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Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Medicare 101 Video Series

“Medicare Advantage Plans”



In recent years, many new insurance plans have become available for people who are eligible for Medicare. You have options that can help lower the out-of-pocket health care costs that Medicare does not pay. And, one of those options is a Medicare Advantage health insurance plan.

The first thing you should know is that Medicare Advantage plans are not the same as Medicare supplement plans and not all Medicare Advantage plans are identical. A Medicare Advantage plan has all the benefits of Medicare Parts A and B (Original Medicare) plus additional benefits. Medicare Advantage plans are sold by private insurance companies, such as Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

When you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, it actually replaces Medicare Parts A and B. You still have all of the benefits of Medicare Parts A and B, but the benefits are provided by a private insurance company. As a matter-of-fact, Medicare Advantage plans not only provide all the coverage of Medicare Parts A and B but offer you additional benefits.

Medicare Advantage plans are partially funded by the federal government. Medicare pays the health insurance company a certain amount of money each month for each Medicare beneficiary enrolled in its plan. This helps Medicare Advantage members receive more health care benefits and helps you keep your premiums affordable. Since Medicare Advantage plans include benefits for Part B medical services, you still are required by the federal government to pay your Part B premium.

Medicare Advantage plans are different from Medicare Supplement plans. Medicare Supplement plans work together with Original Medicare … to help pay Medicare’s Part A and Part B deductibles and coinsurance. And again, Medicare Advantage plans take the place of Original Medicare. Some Medicare Advantage plans provide coverage for medical and hospital services only. Some Medicare Advantage plans cover both medical and hospital services and prescription drugs all in one plan.

When you’re looking for a Medicare Advantage plan, you should search for premiums that fit your budget, benefits that fit your health needs, and a doctor and hospital network that includes your health care providers. If you choose a Medicare Advantage plan with drug coverage, you should make sure your prescription medications are on its drug list. And, you should look for other extras that can help you be your healthy best, such as a fitness program or health education program.

To enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you must have both Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B coverage. You also must live in the health insurance company’s service area and not have End-Stage Renal Disease.

There are a number of health plan choices available and a knowledgeable Arkansas Blue Cross representative can help you understand your options, whether a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage plan best fits your needs. And, figuring out how a prescription drug plan fits into the mix. We want you to make an informed decision about your health-care coverage.

We realize you still may have questions. If you need more information, we’re here to help. We want you to have the peace of mind that comes from knowing your health care is covered as you turn age 65. We’ve been helping Arkansans with their health insurance needs for more than 60 years. Speak to us today.