Medicare Advantage Plans Deserve A Second Look: 5 Reasons Why
Plans have come a long way, from $0 premium options to those that offer hundreds of $ for health-related items.
You may know that the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) for Medicare Advantage runs from October 15 to December 7, 2022. What you may not know is that there are more plan types and benefit choices than ever before. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey has 26 years of experience serving Medicare beneficiaries of New Jersey. In 2023 its affiliate, Braven Health, one of the fastest-growing Medicare Advantage plans in New Jersey, will be available throughout the state. So it’s easier than ever to choose a plan that’s built around you. Consider the following:
A Medicare Advantage plan can cost as little as $0 a month in plan premiums
Health care keeps getting more expensive. If lowering out-of-pocket costs is a priority, you can choose plans with $0 monthly plan premium. Plus, every Medicare Advantage plan includes all of your Medicare Part A and Part B benefits, and most include Part D, prescription coverage.
Medicare Advantage plans are never based on health status
Medicare Advantage plan premiums depend on the plan you choose. They can’t be based on age or health status: It’s the law. But you can choose from plans that offer special benefits, such as management for chronic conditions like diabetes or heart disease, or plans designed only for beneficiaries that are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.
Some Medicare Advantage plans offer benefits for routine dental, vision and hearing care plus extra benefits that might make your friends and kids jealous!
You might expect to find plans that offer routine dental, vision, and hearing benefits. But some plans also offer less-expected benefits to help you stay healthy, like hundreds of dollars in allowances to purchase over-the-counter health-related products of your choice, or money toward acupuncture, fitness, and transportation to medical appointments.
You have access to more doctors than you think
The fastest growing type of Medicare Advantage plan is the PPO plan, which typically offers a broad network and the ability to go out-of-network for your medical services (though your out-of-pocket costs may be higher). With most PPO plans, there are no referrals needed to see a specialist.
There are also HMO plans that have a smaller network of doctors, but you are always covered for an emergency or urgent care situation.
Switching to a Medicare Advantage plan is lot easier than you may realize
Want to switch from your existing Medicare Advantage plan during the AEP? All you need to do is complete an enrollment form for the plan of your choice and your new coverage will start on January 1st. That’s it. You don’t have to call or send anything in writing to your current plan.
Not sure how to find or complete the Medicare Advantage enrollment form? There are many ways to do it, and you can get help anywhere along the process. All you need is your Medicare card (the red, white, and blue card). Then:
- Enroll online, either with the health plan you are joining or Medicare.gov
- Call the Medicare Advantage plan you want to enroll in, and they can enroll you over the phone or even send someone to your home to help you enroll
- Request a paper enrollment form, if you choose
Keep in mind, you can also change your Medicare Advantage coverage when certain events happen in your life, like if you move or lose other insurance coverage. These chances to make changes are called Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs). Visit Medicare.gov to learn more about Special Enrollment Periods.
Getting started: your Medicare Advantage checklist
Which plan is right for you? Start by asking yourself the following:
- Is my doctor in the plan?
- Are my prescriptions covered by the plan?
- What is the monthly plan premium?
- What are the out-of-pocket costs for the benefits I think I will use the most?
- What extra benefits do I get?
- If I travel – will my benefits travel with me?
- Is this a company I know and trust?