Closing the Medicare Coverage Gap With Medicare Advantage

For over five decades, Medicare has been helping seniors get the medical attention they need and deserve. Whether it’s help paying for care while in the hospital (Part A) or when visiting the doctor (Part B), Original Medicare is a big part of ensuring health and wellness after age 65.

Despite considerable help, Medicare doesn’t pay for everything, and there is a gap in coverage. Prescription drug benefits, vision and dental care are not part of Original Medicare, and seniors looking for coverage need to add another plan or pay out-of-pocket for these services.

Luckily, Medicare Advantage (Part C) is a practical alternative. With Part A and Part B coverage as well as additional benefits, most Part C plans include coverage for prescription drugs, vision and dental—the all in one plan seniors need for convenience and security.

Medicare Advantage—the Basics

Medicare Part C was offered in 1997, and quickly became an easy way for seniors to stay on Medicare while enjoying additional benefits not provided by Part A and Part B. MA plans charge a monthly premium that must be paid in addition to the Part B monthly premium to receive benefits. Part C plans are typically offered as HMOs or PPOs with a set of in-network doctors and hospitals that you are required to use as part of the plan.

Why Should You Get It?

Medicare Advantage may reduce the amount you pay out-of-pocket for your health care. With maximum out-of-pocket limits set, the right MA plan can keep costs reasonable and predictable. In addition, some companies offer a $0 monthly premium, while providing additional benefits above and beyond Original Medicare. Many different plans are available, and it makes sense to compare benefits, cost and network rules between plans to find one that fits your needs best. Also, if you have a favorite doctor, be sure to make sure he or she is included in the network of any plan you are interested in.