What is a Medicare Advantage Plan?
The concept behind Medicare Advantage Plans began when Congress passed the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. Initially known as Medicare+Choice or Part C plans, they became known as Medicare Advantage Plans following the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003. These plans provide a more coordinated approach to healthcare for older Americans than does traditional, fee-for-service Medicare.
Medicare Advantage Plans, considered Part C of Medicare, cover:
- Part A (inpatient care)
- Part B (outpatient and primary care)
- Part D (prescription drugs)
- Additional wellness services and care coordination
Special Needs Plans offer Advantages to Vulnerable Medicare Populations
As part of the legislation that established Medicare Advantage Plans, Congress also created Special Needs Plans (SNPs) to cover the needs of three specialized groups of patients:
- Those with certain chronic conditions, including COPD, diabetes and cardiovascular care (Chronic Care SNPs or C-SNPs)
- Those who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid (Dual-Eligible or D-SNPs)
- Those who need a level of care provided by long-term care institutions (Institutional or I-SNPs)