Considering a Medicare Advantage Plan? Be Wary of Promises

These private insurance alternatives to Medicare are growing in popularity at the same time they’re under scrutiny for their sales tactics and coverage.

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As Medicare open enrollment begins, authorities are warning beneficiaries to be aware of sometimes misleading and aggressive marketing tactics by some Medicare Advantage insurers seeking their business. We’ll tell you what the problem is, and then we’ll help you avoid falling into the trap.

Medicare Advantage, also known as Part C or MA, allows Medicare enrollees to use private insurance plans as an alternative to traditional Medicare. The plans are in place of Medicare Part A, which generally covers hospitalization, and Part B, which covers medical costs. They may also provide Part D, or prescription drug coverage as well as coverage for things not covered by traditional Medicare, such as dental and vision care. (Frequently, people enrolled in traditional Medicare will also purchase a supplemental plan, known as medigap, that helps fill gaps in Medicare by helping pay for things like copayments, coinsurance and deductibles.)

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Senior Retirement Editor, Kiplinger.com

Elaine Silvestrini has worked for Kiplinger since 2021, serving as senior retirement editor since 2022. Before that, she had an extensive career as a newspaper and online journalist, primarily covering legal issues at the Tampa Tribune and the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey. In more recent years, she's written for several marketing, legal and financial websites, including Annuity.org and LegalExaminer.com, and the newsletters Auto Insurance Report and Property Insurance Report.