Lauren Lewthwaite Last Updated On: August 4, 2023

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Understanding Medicare Supplemental vs Advantage

Medicare Advantage Supplemental Benefits

Medicare Advantage is designed to be a comprehensive, all-in-one healthcare plan that gives you access to everything you might need to stay healthy and well, including hospital stays, doctor care, prescription drugs, and an array of non-medical healthcare services like vision, dental and hearing. These supplemental benefits can be highly attractive but also surprisingly affordable, depending on your plan. 

Keep reading to get a deeper understanding of the supplemental benefits Medicare Advantage plans offer and how they work. 

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What Is Medicare Advantage?

Medicare is comprised of four parts:
  • Part A: Hospital coverage
  • Part B: Doctor/outpatient coverage
  • Part C: Medicare Advantage
  • Part D: Prescription drug coverage

Medicare Advantage falls under Part C, and it’s an alternate way to receive your healthcare coverage through private insurers that are approved by Medicare. Medicare Advantage bundles Parts A, B and D together and also offers additional coverage for typically excluded categories like vision, hearing, dental and more.

The Medicare Advantage Supplemental Benefits

For many, original Medicare is enough coverage to suit their needs. But others might enjoy the added coverage and benefits of a Medicare Advantage plan. After all, Medicare Advantage plans can offer many more benefits and services than original Medicare and the premiums for Medicare Advantage have been declining over the years, making it even more affordable.  The Medicare supplemental benefits include:
  • Over-the-Counter Program: This allows you to order OTC medications up to 12 times a year, up to the quarterly dollar value of your specific plan. These products include Aspirin, bandages, vitamins, cold medication, and more. 
  • Dental: Some plans offer dental coverage, which can be used at any licensed dentist that accepts Medicare. You can use your allowance towards both preventive and comprehensive dental treatments, such as cleanings, fillings, extractions, root canals, x-rays, and more. 
  • Vision: Most Medicare Advantage plans offer vision care such as eye exams, as well as sometimes an allowance towards glasses/contact lenses. 
  • Hearing: Hearing exams, hearing aids, and hearing aid fittings are typically offered by Medicare Advantage plans.
  • Transportation: Some plans also offer non-emergency trips to and from healthcare facilities within 60 miles of your home for healthcare services. These typically include rides in vans, taxis, or rideshare services, but the plan will lay out the exact terms. 
  • Home Delivered Meals: Some plans offer meal delivery after qualifying hospital stays to help support your recovery. 
  • More: Nutritional counseling, gym memberships, Special Needs Plan, and more.
The Medicare Advantage supplemental benefits are definitely beneficiary to have, if available to you. While each Medicare Advantage plan is different and offers varying benefits and coverage, this option is becoming more and more affordable to choose. 

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Medicare Supplemental Benefits

Research has shown that people are better off when given medical care alongside non-medical care that affects health; services not usually covered like transportation and nutritional counseling can not only lead to improved overall health but lower Medicare costs. In recent years, Medicare Advantage plans have been allowed to start expanding the optional supplemental benefits offered in order to improve health and wellness. 

At the same time, premiums for Medicare Advantage are declining and out-of-pocket payments are being limited, making Medicare Advantage more widely accessible. In fact, almost two thirds of Medicare Advantage enrollees paid no additional premium (other than the premium for Part B that everyone pays) in 2021. 

Health and wellness are becoming more of a focus and as a result, access to services that support whole health are more readily available than ever. 

The Bottom Line

Medicare Advantage supplemental benefits are a great resource for anyone, regardless of how healthy you are. It can help you get access to medical and non-medical health services that can offer important both preventive and comprehensive treatment. Medicare Advantage is becoming more accessible and affordable so that everyone can benefit from comprehensive healthcare coverage. 

Lauren Lewthwaite Lauren Lewthwaite has been freelance writing for almost five years writing content that ranges from health to insurance and everything in between. Lauren is also a trained translator in French and English and is a dog-mom to an adorable Australian Shepherd.

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