WebMD Logo Icon
WebMD Connect to Care helps you find services to manage your health. When you purchase any of these services, WebMD may receive a fee. WebMD does not endorse any product, service or treatment referred to on this page. X

5 Supplemental Benefits You Can Expect On Medicare Advantage

By Adrienne Keller
Medicare Advantage plans offer an alternative to Original Medicare, and recent expansions enable Medicare Advantage to provide greater supplemental benefits for those in need.

Medicare Advantage, sometimes called Medicare Part C, is an "all in one" alternative to Original Medicare, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Medicare Advantage plans include the hospital insurance traditionally covered by Original Medicare Part A, the medical insurance traditionally covered by Original Medicare Part B, the drug coverage traditionally offered by Medicare Part D, and an array of other possible supplemental benefits. Read on to discover some specific supplemental benefits that may be available to you through Medicare Advantage.

Dental, Vision, and Hearing Programs

Dental, vision, and hearing programs are common primary health-related supplemental benefits available within Medicare Advantage plans, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Most plans will offer coverage for routine eye, ear, and dental exams. 

Transportation

Transportation to and from medical appointments is a supplemental benefit you can expect from certain Medicare Advantage plans, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The Commonwealth Fund reports that rides to medical appointments have been offered since before 2018, with some plans offering expanded coverage for transportation for nonmedical purposes, such as to the grocery store, since 2020.

Nutritional Counseling

Nutritional counseling may be covered by your Medicare Advantage plan in order to support your overall health.

“The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a new policy in 2019 that expanded the definition of health-related supplemental benefits,” Brian Colburn, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development & Strategy at Alegeus, a leading consumer-directed healthcare platform, tells WebMD Connect to Care.

“This could be anything from Uber rides to the grocery store to nutritional counseling to gym memberships,” Colburn says. “With 68% of Medicare Advantage enrollees having two or more chronic conditions, this change alone had the potential to make a big impact.”

Gym Memberships

One of the primary goals of the expanded supplemental benefits offered through Medicare Advantage plans is to support the overall physical and mental health of enrollees in order to reduce the amount of emergency health care needed, according to The Commonwealth Fund. Many Medicare Advantage plans include gym memberships or discounts as a supplemental benefit designed to do just that.

Special Needs Plans

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a Special Needs Plan (SNP) is a type of Medicare Advantage plan that offers benefits and services to those with qualifiying diseases, certain health care requirements, or limited incomes. SNPs provide special benefits, provider options, and lists of covered medications that are tailored to the needs of patients with specific chronic conditions. 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services notes that you could qualify for an SNP if the right plan exists in your area and you have a chronic condition like one or more of the following:

  • Chronic alcohol dependence
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Cancer 
  • Cardiovascular disorders
  • Chronic heart failure
  • Dementia
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • End-stage liver disease
  • End-Stage Renal Disease
  • Severe hematologic disorders
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Chronic lung disorders
  • Chronic and disabling mental health conditions
  • Neurologic disorders
  • Stroke

Get started now.

Interested in learning more about Medicare, Medigap, and Medicare Advantage plans? WebMD Connect to Care Advisors may be able to help.