What is Medicare Part C, Anyway?
Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) is a type of health insurance plan that provides benefits similar to those offered by Traditional Medicare, but often goes beyond to include additional benefits like dental, vision, and hearing coverage, and occasionally other benefits such as medical transportation services.
With a Medicare Advantage plan, certain beneficiaries can also get prescription drug coverage included, ultimately lowering Medicare costs for seniors. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that Medicare Advantage plans carry a 40 percent lower cost burden rate than that of Traditional Medicare plans. Let’s discuss how that’s possible.
Medicare Math: Understanding the Cost of Coverage
Before anyone starts to dump their Original Medicare coverage in favor of Medicare Advantage, it’s important to understand the details associated with a lower cost burden.
Although Medicare Advantage’s cost burden rate is 40 percent lower than Medicare Parts A and B, it doesn’t mean that it’s cheaper than Medicare Original Medicare altogether. Rather, the cost burden is the portion of an individual’s annual income that goes toward healthcare.
The percentage of people who experience cost burden is known as the cost burden rate. For instance, 11.8 percent of people who are enrolled in Medicare Advantage are affected by the cost burden, as opposed to 20 percent of those who are in Original Medicare.
52.7 percent of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries live below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, compared to just 39.1 percent of Original Medicare beneficiaries. With 42 percent of all Medicare-eligible individuals enrolled in a Part C plan, that means that there are a lot more low-income individuals enrolled in Medicare Advantage, but they’re experiencing a significantly lower rate of cost burden. This is one of the many ways that Medicare Advantage plans can save you money. Let’s look at a few others.
So, How Can Medicare Advantage Save You Money?
Medicare Advantage can save you money on the macro level. It’s cheaper than using Original Medicare because it uses networks, which are typically made up of HMO and PPO plans.
On the contrary, Original Medicare uses a system known as assignment to set the price that it will pay for a service. The providers who accept the assignment agree to accept the agreed-upon amount. Since it is the country’s biggest medical insurance provider, it is common for doctors to accept Medicare. However, this doesn’t have many benefits for the providers as it doesn’t allow them to direct patients to specific specialists or doctors.
As a result of this difference, healthcare providers will agree to charge an insurer lower rates (though a copay may still apply). In return, the insurer will direct beneficiaries to that provider. Since many Medicare Advantage plans only allow beneficiaries to visit healthcare providers in-network, this type of plan gives them access to a larger client base.
Medicare Advantage plans also draw on the same level of trust as Traditional Medicare. Government funding incentivizes high-quality care and helps attract more people to the program. This means that they can lower the out-of-pocket costs for beneficiaries.
Specific Money-Saving Benefits For Medicare Advantage Enrollees
There are many financial tricks that go into making a Medicare Advantage plan more cost-effective for Medicare enrollees. Here are some of the most popular:
Unlike Medicare Parts A and B, most Medicare Part C plans do not carry an additional premium charge. However, they can still have various cost factors that affect their members’ out-of-pocket expenses. For instance, some plans may have a higher deductible. On the other hand, some plans may have lower deductibles than Original Medicare.
The Medicare Give Back Benefit
One of the most cost-effective benefits included in some Medicare Advantage plans is the Medicare Give Back Benefit, which can lower your monthly premium for Medicare Part B by as much as $144.
The Medicare Grocery Benefit
One of the most important factors that you can consider when it comes to staying healthy is eating right. Some Medicare Advantage plans allow members to use a prepaid credit card to purchase groceries. Some plans also provide other benefits such as grocery delivery and allowing individuals to buy over-the-counter medications with this Medicare flex card as well.
Since these benefits are not universal, it’s important that you compare all of the different Medicare plans available to you. Luckily, the Medicare experts and licensed insurance agents at MedicareInsurance.com exist to help you do exactly that! Feel free to contact them at (800) 950-0608 today!