Medicare is made up four different parts. Parts A and B are provided by the government and cover you for your basic hospital and doctor needs. Part D is your prescription drug coverage that you sign up for through a private insurance company. Finally, there is Part C, sometimes referred to as Medicare Advantage. Part C is additional coverage that you can receive through a private insurance company to cover costs that Parts A and B do not.
What Part C Plans Covers
Each company offers several different plans and each plan is going to offer you different coverage. There are some plans that are available to you at no additional cost than what you are already paying for your Part B. Some plans even include Part D prescription coverage. Choosing a Medicare Part C plan can help you streamline your coverage by putting all of the different aspects of Medicare with one company and under one plan. There are so many different options that are afforded to you. If you are unsure where to begin, meet with a Qualified Insurance Agent who can help you to compare the prices at several different companies.
When to Enroll in a Part C Plan
To be eligible to enroll in a Medicare Part C Plan you must have Parts A and B. You can begin to enroll in a plan as early as three months before you turn 65. However, if your 65th birthday has already passed you must wait until the open enrollment period to enroll in a plan. The open enrollment period occurs from October 15th to December 7th of each year. During this period, you can enroll in your first Part C plan, or make changes to your current coverage if you are already enrolled in one.
Why Choose a Part C Plan?
Many are skeptical of Medicare Part C plans since they are relatively new to the Medicare system. However, there is no need to worry. If you choose the right agent, they can help you to find a trustworthy plan that will fit your needs. A Part C plan is going to give you all of the benefits of Part A and B, as well as additional coverage. You can receive this additional coverage at little to no cost and reduce your overall out of pocket costs for health care.
Choosing the Right Plan
When you meet with your insurance agent here are a few things you will want to ask about each plan:
- Star Rating: The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services give each company a star rating according to the level of service that they offer and their customer satisfaction. The rating is based on a scale of one to five stars. One star companies being the worst and five star companies being the best.
- Premium: While some plans have no premium, there are others that do. Be sure to find out if the plan that you choose comes with a premium and if it does how much it will be.
- Deductible, Co-Insurance, Co-Payments: Another important factor you will want to understand is whether or not the plan you choose has a deductible you have to meet, and if it does, how much is it. You will also want to find if you will have to pay co-insurance on the cost of any care received, or if you will pay co-payments. Whether you have co-insurance or co-pays, you will want to learn their costs to you.
Medicare is known to be complicated and frustrating. Do not let yourself be stuck in that category. Educate yourself about all of the different options that are available to you and seek out the help of a qualified professional so that you can be sure you are getting the best coverage possible.