Medicare Part C

Medicare Part C is a term often used to refer to Advantage Plans such as HMOs and PPOs. For those eligible, these are private health plans that are Medicare approved. That means when you sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan, you are officially in the Medicare system.

These Advantage Plans include medical (Part B) and hospital (Part A) coverage, as well as other services deemed medically necessary. Medicare Advantage Plans usually include some extra benefits, and most times also have Part D prescription coverage. Like other HMOs and PPOs, these Advantage Plans usually require that you use a certain network of doctors and hospitals in order to receive services. One major advantage of these plans is the cost savings. That’s because the out-of-pocket expenses in these plans is usually lower than those of Medicare by itself. That said, your actual costs will depend on the policy you choose and the services you use.

Medicare Part C Plan Options:

*Medicare PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) Plans

*Medicare HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) Plans

*Medicare PPFS (Private Fee-For-Service) Plans

*Medicare SNP (Special Needs Plans)

*Medicare MSA (Medical Savings Account) Plans.

You qualify for a Medicare Part C Plan if:

*You live within the geographic location covered by the plan. * You already qualify for Medicare Part A and Part B. *You are not suffering from End-Stage Renal Disease (You need a kidney transplant or dialysis due permanent kidney failure).

Since you are only allowed to switch plans once each year from November 15 through December 31, its is important to pick your plan wisely. There are, however, special circumstances which will allow you to change plans outside this window.