Even though you may be enrolled in Medicare Part C, or planning to enroll, the different types of coverage may seem a bit confusing. For example, did you realize that Medicare Part C (aka medicare advantage plans) is not a separate rider like Medicare Part D? While these differences may not seem very important, choosing the wrong plan can easily result in thousands of dollars in medical bills, along with denials of service that can cost your life. Therefore, you will be well served by understanding as much as possible about Medicare Part C and how it compares to other coverage types.
The Medicare Advantage Plan also allows for a little more flexibility than traditional Medicare does. Medicare Advantage includes prescription drug coverage (not all the time), and beneficiaries can choose Advantage plans that include dental and vision care as well as health club or gym memberships. Medicare Advantage places a heavy emphasis on preventive care. These advantages come with the condition that you must stay in-network for your care, but many beneficiaries find this trade-off more than reasonable. Overall, those who decide to participate in Medicare Advantage generally do so because they see the Advantage Plan as a better value than traditional Medicare.
Medicare Part C vs A, B, and D
Typically, once you sign up with social security benefits, you will be enrolled in Medicare Part A automatically. This coverage will pay 80% of your bills if you need to be admitted to the hospital. It does not cover routine office visits, diagnostic testing while you are in the hospital or emergency room visits. All of these services are covered by Part B on Mostmedicare.com. As you may be aware, enrollment in Part B is voluntary, and usually costs around 120.00 per month in premiums. Finally, Medicare Part D is a special rider to Part B that covers prescription drugs. Basically, Medicare Part C is a composite plan offered by a local carrier (as opposed to the federal government) that will provide the same coverage as Medicare Part A, B, and D. Some insightful info on Part C from Caring.com.
Why look at Medicare Part C plans? The slightly broader coverage than Medicare Part A and Part B is one reason, but the main benefit is cost. Total out-of-pocket expenses with a Medicare Part C plan are usually lower than expenses with the combination of traditional Medicare Parts A and B plus a Medigap insurance policy. (But there are also real disadvantages with Part C plans; see What are the disadvantages of Medicare Part C plans?)
Medicare Part C and. Medigap Coverage
Overall, Medicare Part C is designed to cover all of your costs. Unfortunately, you may find that many companies will still assign a 20% balance as patient responsibility. Even though it is fairly easy to obtain Medigap coverage if you are enrolled in Part B in Medicare, you may not be able to do so if you are enrolled in Medicare Part C. Therefore, if you are thinking about enrolling in Medicare Part C, you should make sure that you can afford any additional payments that will have to be made to medical providers.
Choosing a Medicare Part C Carrier
It is fair to say that many insurance companies offer Medicare Part C plans right along with other insurance products. Before you enroll in these plans, you should make sure that you understand your copay and deductible responsibilities. You should also make it a point to have as many things covered a possible. For example, you should be able to find a carrier that offers dental coverage as well as eye care. At the very least, this will give you an enormous advantage over conventional Medicare plans, as well as enable you to save a good bit of money on other services.
The monthly premium varies widely depending on your state and the private insurer you choose, as well as whether you choose an HMO or PPO for your Medicare Advantage coverage.
As senior citizens look for ways to control healthcare costs, they are increasingly enrolling in Medicare Part C. While these carriers offer a number of advantages over traditional Medicare plans, they may not work for every person. Therefore, if you are considering enrolling in Medicare Part C, you should at least make sure that you consider other programs first.