As you get older, it becomes even more essential to take care of your health. When you turn 65, you become eligible for Medicare and can enroll in one of two types of Medicare plans – Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage. In this article, we’ll cover Medicare Advantage Plans 2024 and how they work, including what they cover, who is eligible, and how to enroll.
What is a Medicare Advantage Plan?
A Medicare Advantage Plan, or Medicare Part C, is a type of health insurance that combines your Medicare benefits (Parts A and B) with additional benefits, such as prescription drug coverage, dental, vision, and hearing. Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies who are contracted with Medicare to provide these benefits to you.
What does a Medicare Advantage Plan Cover?
All Medicare Advantage plans must cover everything that Original Medicare covers, including hospital stays, doctor visits, and medical procedures. However, most Medicare Advantage plans also offer additional benefits like prescription drug coverage, vision, dental, and hearing benefits.
Who is Eligible for a Medicare Advantage Plan?
To be eligible for a Medicare Advantage plan, you must meet the following criteria:
You must have Medicare Part A and Part B.
You must live in the plan’s service area.
You must not have End-Stage Renal Disease, unless you are enrolling in a plan specifically for people with ESRD.
When Can You Enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan?
There are three times when you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan:
During your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), which is the seven-month period that starts three months before your 65th birthday month and ends three months after your 65th birthday month.
During the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), which is between October 15 and December 7 each year.
During the Open Enrollment Period (OEP), which runs from January 1 to March 31 each year.
Choosing a Medicare Advantage Plan can be a complex decision, but it’s important to take the time to find a plan that meets your healthcare needs. It’s essential to read and compare plan options, review the benefits, costs, coverage areas, and ratings, and consider your health needs and financial situation.
If you need help understanding your options and making a decision, you can contact Medicare or speak with a licensed insurance agent who can help you enroll in a plan that’s right for you. Finally, remember that once you enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you’ll have an annual chance to switch plans during the AEP, so don’t worry too much about making the “perfect” decision.