People looking for all-in-one solutions or more robust coverage often choose a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan. In 2023, there were nearly 31 million people enrolled in Medicare Part C (commonly known as Medicare Advantage). This page explains Medicare Advantage plans in Maryland and how to compare your options.
What is Medicare Advantage in Maryland?
Medicare Advantage plans in Maryland must provide the same level of coverage as Original Medicare (Part A, hospital insurance, and Part B, medical insurance). However, around 90% of Advantage plans provide additional benefits as well, such as prescription drug coverage and fitness programs.
Maryland Medicare Advantage plans with prescription drug coverage
Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans (MA-PD) combine your Original Medicare benefits with Part D coverage. Not all MA plans offer prescription benefits, though. If you choose one of these plans, you need to join a standalone Medicare Part D plan if you don't have creditable drug coverage elsewhere.
Who is eligible for Medicare Advantage in Maryland?
Once you enroll in both Part A and Part B, you are eligible for Medicare Advantage in Maryland. And you qualify for Medicare once you're aged 65 or older and either an American citizen or permanent legal resident.
You may be eligible for Medicare before turning 65 if you collect Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) or Social Security disability benefits for 24 months.
When can you sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan in Maryland?
There are five Medicare Advantage enrollment periods in Maryland. The first is your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). This begins 3 months before your eligibility month and lasts for 7 full months. For example, if your birthday or 25th month of disability is in May, your IEP begins on February 1 and ends on August 31.
If you did not sign up for Part A and/or Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period, you may do so from January 1 through March 31 during the General Enrollment Period. You then have from April 1 until June 30 to join an Advantage plan.
Current Medicare beneficiaries may join an Advantage plan at any time during Medicare Annual Enrollment Period from October 15 through December 7.
If you already have a Part C plan, the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is for you. It runs from January 1 through March 31 and allows you to either switch to a new MA plan or return to Original Medicare.
You may also sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. The full list of qualifying special circumstances is on Medicare.gov.
Types of Medicare Advantage plans in Maryland
There are four main types of Medicare Advantage plans in Maryland. They are:
- Health maintenance organizations (HMOs)
- Preferred provider networks (PPOs)
- Private fee-for-service plans (PFFS)
- Special needs plans (SNPs)
Each type of plan has its own guidelines and restrictions, which vary according to the plan and insurance company you choose. Check the individual plan to see what it covers.
How to choose a Medicare Advantage plan in Maryland
To find the best Medicare Advantage plan for your unique situation, consider the following items:
- Coverage (including the drug formulary of an MA-PD plan)
It's easy to compare Medicare Advantage plans in Maryland with our Find a Plan tool. Just enter your location information and coverage start date to begin reviewing Medicare plan options in your area.
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