Medicare Advantage Plan: How It Works

Dear Tracy:
My husband and I are thinking of switching to a Medicare Advantage Plan. We’ve heard it is a great way to save money, but we are a little confused about a few details.

  • Does signing up mean we are no longer part of Medicare?
  • Can we sign up any time of year we want or do we have to wait for Medicare open enrollment this fall?
  • We live in a rural area outside of Columbus, Ohio. Any chance there is someone we can talk to in person for advice about Medicare Advantage Plans?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Steve and Sharon

8 Things to Know about Medicare Advantage Plans

Dear Steve and Sharon:

You aren’t alone in feeling a little confused about Medicare Advantage Plans! They are considered to be Medicare Part C, which often adds to the confusion. These plans have evolved and improved over the last decade, but they still leave seniors with many questions.

Here are a few facts about the program that may help you with your decision:

1.) While you will still be part of the Medicare program, Medicare Advantage plans do replace your traditional Medicare A and B coverage. This is why you will often hear health care professionals refer to these plans as a “Medicare replacement product.”

2.) By law, these plans are not allowed to charge you any higher rate for certain services, such as chemotherapy, dialysis, and skilled nursing and rehab. If you need to go to a skilled nursing and rehab center in the Columbus area to recover from knee surgery, for example, your Medicare Advantage plan would be required to cover at least as much of your stay as traditional Medicare would.

3.) You will need to enroll in one of these plans during the Medicare Open Enrollment period in the fall. It begins on October 15th and ends on November 7th.

4.) There is another timeframe you should be aware of too. It is the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period. This is when you can disenroll from a plan and switch to traditional Medicare. This period runs from January 1st through February 14th each year.

5.) These plans are different than purchasing Medicare Supplement Insurance, also known as Medigap coverage. Supplemental insurance is designed to help older adults pay for expenses not covered by Medicare. It can be used for co-pays, deductibles, coinsurance and other expenses depending upon the policy.

6.) To help older adults find nearby Medicare Advantage Plans, Medicare created a database you can search by entering your zip code. It can help you determine costs and coverage.

7.) There are also professional counselors who can help you understand your options. An organization called, State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs) oversees that support. Their counselors are located in every state. They can meet with you one-on-one to guide you through the Medicare process. There is no charge for the service.

8.) Be sure to investigate each plan you are considering thoroughly. Compare co-pays and deductibles to make sure you are getting a true picture of the coverage. Medicare experts also advise seniors to call each of their physicians’ offices to make certain they participate in any plan you are considering.

I hope this information is helpful to both of you! Please feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions.

Kindest Regards,


The MacIntosh Company can help you with any questions you may have regarding your healthcare. We have centers for rehabilitation, heart issues, and assisted livingContact us to see how we can help you.

Visiting My Loved One in Long-Term Care

Many adult children with parents in a long-term care community worry that they aren’t visiting enough. It can be difficult to juggle all of your responsibilities: a career, friends, children of your own, community commitments, and more.

We understand that you want to give your loved one as much attention as you can while they’re receiving long-term care (also known as skilled nursing). Here are some common questions we get from adult children,  and some tips to make the most of your time.

1. Boy visiting his grandfather in long-term care.

Why Visiting is Important

In a study on loneliness and older adults, researchers concluded “that more than half” of residents in a skilled nursing type community “reported feeling lonely.” Loneliness can have a negative emotional impact and physical impact on us and our loved ones. Loneliness is associated with negative effects on the cardiovascular, hormonal and immune systems.

Visiting with your loved one and making them feel appreciated and cared for is an excellent way to combat loneliness. Letting them know how important they are to you can help them overcome any loneliness they might be feeling.

2. Boy visiting his grandparents who are in long-term care.

What Are the Usual Visiting Hours?

Visiting hours will vary depending on the community where your loved one resides. At the MacIntosh communities, we offer 24-hour visitation. Be sure to ask each community director this question when you start your long-term care search.

How Often Should I Visit?

This is a tricky question because there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. It really comes down to how often you can manage it with your schedule and how often you think your parent would appreciate a visit. You can always ask the staff at the long-term care community for their opinion, as they will be spending the most time with your loved one.

And remember, it’s quality over quantity. In one study on loneliness and older adults in skilled nursing communities, researchers found that “the frequency of contact with family and friends did not explain the experience of loneliness.” This “emotional closeness” mattered more than the number of visits.

So just because you can’t visit as often as you like doesn’t mean that your loved one will feel lonely or abandoned. It’s all about the quality of your visits and making sure your loved one knows you care.

3. Adult daughter taking her dad out to a movie, who lives in long-term care.

Can I Take My Parent Outside the Residence?

Every community will have different rules, but generally, approved family members or guardians may escort their loved one from the community for short trips. We suggest coordinating such outings with staff members.


Related: Should My Parent Choose Assisted Living or Skilled Nursing?


Tips for Visiting Someone in a Long-Term Care Community

When you do visit, the best thing you can do is make it all about your loved one. Make sure they don’t feel like the visit is rushed or forced. Stay positive, but don’t be afraid to ask them if they aren’t feeling well or are unhappy.

