2020 Medicare Advantage

Any senior who is eligible for Medicare should give Medicare Advantage in 2020 a look. These are coverage plans that can help with medical expenses and even replace your Medicare plan.

Advantage plans are also known by the name Medicare Part C, and they come in a lot of different varieties. You can get basic versions that just offer the minimum required coverage. You can also choose ones that are fully loaded with a lot of additional coverage that makes them robust plans and perfect for seniors needing a lot of insurance coverage.

2020 Medicare AdvantageThe cost of Medicare advantage can vary dramatically, as it is based entirely off of what the private insurance companies selling the plans want to charge. Medicare may oversee Medicare Advantage plans, but it is up to private insurers like Aetna, Cigna, AARP, Mutual of Omaha and others to sell the plan and set the prices.

We want to show you what these plans offer you and help you figure out if Medicare Advantage is the right choice for you. There are some other medical insurance options besides Advantage plans that you could go with as well, and we want to discuss a few of those to make sure you are informed about your options.

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What Medicare Advantage Does for You

If you sign up for one of the many Medicare Advantage plans out there, you are guaranteed specific coverage. There may be some big differences from one plan to the next, as each insurance company that offers them has some freedom to customize the plans. What stays the same, however, is the basic coverage on these plans.

That would be coverage for all of Original Medicare, except for hospice expenses. That is a number of Medicare Part A and Part B expenses, all covered by this plan. That include many laboratory tests, hospital stay costs, prescription drugs, doctor’s visits and more. You are also covered for emergency care and urgently needed care, which includes emergency room visits and ambulance transport.

That’s just the basic coverage, though. A lot of the Advantage plans will include coverage for Medicare Part D. That is a prescription drug plan that covers you for a wide range of pharmaceuticals. Some of these drugs will be fully covered under Part D, and others will be partially covered. Part D is sold by private insurance companies as well, and it can be attached to an Advantage plan or sold separately. Each company that sells this plan has their own version of it, so be aware that there are differences.

Advantage plans can also cover seniors for checkups and some prescription apparatus. For instance, the plan can cover seniors for their hearing and vision checkups, as well as for hearing aids, eyeglasses and other paraphernalia they may be prescribed as a result of the checkup.

The coverage for Advantage plans can vary dramatically, so do not assume that they are all the same. You can find both low and high coverage plans available, and you should continue to look at what’s available until you find a plan that suits you.

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How Networks Affect Coverage

With any Medicare Advantage plan, you are going to be tied to an insurance company’s network. The network is the full list of hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities where their plans are accepted. You can’t just take your Advantage plan coverage to any medical facility and expect it to be honored. You generally have to go on your insurance company’s network to receive full coverage.

2020 Medicare AdvantageIf you start to look at Medicare Advantage plans, you may find that many of them are enlisted as HMO or PPO plans. The HMO plans are those that only cover you on the network. If you sign up for an HMO plan, then the only medical facility that you can receive any coverage at all from is one that is on your insurance company’s network. The restrictions in coverage mean that this is a cheap plan, though, and that is why most seniors will sign up for it.

PPO plans are a bit different. These can provide full coverage on the network as well, but if you go off the network to receive medical care with a PPO plan, you still get some partial coverage. That is useful in places like Alaska or Montana where the population is very spread out and sparse. In these states and others, PPO plans tend to be the rule of the day and are the most preferred type of Advantage plan. The greater coverage means that you pay more for this plan than you would for an HMO plan, but it can still be a good deal for many seniors, depending on where you live.

Be sure to check the network before you sign up for any plan with any insurance company. Some companies have much larger networks than others, and especially those that operate nationwide. Those tend to be larger companies, and they will usually have extensive networks that allow you to receive coverage with their plans just about anywhere.

Is Medicare Advantage Right for You?

We can’t tell you what the best insurance plan is for your medical expenses. Only you can decide that after careful examination of the available plans and your own needs- both medically and financially.

Medicare Advantage is just one of many medical insurance options, though. The most notable alternative to this plan is Medigap, which is also known as Medicare Supplement insurance. This is a series of coverage plans that offers coverage for Medicare Part A and Part B costs. These would be costs that are not covered already by Medicare’s basic plan.

