You can sign up for one of the Medicare Advantage plans when you’re first eligible for Medicare. After that, there is an annual open enrollment from October 15 through December 7. Medicare Advantage plans are also being rated for quality now and the plans that achieve 5-star ratings are available throughout the year.
Unlike Medigap insurance, Medicare Advantage plans replace Medicare Part A and B rather than supplement it. If you join one of these plans, you’ll receive coverage that’s equivalent or better than traditional Medicare coverage through private insurance companies. Most of these insurers typically offer additional benefits like dental, hearing and vision benefits.
Medicare Advantage plans also typically provide prescription coverage so they replace Medicare’s Part D Prescription Drug coverage. When you’re shopping for an Advantage plan always confirm that your medicine is covered because not all plans pay for all types of medicine. You’ll also want to look at the list of covered providers to see whether your doctor is on the provider list. Many Advantage plans restrict your coverage to their network of providers for non-emergency care.
To join one of the Medicare Advantage plans, you must have Medicare Part A and Part B. All of the plans must comply with Medicare rules and provide all of the benefits of Part A and B, but other rules may vary from one insurance company to another. Be sure you understand the rules that are specific to a plan when you apply. We’ll be happy to answer questions for you and help you compare your options. If you’re ready to go, though, you can run quotes with our search engine and apply online to get your coverage in place quickly.