What is Medicare Advantage?

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Medicare Advantage is one way to get your Medicare benefits. It is also known as Medicare Part C. Medicare Advantage plans are approved by Medicare, but run by private companies. With many Medicare Advantage plans, you’ll likely have less flexibility than you would with Original Medicare, but your costs may be lower.

When can I first sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan?

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You can first sign up for a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan during the 3 months before, the month of, and the 3 months after you initially become eligible for Medicare.

When can I change or drop my Medicare Advantage plan?

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You can change or drop your Medicare Advantage plan between October 15 and December 7 of each year. The California Health Advocates website has more information on Medicare Advantage enrollment.

What are the five types of Medicare Advantage plans?

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The five different types of Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans are:

How much do Medicare Advantage plans cost?

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Most Medicare Advantage plans in California require that you pay the Medicare Part B premium, along with any additional premiums for extra benefits or Medicare Part D. You may still be able to get help paying for your Part B premiums with a Medicare Savings Program and your Part D premiums with the Low Income Subsidy.

What should I think about when considering different Medicare Advantage plans?

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When considering which Medicare Advantage plan to choose, you should:
  • look carefully at which doctors you will be allowed to see without paying extra costs;
  • check to see if the plan covers any specialty care you might need that’s related to your disability; and
  • check to see if the plan covers any doctors or medical facilities that you particularly like.

What is the difference between a Medicare Advantage plan and a Medigap policy?

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Medigap policies help pay for gaps in your Original Medicare coverage—services that Medicare Parts A and B won’t pay for.

With Medicare Advantage (Part C), you receive all your Medicare benefits through a private company.