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What is a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C)?

No obligation to enroll

Medicare Advantage plans, also called Medicare Part C, provide an alternative to Original Medicare (Parts A and B) They are offered by private health insurance companies that are approved by Medicare. Medicare Part C or Medicare Advantage plans are legally required to offer at least the same benefits that are provided from Original Medicare but can include additional coverage, such as routine vision or dental benefits, prescription drugs or health wellness programs.

With a Medicare Advantage plan (Medicare Part C):

  • $0 premium plans and $0 deductible plans may be available in your area.
  • Prescription drug coverage may be included.
  • Additional benefits, such as vision, hearing and dental may be available.

When choosing a Medicare Advantage Part C plan, you’ll want to consider the different plan types to ensure you have the health coverage you need. Insurance companies who offer Medicare Advantage plans provide six different types of plans as follows, but not all of them are available in all areas:

  • Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)
  • Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)
  • HMO Point of Service (HMOPOS)
  • Private Fee-For-Service (PFFS)
  • Medical Savings Account (MSA)
  • Special Needs Plan (SNP)

Want to review plans in your state?

You will need your own primary care doctor when you have a SNP, HMO, or HMOPOS plan, but you do not need a primary care doctor with a MSA, PPO or PFFS. When needing to see a specialist, HMOs and SNPs are the only plans that require a referral. The HMO plan is the only plan in which you must receive care from doctors in that network.

With most Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans, prescription drug coverage is included, with the exception of the MSA plan. If you want to have prescription drug coverage and you’re choosing an HMO or PPO Medicare Advantage plan, it’s important to select a plan that includes prescription coverage because you will not be able to purchase a stand-alone Medicare Part D plan if you have an HMO or PPO Medicare Advantage plan. SNPs are required to cover prescriptions. PFFS plans sometimes cover prescriptions, but if you have one that doesn’t, you can supplement it with a Medicare Part D plan.

The services offered and the fees charged by private insurers who carry Medicare Advantage plans can vary widely. A SelectQuote representative can help you understand the Medicare Advantage plans available in your area. You can also learn more by downloading our FREE Medicare Advantage Guide.

You may enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during your Initial Enrollment Period, if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period or during the Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan Annual Enrollment Period, held each year from October 15 through December 7.

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP) runs from January 1 through March 31. If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you have a one-time opportunity to:

  • Switch to a different Medicare Advantage Plan
  • Drop Medicare Advantage and return to Original Medicare (Parts A and B)
  • Sign up for a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plan, if you elected to return to an Original Medicare plan

Need more info on Medicare plans?

Our personal licensed sales agents are ready to talk with you about Medicare Advantage. We independently shop up to 21 insurance companies so you can compare rates and find the right plan to meet your needs.

         No obligation to enroll