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Best Medicare Advantage Plans in Washington State for 2019

For those who are hoping to avoid the coinsurance, copayments (copays) and deductibles of Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans in Washington State for 2019 are an ideal option. Medicare Supplement plans are also available to help with these out-of-pocket expenses, but many people find that Medicare Advantage plans in Washington State are an even better choice for them. If you’re going to be eligible for Medicare soon or if you have recently enrolled in Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B, it might be best to learn a little more about the Medicare plans that are available for you, such as Medicare Advantage plans. Then, you can determine if it would be better to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan or another one of the health plans that are available for you rather than sticking with Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) and relying on the regular Medicare coverage alone.

Overview of the Best Medicare Advantage Plans in Washington State for 2019

It’s key to understand that Medicare Advantage plans in Washington State are designed to basically replace Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B). Once you sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan, you will not show your Medicare card for Medicare Parts A and B when you see the doctor, go to the hospital or seek care in a nursing home or skilled nursing facility, for example. Instead, you’ll show the insurance card from the private insurance company that you purchased your Medicare Advantage plan.

Unlike with Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) or Medigap, you may have network restrictions to worry about with these Medicare health plans. However, overall, you can save a lot of money and enjoy better coverage by choosing a Medicare Advantage plan. Plus, you may find that your policy is more familiar to you, since most Medicare Advantage plans are HMO, PPO, HMO-POS or other similar plans. You may have been covered by a plan similar to these throughout your life.

Best Medicare Advantage Plans in Washington State 2019: When Can You Enroll?

If you want to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan in Washington State for 2019, you’ll need to do so during one of these Medicare Advantage enrollment periods. Of course, first, you’ll need to be a beneficiary of Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.

  • Medicare Initial Coverage Election Period ICEP: Many people first sign up for Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) during this period, since this is when they first become beneficiaries of Medicare Part A and Part B.
  • Medicare Annual Election Period AEP: The time from October 15 to December 7 of each year gives Medicare beneficiaries the chance to sign up for, disenroll or change their Medicare Advantage policy.
  • Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period MADP: Now discontinued, this was once the period when Medicare beneficiares could disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan and switch back to their Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) coverage.
  • Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period MA OEP: Beginning in 2019, this period will now run each year from January 1 to March 31. This is yet anothertime when beneficiaries have the chance to change their MA policies.
  • Medicare Special Election Periods SEP: You may find yourself in a circumstance in which you need to sign up for an MA policy outside of a traditional Medicare Enrollment Period. For example, if you go from being dual-eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid to no longer being eligible for Medicaid coverage, an SEP will be triggered so you’ll have the opportunity to buy a policy. If your insurer doesn’t perform a contract renewal for its Medicare contract or if you move, an SEP will also be triggered.

Best Types of Medicare Advantage Plans in Washington State

This simple list makes it easy to compare your options so that you can find the best Medicare Advantage policy. When you compare these pros and cons, you can also compare rates to make sure that you’re signing up for the best plan for you, your budget and your healthcare-related needs:

PPO Preferred Provider Organization Plans (PPO) in Washington State

  • There are provider network service areas
  • You are able to see a doctor or hospital outside of your insurance company’s network if you need/want to
  • If you choose to visit in-network doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers, you will not have to pay as much
  • You are not required to get referrals for specialist care

HMO Health Maintenance Organization Plans (HMO) in Washington State

  • Monthly premiums/rates are often lowest with these Medicare Part C policies in WA.
  • Some options have $0 premium.
  • If you aren’t in an emergency situation, you’ll need to see in-network providers to be covered
  • As a beneficiary of this type of plan, you’ll need to see your primary care doctor (PCP) for referrals

Private Fee-for-Service PFFS in Washington State

  • Private fee-for-service plans determine how much the insurance company pays and how much you pay
  • No network restrictions apply

Special Needs Plans SNPs in Washington State

  • People who have chronic health conditions or institutional conditions — such as end stage renal disease ESRD — can enroll in Special Needs Plans
  • Medicare Part D prescription drug plans are required to be included in these policies

Enrollment Figures for Washington State Medicare Advantage Plans

Whether you live in Snohomish, Whatcom, Spokane or elsewhere, you might be curious about enrollment stats for those enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B and other Medicare-related programs:

  • The five largest counties in Washington State are King, Pierce, Snohomish, Spokane and Clark.
  • There were 1,346,185 Medicare beneficiaries in Washington State in 2018.
  • 413,188 of Medicare beneficiaries in Washington State were enrolled in Medicare Advantage in 2018.

How do 2019 Medicare Advantage Plans in Washington State Cover Prescription Drugs?

Medicare Advantage prescription drug plans are often included with Medicare Advantage policies. These policies typically include a formulary, which tells you more about whether or not your medications will be included. Many policies also include prescription drug tiers; you can take a look at them to see which medications cost more than others. You will also want to check a complete description of benefits to see if there is a pharmacy network that you must stick within when buying your medication.

You can definitely sign up for a stand-alone policy if you’d prefer, but it’s worth it to at least look into MA options that include prescription drug coverage to save money while enjoying this coverage.

Network Restrictions for Medicare Advantage Plan in Washington State

This is a quick guide to network restrictions that you should know about when signing up for a Medicare Advantage policy:

  • In-Network vs. Out-of-Network Within Coverage Area: HMO Medicare Advantage plans and PPO Medicare Advantage plans will both cover out-of-network care in emergency situations. An HMO policy does not pay for out-of-network care in non-emergency situations, while a PPO will. Out-of-pocket expenses are higher if you see an out-of-network provider with a PPO, though.
  • Traveling With Plan: With both health maintenance organization HMO plans or preferred provider organization PPO plans, emergency care is covered all over the 50 states when you’re traveling. With a PPO, you can also enjoy out-of-network help even outside of emergency situations, although you should be prepared for higher out-of-pocket costs.
  • Moving Across State Lines: Since Medicare Part A and Part B offers the same benefits in all 50 states, you might assume that Medicare Part C in Washington is the same. However, this is not the case, and you’ll need to change plans if you move to another state.

Added Benefits of Medicare Advantage Plan in Washington State for 2019

Some Medicare Advantage policies offer some or all of these exciting perks:

  • 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

Favorite Providers for Medicare Advantage Plan in Washington State for 2019

We have been researching Medicare Part C plans in Washington State for quite some time to help people just like you. In our research, we have chosen a few favorites. You might be able to secure reliable coverage from other companies. However, this is a list of some of our favorite companies offering Medicare Advantage plans to senior citizens who live in Washington:

  • Humana
  • Premera Blue Cross Medicare Advantage
  • Amerivantage Classic
  • Regence BlueAdvantage
  • Aetna
  • Regence MedAdvantage Basic
  • Community HealthFirst
  • Cigna
  • Group Health Cooperative Clear Care Vital

Washington State Medicare Resources

In addition to calling us on our 1-800 phone number so that we can help you find a great policy under the 5-star rating system, you can check out these state and federal government resources for extra help and information: