In general, a Medicare Advantage plan is a health plan option approved
by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and operated
by a private insurance company. Sometimes, you will hear a Medicare
Advantage plan called a "Medicare Part C plan" or a Medicare Health plan.
A Medicare Advantage MAPD (or MA-PD )includes Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage and a Medicare Advantage MA plan does not include drug coverage.
Both MA and MAPD Medicare Advantage plans provide a combination of your Medicare Part A (in-patient or hospital coverage) and Medicare Part B (out-patient or physician coverage) and may also include other "supplemental" service such as limited home healthcare, vision coverage, dental coverage, transportation, and recreational coverage (such as a "Silver Sneakers" membership).
Important: You may not be able to add Medicare drug coverage to an MA.
If you join an MA
plan (without prescription drug coverage), you may not be allowed
to also add a stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan (PDP
). If you want prescription drug coverage and want to join a Medicare Advantage plan, then you probably should choose an MAPD
. Only MSAs and PFFS Medicare Advantage plans can add stand-alone Medicare Part D drug coverage (see more below). However, if you receive VA drug coverage, you can join an MA plan and use your creditable VA drug coverage or you can join an MAPD plan and use either your VA drug coverage or your MAPD drug coverage (but not both at the same time).
You can read more in our Frequently Asked Question: "Can I enroll in an HMO and then add prescription drug coverage through a stand-alone Medicare Part D plan?
" (Spoiler Alert: No
You can also read more in our Frequently Asked Question: "If I have VA drug benefits can I also add Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage?
" (Spoiler Alert: Yes
A note on Medicare Advantage plans and Healthcare Networks
Most MAs and MAPD
have healthcare networks and you may need to visit doctors (or other healthcare providers) who are part of the Medicare Advantage plan network - or be prepared to pay a higher coverage cost.