Participation in the Medicare Advantage Part C plans reached a new high recently. In fact, a few of these policies are available with a $0 installment, attracting plenty of attention from the seniors. An obvious question that comes to the mind of everyone is… how can the insurance companies offer these plans for free?
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The thing is, in order for a person to enroll in the Part C Medicare plan, he/she needs to purchase Part A as well as Part B Medicare. Part B Medicare has a monthly premium one needs to continue paying to the Federal government as long as they stay with the Advantage policy.
Only then the Part C Advantage plan will be paid by the Medicare for you. Thus, whilst you may see a plan offers a $0 monthly premium, it’s certainly not free at all. The insurance provider bills Medicare for your enrollment.
In the case of a supplemental plan, the cost of insurance tend to be slightly on the higher side, however, the participant rarely has issues when it comes to accessing the providers. You are also unlikely to compensate for any additional expenses for the services approved by Medicare.
The Advantage plans need more effort on your behalf. Sure, a $0 installment or even a $25-$50 installments might seem attractive. But, you’ll need to pay the copays for the services in the long run. At times, these copays can be more than expected.
You need to also realize that the Advantage policy chosen by you functions only in specific counties most times. You need to pick providers within the network for ensuring lowest copays. Also, you might need to work with restrictions in a few cases.
To conclude, the truth is the so-called FREE Advantage plans are not at all free, even with a $0 installment or premium amount. Since these are Medicare plans provided by private agencies, you are required to abide by the rules of each plan besides requiring more effort from your side.
However, let us also make it clear that Medicare Part C Advantage plans aren’t a bad choice every time. They simply function differently as compared to the Medicare supplement plans. Hence, it is critical that you understand your specific needs and how much you wish on spending on these plans.
Also, you must be proactive when it comes to obtaining prior authorizations in case of some procedures or understanding the network for determining the participation of the provider. As long as you’re fine with this additional legwork, Medicare Advantage plans can benefit you just fine.