Best Medicare Advantage for 2018

Did you know that there are different kinds of Advantage plans? There are minor differences in what is being offered by the different insurance companies. There are also different networks to choose from for these plans, which essentially create different plans and benefits. We are going to take some time to look at them to help you figure out what are the best Medicare Advantage for 2018 for you.

Coverage Differences

Where the Advantage plans most significantly differ is in their coverage of prescription drugs. This coverage is known as Medicare Part D, and not all the Advantage plans come bundled with it. Most of them do, and it’s rare to find an Advantage plan that doesn’t offer this coverage, but you need to be aware that some of them won’t have it and make sure you get what you want to from an Advantage plan. Keep in mind that you can always sign up for Part D all by itself, even after you have picked out an Advantage plan. So, long as that plan doesn’t come with Part D, you will be able to buy that Part D coverage separately.

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Some of the plans will differ in smaller, less noticeable ways. These coverage changes may not be something you even realize is different until you take a closer look at them. However, they can add up over time, and you may miss having that coverage after a while.

You will also find coverage difference from one state to the next. This isn’t the same as picking out plans that are different, but you should know that plans can be different between states. The difference comes through what is medically necessary. That definition can change between states, so what is considered medically necessary and will be covered by your insurance plan may not be considered necessary in another state and therefore will not be covered.  Network Differences

You should also know that the Advantage plans come with a few options. Not all insurance providers will have all these options available to you, but you should understand what they are and how they can affect you.

Each plan functions on a network. That is a series of hospitals and doctor’s offices that are approved by the insurance provider for their insurance plans. They have a relationship with one another and agree to accept one another’s services. If you go to a healthcare facility that is on the provider’s network and receive care, then the insurance company will reimburse the facility for your treatment. Going to an off-network facility will make that process a little more complicated, and depending on the kind of network plan your Advantage plan has, you may not be covered at all.

The HMO is considered one of the best Medicare Advantage of 2018, as it tends to be reasonably priced. It is the most common one for a provider to carry, and you should have no trouble finding this one at your local insurance company. The HMO plan will allow you to only be covered at approved network facilities. If you go off network, you get no coverage whatsoever. There is an exception to that, however. If you have an emergency and you must be taken to an off-network facility for treatment, then you will be covered in that instance.

The other major type of Advantage plan network available is the PPO. This one lets you get treated just about anywhere and still get covered. It’s a more expensive plan, but that’s an often a small price to pay for getting coverage wherever you like. There is a catch, though. You only receive partial coverage at off-network facilities. Your full coverage from your Advantage plan is only available at healthcare facilities that are on the network.

Some insurance providers will offer other network types for their Advantage plans as well, but these are less common and usually come with a set of requirements for you to meet for eligibility. We have covered the most common two, which are the ones that most people will sign up for.


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Finding the Best Advantage Plan for You

Now that you understand how some often Advantage plans can be different from one another, you need to know how to look at those differences in such a way that you can find the most appropriate plan for you.

You want to start by comparing coverage. Know what you need to have covered to be able to have most of your medical needs taken care of and know what you can afford. Then find the plan that fits those needs best.

You also need to compare prices. You may find two plans with very similar coverage and not know which to choose. But if you get quotes for those plans, then the choice should become much easier. Just pay attention to the coverage as, unlike with Medigap plans, there is no guaranteed coverage for Advantage plans beyond the basic coverage they all have (Medicare parts A and B).

You may find later that you picked the wrong Advantage plan or that your health needs changed and you need something different. That’s okay, and you can change your plan to something else. You can even drop the Advantage plan entirely and pick up a different type of coverage plan. To do that though, you need to change your plan at the accepted time. There is a window once a year where you can freely change your plan. Your Advantage plan will likely be set to last for one year at a time. So, once it has expired you are free to pick a different plan without penalty. Just make sure that you don’t accidentally renew the plan you have.

By keeping up with coverage changes and your own changing needs, you can find the most appropriate coverage for yourself and ensure that you are getting the best Medicare Advantage for 2018 and beyond.