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Understanding Medicare Advantage Plans in California
“Eureka,” California’s state motto, might be what you’re thinking when you discover there’s an easier way to navigate the maze of enrolling in Medicare Insurance. Like any government program, Medicare can be difficult to navigate on your own, but knowing where you stand is important for California residents 65 years of age and older who are interested in Medicare Advantage Insurance coverage. Californians approaching age 65, or earlier for certain people with disabilities, deserve to know their healthcare coverage options when buying a Medicare Advantage Plan.
You might say it’s two different names with the same meaning: Medicare Advantage, also called Medicare Part C, offers an option to receive the hospital insurance from Medicare Part A and/or the medical and doctor’s office insurance from Medicare Part B. Medicare Advantage (MA) programs in California are available from private insurance companies, offer at least the same level of coverage as Medicare Parts A and B, are approved by Medicare and replace Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B coverage.
Many Californians select a Medicare Advantage plan because of the additional benefits included. California residents desiring coverage for dental, hearing and vision care as well as other routine medical services should consider a Medicare Advantage plan in California as these benefits are typically included.
Am I Eligible for a Medicare Advantage Plan in California?
Deciding eligibility for enrollment in a California Medicare Advantage plan is easier than you might think. It’s identical to an individual’s eligibility for Medicare Parts A and B assuming you reside in an area where Medicare Advantage plans are sold. Plans can depend on county and zip code locations. Knowing medical needs can increase with age, a Medicare Advantage plan specific to California residents may save you some money because many Medicare Advantage plans have $0 monthly premiums. Copayments, coinsurance and deductibles vary depending on the Medicare Advantage Plan you enroll in.
California residents cannot be enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan and a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan at the same time. A Medicare Supplement plan (Medigap) helps cover some of the gaps in coverage like copayments, coinsurance and deductibles that aren’t covered by Medicare Parts A and B.
Will My Prescription Drugs Be Covered by Medicare Advantage Plans in California?
Any resident within the 58 counties throughout California who is looking for prescription drug coverage should consider a Medicare Part C plan as most Medicare Advantage Plans also include a Medicare Prescription Drug plan. Prescription drug coverage provided by Medicare Part D as a part of a Medicare Advantage plan is called a MAPD and it can help cover the cost of prescription drugs. It may also protect California consumers from higher prescription costs in the future.
Most Popular Medicare Advantage Plans in California
Finding the right Medicare Advantage plan in California is as unique as the person the plan is there to support. As reported by the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS.gov), among California residents enrolled in Medicare Advantage, 90% choose an HMO/HMOPOS plan, while a much lower amount (6%) choose a Local PPO. Knowing how much Medicare plan coverage you need will help you determine the right Medicare Advantage Plan in California for your needs.
You can become more informed about Medicare Advantage plans available in California by contacting a SelectQuote licensed sales agent who can guide you through the Medicare maze. Acting as your advocate, our licensed sales agents help you weigh the Medicare Advantage plan options in your area, understand costs and answer questions throughout the process. SelectQuote individually shops more than 20 national insurance companies to help find a plan that meets your individual needs and budget.
When is the California Medicare Advantage Plan Enrollment Period?
Enrollment in a Medicare Advantage Plan occurs during specified enrollment periods. Medicare enrollment in California opens for residents prior to turning age 65 or earlier in special disability cases. The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) runs for seven months.
IEP begins three months before turning age 65, including the birthday month, and ends 3 months after the birthday month. It is also the time allotted for enrollment in Medicare Parts A, B, C and D. For example, if you’re a Californian with a May birthday, your IEP runs from February through August.
You may also enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, which occurs annually each fall. Medicare’s AEP runs from October 15 through December 7 each year. The key dates for AEP are as follows:
Oct. 15 – Annual Enrollment Period Begins
Dec. 7 – Annual Enrollment Period Ends
Jan. 1 – First Date Coverage can start
During the Annual Enrollment every year, California residents can:
- Switch from Medicare Parts A and B (Original Medicare) to a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan
- Change from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another
- Switch from one Prescription Drug (Part D) plan to another
- Add a Prescription Drug (Part D) plan if you didn’t enroll when first eligible for Medicare
In addition to AEP, California residents who are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan can make a one-time plan change during the Open Enrollment (OEP) period, which occurs each year from January 1 through March 31. There are also Medicare Special Enrollment Periods (SEP) you may be able to enroll in Medicare or make changes to your existing Medicare Advantage coverage because of certain events and life changes, such as moving or losing employer coverage.
Is a California Medicare Advantage Plan Right for You?
Wondering if you’re getting all the benefits you deserve? A quick call or online form to SelectQuote can let you know. It can also help you stay up to date with the annual updates to Medicare plans. As a trusted third-party company, SelectQuote is here to help California residents find the right Medicare Advantage Plan to meet specific needs.
To ensure you are getting all the benefits you are entitled to receive, call or complete your online form today. Let SelectQuote’s personal licensed sales agents simplify the Medicare maze by comparing rates and independently shopping insurance companies to help you find an affordable option that meets your unique needs.