Medicare Part C, or Medicare Advantage, is an alternative that covers the benefits of Medicare Parts A and B, and may offer additional benefits.

Private insurance companies such as Regence administer Medicare Advantage plans. When you choose a Medicare Advantage plan, you get the same coverage as Medicare Parts A and B, plus benefits that Original Medicare does not cover. These additional benefits vary among individual carriers, but may include features such as dental care, gym memberships and vision care. You can also select a Medicare Advantage plan that includes Rx.

Medicare Advantage plans give you guaranteed access to a wide range of physicians and other health care professionals.

If you purchase a Medicare Advantage plan, you may pay a monthly premium and a percentage of some costs. You will also be required to continue paying for your Medicare Part B premium.

Are you just aging into Medicare?

Your initial enrollment period is the same as for enrolling in Original Medicare—the seven-month window that includes the three months before you turn 65, the month of your birthday, and the three months after your birthday. If you don't enroll during this time period, you'll have to wait until the annual enrollment period that rolls around at the end of every calendar year. An exception to this rule is if you're covered by an employer-sponsored health plan and continue on that coverage past 65.

Last updated 10/01/2018