Many People Qualify for MA Plans
A common misconception is that you have to be over 65 to get Medicare, but actually many young people are eligible to receive Medicare. Individuals with disabilities can qualify if they are eligible for Social Security disability benefits. Mental illness is considered eligible for these benefits and includes depression, bipolar disease, schizophrenia and many other issues. You also qualify if you’re under the age of 65 if you receive a disability pension, have Lou Gehrig’s disease or if you have permanent kidney failure.
To find out if you are eligible for Medicare, you simply go online and use the Eligibility and Premium Calculator on Medicare.gov.
Although offered by private companies, Medicare Advantage plans must offer all Medicare benefits. By doing this, the insurance companies are able to collect rebates from Medicare. The companies then must provide extra services with the money allotted to them by Medicare. All Medicare Advantage companies must offer one plan that includes prescription drug coverage or Part D. As of 2014, almost 85 percent of Medicare Advantage plans included prescription drug coverage. All Part D participants receive a 50 percent discount on branded drugs. In addition, plans must not allow out-of-pocket spending to exceed $6,700. This change was made in 2011.
Benefits for Seniors on Medicare Advantage
In addition to all of the services that you receive on Medicare Part A and Part B, you also get a lot of benefits from Medical Advantage if you are a young or aged senior. Those over the age of 65 are automatically eligible for the program, but you have to be quick in signing up during the enrollment period in order to receive coverage.
Medicare Advantage plans are relatively inexpensive for seniors and even free in some cases if you choose to upgrade. One thing that is not covered by Medicare Advantage is hospice care, although some private companies may include it in their policy as part of providing coverage that is equal to Medicare coverage for hospice.
Currently, 17.6 million seniors rely on Medicare Advantage. Most report a high satisfaction for the plan because of its price and flexibility.
Is Medicare Advantage Free?
Typically, Medicare Advantage Plans are not free. You must pay a premium as part of Part B and also pay a premium for Medicare Advantage as well. This is because Medicare Advantage offers more services and flexibility than traditional Medicare plans. It’s still lower under MA plans to pay premiums, co-payments and deductibles even if you just have traditional Medicare.
NOTE THAT SOME MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PLANS OFFERS EXTRA BENEFIT WITH ZERO PREMIUM.