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Can a Medicare Advantage Plan be Free?

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“Free” according to the Merriam Webster dictionary means “not costing or charging anything.” Some people may refer to $0 premium Medicare Advantage plans as “free.” However, these plans are not actually free in the way that they could still cost you.

How can Medicare Advantage plans be free?

You might have been searching for Medicare Advantage plans available in your zip code and found a plan with a $0 monthly premium. This plan may appear to be “free” in the way that you don’t have to pay an additional monthly amount to be covered by the plan. You generally still have to pay your Medicare Part B premium, however.

Keep in mind that Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies which generally do business to make a profit. In order to offer $0 premium plans, they may charge in other ways, such as copayments/coinsurance. A copayment or coinsurance is an amount you pay whenever you receive a service (such as a doctor visit or an emergency room trip) or pick up a prescription drug. In fact, plans with lower premiums or $0 premiums may have higher copayments/coinsurance.

Another way a $0 premium Medicare Advantage plan may cost you is with a deductible. A deductible is an amount, for example $1,000, that you must pay out of pocket before your Medicare Advantage plan begins to pay your medical bills. Most Medicare Advantage plans have separate medical and prescription drug deductibles. You may have a $0 medical deductible, for example, but a $250 prescription drug deductible. Some Medicare Advantage plans have both $0 premiums and $0 deductibles.

Is there a way to get free Medicare coverage?

If you’re a low-income person eligible for Medicare, you also may be eligible for Medicaid. Being eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid is called being “dual eligible.” Unlike other types of Medicare coverage, you may not have premiums, deductibles, or copayments/coinsurance if you are covered by Medicaid. Medicaid may also offer additional benefits that Medicare doesn’t, such as routine dental and routine vision services and hearing aids.

Are you looking for a Medicare Advantage plan with a $0 premium? To see if one is available in your area, just enter your zip code on this page.

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