Medicare Part C is commonly known as Medicare Advantage (MA plans)
Medicare Advantage is also offered in the common forms of an HMO or PPO plan from private insurance companies approved by Medicare. This means that those who choose a Medicare Advantage plan are subject to using the doctors listed in the associated HMO (requires referral) or PPO (referrals NOT required) networks.
These are the plans that everyone sells during the annual enrollment period from October 15th through December 7th and some during the open enrollment period from January 1st to March 31st of each year.
Top Medicare Advantage Companies You Might Recognize
- United Health Care
- Cigna HealthSpring
The confusing part about Medicare Advantage is that client’s often think if they have a Medicare Advantage plan, that they no longer have Medicare.
That is false!
Parts A and B are required to enroll in Medicare Advantage.
The difference is that once you are enrolled in Medicare Advantage, the private insurance company becomes the primary payor instead of the Medicare program and assumes the liability of paying the Part A and Part B covered services. This was a way for Medicare to cut spending and transfer the patient liability to the private insurance companies. This transfer of liability is why you see some plans offering additional benefits such as dental, vision, hearing and wellness. It’s the private insurance companies best interest to keep their policy holders healthy in order maintain acceptable loss ratios.