A Medicare Cost Plan is a type of Medicare Advantage plan. But there are several important differences between Medicare Cost Plans and most other Medicare Advantage plan. Medicare Cost Plan. Medicare Cost Plans are not available in every state.

Medicare Cost Plans vs. Original Medicare

Original Medicare includes Part A and Part B. Medicare Cost Plans might also offer additional benefits like dental and vision care. They might include prescription drug coverage as well. The plans may charge a premium that can vary between companies and plans.

Medicare Cost Plans vs. Medicare Advantage plans

  • You can generally visit any doctor who accepts Medicare assignment.

Medicare Cost Plans typically have networks, as do many Medicare Advantage plans. Medicare Advantage plans may require you to use providers in the plan’s network. However, Medicare Cost Plans work with Original Medicare. This means that if you see a provider who’s outside of your plan network, but accepts Medicare assignment, Medicare might cover that service.

  • You can usually enroll in, or drop, a Medicare Cost Plan anytime. Most types of Medicare Advantage plans have limited enrollment periods. But you can generally sign up for a Medicare Cost Plan anytime that it’s accepting new members. You can drop a Medicare Cost Plan anytime you’d like, and return to Original Medicare.
  • You only need to be enrolled in Medicare Part B. Other types of Medicare Advantage plans require you to be enrolled in Part A and Part B.

Medicare Cost Plans may or may not include prescription drug coverage. Check with the plan. If it doesn’t include this coverage, you can generally sign up for a stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.

Is a Medicare Cost plan right for you?

Medicare Cost Plans are only available in a few states today. In 2019, a federal law limited their availability even more. The law prohibits Medicare Cost Plans in areas where at least two Medicare Advantage Plans are available. This change reduced the number of Medicare Cost Plans available. If you are interested in one of these plans, make sure they are available in your state.

No matter what type of Medicare Advantage plan you may have, you need to pay your monthly Medicare Part B premium along with any premium the plan may charge.