Medicare Advantage is a private insurance plan offered by health insurance companies, and takes the place of Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) coverage.
Medicare Advantage is also called Part C and abbreviated as MA.
Even if you get a Medicare Advantage plan, you must still continue paying your Medicare Part B monthly premium.
Medicare Advantage plans include everything that Original Medicare offers, with the exception of hospice care, and can offer additional benefits, such as dental benefits, vision care, and wellness programs.
Some Medicare Advantage plans also include Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, in a plan better known as a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD) plan. If you enroll in an MAPD plan, there’s no need for you to enroll in a stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan (PDP), nor would you be able to.
All Medicare Advantage plans cover emergency and urgent care.
You must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B in order to qualify for Medicare Advantage. Generally, you cannot join an MA plan if you have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).
You can only make certain changes to your Medicare Advantage coverage during your Initial Enrollment Period, the Annual Election Period, the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period, or during Special Election Periods for which you qualify (for example, if your current Medicare Advantage plan is discontinued or you move out of the plan’s service area).
Medicare Advantage plan benefits, costs, and availability can change every year. They may also vary depending on your location and which insurance company you choose.