Medicare Advantage Eligibility Requirements & Rules
Medicare Advantage eligibility happens when you have Medicare Parts A and B. Medicare beneficiaries receive their Medicare benefits by Original Medicare or by a Medicare Advantage Plan.
You can call it a Part C plan, Advantage plan or MA Plan; these plans replace your original coverage and provide benefits by private insurance companies.
The government fund Original Medicare; Medicare pays these private insurance companies to provide coverage for your Medicare benefits.
An Advantage plan will be responsible for your health care claims. At the doctor’s you’ll only need to show your Medicare Advantage plan card, no need to worry about your original card.
Generally, these plans will include a Part D plan too, this makes tracking your healthcare a bit easier. Some plans will offer coverage for things like routine dental and routine eye care, which isn’t under Traditional Medicare.
Before choosing a plan, it’s important to understand how Medicare Advantage eligibility works.
Medicare Advantage Eligibility
Medicare Advantage Plans come in different types; the type of plan determines how the coverage works.
Additi9onally, Medicare Advantage eligibility is determined per where you live once you have Part A and Part B. If you reside in a different state or service area for part of the year – you should make sure the plan will provide coverage in both places.
If you have End-Stage Renal Disease typically, you won’t qualify for Advantage eligibility.
Qualifying for Medicare Advantage
Individuals qualifying for Part A and Part B qualify for Medicare Advantage plans. You must first have Original Medicare eligibility to have Medicare Advantage eligibility.
Meaning, you must first meet the Original Medicare eligibility requirements before Advantage eligibility starts.
To qualify for Medicare enrollment, you must first be a U.S. citizen or have permanent legal residency for a minimum of 5 consecutive years. You must also be 65 years old or older; eligibility may also occur because of disability.
Medicare Advantage Requirements
Once you’ve met the criteria for Original Medicare eligibility, you might be looking for additional coverage or an alternative way to get your Medicare benefits.
If you’ve been looking into Medicare Advantage Plans, you’ll need to know the Advantage eligibility requirements.
So, you enroll in Part A and Part B; then, you find an Advantage plan that makes you happy. The next step is to make sure the plan is available in your county.
On the other hand, you might not qualify for Advantage plans in certain situations. For example, if you have End-Stage Renal Disease, most Advantage plans won’t provide you coverage.
Sign Up for Medicare Advantage
Before you sign up for an Advantage plan you should know the best way. Prior to signing up, you should understand the plan’s rules and prices.
All Medicare Advantage Plans work in their own way, take some time to compare health plans in your area before deciding. Your plan should provide you with an option to enroll over the phone, on their website, or a paper enrollment form that you can mail in.
When you call a Medicare agent to help you compare plans you can apply over the phone. Just call the number above.
Make sure you have a couple of things handy before you call, you’ll want your Medicare number and the dates your Part A and Part B coverage date. These dates are on your Medicare card.
Medicare Advantage Enrollment
The first opportunity you’ll have for Advantage enrollment is during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). Your IEP is specific to your 65th birthday (or the 24th month of receiving disability benefits), this is when you’re first eligible for Medicare.
During your IEP you’ll also have Medicare Advantage eligibility. Use this period to enroll in an Advantage plan if you need more coverage than Traditional Medicare offers.
Unless you qualify for a Special Election Period (SEP), Medicare Advantage enrollment happens during 2 specific times each year. In most cases, once you join a plan, enrollment is for the duration of a year.
For those with Medicare Advantage eligibility, you may enroll or make changes during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period and Medicare prescription drug coverage.
As of January 2019, the Medicare Open Enrollment Period is back. During this Open Enrollment Period, beneficiaries can change to another Advantage plan.
If their unhappy with their current coverage, and don’t want a different Advantage plan – beneficiaries can use this time to go back to Original Medicare and then join a Medicare Supplement plan.
Medicare Advantage Rules
As with any plan, Medicare Advantage eligibility has some rules to follow in order to receive coverage.
General rules include the following:
- You must have Medicare Parts A and B (Original Medicare)
- Must live in the service area of the Medicare Advantage plan you wish to join
- You don’t have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)
Following Medicare Advantage enrollment, if you were on any drug plans, you’ll automatically experience removal from the policy. Also, beneficiaries can’t have an Advantage plan and have a separate prescription drug plan; this is because some Advantage plans have drug coverage.
Contrarily, the exception to this is if a beneficiary has a PFFS Medicare Advantage plan. People with a Supplement insurance plan or Original Medicare need to purchase a sperate Part D policy to avoid paying out of pocket.
ESRD Medicare Advantage
Beneficiaries with ESRD typically won’t qualify for Medicare Advantage eligibility. However, patients with ESRD have a certain type of Advantage eligibility. ESRD patients can enroll in a special type of Medicare Advantage plan, known as a Special Needs Plan (SNP).
Medicare offers different types of SNPs; one type is specific for those with kidney failure. If you live in a service area where these SNPs are available, you may qualify to enroll.
Other Options than Medicare Advantage
Medicare Advantage plans aren’t your only option for help with coverage of healthcare costs should you become seriously ill. Medical expenses can potentially wipe out your bank account, it’s good to have a general understanding of your options so this doesn’t happen.
Another option besides Medicare Advantage is Medicare Supplement Insurance also a Medigap policy. Nevertheless, you should understand that Supplement Insurance coverage is different from Medicare Advantage coverage.
Supplement Insurance helps cover healthcare costs for things like copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. If you have extensive healthcare needs and often are visiting the doctors, Medigap could be a great option for your Medicare coverage.
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