New Benefits Coming to Medicare Advantage Plans

Senior woman exercising
Photo by wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock.com

Transportation to doctor appointments, reimbursement for cooking classes and coverage for home air cleaners are among new benefits you might find offered by Medicare Advantage plans for 2020.

As we have explained before, Medicare health insurance plans can be divided into two main types. The federal government’s Medicare program directly offers the first type, Original Medicare.

Private insurance companies approved by the government’s Medicare program offer Medicare Advantage plans. These plans must cover the same services as Original Medicare, but also can cover other expenses.

And the list of those covered expenses will grow in 2020. AARP reports they may include things like:

  • Transportation to a doctor’s appointment or health education program
  • Reimbursement for things such as cooking classes than can improve your diet
  • Coverage of home air cleaners or a professional carpet shampoo for those who have asthma
  • Ramps or wider hallways and doors to make wheelchair access easier

Meanwhile, Modern Healthcare reports on several other perks that some Medicare Advantage plans are touting, including:

  • Payment for rides to the grocery store or church
  • Payment for new air conditioners
  • Reduced co-payments for medications to treat chronic conditions

Currently, more Medicare recipients have Original Medicare. In 2018, about 36% of all Medicare recipients chose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, according to the latest annual report from the Medicare boards of trustees.

But Medicare Advantage plans are surging in popularity and are expected to become even more attractive to Medicare recipients in the future. According to AARP:

“The trend toward MA plans has been steadily increasing over the past several years. In 2019, one-third of Medicare beneficiaries — 22 million people — enrolled in MA plans, and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that by 2029, 47 percent of Medicare patients will be in MA plans.”

It’s important to note that not all Medicare Advantage plans offer the same — or any — extra perks. So, it’s important to shop around.

This year’s Medicare open enrollment period started Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7. If you are looking for the right plan in 2020, you might find some good suggestions in our story “Seniors Rate These 5 Medicare Advantage Plans Highest.”

For more details on 2020 plans available to people in your area, consult the 2020 “Medicare & You” handbook that you likely received in the mail recently, or visit Medicare.gov, the federal government’s official website for the Medicare program.

Do you have a Medicare Advantage plan you love? Share your experience in comments below or on our Facebook page.

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