied to a desk. If that’s your plan, then it could pay to sign up for Advantage over original Medicare, since many Advantage plans pay for medical services overseas. Original Medicare coverage is, unfortunately, limited to the United States.

Is Medicare Advantage Right for You?

Though there are plenty of good reasons to choose Medicare Advantage over original Medicare, be aware that with Advantage, you’re limited to a specific network of providers when you seek healthcare services. This could prove restrictive depending on your medical condition and area of residence. It could also be problematic if you split your time between two states during the year, since you can only enroll in one state.

If you are enrolling for Medicare Advantage, be sure to weigh your options carefully before selecting a plan, keeping in mind that different plans have different rules, premium costs, and cost-sharing policies for covered services. Medicare’s Plan Finder can help you narrow down your options, so use it as a starting point if an Advantage plan is something you’re considering.* You can sign up for Medicare Advantage during annual open enrollment, which runs from October 7 through December 15 annually.

Maurie Backman has been writing about personal finance and healthcare for well over a decade. Her articles have appeared on The Motley Fool, CNN Business, USA Today, and MSN. Maurie is a Binghamton University graduate who enjoys reading, hiking, watching hockey, and rejoicing in the fact that her creative writing degree actually amounted to something.

* Anonymous, (2019). Find a 2020 Medicare Plan. The Official U.S. Government Site for Medicare. Retrieved October, 2019