Meet your needs with Medicare Advantage plans

Now is the time to enroll in a Medical Advantage Plan (MAP) with no monthly premium to upgrade your medical benefits.

While some MAPs have a monthly premium, there are plenty to choose from that won’t require you to pay a monthly premium.

Medicare Advantage Plan, Part C, came into existence in 2003 and has continued to grow ever since. Now, nearly 27 million Medicare beneficiaries get their Part A and B benefits delivered through MAPs offered by private insurers that typically provide coverage for Part D prescription drugs.

In addition to providing your Part A and Part B benefits, many MAPD plans offer benefits not available through Original Medicare, including dental, hearing, fitness programs, telemedicine, money for healthy nutrition, personal home help, over-the-counter drugs, transportation to doctor visits and other extras. Plans may also tailor their benefit packages to certain chronically ill conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease.

MAPD plans must cover all services that Original Medicare covers, except hospice care. Original Medicare covers hospice care even if you are in a Medicare Advantage Plan. In all types of Medicare Advantage Plans, you are always covered for emergency and urgent care. Medicare Advantage plans must provide emergency coverage in the plan’s service areas (but not outside the U.S.)

In most Medicare Advantage Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans, you can only go to doctors, other health care providers, or hospitals in the plan’s network, except in an urgent or emergency situation. In an HMO-POS (Point of Service) plan, you may be able to get some out-of-network services for a higher co-payment or coinsurance.

You just need to make sure that your preferred providers and hospitals are in-network and that your medications are on the plan’s formulary.

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) allows you to leave a plan, sign up for a plan, or switch plans. The AEP lasts from October 15 to December 7 each year. However, if you are just turning 65, the AEP is unimportant. Your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) starts 3 months before the month you turn 65 and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65. Finally, if you enrolled in a MAPD subscription between October 15 and December 7, you can switch to another benefit plan or drop it in favor of Original Medicare and get a standalone portion between January 1 and March 31 D recipe plan.

Remember, if you enroll in a MAPD plan, you must continue to pay your Part B premiums. In addition, you cannot have a Medicare Supplement Plan and a Medicare Advantage Plan at the same time. And when you enroll in a MAPD plan, your coverage begins January 1, 2022.