Medicare Advantage Zero-Dollar Premiums
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If you want to buy a Medicare Advantage plan, you will usually have to pay a premium for coverage. However, that is not always the case. Certain Medicare Advantage plans have no premiums. By enrolling in a Zero premium Medicare Advantage Plan you might find considerable cost savings.
Contact Senior Market Agents Network at 877-209-4949 to learn more about Zero-Premium Medicare Advantage plans.
Is Medicare free for seniors?
Original Medicare is a government program that provides health insurance to senior citizens and others with certain conditions or disabilities. It offers two types of coverage:
- Medicare Part A covers hospitalization costs. This might include things like inpatient stays, surgeries and skilled nursing care.
- Medicare Part B covers outpatient costs. It might include things like physician visits, outpatient surgery, X-rays and lab tests.
Though government-funded, Medicare is not free health care. While most people get their Medicare Part A premium-free, they still pay a premium for their Part B coverage. The Part B premium for 2019 is $135.50. Coinsurance, co-payments and deductibles might also still apply.
Still, Original Medicare is not the only Medicare out there. Other plans, called Medicare Advantage (or Part C plans), can help enrollees get enhanced benefits to their Original Medicare coverage. However, Medicare Advantage will come with its own costs.
Medicare Advantage Plans
Medicare Advantage plans are private insurance policies offered by major insurers. They exist alongside the Original Medicare program. They cover all the care covered by Original Medicare Parts A & B except for hospice care.
Advantage plans will also cover added benefits like:
So, coverage offers applicants expanded benefits for essential health care needs. No one has to buy an Advantage plan. However, you can benefit from one should you choose it.
Medicare Advantage plans will usually come with their own premiums, copayments, deductibles and coinsurance. You'll have to pay some or all such costs depending on the plan you select.
What is a zero-premium Medicare Advantage plan?
The Part C (Medicare Advantage Plan) premium is the cost you pay for the plan and will vary based on the policy you choose. Think of it like you would an electrical bill or water bill. You must pay the bill to keep your policy active. If you fail to pay the premium, then you could face penalties or the plan's cancellation. Medicare Part C is a private plan, so insurers have leeway to choose what premiums they charge.
However, in some cases, certain insurers will offer zero-premium Advantage plans. If you choose one of these plans, then you will pay nothing for the policy itself. In other words, you will pay no monthly payment. That might make it easier to maintain your budget and plan for future medical costs.
What are the out-of-pocket costs with a zero-premium Medicare Advantage plan?
Even if you have a zero-premium Medicare Advantage plan, you may have out of pocket cost such as certain deductibles and copays.
Some of the costs you might still have to pay include:
- Original Medicare Part B premiums. You remain in the Original Medicare program even if you have a Medicare Advantage plan. So, you’ll still have to pay the Part B premium. Keep in mind, most people get their Part A coverage premium-free. However, if you must pay for this coverage, you’ll still have to pay it as well.
- Copayments. These are payments on services you receive. You’ll usually pay them at the time you go to the doctor or a hospital for your care.
- Deductibles. Some plans have deductible that you must pay before your plan will cover the cost of your care.
- Coinsurance. Some Medicare Advantage plans will only pay part of the cost of certain care. For example, the plan will cover 80 percent of costs, while you will pay the remaining 20 percent. Keep in mind, coinsurance payments are different from co-payments.
- Prescription drug costs. Even if your Medicare Advantage plan covers prescriptions, then you will still often have to pay co-payments and deductibles on these costs.
Your plan will usually also include out of pocket maximums. They can be of benefit depending on how much you spend for health care. Once you pay a certain out-of-pocket cost per year, your Medicare Advantage plan will pay all remaining costs for the rest of the year.
Medicare Advantage plans differ. Therefore, most will charge different premiums and out of pocket cost based on the plan you choose. Keep in mind, if you choose a zero-premium plan, this will likely have a higher out of pocket cost compared to Medicare Advantage plans that charge a premium.
Are Zero Premium Plans right for me?
You might think zero-premium Medicare Advantage plans are the cheapest plans out there. However, they might not be.
Remember, even if you pay no premium, then you will still have to pay other costs. At times, these costs on zero-premium plans might be higher than if you have a plan with a premium. So, you might wind up paying more out of pocket on the zero-premium plan.
Here is an example:
Your zero-premium plan might have higher copays for Doctors and Hospitals compared to Medicare Advantage plans that charge a premium. For ex. Medicare Advantage Plan 1 may have a zero premium with a $20 copay for the Primary Doctor and $395 Copay for each day you spend in the hospital while Medicare Advantage Plan 2 has a premium of $36 with a $0 copay for primary doctor and $250 per day copay while in the hospital. Plus, the Out of pocket maximum will be lower on the Medicare Advantage premium plan.
As a result, the premium plan might cost you less in the long run.
Talk to your Medicare Advantage provider to learn more about the premiums available. Work with the team at Senior Market Agents Network to determine what course of action is best for you.
“We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE to get information on all of your options.”