What is Medicare Advantage?

A Medicare Advantage plan offers eligible beneficiaries more coverage options than the traditional Medicare program.

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Medicare Advantage was created in the late 1990s as a way to allow private companies to improve upon the Medicare program. Before Medicare Advantage, people enrolled in traditional Medicare — also known Part A and Part B, which offer doctor and hospital coverage. They could then choose to buy a Medicare Supplement plan, which offered extra benefits.

Medicare Advantage rolls that coverage into one plan, administered by a private health insurance company.

To enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you first need to join Medicare Part A and Part B. You’ll still pay your Part B premiums directly to the government — not to your Advantage plan provider. And by enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll lose your coverage from a Medicare Supplement plan if you have one.

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