Why is Medicare Advantage so Popular in Florida?
By Space Coast Daily // October 13, 2023
Medicare Advantage is becoming increasingly popular among Medicare enrollees, with an estimated 28 million enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan nationwide, or about 48% of all enrollees. With Florida in particular, at 56% of all enrollees.
But why is this?
Is it because Insurance companies are coercing people to sign up? Is the marketing overwhelming? Or could it be that Medicare Advantage just offers better benefits than a Medicare Supplement at a competitive price?
According to David Walls, owner of D&D Insurance LLC – The Florida Medicare Broker, Medicare “Advantage simply offers customers the coverage they are looking for.” In Florida, the typical Medicare Advantage plan offers hospital, medical coverage, and prescription drug coverage, just like you can get with a Medicare Supplement with a Part D Prescription Drug Plan, but along with it you can often get coverage not offered under a Medicare Supplement. Such as, dental, vision, and even chiropractic care.
Medicare Supplements only cover what Original Medicare [Part A & Part B] covers. It literally supplements Original Medicare. So, if Medicare doesn’t pay anything towards a procedure, neither will the supplement.
Medicare Advantage, however, is privately run by insurance companies. Therefore, the plans have more flexibility to offer more benefits. They must, by law, offer at least the coverage that Original Medicare offers, but are allowed to offer more.
As popularity grows, more people enroll in the plans. 10 years ago, only about 13 million seniors enrolled in the plans. Today, more than double that are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. And as enrollment goes up, more doctors accept the plans, and more benefits come with the plans. The trend does not appear to be slowing either.
Today, it is not unusual to find plans that reimburse Part B premiums, offer over-the-counter benefits, gym memberships, and even rides to the doctor.
David Walls says that he has “witnessed plans offer richer and richer benefits with every passing year”. Copays continually drop every year, dental and vision benefits become more common, and maximum-out-of-pocket across multiple plans continue to go down. He has worked in the industry for over 11 years and specializes in the Medicare market throughout the state of Florida. He mentions that even though many Medicare Advantage plans offer “all the bells and whistles”, many of his clients still just simply want “flexibility of doctors at an affordable price”. This is why many of his Medicare Advantage clients opt for a PPO.
A PPO allows the customer to see doctors in and out of the network, and without referrals, like an HMO would require.
As for affordability, most plans do not have a monthly premium in addition to the standard $164.90/mo Part B premium that commonly comes out of a Medicare beneficiary’s Social Security check. The copay structure on most plans also seems fair in most cases.
The last thing that David Walls stresses, is that customers talk to their brokers about their needs: “Make sure your doctor accepts the plan that you are choosing, and that your prescription drugs are covered at a reasonable copay.”
While most hospitals in Florida accept a wide variety of Medicare Advantage plans, individual doctors can vary significantly in which plans they accept.
Medicare Advantage plans may not be the right choice for everyone, but they may be the right choice for you. It is encouraged that you consider all options when choosing your Medicare plan, and work with a broker that represents several different plans, to be sure you are avoiding any biases.