Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C, is a type of health insurance plan offered by private insurance companies that contract with the federal government to provide Medicare benefits to eligible individuals.
Medicare Advantage plans must cover all the services that Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) covers, but can also offer additional benefits such as vision, dental, and hearing coverage, as well as prescription drug coverage (known as Medicare Part D).
Medicare Advantage plans typically have lower out-of-pocket costs than Original Medicare, and may also have lower monthly premiums. However, they often have a more limited network of healthcare providers, and may require you to get prior authorization for certain services.
To enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you must be eligible for Medicare Part A and Part B, and live in the service area of the plan you want to join. You can enroll during the annual open enrollment period (October 15 to December 7 each year), or during a special enrollment period if you meet certain qualifying criteria.