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Navigating the Medicare Advantage plans roadmap may seem a bit daunting if you don't know all the twists and turns. Considering that there are on average 24 plans to choose from, it can be confusing to say the least. A few helpful tips on the different types of plans will give you a clearer vision of the road to arrive at your medical insurance destination safely.
First things first, a Medicare Advantage plan is run by a private insurer. They are essentially the same as the government-run Medicare program, but are a private-company run alternative. There are four main types Medicare Advantage Plans:
• Medicare Health Maintenance Organization (HMOs)
• Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO)
• Private Fee-for-Service Plans
• Medicare Special Needs Plans
Before deciding on a plan type or individual plan for that matter, consider the following questions: If you are considering a network-based plan, such as a HMO or PPO, are your doctors included in the available network? If they are not, can you go out-of-network for an additional fee? If you have a complicated health situation, this is an important consideration. Are you willing to accept an annual plan -- one that you must renew and choose among plans offered year after year? (With standard Medicare supplemental plans, your coverage remains the same year after year.) Since many seniors are on a fixed income, can you afford the monthly premium? Are the out-of-pocket expenses, such as co-pays, coinsurance and deductibles reasonable?
Lastly, remember that no one Medicare Advantage plan is the best for everyone. Compare Medicare Advantage plans at www.medicare.gov in order to choose the best plan based upon your individual circumstances.