Medicare Advantage plans have become the go to option for seniors. Advantage plan enrollment has increase from a little over 5 million in 2004 to over 13 million in 2013. While the number of people enrolling has increased, the value of the benefits inherent in Advantage plans has been steadily declining year over year.
This could be the fault of the insurance companies trying to offer less to a population which has grown dependent on the Advantage plans or likely due to the reduction in funding the companies are being provided by Medicare. Either way, the benefits are declining. 2014 looks to be no exception. The preliminary consensus is the most of the plans will be moving to higher specialist copay of $50 for the 2014 offerings. None of the plans will offer dental or vision benefits inherent in the plan. (except for the Wellcare dual needs plan) Most companies are going to a 20% cost share on major radiology and even more are going to a 20% cost share on outpatient surgery.
With benefits declining, it may be wise to take a closer look at Medicare Supplement plans again. (Also called Medigap) Plan L in Connecticut is attractively priced and could be a good alternative to the MAPD plans and their increasing copays. Plan L covers 75% of the benefits not covered by Original Medicare and has a price tag of $112 a month in CT. (You do need to purchase Rx coverage as well however) A move from Medicare Advantage to Medicare Supplement may not be the best bet for everyone but is certainly will make more sense this year than last.