Medicare Part C plans, also called Medicare Advantage plans, offer extra coverage for things not covered by Parts A and B. These are private but standardized plans available during the annual open enrollment period. Many include Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage), but depending on your plan, you may be able to get extra benefits.
Some plans may cover services that aren’t just your typical doctor’s office visit. For people with chronic conditions, this can create a big, positive change. More and more health professionals recognize that many environmental factors can affect a person’s health. Some of the extra benefits include things like dental, vision, and hearing services.
Advantage cover some items and services that would reduce health risks for beneficiaries. For example, an Advantage plan might cover air filters for someone with asthma. This simple change could prevent poor air quality from sending that person to the hospital. Advantage plans may also cover things like transportation to and from doctor’s appointments. It could even cover something like a cooking class that teaches someone with heart disease how to make heart-healthy meals.
These plans may also cover improvements to a person’s home. This could be vital for Medicare users who have developed mobility issues. If you need disability accommodations such as wheelchair ramps and wider hallways to fit mobility aids, your Medicare Advantage plan may cover that, too.
These changes follow some expansions that took place in 2019. On January 1, 2019, Medicare began allowing Advantage plans to cover shower grips and home safety devices. These help prevent falls, which can be dangerous to older people.
As of 2019, one-third of Medicare users elected a Medicare Advantage plan. By 2029, this percentage is expected to increase to 49%. If you think you might benefit from one of these services, be sure to carefully look over your options before enrolling.
If you haven’t already found your 2021 Medicare coverage, you have until December 7 to do so.