One of the Medicare plan options you might consider is Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C). Medicare Advantage gives you the opportunity to get your Medicare Part A and Part B benefits from a private insurance company that contracts with Medicare. One exception is that under a Medicare Advantage plan, you receive hospice benefits directly through Medicare Part A and not through the plan. Most Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage, and some plans offer extra benefits, like routine dental services. We’ll explore factors that affect what Medicare Advantage plans cost.
What do Medicare Advantage plans cost?
Medicare Advantage plans are available from private insurance companies that contract with Medicare. For the most part, each plan sets its own premiums, deductibles, and other Medicare costs. So the answer to “What do Medicare Advantage plans cost?” will vary among plans.
Here are some of the out-of-pocket Medicare costs you could pay if you have a Medicare Advantage plan (not every plan includes every one of these costs):
- Monthly premium
- Coinsurance or copayment
- Prescription drug “coverage gap” costs
When you’re looking at what Medicare Advantage plans cost, it’s worth noting that every plan has an annual out-of-pocket maximum amount. That means that once you have spent a certain amount of money on costs of medical services within a year, you won’t have to pay anything for covered medical services for the rest of that year. The out-of-pocket maximum amount may differ among Medicare Advantage plans, and may change year to year.
What Medicare Advantage plans cost: some plans have $0 premiums
Did you realize that some Medicare Advantage plans have monthly premiums as low as $0? That’s great to know, but you need to also take into account the other Medicare Advantage plan costs. For example, a Medicare Advantage plan might have a $0 premium, but a high deductible amount, so that you’d have to pay a large deductible before the plan covers any services.
Keep in mind that no matter what Medicare Advantage plan you sign up for, you need to continue paying your Part B premium, along with any premium the plan may have.
It may be a good idea to compare all Medicare Advantage plan costs, not just premium amounts, when you’re shopping for a plan.
According to eHealth research, the average monthly premium for Medicare Advantage plans decreased from $12 to $8 between Q1 2018 and Q1 2019. The popularity of zero-dollar premium Medicare Advantage and Medicare Advantage prescription drug plans contributed to the low average premiums for these products.
What Medicare Advantage plans cost: provider networks
Some Medicare Advantage plans control costs by creating provider networks. A plan might require you to use doctors, specialists, and pharmacies within its network. In some cases, you may use non-network providers, but you might have to pay more.