What is Medicare Part C?

While Medicare Part C includes a variety of different plan types, one of the most popular and easily recognized options is Medicare Advantage (MA). MA plans are health insurance plans offered by private insurance companies. These insurance companies are contracted and approved by Medicare to offer plans that roll Part A, Part B and most of the time even Part D benefits into one plan.

What Do MA Plans Cover?

Every MA plan must provide the same basic coverage as Medicare Parts A and B, but many plans also feature extra benefits, like vision, dental and fitness memberships, all in one. Some plans, referred to as Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans (or MAPDs), also include prescription coverage.

Many retirees find MA options appealing because their benefits are rolled into one plan, they have access to additional features (vision, dental, fitness memberships, etc.), and the plans often feature an out-of-pocket maximum which caps the amount they might have to pay in a given year.

How Much Does an MA Plan Cost?

Just like when buying a car, the amount you pay for an MA plan can vary based on the plan you select and the features it includes. In general, Medicare Advantage plans can include:

  • A monthly premium
  • Copays and/or coinsurance
  • A prescription deductible
  • An out-of-pocket maximum

During Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (October 15-December 7), insurance companies are allowed to make changes to their MA plans for the upcoming plan benefit year, meaning costs and benefits can change.

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