Joining a Medicare Advantage Plan

If you are considering enrolling in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you need to meet a few specific requirements in order to be eligible to join. You need to have Part A and Part B – Hospital and Medical Insurance.  You also need to live in the plan’s service area.  You usually can’t have End-Stage Renal Disease, and it must be within the plan’s enrolment period.  

In many cases, you will need to pay your Part B premium in addition to your Medicare Advantage Plan premium.  It’s also essential that you follow your plan’s specific rules and are aware of necessary out-of-pocket costs, like deductibles and copayments.  

Sometimes, depending on the plan or company you choose, you might be required to use specific health care providers, belonging to the plan’s network – or be charged a higher fee if you don’t.  If you enroll in an Advantage Plan, you won’t be able to buy a Medigap policy – and you won’t really need one, either.

When you join a Medicare Advantage Plan, you are, of course, still in the Medicare Program.  Advantage Plans, although run by private insurance plans, still follow Medicare rules, are approved by Medicare, and receive funding from Medicare. They are not even considered supplemental insurance plans – they are a part of Medicare.  Consequently, when enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you have Medicare rights and protection, including privacy rights and the right to appeal.  You also will still receive Medicare Parts A and B, and can usually get prescription drug coverage through your Medicare Advantage Plan. It is important to note that you can’t join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan with most Medicare Advantage Plans unless you cancel your Medicare Advantage Plan and sign up instead for Original Medicare. Signing up for a Medicare Advantage Plan also often affords you other optional benefits, such as dental or vision.   

To enrol in a Medicare Advantage Plan, fill out an application, call the plan, or visit them online.  

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