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  • Medicare Advantage Plans are another way for beneficiaries to get their Medicare part A & B benefits. It’s ALTERNATIVE coverage so instead of having Original Medicare Parts A & B as your primary insurance the Advantage plan becomes primary.
  • Advantage plans are NOT Medicare Supplement Plans (Medigap); They’re COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!
  • Medicare pays a private insurance company a fee every month for the company to administer your Part A & B benefits.
  • You will pay deductibles, copays, coinsurance up to the plan’s out-of-pocket-maximum
  • Additional rules apply such as using doctors/hospitals within the provider network
  • If you want to see a doctor/specialist/hospital outside of the network you may pay higher costs or not be covered at all
  • Many Advantage plans provide part D drug benefits (sometimes have higher out of pocket costs)
  • HMO plans are the most popular Advantage plan. They require you to have a PCP to coordinate your benefits and require referrals before seeing specialists. PPO plans allow you to see out-of-network doctors/hospitals but you will pay higher out-of-pocket costs.
  • Enrollment in an Advantage plan means that you are required to stay on that plan for one year (Jan-Dec)
  • You can only make changes to your plan during AEP or OEP unless you qualify for an SEP. Check to see if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period by calling Medicare Sharks!

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In most cases, you must keep your Medicare Advantage Plan for the full year Jan-Dec. During the Annual Enrollment Period (Oct 15 – Dec 7) you can make changes to your Medicare Advantage Plan and coverage will start Jan 1. There’s another opportunity to make changes to your Advantage Plan during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (Jan 1 – Mar 31). However, you may be entitled to a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) where you can change your plan mid-year. It’s always a smart idea to check with the Medicare Sharks licensed experts to see if changes to your Medicare Advantage Plan would benefit you!


Have you ever considered applying for Medicare Part C? Medicare C is a private insurance option for covering hospital and medical expenses. Medicare usually approves the private companies that provide Medicare C plans.

As part of PPOs and HMOs, Medicare Part C coverage entails both Part A and Part B Medicare services plus additional benefits such as Prescription Drugs (Part D). Still, you can choose Medicare C with or without Part D.

When you sign up for Medicare Part C, you will be required only to see the healthcare providers in the Medicare Advantage Plan. You pay a monthly premium to get Medicare Part C coverage. The cost usually varies by plan.


    Wondering how to apply for Medicare Part C? You can apply for Medicare Part C during your Initial Enrollment Period or Special Enrollment Period under specified conditions. For example, you can get the Medicare Part C when you relocate to another state, and as a result of that, you become eligible for different plans. If you are eligible for Medicaid, qualify to get extra help with drug costs, or want to switch to a holistic overall quality rating plan, then you can apply for Medicare Part C.
    Although Medicare C is not mandatory, it is a valuable option that you should consider signing up for Medicare Part C as it offers additional beneficial services not covered by Original Medicare.
    Below are some benefits that you can get on your Medicare Part C coverage that are not offered under the Original Medicare (Part A and Part B):-

    • Prescription Drug Coverage
    • Vision Coverage
    • Dental Coverage
    • Hearing Coverage
    • Telehealth Services
    • Fitness Benefit
    • Over-the-Counter allowance
    • Part B Premium Reimbursement
    • Transportation
    • Monthly grocery card
    • Flex card

    To get Medicare C benefits, you will have to pay a fixed premium amount every month to the company that is offering you the Medicare Advantage plan.

    cigna medicare part d

    Although, some Advantage Plans may have a zero-dollar monthly premium, there are many out-of-pocket costs associated with Advantage Plans. Every Advantage Plan has a maximum-out-of-pocket amount, so it stands to reason that there are costs associated with Advantage Plans which you have to pay. Maximum-out-of-pocket costs can range anywhere from $3,400 to $6,700 to $10,000 and each carrier’s plans are completely different. There are copays for doctors’ visits and even higher copays for specialists. There are deductibles for things like hospitalization. You’ll pay coinsurance for lab tests, blood work, X-rays, MRIs, CAT Scans, ambulance rides, chemo drug, and most procedures.