By DENNIS REICH
In our last article we did a rather general covering of Supplements and I promised to write about Advantage plans and whether or not they could work to your advantage. (Clever choice of words? OK, so I have to amuse myself sometimes.) Here we go!
Whatever you decided about my last article on Supplements, as to whether or not it cleared that element of Medicare up or not, this aspect of Medicare is worthy of a book. I am going to try to break this down into several categories and advise you to write down your questions and call me for the answers.
Why are they called Advantage Plans, simply put, they typically give you more than straight Medicare in the way of benefits. Hence, to your Advantage. They add on benefits such as dental, vision, transportation, gym membership, over the counter items and drugs. In this area, usually for NO PREMIUM! Yesterday I had a young lady inquire about Advantage Plans in her area that GAVE BACK a part of the part B premium paid to Medicare, her question specifically was were there any available to her and the answer was YES! So here we have plans that not only cover everything Medicare covers, in most cases WITHOUT A PREMIUM, and in some cases giving you a portion of your part B premium back. Winner, winner chicken dinner! Am I right?I know that right now after reading this you are asking yourself why would you choose anything else? And for the majority of people, these are the plans that make the most sense.
So why did I say I could write a book covering Advantage Plans, because each plan is different. Some doctors take many plans, some only take one. Your choice of doctors could be a deciding factor for you. These plans may not have a premium, but they do require copays and those fees differ from plan to plan. Some of these plans are HMO’s and some are PPO’s (I will explain those). Some offer rewards for doing your preventative care and some offer an extensive over the counter selection. These plans are required to have a “MAXIMUM OUT OF POCKET AMOUNT” but, that can be a rather large difference between plans. These plans vary by the county where you reside. And finally, all of these plans have a “network” and we need to make sure that network works for you.
I promised to explain HMO and PPO. Ok, here goes; HMO typically has a smaller number of providers to choose from than a PPO. You are probably saying to yourself that it seems like a disadvantage to have fewer choices and sometimes you would be right. Being able to choose from all the doctors in Florida or even the continental United States definitely feels like an advantage but, those plans are more expensive in every way and provide you with fewer non-Medicare benefits. So, we need to have a real heart to heart discussion about your needs, wants and desires before making any decision about these plans.
One more thing, YOU CAN SELECT A NEW ADVANTAGE PLAN EVERY YEAR! Now that’s an advantage I can live with.
You can get in touch with Mr. Reich at (352) 587-2178
Accent Insurance is located at:
4098 Commercial Way
Spring Hill, Florida 34606