For seniors contemplating switching to a Medicare Advantage plan throughout the present Medicare open enrollment interval — which runs by Dec. 7 — selecting a plan may be harder than ever.
The variety of Medicare Advantage plans for 2022 is larger than ever, in line with a new analysis by the nonprofit Kaiser Household Basis (KFF). Nationwide, there are 3,834 Medicare Advantage plans provided for 2022, an 8% enhance from 2021.
That doesn’t imply seniors may have that many plans to select from, although. Medicare Advantage plans are provided by personal medical insurance firms, so plan availability can fluctuate extensively from county to county.
On common, seniors in any given location may have entry to 39 Medicare Advantage plans for 2022, in line with the KFF evaluation. That's up from 33 plans for 2021 and is the highest common variety of out there plans in greater than a decade.
In addition to the plan availability in their space, one other issue that may assist seniors slim their Medicare Advantage choices is any “extra” advantages that include a plan.
Medicare Advantage plans should present all the identical advantages as conventional Medicare. However Medicare Advantage plans can supply further advantages that aren’t lined by conventional Medicare — and lots of do.
For instance, the following “extra” advantages are provided by particular person Medicare Advantage plans for 2022, in line with the KFF evaluation:
- Eye exams and/or eyeglasses: Offered by 98% of plans
- Health profit: 97%
- Telehealth: 95%
- Listening to exams and/or listening to aids: 95%
- Dental profit: 94%
- Prescription drug protection: 89%
- Over-the-counter advantages (for gadgets comparable to adhesive or elastic bandages): 81%
- Meal profit (comparable to a cooking class, vitamin schooling or meal supply): 67%
- Transportation advantages: 38%
- Acupuncture: 36%
- In-home assist providers: 10%
- Lavatory security gadgets: 8%
- Telemonitoring providers: 3%
- Help for caregivers of Medicare enrollees: 3%
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What’s the distinction between Authentic Medicare and Medicare Advantage?
Authentic Medicare and Medicare Advantage are the two major kinds of Medicare.
Authentic Medicare is the conventional Medicare program provided immediately by the federal authorities. Medicare Advantage plans are an all-in-one different provided by personal insurance coverage firms.
Selecting between these two choices is probably the greatest choice Medicare recipients face. They have to make it after they first enroll in Medicare, they usually have a possibility to change from one kind of Medicare to the different throughout open enrollment durations.
Authentic Medicare is at present the extra in style of the two major choices. As of 2020, 40% of all Medicare enrollees selected a Medicare Advantage plan, in line with the latest annual report from the Medicare boards of trustees.
Medicare Advantage plans have been rising in recognition, although. In 2004, solely 12.8% of all Medicare enrollees selected a Medicare Advantage plan.
Be cautious when switching from Authentic Medicare to Medicare Advantage
Whereas Medicare Advantage plans are sometimes thought-about a extra reasonably priced different to Authentic Medicare, deciding whether or not to change from Authentic Medicare to Medicare Advantage shouldn't be accomplished flippantly.
Medicare Advantage isn't for everybody, and switching to it could carry threat.
For instance, one draw back to Medicare Advantage plans is that they might restrict you to a sure community of medical doctors. So, you may not be capable to proceed seeing the identical physician and nonetheless have the visits lined in the event you swap from Authentic Medicare to Medicare Advantage.
Authorities analyses additionally counsel that seniors who're in poorer well being have extra points with entry to medical care or high quality of care below Medicare Advantage plans.
These plans additionally require prior authorization extra usually than Authentic Medicare does, in line with a 2018 evaluation by the Kaiser Household Basis. As we clarify in “8 Companies Medicare Advantage Gained’t Cowl With out Preapproval“:
“Prior authorization requires enrollees to get approval from the plan before accessing a particular health care service. If the plan does not approve the service beforehand, the plan might not pay for the service — leaving the patient on the hook for the cost.”
Switching to Medicare Advantage can also be dangerous for seniors with Authentic Medicare who additionally pay for a supplemental Medicare coverage, often known as a Medigap coverage.
If such seniors later determine to change again to Authentic Medicare, they received’t essentially be capable to get the identical Medigap coverage again — or get a brand new Medigap coverage in any respect. We clarify this additional in “4 Pitfalls for First-Time Medicare Enrollees.”