Next year, seniors who have Medicare Advantage plans might be able to access all manners of benefits. These include (but…

Next year, seniors who have Medicare Advantage plans might be able to access all manners of benefits. These include (but aren’t limited to) meals on wheels, air conditioning for those who have asthma, transport to medical appointments, etc.

Medicare Advantage offerings have become more affordable. That’s good news, because studies have correlated the more robust Medicare Advantage options with longer life spans.

In 2021, new benefits were added to some of the Medicare Advantage plans that have attracted new enrollees, including:

The new benefits offered in Medicare Advantage offerings

  • Access to telemedicine services
  • COVID-19 treatment and vaccine coverage (offered in 34% of Medicare Advantage Plans)
  • Comprehensive prescription cost coverage, including insulin
  • Significantly lower premiums compared to prior years, with some options being offered with no monthly premiums (depending on your work history)
  • Supplemental benefits including dental, vision, fitness, and meal delivery

It’s important to understand that not all Medicare Advantage plans offer all of these benefits. As a general rule of thumb, the higher the premium, the lower the deductibles and more benefits included.

If you aren’t happy with the benefits and pricing structure of your plan, you can make changes during the upcoming open enrollment period between January 1st and March 31st of 2021.

Choosing the right plan

It’s not enough just to sign up for the correct plan; you also need to ensure you’re eligible to receive these benefits. Firstly, Advantage members need to get a reference from one of their health care providers. However, the health professional has to be associated with the plan’s network.

Then (depending on the perk you’re trying to access) you may also need to suffer from one of the listed chronic health issues, or have been hospitalized within a specific time frame.

While it’s great news that more private insurances have offerings through Medicare Advantage, navigating which plan is right for you is can challenging. In some cases, it is nearly impossible to determine which plan benefits you qualify for until after you’ve already enrolled and your diagnostics are run.

One tool that helps sift through this maze is Medicare’s own Plan Finder, which allows you to compare your options.

If you need further assistance, you can also call The Medicare Rights Center, a free consumer help line at (800-333-4114.).