In 2022 48% of Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled Medicare Benefit plans and experts expect that this number to rise in 2023.
Medicare Advantage plans can be offered by private insurers. They bundle Medicare benefits in an appealing way, but also restrict care to network providers, require preapproval to see specialists, and can leave beneficiaries with high out of pocket costs for serious conditions.
David Haas is a certified financial advisor in Franklin Lakes. He says that he helps clients make Medicare decisions and tells them to sign up for traditional Medicare with a Medicare supplement plan if they can afford it.
Why then do so many people choose Medicare Advantage to provide their retirement health care? These are the key factors.
Medicare Advantage is often available for free
66% of Medicare Advantage plans that include prescription drug coverage will have no premium in 2023 — as opposed to medigap which has a monthly fee. The choice may seem easy if you don’t have any health problems.
Leslie T. Beck is a CFP from Rutherford, New Jersey. “Medicare Advantage can be very attractive when you are healthy.” You can’t change back to Medicare Advantage if something happens, and it happens all the time. While you can switch to regular Medicare, you won’t be able to get a medigap plan span>
This is because, in most states except four, after your first six-month Medigap open enrollment period has ended, you must be medically eligible for a Medigap policy. Some people with severe health problems may not be eligible for a plan.
Plans come bundled
Original Medicare requires that people manage individual parts of their coverage, such as Part A, Part B and Part D. But Medicare Advantage is simpler: One premium covers everything.
While choosing a Medicare Advantage plan may seem easier, you will still need to shop for coverage each open enrollment. Haas states that you must include prescription drug coverage as well as doctor coverage. This choice must be made every year.
Haas states that Original Medicare requires you to select a new Part D program, but you don’t have to reopen all your medical records every year like you do with Medicare Advantage.
Medicare Advantage has additional
Medicare Advantage plans often offer additional benefits such as money towards vision or dental care that isn’t covered under Original Medicare. According to the Commonwealth Fund, a research group that focuses on health care, about 1 in 4 people said they chose Medicare Advantage because of additional benefits.
“Medicare Advantage plans are highly marketed and boast how they include all the other services that medigap does not offer — prescription drug plans and subsidized club dues,” says George Gagliardi a CFP from Lexington, Massachusetts. It seems that many people find it too tempting to decline .”
However, the additional benefits provided by Medicare Advantage are usually quite limited. Experts say that choosing a plan for dental coverage or gym membership is a mistake.
Beck states, “It’s about more than paying for the piddly things that you have.” It’s about paying for the most catastrophic expenses .”
They chose Medicare Advantage for their friends
Many seniors choose Medicare Advantage plans because someone they know has chosen one.
Andrew T. Cook, CFP, Timonium, Maryland, says that “we tend to get the snowball effect.” “One retiree made the choice, then they talk to another retiree who, in turn, concludes that if they made the decision independently, it must be the right decision.” However, Medicare is an area where retirees should seek advice from others. A state’s State Health Insurance Assistance Program (or SHIP) provides free, impartial guidance for those who don’t have the means to hire a financial advisor. To find out more, visit shiphelp.org
Medicare Advantage ads can be found everywhere
Beck states, “When it comes to advice about what’s best for individuals, it really is who’s the loudest and most persistent.” “If you have ever seen late-night TV, there are just ads after ads for Medicare Advantage span>
The ads are not only prolific but also misleading. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have made it a requirement that all advertising promoting Medicare Advantage must be approved by federal regulators before being aired on television.
Beck states, “I watched those ads very carefully and they basically confound Medicare with Medicare Advantage.” “It is rare that they mention Medicare Advantage .'”
This article is by NerdWallet. It was originally published in The Associated Press.