What is Medicare Advantage?
These plans look sort of like traditional insurance you get from work, except, in most cases, they are far better. There are low copays for doctor visits, deductibles, coinsurance, and all of them must have a MOOP (eliminating Original Medicare Frustrating Flaw #1). Oftentimes, they do not have a deductible or coinsurances for many services. When they do, it’s usually for using doctors who are not in their provider network, or for certain categories of prescription drugs.
Many Medicare Advantage plans offer additional benefits that Original Medicare does not. Examples of this are dental, vision, and hearing coverage, post-discharge meals, and gym memberships. You cannot buy a federal or public-option Medicare Advantage plan. Medicare Advantage comes in a few shapes and sizes, but the vast majority of them are technically called Medicare Advantage-Prescription Drug plans. This acronym is pronounced M-A-P-D. There are MA-only plans out there, but those aren’t the ones we’re talking about here. Those are generally for veterans and folks on TRICARE.
When you buy one of these, it means you don’t flash your red, white, and blue Original Medicare card when you go to the doctor’s office—you put it in your top drawer. Do not throw it away, but it won’t work anymore. You get one card from the insurance company to use at the medical provider’s office, the hospital, and at the pharmacy.
In order to buy a Medicare Advantage plan, you must have Original Medicare Parts A and B. You cannot simultaneously have a Medicare Supplement and a Medicare Advantage, nor can you simultaneously have a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan and an MAPD plan.
That’s because an MAPD plan is an all-in-one combo plan. If you enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan while you already have an MAPD plan, you’ll get kicked off the MAPD plan. At the same time, if you already have a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan and sign up for an MAPD plan, you’ll automatically get kicked off the Part D plan. Tread carefully and ChicagolandMedicare.com can guide you through this.
Using Medicare Advantage plans to cover your prescription drug and medical costs isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it way to consume your Medicare. It’s tricky and complex to buy, the premiums and benefits can (and do!) change every year, and insurance companies make you use their HMO or PPO networks. If you go this route, there are certainly benefits to doing so, and a third of the entire Medicare population can’t all be wrong—you’ll have to do some Medicare Housekeeping every year to make sure the plan you have this year is the best plan for you next year.
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Frequently Asked Questions
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Independent Medicare insurance agents and agencies such as Chicagoland Medicare get paid by the insurance companies they represent. The commissions we are paid are already built into the insurance policy you’ve purchased, and there isn’t a way to carve them out of the monthly premium. There is no extra fee for buying a Medicare insurance policy through Chicagoland Medicare, nor will you ever pay a fee for our help.
A local, independent Medicare insurance agent represents multiple carriers so that they can work to give you an unbiased opinion on your Medicare insurance plan options. Chicagoland Medicare agents and agencies are state-licensed, trained, tested and appointed by a hand-selected number of Medicare insurance companies to be able to shop and compare Medicare insurance polices to make sure we find the right fit for you! We explore your healthcare and financial needs and listen to your feelings around options available in your local area. We search for a plan that most closely fits your individual needs and budget.
Is Chicagoland Medicare free? Yes, our services are completely free to you and anything we get paid is paid to us by the Medicare insurance companies.
The monthly premiums you pay for your Medicare insurance policies are exactly the same. You cannot buy a Medicare insurance policy directly from a Medicare insurance company at a lower rate.
We have years of experience selling Medicare insurance in the Chicago area including Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana.
There are all sorts of differences in the amount of coverage and they type of Medicare insurance coverage you can buy depending on what state and county you live in! Chicagoland Medicare independent Medicare agents have a lot of real-world experience and insight regarding the inner-workings of Medicare insurance companies that you, the consumer, may not have access to, such as Medicare Advantage service areas, Medicare Supplemental (Medigap) annual premium increase trends, application fees, discounts programs and more.
Only independent Medicare insurance agents and agencies like Chicagoland Medicare can offer a variety of plans and an unbiased, multi-company approach so our recommendations are objective unbiased and personalized when we sell you a Medigap, Medicare Advantage or Part D drug plan that’s right for you.
At Chicagoland Medicare, we specialize in Medicare insurance products. Period. We’re not distracted by attempting to sell you life insurance, financial planning services, stocks, bonds or anything else. Medicare insurance is all we do! Unlike many other Medicare insurance agents and brokers, we don’t sell group small business health insurance polices, disability insurance, home or auto insurance. We are a boutique Medicare insurance agency, we like it that way and we’re awesome at what we do.
We only partner with ‘A’ rated, household name, established Medicare insurance companies who offer Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, Medigap and Medicare Part D plans in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.
We do not contract with, nor offer our clients startup, new or state-based, regional Medicare insurance companies. We believe in partnering with established companies for consistency, financial strength and experience.
Sometimes, Medicare insurance agents and agencies try to offer too many different insurance products from too many companies. There are literally thousands of combinations of Medicare insurance plan combinations to choose from in the Chicago area – we choose to focus on a select few of large, reliable, well-established, and financially sound Medicare insurance companies to partner with. Oftentimes, other local Medicare agents and agencies get pulled in too many directions with too many insurance offerings and therefore can’t be as knowledgeable as possible about any carrier or one insurance type over another.
At Chicagoland Medicare, we limit the number of Medicare insurance carriers who have access to our clients. We work hard to know the deep inner-workings of each of our Medicare insurance partners which means our agents and our clients aren’t distracted by small, startup Medicare insurance companies who may have a great product for a year or two, then fade into the background and exit the market. We know our Medicare insurance company representatives by name, and know how to navigate their systems and processes.
The bottom line: Chicagoland Medicare is an independent Medicare insurance agency. We are not owned by a Medicare insurance company or by some large, national entity. We’re your local Medicare insurance agency for the Chicago area. This means we only work with hand-selected Medicare insurance companies so that we can provide you with the best Medicare plan for you that’s individualized and personalized. We exist and work ONLY for our clients, unencumbered by having to push just one company’s Medicare insurance products.