Supplement plans can cover you for copayments (or coinsurance), deductibles, blood use, excess charges and more. They basically fill in gaps that the Original Medicare does not cover, and they offer some of the same coverage as you would get with Medicare Advantage plans. That means the two plans overlap, and you cannot be signed up for both kinds of plans at once. You aren’t permitted to have two plans with any of the same coverage when it comes to Medicare plans.

Medicare Supplements are available in 10 different plans, each with their own set of coverage. Two of these plans are not being offered to new subscribers anymore. That would be Plan F and Plan C, which will now only be available to current subscribers of those plans.

If you signed up for one of those plans before, then you should consider Medicare Advantage 2020 plans or one of the high coverage Medicare Supplement plans, such as Plan G or Plan N. The two plans that are being taken off the list for new subscribers were both high coverage plans that were being priced too high, and they are not considered economical plans anymore. You are better off choosing something else instead, especially since these two plans are entering what is known as a “closed risk pool”. That means that because there are no new subscribers signing up for the plans, the insurance companies will have trouble recouping the costs on these, so they will inevitably raise the prices for the remaining subscribers to make the plans worth their investment.

If you were looking to sign up for Plan C or Plan F from the Medicare Supplement line-up, then you should be looking at some of the alternatives. Medicare Advantage plans are a good second option, as they offer substantial coverage at an often competitive rate.

The Cost of Medicare Advantage

If you sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan, you will be responsible for paying certain costs. The monthly premium is where you will find the most leeway. This can be as low as $0 per month, but it could also be much higher.

You may also save to pay a deductible with this plan, which can vary in price depending on a few different factors. Usually, the lower the monthly premium is, the higher the deductible is. That’s the tradeoff you have to make with these plans.

The third expense you have to pay with Advantage plans is of the Medicare Part A and Part B expenses. Specifically, you have to pay the Medicare Part B premium. That’s in addition to whatever premium is being charged for the Advantage plan.

These costs vary from one insurance company to the next. You’ll want to compare those costs to see who has the best plan at the lowest price. You can compare using price comparison services online. These let you see the cost of several plans from different providers and find the best deal very quickly. It’s a much faster way to source quotes and compare rates than going from one insurance company to the next asking for pricing information. Take advantage of the free tools that are available to you to find great deals and save some money.

You should also be aware that costs for Advantage plans will increase regularly. Most insurance companies will increase their rates once per year. So if you sign up for one of their Advantage plans and get a one year term, then by the end of the term, when you are ready to renew your coverage plan, you will likely have to pay a higher rate than you did before. Keep that in mind and consider changing over to another coverage plan instead that offers a better rate for similar coverage.

There will be tons of these Advantage plans to choose from in 2020, and it’s a good idea to start preparing now and make sure you can pick out the most suitable plan for yourself. As your needs change and as the prices change, you may need to pick a different plan to keep up.

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Who Are Medicare Advantage Plans for?

You have to be eligible for a Medicare Advantage plan in order to be approved for it. Most people who are 65 or older can sign up for them, as they are usually eligible. If you have another coverage plan at the time, then that’s okay. Original Medicare plans will be replaced by Medicare Advantage, while other plans like Medicare Supplements will need to be dropped in order to make the Advantage plan work properly. Consider how your current coverage may overlap with an Advantage plan before you sign up, and then cancel any conflicting coverage plan before you try to apply for the Advantage plan. This will save you some trouble later on and simplify everything for you.

Advantage plans are designed for seniors who need plenty of medical coverage. These are typically robust pans with expansive coverage, but remember there are both high and low coverage Advantage plans. You should be able to find one to suit you and your specific needs. Look at several options before you make your choice, because the more of these plans you look at, the better idea you will have of which one is right for you.

If you are into sure if you qualify for an Advantage plan, then you can always talk to a Medicare agent to find out. You also need to apply for the plan during Open Enrollment, which runs from October 5 until December 7th. This is open to all qualifying seniors, and it is the best time to sign up for Advantage plans. If you apply for an Advantage plan during this time, then your pre existing medical conditions won’t factor in. They won’t alter the prices for you at all. You also have to be approved for any Advantage plan you apply for and qualify for. That means you have your best chance to get the plan you want at an affordable price, if you sign up during Open Enrollment.

Every kind of Medicare insurance plans has its own Open Enrollment, so if you are planning to sign up for something other than Medicare Advantage in 2020, you should look at the Open Enrollment period for the accompanying plan. There is no better time to get the coverage plan that you want.