At first glance, Vermont’s Medicare Advantage enrollment might seem fairly low given that across the U.S., over a third of all Medicare members choose private plans over Original Medicare. In Vermont, that rate is about 12% per data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
But over the last decade, enrollment has risen steadily in Vermont. In 2010, enrollment in Medicare Advantage accounted for just 3% of Medicare members here. As in the rest of the country, interest in the private alternative to Original Medicare is growing in the Green Mountain State.
Enrollment into Medicare Advantage is on the rise primarily because the benefits are often broader than Original Medicare (Parts A and B together). Private plans cover everything that Original does (by law) plus additional benefits depending on plan.
You may find prescription coverage, dental and vision benefits, access to telemedicine and 24/7 nurse phone lines, gym memberships and more with Medicare Advantage.
Some Advantage plans charge premiums. Others don’t.
In Vermont, the average premium for Medicare Advantage is $25.69 a month according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. But every Medicare member in the state will have access to at least one Advantage plan and at least one with a $0 premium.
You’ll always pay the premiums associated with Original Medicare even if you have a private plan, but whether you pay extra for private coverage depends on the plan. Statewide, there are 23 Medicare Advantage plans in Vermont for next year — up by 10 since last year — though availability is determined by zip code.
Kaiser Family Foundation, “A Dozen Facts About Medicare Advantage in 2020”
Kaiser Family Foundation, “Total Number of Medicare Beneficiaries: Vermont: Graph”
CMS, state data fact sheet released September 24, 2020
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