Types of Medicare Advantage
Explore the various Medicare Advantage plan types, including HMO, PPO, PFFS, and SNP, each with its own set of rules, provider networks, and coverage options.
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans: HMO plans require you to choose a primary care physician (PCP) within the plan's network who will coordinate your healthcare. You typically need referrals from your PCP to see specialists or other healthcare providers. Most HMO plans only cover services provided by in-network doctors and facilities, except for emergency care, out-of-area urgent care, and out-of-area dialysis.
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans: PPO plans offer more flexibility in choosing healthcare providers. You can see both in-network and out-of-network doctors, but you will pay less for services received from in-network providers. PPO plans generally do not require referrals to see specialists, giving you more freedom in managing your healthcare.
Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) plans: PFFS plans allow you to see any Medicare-approved doctor or healthcare provider that agrees to the plan's payment terms and conditions. These plans set their own payment rates for services, which can be different from Original Medicare. PFFS plans may have provider networks, and if they do, you may pay more for out-of-network care, except in emergencies.
Special Needs Plans (SNPs): SNPs are tailored to serve beneficiaries with specific conditions or circumstances, such as chronic illnesses, dual eligibility for Medicare and Medicaid, or living in an institutional setting (like a nursing home). SNPs are required to provide prescription drug coverage and must include a care management component to coordinate healthcare services for plan members.
Medicare Medical Savings Account (MSA) plans: MSA plans combine a high-deductible health plan with a medical savings account. Medicare deposits a fixed amount of money into the savings account each year, which you can use to pay for healthcare expenses before meeting the deductible. Once the deductible is met, the plan covers your Medicare-approved healthcare services. MSA plans do not include prescription drug coverage, so you may need to enroll in a separate Part D plan.
When choosing a Medicare Advantage plan, it's essential to consider your healthcare needs, provider preferences, and budget. Review the details of each plan type to determine which one aligns best with your requirements.