Medigap plans are not going to be right for everyone. In some cases, they simply cost too much or cover expenses that are not necessarily relevant to some seniors. Advantage plans offer coverage that doesn’t add onto the base Medicare plan like Medigap plans do. Instead, Advantage plans replace Medicare and offer full Medicare Part A and Part B coverage, along with some additional cover. They can take care of all emergency medical service costs and urgently needed care expenses for you. This is included in the base coverage for every Advantage plans, along with that full Part A and Part B coverage.
Some Advantage plans will also include Part D coverage too, which takes care of many prescription drug costs. They can also cover the cost of checkups for you throughout the year, including the cost of prescription items like eyeglasses or hearing aids.
Advantage plans are limited by the coverage area of their insurance companies. So, if there is no medical facility near you that accepts your insurer’s Medicare Advantage plan, then you won’t be getting full coverage when you go for treatment. You can choose an HMO or a PPO plan to suit your finances and coverage needs. HMO plans are Medicare Advantage options that cover you fully within your insurer’s network. They are cheap and practical for highly populated areas. PPOs are Advantage Plan options that cover you fully on the network and partially outside the network. They are more expensive but cover you better and are well suited to areas where coverage is harder to find.
Let’s take a look at the companies that sell Advantage plans and what they call their own versions of these plans:
Humana- (NYSE: HUM) Humana sells Advantage plans that go by the names Humana Choice Pro, Humana Gold Plus, and Humana Gold Choice. These will be labeled as HMO or PPO plans, depending on what they offer. Humana boasts affordable rates for its plans and even offers some $0 monthly rate plans under its Advantage banner.
AARP/United Healthcare- AARP, under United Healthcare, offers a wide assortment of Advantage plans. These all go by the name AARP Complete. Because AARP and United Healthcare have such an extensive network across the country, it is easy for seniors to find coverage on their Advantage plans with them.
BCBS- Because BCBS operates as a collection of different, smaller companies, their Advantage plans can go by many different names. Some of the most prominent will be Blue Advantage, Blue Saver and Blue Value. They place an emphasis as a company on saving their customers’ money, and BCBS is known for its low rates and great customer service.
Kaiser- (NYSE: KGHI) Kaiser sells Advantage plans called Advantage Plus and Medi-Cal. This company, the full name of which is Kaiser-Permanente, is based out of Oakland, California. Kaiser works with medical professionals to provide healthcare and coverage solutions for their members and they are a not-for-profit organization.