Medicare Part C — Medicare Advantage Plans


Medicare Advantage Plans, sometimes called "Part C" or MA plans, are plans offered by private health insurers that contract with Medicare to provide original Medicare-covered services (Part A and Part B) plus additional benefits to people with Medicare who enroll in the plan.

Medicare Advantage Plan Basics*

  • Provide all of your Part A (Hospital) benefits.
  • Provide all of your Part B (Medical Insurance) benefits.
  • Must cover at least all of the medically necessary services that Original Medicare provides.

Medicare Advantage Plan Drug Coverage

  • Most Medicare Advantage plans offer prescription drug coverage.
  • If you choose a Medicare Advantage plan that offers prescription drug coverage, you must receive your benefits through that plan, rather than enrolling in a separate Medicare Part D plan.

Medicare Advantage Plans usually offer extra benefits such as:

  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Health and Wellness Programs

Medicare Advantage Plan Costs

  • In a Medicare Advantage plan, you may pay a monthly premium as well as copayments — which are usually a fixed amount — when you receive services.
  • The Medicare Advantage premium includes coverage for Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B benefits, prescription drug coverage (if offered) and any other benefits allowed by the plan.
  • You will also continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium while enrolled in Medicare Advantage.

Medicare Advantage Plan Enrollment

Initial Enrollment Period

  • There is a seven month enrollment period for those who are newly eligible for Medicare as a result of turning 65.
  • This period consists of the three months before, the month of and the three months after your 65th birthday.

Annual Enrollment Period

  • Between October 15 and December 7 of each year, anyone eligible for Medicare Advantage coverage may either switch plans or enroll in a plan.

Special Enrollment Period

  • You can make changes to your Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug coverage when certain events happen in your life, such as if you move or you lose other insurance coverage.

* Medicare & You, CMS 2012

* When you enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan you cannot also have Medicare Supplement Insurance.