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It’s that time of year again. From Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, people 65 and older can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. The Annual Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage plans takes place once a year. It’s your chance to evaluate your options and make the choice that’s best for you, whether you’re new to Medicare or already have a plan. If you are new to Medicare, you may be thinking that it will cover everything you need. Not really. Let’s review.

You’re eligible for Medicare if you’re 65 or older, or meet other eligibility requirements as outlined by the government. Once you’re eligible for Medicare, the government pays for your Part A and Part B coverage. Medicare Part A provides hospital insurance and Part B covers medical care like routine checkups with the doctor and sick visits. So why do you need a Medicare Advantage plan? Because with Original Medicare you still need to pay a monthly premium and meet a set deductible. What’s more, Medicare covers 80% of your health care costs and you pay the rest. According to medicare.gov, most people’s monthly premium for Part B in 2019 will be $135.50.

MeridianCare offers a variety of Medicare Advantage plans that cover everything Medicare covers plus what it doesn’t cover. Most MeridianCare plans have $0 premiums, $0 deductibles and $0 copays for the services you use most, like primary care doctor visits, labs, X-rays, diabetic supplies, preferred generic Part D prescription drugs and urgent care visits. And preventive health screenings never cost you a thing.

“MeridianCare Medicare Advantage plans can save you thousands in Part A hospital insurance deductibles and coinsurance you’d otherwise have to pay with Original Medicare alone,” said Giovanna C. Henry, director of Strategy and Product Development for MeridianCare Medicare Advantage plans (HMO). “MeridianCare Medicare Advantage plans also eliminate Part B deductibles and reduce coinsurance and copays for doctor visits, outpatient services and most preventive services. MeridianCare saves you even more money by including prescription drug coverage at no additional cost.”

Beyond that, MeridianCare plans also offer extra benefits many other plans don’t. These benefits can even include coverage for dental care, eyeglasses, hearing aids, meals delivered to the home after a hospital stay, a monthly allowance for over-the-counter items, Viagra/Levitra and more. All these benefits are available at no additional cost to members. Apparently, not all Medicare Advantage plans are the same.

“People are spending way too much money on health care and getting way too little,” said David Gay, senior director of National Sales & Marketing for MeridianCare Medicare Advantage Plans (HMO). “Unlike giant plans that have become popular over the years, MeridianCare didn’t become successful by charging you more. We became successful by charging you less and giving you more.”

MeridianCare is part of the Meridian family of companies, which has over 1 million members and more than 20 years of leadership in health care. Their plans are available to people receiving Medicare and residing in Michigan, Illinois, Ohio and Indiana.

To learn more about MeridianCare and its plans and services, visit www.whymcare.com.

You can choose the plan that’s right for you online. Simply use their search tools to find the plans available in your MeridianCare coverage area and select the plan that best fits your needs. Or, cut to the chase and have a MeridianCare Benefits Navigator do it for you by calling 844-949-6227 (TTY 711) Monday – Sunday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Members of the editorial and news staff of The Detroit News were not involved in the creation of this content.

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