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Four reasons to change your Medicare Advantage coverage
If you're enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan and you're not happy with it, you can switch plans during Medicare's annual open enrollment period. Here are four reasons why you might change coverage.
Medicare Advantage’s supplemental benefits
Insurers offering Medicare Advantage plans now have the flexibility to include more supplemental benefits focused on improving quality of life for chronically ill Medicare enrollees.
Four ways to save money on your Medicare Part B premiums
Here's how to save money on premiums for Medicare Part B – which covers doctor visits, diagnostics, and preventive care – charges participants a premium.
How to choose between Medicare Advantage, Medigap and Part D
Considering a change to your Medicare coverage? Consider these 10 factors when choosing between Medicare Advantage, Medigap, and Part D coverage.
Important Medicare enrollment dates
Enrollment dates for Medicare are critical. Missing an enrollment date could cost you higher premiums down the line — or it could cost you coverage entirely.
What should I consider regarding Medicare Advantage plan costs?
Q: What should I consider regarding Medicare Advantage plan costs? A: When considering and comparing Medicare Advantage plans you need to look at both monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs carefully. If you are generally healthy, you might look to save on premium and choose a plan that has higher out-of-pocket service coverage costs.
Q: What does Medicare Advantage cost?
A: Those who enroll in Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage, sold through private insurers) pay the $164.90/month that most enrollees will pay for Part B in 2023, in addition to the premium that’s charged for their Medicare Advantage plan (enrollees subject to IRMAA pay a higher premium for Part B, which is true regardless of whether they opt for Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage).
According to CMS, the average Medicare Advantage plan premium is projected to be $18/month for 2023, continuing a multi-year trend of decreasing average premiums. But there’s wide variation in the premiums that people pay. Nearly two-thirds of Medicare Advantage enrollees are in Advantage plans that have no premiums at all (ie, enrollees only pay the Part B premium), while some plans have premiums of more than $100/month.
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Medicare Advantage premiums fall into a wide spectrum, depending on a variety of factors. Nearly all Medicare Advantage enrollees (98% in 2022) have access to at least one zero-premium policy. Although these plans can have higher out-of-pocket costs and/or more limited provider networks than plans with premiums, they make it possible for enrollees to have full coverage yet pay only the monthly premium for Medicare Part B, and 65% of people with Medicare Advantage coverage were enrolled in these zero-premium plans as of 2021.
Regardless of the plan’s premium, all Medicare Advantage plans have to cap enrollees’ out-of-pocket costs at no more than $8,300 for in-network services in 2023. This cap on out-of-pocket costs for Medicare Advantage plans is significantly higher than it was in prior years; from 2011 through 2020, it was $6,700, but CMS noted in 2019 that they intended to start gradually changing it in future years. And it’s also important to understand that most plans have out-of-pocket caps well below the allowable limit.
But the out-of-pocket cap only applies to services that would be covered under Medicare Part A and B. It does not include the cost of prescription drugs under the Part D benefit that’s integrated with most Medicare Advantage plans. There is no cap on out-of-pocket costs under Part D, and that’s the case whether the Part D plan is sold on a stand-alone basis or as part of an Advantage plan. Part D covers nearly all of the cost of prescriptions once an enrollee hits the catastrophic coverage limit for the year, but there does continue to be some ongoing out-of-pocket exposure.
(Note that the Inflation Reduction Act will change this over the next few years; as of 2024, there will no longer be out-of-pocket costs once a person reaches the Part D catastrophic coverage level, and as of 2025, there will be a $2,000 out-of-pocket cap for Part D, which will be inflation-adjusted going forward. These improvements will apply to all Part D coverage, including the Part D coverage that’s integrated with most Medicare Advantage plans.)