Here are some more tips for visiting a loved one in a long-term care community:

  • Be mindful of their schedule. Is your mom a morning person? Does Dad enjoy an afternoon nap? Be sure to take their personal preference into account when you visit. You can always call ahead, or even ask the staff when a good time would be to visit that day.
  • Ask questions. Sometimes it can be difficult for visitors to think of things to talk about with their loved one for an extended visit. Some great conversation starters include asking them about childhood memories, discussing current events they’re interested in or asking for advice about a favorite hobby the two of you share.
  • Bring guests every now and then — but not all at once. Perhaps your loved one would enjoy a visit from their grandkids or their old neighbor. It might be a good idea to bring them along on your next visit.
  • Hold their hand. Physical touch can be extremely comforting unless your parent doesn’t like to be touched. If they do like physical affection, hold their hand, fix their hair, or give them a warm hug.

Long-Term Care in Columbus, Ohio


At MacIntosh communities, we take the time to get to know our residents. To avoid feelings of loneliness, we have permanent staffing assignments that support genuine relationships. Even when you can’t visit, the staff will be there for your loved one.

The social atmosphere of long-term care communities likes the MacIntosh communities, is also tremendously beneficial. Your loved one can participate in engaging dining experiences that promote social interaction and enjoy a variety of tasty food options, as well as other activities that promote wellbeing.

For more information on MacIntosh long-term care services, explore our website, contact us online, or call us at (614) 345-9500.

Canal Winchester Assisted Living Special

Are you looking for an assisted living community that combines the security of care with the comforts of home? The Canal Winchester care community is the perfect place for you or your loved one. We provide assistance with daily activities in a modern as well as an active setting that allows residents to live independent, satisfying lives.

For more information, contact us online or schedule a tour.

Canal Winchester Assisted Living Services and Amenities

Assisted living offers the assistance older adults need, when they need it. Life doesn’t stop when you move into assisted living—in fact, there are so many activities and offerings to enjoy that you may find yourself busier than ever. Each day is up to you, though. Nothing is mandatory, giving you the freedom to do as you please.

Amenities and Hospitality

  • Private, one-bedroom assisted living suitesCanal Winchester amenities and hospitality
  • 24-hour professional nursing staff
  • Health and wellness monitoring
  • Medication management
  • Assistance with bathing, dressing and grooming
  • Housekeeping and linen service
  • Restaurant-style bistro menus prepared by chefs
  • Transportation
  • Emergency call system
  • Physical, occupational and speech therapy available
  • Podiatry, dental, optometry and psychological services


  • Pet therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Creative arts
  • Games, cards and puzzles
  • Exercise programs
  • Cooking programs
  • Intergenerational programs
  • Social gatherings
  • Cultural programs
  • Clubs and special events
  • Scheduled outings

Ready to discuss moving in?

Contact Canal Winchester   Schedule a Tour of Canal WinchesterAssisted Living Apartments in Canal Winchester, Ohio

Assisted Living Apartments in Canal Winchester, Ohio

Canal Winchester has 47 spacious, private, one-bedroom assisted living suites. They feature:

  • Canal Winchester has 47 spacious, private, one-bedroom assisted living suites.Separate living, sleeping and kitchenette areas
  • Individually controlled heating and air conditioning
  • Emergency call system
  • Full private bath
  • Walk-in closet



Residents are free to decorate their suites as they wish.Residents are free to decorate their suites as they wish. We encourage you to personalize your suite with your own furnishings. See the suites for yourself by scheduling a tour. You can also view our assisted living floor plans online to get a better idea of the space (see floor plans marked “AL Studio”).


Canal Winchester: Make Yourself at Home at Our Central Ohio Assisted Living Community

Make yourself at home at Canal WinchesterCanal Winchester Rehabilitation Center, Skilled Nursing & Assisted Living is a friendly, welcoming care community that offers assisted living in the Central Ohio Area.

In addition to spacious assisted living suites, residents at Canal Winchester can enjoy communal spaces, such as:

  • Beautiful courtyards with walking paths
  • Well-appointed dining room, restaurant-style meals, room service and readily available snacks
  • Beauty salon and barber shop

With the help of provided transportation, they can also enjoy everything that the surrounding area has to offer. We’re located in Canal Winchester, a close-knit community with a strong heritage of farming and family values.

Continuum of Care

One major benefit of Canal Winchester is that we offer multiple levels of care all on the same campus, including long-term care and rehabilitation. Should you or your loved one ever be in need of more care, there’s no need to find another community and make a difficult move. Residents can receive the help they need from medical professionals who are already familiar with them.

In fact, our rehabilitation is so popular that many seniors who come to us for our rehab services later decide to move into our assisted living community.

Here’s what one resident had to say:

“I really enjoy living here! I like the people and staff, and I have made quite a few friends. I also like to take trips when we go on outings whether it be to lunch or out shopping. I think that Canal Winchester assisted living is a fun place to live!”

— Alma B.

Interested in taking advantage of our limited time move-in special?

Contact Canal WinchesterSchedule a Tour of Canal Winchester