You first should know how Medicare Advantage, also known as Part C, works. Private insurance companies sell Medicare Advantage plans as an all-in-one alternative to original Medicare that is approved by Medicare. The plans bundle together coverage for two or three parts of Medicare:
- Part A, hospital stays.
- Part B, doctor and outpatient services.
- And usually Part D, prescription drugs.
Medicare Advantage plans may have some coverage for services not included in original Medicare, such as dental, hearing and vision care.
If you choose to get Medicare coverage from a private insurer through a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll generally have several plans to choose from in your geographic area. The average Medicare beneficiary has 43 Medicare Advantage plan choices in 2024, according to KFF, formerly the Kaiser Family Foundation. The premiums, copayments for medical and drug coverage, covered drugs and provider networks can vary from plan to plan.
When choosing a plan, consider costs and coverage for your typical medical needs and prescription drugs, coverage for major medical issues, and which providers and facilities the plan’s network includes. You can find out more about the costs and coverage for all Medicare Advantage plans available in your area by using Medicare’s Plan Finder.
Consider the following questions when choosing a plan:
How does a Medicare Advantage plan cover my drugs?
To find out about each plan’s coverage for your medications, go to the Plan Finder and log into your online Medicare account. Refer to your saved list of medications and pharmacies to compare plan costs and coverage.
The other option is to go to the Plan Finder and continue without logging in. Type your zip code, then under Plan Type, click the circle next to Medicare Advantage Plan and scroll down to the Apply button.
You’ll need to identify if you receive help with your costs from government programs before you can start adding your drugs, dosages and nearby pharmacies you use.
You’ll get a list of plans in your area, which shows the Monthly premium and Total drug & premium cost specifically for your medications. A plan with little or no premium may end up being more expensive if it charges large copayments for your medications.
You can click on the drop-down menu at the top of the page to sort the plans by Lowest drug + premium cost and other criteria. Click on Plan Details for each plan to learn about copayments and monthly costs for the drugs on your list.