Medicare Advantage Plans
Medicare advantage plans are available for individuals who are 65 or older or have received disability for 2 years. Open Enrollment is October 15, 2014 – December 7, 2014. Other enrollment times for special circumstances are available.
Enrolling into a medicare advantage plan is a relatively simple process. In order to enroll throughout the year you must meet one of the following requirements for a special election period. All of the following would allow for enrollment into a medicare advantage plan but do have time restrictions.
- Newly eligible for medicare: will be turning 65 in 3 months, have just turned 65, disability benefits have been received for 24 months
- There has been a change in medicaid eligibility or Low Income Subsidy help
- Entering, living in, or leaving an institution
- Moving to a new address that is outside where you plan provides services
- Leaving other creditable health care coverage like from an employer or union retiree plan
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid does allow for an Annual Enrollment period in which current plan holders can review their plan for the coming year and make changes, including changes insurance companies.
- The 2015 Annual Enrollment Period is October 15, 2014 – December 7, 2014. You must have any changes done by December 7 in order to have coverage beginning January 1, 2015 in the plan you would like.
- After December 7 the only changes you can make is to dis-enroll from the medicare advantage plan and return back to original medicare.
- At this time you can also choose a stand-alone prescription drug plan.
Why should I choose a Medicare Advantage Plan?
- Original medicare’s structure is that you pay your Part A & B premiums and 20% of your medical costs. Medicare will cover 80%. This will not vary based on how many days in the hospital or if it was only a doctor’s visit.
- Medicare Advantage plans are insurance plans offered by private companies who have contracted with Medicare to provide your healthcare benefits. Most of these plans will cover your Part A premiums and have a very low monthly premium. They are structured so that most preventative services are free and all other benefits are a co-pay. Some even have prescription drug benefits.