Over 24 million Americans have chosen to get their Medicare benefits through a Medicare Advantage (Part C) healthcare plan. Anyone who is eligible for Part A and Part B can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. MA plans are offered by private insurance companies who contract with Medicare. They are required to provide the same Part A and Part B benefits as Original Medicare, but most MA plans include additional coverage.

If you have been considering enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan, you should get to know what plans may be available in your area of residence.

What Medicare Advantage plans are available?
Insurance companies in the United States are not required to provide Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans, but they have the option to do so if they are first approved by Medicare.

Today, more and more private health insurance providers are going down the path of providing bundled plans for government-sponsored health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid services. Despite this, Medicare Advantage plans are not offered by all companies, and not all companies that do offer them, offer all of the same additional benefits.

United States federal law mandates that all private insurance providers selling Medicare Advantage plans must provide each and every benefit included in Original Medicare Parts A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance). Along with these mandatory benefits, providers have the option to provide extra benefits like dental and vision care, and hearing exams, as well as fitness program memberships. Many plans also include prescription drug (Part D) benefits as part of their coverage.

How do you find a Medicare Advantage plan?

If you are considering enrollment in a Medicare Advantage during your initial enrollment period, during Medicare’s Annual Election Period, or during a Special Enrollment Period, you’ll want to take time to research your options. Because there is a large variety of plans available, you should find and compare those that are available in your local region. Online comparison sites allow you to easily view the options in your area and compare them side by side. Knowledgeable and licensed sales agents can help guide you through your options and help you enroll once you make a decision.

Once you find a plan that suits your health care needs, you must fill out an enrollment form. Many insurance companies allow you to enroll telephonically, but you can get a paper form from the provider as well. After you have filled out the form, you send it back to the insurance provider. You will be required to provide information from your Medicare card including your official Medicare number, and the date your coverage for Part A and/or Part B began.

After enrollment in a Medicare Advantage plan, the provider will give you a membership card that you use whenever you get Medicare-covered services. In some instances, you must also show your red, white, and blue Original Medicare card so make sure to keep it together with your Medicare Advantage plan’s card at all times.

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