Medicare Part C = Medicare Advantage
Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) cover those medical expenses that Original Medicare does not. The maximum out-of-pocket expense limit with Medicare Advantage Plans is a significant benefit. There are a wide variety of plan options in Medicare Advantage Plans including HMOs, PPOs, special needs plans, fee-for-service plans, point of service plans and medical savings accounts. The requirements for eligibility are minimal. A person must live in the service area of the plan that they wish to join, must have original Medicare Parts A and B, and must not have end-stage renal disease (some exceptions in rare circumstances).
Pricing of Medicare Advantage Plans varies by the type of plan, provider and services offered. Changing plans can be accomplished during the annual enrollment period, except when someone first becomes eligible or due to personal circumstances which qualify someone for a Special Election Period.
The Open Enrollment Period is the time period when people enrolled in Medicare can make changes to their plan. This represents a very busy time of year for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS is receiving its highest volume of letters, phone calls, and plan changes during this time frame. Reasons for making changes to Medicare include increasing costs, travel distance, satisfaction with service and providers or changing medical needs.
A person may disenroll from their Medicare Advantage Plan and return to Part A and Part B coverage at the beginning of the calendar year. The Mediare Advantage Disenrollment Period is January 1st to February 14th.