Medicare, established by President Lyndon 51 years ago, is a health program for individuals aged 65 and above. Medicare provides health coverage for over 60 million individuals. About a third of these people opt to go for Medicare Advantage rather than original Medicare. Private insurers are the ones who offer Medicare Advantage plans. They limit you to a particular network of insurance providers. Advantage plans may be cheaper than original Medicare. In case you have a plan to get Medicare for 2021, here are five things to know.

1. You Can Change Your Current Plan during Open Enrollment Period of Medicare Advantage

From January 1st to March 31st every year, Medicare Advantage usually has its open enrollment period. At this period, you are offered the opportunity to dump your existing Medicare Advantage plan and make a replacement for it with another one or switch it to original Medicare. In case you are new to this plan, this is a golden chance for you to give it a shot and see if it works for you. You can then make adjustments before the end of March 2021 instead of having a plan you don’t like the whole year.

2. You Can Register for a New Medicare Plan during Open Enrollment

From mid-October, the annual open enrollment of Medicare is always underway. So, explore the Advantage plan choices and lock in insurance cover for 2021 if you are on original Medicare. The sign-up process for the Advantage plan closed on December 7th last year.

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3. You Might Discover a $0 Premium Medicare Plan

Most of the time, Medicare Advantage covers health services that the original plan does not, such as vision exams and dental care; hence, most individuals assume it is expensive. The fact is, around 54% of these plans do not charge their premium at all, and about 96% of individuals who enroll will access one of these Advantage plans for 2021.

4. You Can Select From Over 30 Different Medicare Plans

Kaiser Family Foundation reports that the mediocre of those who enroll will access around 33 Advantage plans for 2021. However, individuals enrolling from rural areas might have limited options, and there is no Medicare Advantage plan obtainable in 82 counties in the US.

5. Hospital Care May Be More Expensive

Compared to original Medicare, the Advantage plan may be more cost-effective but not all the time. There may be extra charges due to hospitalization. For every hospitalization in 2021, Original Medicare will cater for Part A duty-free of $1,484. However, for the first two months of care, you will not encounter any coinsurance. On the other hand, most Advantage plan options charge a daily copay that can escalate costs for extra days of hospitalization. Actually, for a five-day or more day’s hospitalization, a minimum of 50% of Advantage plan beneficiaries might experience higher out-of-pocket charges than those on Part A and Part B Medicare.

There are clear pros and cons of enrolling in an Advantage plan. It is vital to explore your plan choices and see whether it suits you. You might discover that with a Medicare Advantage plan, you don’t just save cash but also obtain superior healthcare.

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