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Best Medicare Advantage Plans in Maryland 2020

For Maryland residents who are enrolled in Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B but who want a little more than what Original Medicare has to offer, Medicare Advantage plans in Maryland for 2020 are often the best option. If you’re someone who is enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B or who is going to be eligible for Medicare soon, it pays to look into Medicare Advantage plans in Maryland. Fortunately, you can check out this guide and use the other pages on our website to do just that.

Overview of Medicare Advantage Plans in Maryland for 2020

Considered a replacement plan for Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B), Medicare Advantage plans in Maryland are sold by private insurance companies. There are various types of Medicare Advantage plans for you to choose from and compare, and each one offers different benefits.

If you’re wondering why you should sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan, you should consider the copayments (copays), coinsurance and deductibles that you have to pay if you rely on Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) alone. The right Medicare Advantage plan (Medicare Part C in Maryland) can save you a lot of money and provide you with extra perks.

Best Medicare Advantage Plans in Maryland: When Can You Enroll?

You may have decided that you’re interested in signing up for a Medicare Advantage plan in Maryland, but you might be wondering how you can do so. After you have enrolled in Medicare and found the best policy, you can sign up during one of these periods:

  • Medicare Initial Coverage Election Period ICEP: After you first become a beneficiary of Medicare Part A and Part B, you can sign up for an MA policy.
  • Medicare Annual Election Period AEP: From October 15 to December 7 of each year, beneficiaries like you have the option to sign up for, disenroll or change your Medicare Advantage policy.
  • Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period MADP: Once designed for people who wanted to switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B), this period does not exist anymore.
  • Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period MA OEP: From January 1 to March 31st of each year, you can use the new MA OEP to change your MA policy.
  • Medicare Special Election Periods SEP: If you’re in a situation when you need to sign up for a policy outside of a standard Medicare Enrollment Period, an SEP might be triggered. This is the case for those who lose their coverage for one reason or another or who move out of their state.

Best Types of Medicare Advantage Plans in Maryland for 2020

You’ll want to compare these popular types of policies so that you will know which type of Medicare Advantage plan in Maryland to sign up for during your Medicare Advantage Enrollment Period:

PPO Preferred Provider Organization Plans (PPO) in Maryland

  • Has provider network service areas
  • Allows you to see a doctor or hospital outside of your policy’s network
  • Has lower out-of-pocket expenses when you see doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers within the policy network
  • Doesn’t require referrals

HMO Health Maintenance Organization Plans (HMO) in Maryland

  • Has some of the lowest rates for Medicare Part C policies in Maryland; some even have 0 premiums
  • Requires you to see in-network providers outside of emergency situations
  • You must have a primary care doctor (PCP) and ask for referrals before seeking care from a specialist

Private Fee-for-Service PFFS in Maryland

  • Private fee-for-service plans determine how much the insurance company pays and how much the beneficiary pays
  • There are no network restrictions

Special Needs Plans SNPs in Maryland

  • People with chronic health conditions or institutional conditions, such as end-stage renal disease ESRD, can sign up for Special Needs Plans
  • Medicare Part D prescription drug plans must be included as a part of the rates for these Medicare Advantage plans

Enrollment Figures for Maryland Medicare Advantage Plans

Check out these facts and figures about Medicare enrollment in your state:

  • The five largest counties in Maryland are Montgomery, Prince George’s, Baltimore, Anne Arundel, and Prince William.
  • There were 1,033,382 Medicare beneficiaries in Maryland in 2018.
  • 118,007 of Medicare beneficiaries in Maryland were enrolled in Medicare Advantage in 2018.

Do Medicare Advantage Plans in Maryland for 2020 Cover Prescription Drugs?

Included in the premiums for some Medicare Advantage plans, are Medicare Advantage prescription drug plans. This is helpful for many people, since Original Medicare does not typically provide prescription drug coverage.

When you compare these policies, make sure that you look at both the formulary and the prescription drug tiers for each plan. Then, you can pick one that will pay for the medication that you take.

Network Restrictions for Medicare Advantage Plan in Maryland

It’s best to be aware of the network restrictions that might apply to your policy:

  • In-Network vs. Out-of-Network Within Coverage Area: HMO Medicare Advantage plans and PPO Medicare Advantage plans in Maryland both cover out-of-network care in emergency situations. An HMO will not pay for out-of-network care in other situations, while a PPO will. If you use an out-of-network provider with a PPO, though, your out-of-pocket expenses will be higher
  • Traveling With Plan: With both health maintenance organization HMO plans or preferred provider organization PPO plans, emergency care is covered throughout the United States when you’re traveling. With a PPO, you can take advantage of out-of-network help even outside of emergency situations, although your costs will be higher.
  • Moving Across State Lines: Medicare Part A and Part B offer the same benefits in all 50 states, but Advantage policies are different. With Medicare Part C in Maryland, you will need to change plans if you move.

Added Benefits of Medicare Advantage Plan in Maryland

Some of these perks might be included in your policy, so make sure that you ask your insurance agent about these added benefits:

  • Hearing care, routine vision, and dental care
  • Wellness programs
  • Silver Sneakers or other similar gym membership
  • Recommendations for diet and nutrition
  • Allowance for over-the-counter medication costs
  • Healthy living seminars and classes
  • Transportation to and from medical appointments
  • Payment of some or all of the Medicare Part B premium
  • Starting in 2020, insurance companies that provide Medicare Advantage plans in Maryland will be able to add some supplemental non-health related benefits to certain beneficiaries, such as providing help with making structural changes to the home when needed. This is designed to help those who might need help with widening doorways or installing ramps for their homes.
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved a 2.53% payment increase to Medicare insurers that offer Medicare Advantage plans in Maryland.

Top Companies for Medicare Part C Plans in Maryland

The choice for the best Medicare Advantage plans and the networks that most of them rely upon will vary by location within Maryland. This list of MA companies will introduce you to a handful of major insurers:

  • Humana: Humana offers PPO plans in Maryland.
  • Kaiser: Kaiser plans have proven popular with Maryland Medicare beneficiaries, and this company commands almost 40 percent of the total Medicare Part C market. Kaiser cost plans have also earned 5 stars for quality.
  • Cigna: Cigna has enrolled just about 10 percent of the market.

In Maryland, PPOs are somewhat more popular than HMOs, but in most states, more people sign up for low-cost HMOs. Cost plans have proven even more popular in this state. Cost plans are a sort of hybrid between Medicare Advantage plans and Supplement plans. They help cover services inside a network, but they allow members to retain their Original Medicare benefits in case they access services outside of the cost plan’s network. They are only common in some states where networks may not extend to all areas.

Maryland Medicare Resources

If you’re dual-eligible and would like to sign up for Medicaid coverage, if you want to learn more about Medicare or if you need extra help, check out these state and federal government resources: