Medicare Advantage plans or Medicare Part C replace Medicare rather than supplement it as Medigap insurance does. In addition to providing Part A and Part B benefits, Advantage plans usually also provide prescription coverage. Those that do can replace Medicare’s Part D Prescription Drug coverage, too. Advantage plans are popular because they accept any health problem except end-stage renal disease. That’s called guaranteed acceptance. People also like that Advantage plans add extra benefits like dental, hearing and vision coverage above traditional Medicare benefits.
The annual open enrollment for Medicare Advantage Plans runs from October 15 through December 7. Of course, you can always choose an Advantage plan when you first sign up for Medicare. After your initial enrollment period is over, you’ll have the option of switching from original Medicare to an Advantage plan or changing from one Advantage plan to a different one during annual open enrollment. In addition, the top performing Advantage plans based on a five-star rating system are available throughout the year.
That all-year-long open enrollment is also available for certain Part D Prescription Drug plans, like MedicareBlue Rx. It’s one of just four Prescription Drug plans across the nation to achieve a five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for 2012. Other Part D plans are available during the annual open enrollment along with Advantage plans.
When you’re shopping for an Advantage plan that has prescription coverage or a Part D plan, always confirm that your medicine is covered because not all plans pay for all types of medicine. If you’re looking at Advantage plans, you’ll also want to look at the list of covered providers to see whether your doctor is on the provider list. Advantage plans restrict your coverage to their network of providers for non-emergency care.
December 7 may sound like a long time away, but there could be up to a couple of dozen different plans available where you live. Better take a look today to be sure you don’t miss the chance to get the best coverage at the lowest price. We can help you research which insurers have policies in your area and show you how the different options compare in terms of cost and coverage. To get up-to-speed fast, join us for a free, live teleseminar (that’s over the telephone). We’ll go through the basics and then answer your questions right then. Just sign up for the next Free Question and Answer session here on our website.'

Jim McFadden has over 11 years of executive-level experience in the health insurance industry, is a youth baseball, softball and football coach, and has one of the worst fantasy football records in the world.