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Traditional Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage Plans: Allsup Finds Knowing the Differences Means Savings for People with Disabilities
Date:11/3/2008

ref );" target="_blank" title="Medicare Advantage">Medicare Advantage plans, on the other hand, at a minimum cover everything offered by traditional Medicare (Parts A and B). Also, these plans are required to accept most Medicare beneficiaries since medical history cannot be a barrier to enrollment. Many Medicare Advantage plans also offer additional benefits not covered by traditional Medicare, such as dental care, hearing and vision screening.

Most Medicare Advantage plans also provide prescription drug coverage options. Having adequate drug coverage is very important, especially if you are facing thousands of dollars in non-covered prescription drug costs while in the Medicare coverage gap known as the donut hole. In 2008, the donut hole begins when an individual's total drug costs reach $2,510, including the portion paid by Medicare and the individual's own out-of-pocket deductibles and co-payments. The individual then must pay 100 percent of the next $3,216 in out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions until total drug costs reach $5,726, after which Medicare prescription drug coverage resumes.

Cost
Despite the added coverage, out-of-pocket costs are generally less costly with a Medicare Advantage plan than if an individual has traditional Medicare and Medigap supplemental insurance. Traditional Medicare Part A is free and Part B premiums are based on the individual's income. For 2008, the monthly cost is $96.40 for single taxpayers with an income of $82,000 or less (or couples with $164,000 or less in income).

Everyone in a Medicare Advantage plan must pay the same monthly premium as those enrolled in traditional Medicare Part B. Additional costs depend on the benefits provided by the plan, with some charging an additional premium or having higher deduc
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Traditional Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage Plans: Allsup Finds Knowing the Differences Means Savings for People with Disabilities
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