When you reach the age of 65, you will be eligible for Medicare enrollment and must sign up unless you have insurance through a current employer. The Medicare system consists of four parts: Part A which covers hospital care, Part B for doctor care, Part C for more comprehensive coverage and part D for prescription drug coverage. To pick your type of Medicare, you must understand what each part does. Part C, known as Medicare Advantage, is administered through Medicare approved private insurance companies.
How to Sign Up
Medicare Advantage plans differ from state to state and even from one county to another. To sign up for a Part C plan, you should find out what options are available for the area where you live. Some plans require that you already have Part A and B.
To learn more about a specific plan or to sign up for it, you will need to contact the private insurance company that offers that plan. If you are signed up with one plan and want to change to another, you can do so each year between November 15th and December 31st.
What It Covers
Medicare Advantage covers everything included in Parts A and B: hospital care and doctor treatment. The only thing not included in your plan is hospice care. Beyond the basics of regular Medicare, many Part C plans offer additional perks: dental, vision, hearing, wellness checks, and prescription drugs. If your plan does not offer a prescription drug plan, you can sign up on your own for a Part D plan.
What It Costs
Although Medicare Advantage plans differ in cost, they can all ask you to pay a co-payment, co-insurance for medical equipment or a yearly deductible for prescription coverage. Besides your Part C expenses, you must also pay your Part B premium each month. This amount can be deducted from your Social Security check. Be aware, you cannot use a Medigap Policy to pay your Medicare Part C costs.
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