Medicare Advantage Plans are another way to get your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage. Medicare Advantage Plans, sometimes called “Part C” or “MA Plans,” are offered by Medicare-approved private companies that must follow rules set by Medicare. Most Medicare Advantage Plans include drug coverage (Part D). In many cases, you’ll need to use health care providers who participate in the plan’s network and service area for the lowest costs. These plans set a limit on what you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket each year for covered services, to help protect you from unexpected costs. Some plans offer out-of-network coverage, but sometimes at a higher cost. Remember, you must use the card from your Medicare Advantage Plan to get your Medicare-covered services. Keep your red, white, and blue Medicare card in a safe place because you’ll need it if you ever switch back to Original Medicare. Below are the most common types of Medicare Advantage Plans.
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) Plans
In HMO Plans, you generally must get your care and services from providers in the plan’s network, except:
• Emergency care
• Out-of-area urgent care
• Out-of-area dialysis
In some plans, you may be able to go out-of-network for certain services. But, it usually costs less if you get your care from a network provider. This is called an HMO with a point-of-service (POS) option.
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) Plans
A Medicare PPO Plan is a type of Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) offered by a private insurance company. PPO Plans have network doctors, other health care providers, and hospitals. You pay less if you use doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers that belong to the plan’s network. You pay more if you use doctors, hospitals, and providers outside of the network.
Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) Plans
A Medicare PFFS Plan is a type of Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) offered by a private insurance company. PFFS plans aren’t the same as Original Medicare or Medigap. The plan determines how much it will pay doctors, other health care providers, and hospitals, and how much you must pay when you get care.
Special Needs Plans (SNPs)
Medicare SNPs are a type of Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO). Medicare SNPs limit membership to people with specific diseases or characteristics. Medicare SNPs tailor their benefits, provider choices, and drug formularies to best meet the specific needs of the groups they serve.
Other less common types of Medicare Advantage Plans that may be available include HMO Point of Service (HMOPOS) Plans and a Medicare Medical Savings Account (MSA) Plan.
For more information on any of the options listed above, go to www.medicare.gov.