Medicare Advantage Plans
Medicare Advantage Plans Are Often Useless
Don't Be Fooled by a Medicare Advantage Plan
Medicare Advantage is a health insurance program run by private insurance companies contracted by Medicare. A Medicare Advantage Plan is COMPLETELY different from Original Medicare. If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan you will automatically be dis-enrolled from Original Medicare and you will NOT be able to use your red, white, and blue Medicare card.
If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan, there are network restrictions. This means you are required to see the healthcare providers in the Medicare Advantage network; plus, in most cases, you will need to get prior approval when you need care, except in case of an emergency.
Medicare pays a fixed amount for your care every month to the insurance companies offering your Medicare Advantage Plan. These companies must follow the rules set by Medicare. However, MA Plans are not "standardized."
Each plan can charge different out-of-pocket costs and have different rules for how you get services (like whether you need a referral to see a specialist or if you have to go to only doctors, facilities or suppliers that belong to the plan for non-emergency or non-urgent care). These rules can change each year. So your coverage can change from year to year.
You must live in the plan's service area. In most cases, other than during your Initial Enrollment Period, you can join only during certain times of the year.
Medicare Advantage plans are privatized by Medicare and run by for-profit insurance companies. These insurance companies have been given the ability to make their own claims decisions, and some claims decisions have been known to be made with profitability in mind.
The Association thinks Original Medicare and a Medicare Supplement offer you the best choice and value for your healthcare now and the future.
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Can I Use My Medicare Card with a Medicare Advantage Plan?
NO. You will NOT be able to use your red, white and blue Medicare card when you go to the hospital, doctor, specialist or any healthcare provider. This means you are no longer enrolled in the federal government-run health program. This means you must follow the rules of the Medicare Advantage Plan you have joined. When you enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you are required to use the Medicare Advantage Plan insurance card when you visit the healthcare providers in their network and NOT your Medicare card.
Can I switch back to Original Medicare From a Medicare Advantage Plan?
Yes. You can switch back to Original Medicare during the annual election period from October 15 through December 7. However, you may NOT be eligible to switch to a Medicare supplement plan. In most cases, you will have to go through medical underwriting to qualify for a Medicare Supplement unless you are enrolling during your open enrollment or guaranteed issue period. If you wait until a later time to enroll in a Medicare supplement, you risk potential health issues that could prevent you from getting a Medicare Supplement in the future.