Which Medicare Advantage plan should I choose? If you’re wondering this, you’re not alone.

Selecting a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan is no easy task, with the average beneficiary having 29 different plans to choose from in their county. But one factor can make a big impact in helping you decide what plan is right for you in 2024: non-medical benefits.

What are non-medical benefits when it comes to a Medicare Advantage plan?

Non-medical benefits, sometimes called supplemental benefits, are designed to address your total wellness picture—multiple aspects of your health, security, and emotional well-being. They balance your primary medical needs with other needs such as good nutrition, transportation, and companionship. Non-medical services help ensure you have the supports in place to live a functional and independent life.

In recent years, the number of Medicare Advantage plans providing these non-medical benefits has grown substantially. In 2024, at least 97% of individual plans offer some level of vision, hearing, or dental benefits.1

What are some examples of non-medical Medicare Advantage benefits?

In general, Medicare Advantage non-medical benefits focus on providing care beyond traditional clinical settings. Below are some of the extra support and services that plans may offer members at no additional cost in 2024.

Nutrition and dietary support

As we age, our nutritional needs change—and eating healthy becomes much more important to our quality of life. Poor nutrition can result in malnutrition, vitamin deficiencies, and any number of chronic diseases. Following a balanced meal plan, on the other hand, can help you reduce your risk for illness and stay active and independent for longer.

Like original Medicare (Parts A and B), Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans are required to provide standard coverage for medical nutritional therapy (nutrition-based treatment for certain chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes). However, many plans also offer additional non-medical benefits such as:

  • General nutritional counseling
  • Ready-made, home-delivered meals after a hospital stay
  • Debit cards to purchase healthy foods
  • Home-delivered fresh fruits and vegetables

One example of a nutrition benefit offered by select Medicare Advantage plans is a pre-loaded debit card with an allowance that can be used to buy healthy foods and fresh produce. These cards are becoming more popular among plans, since members enjoy the convenience of being able to use the cards at local retailers. Make sure you check plan details to understand if you’re eligible for this benefit.

Transportation access

Lack of transportation can make it difficult for older adults to utilize the heath care and community services they need to thrive. That's why some Medicare Advantage plans include non-emergency transportation services at no added cost, giving members a reliable way to get to where they need to go. This benefit allows you to take advantage of safe, comfortable transportation to and from approved locations such as the pharmacy, senior center, and doctor appointments. The number of covered trips usually varies by plan.

Falls prevention aids

Falls are the top cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for older Americans, with more than one-quarter of people age 65+ falling annually.2 Not only do fall-related injuries threaten older adults’ safety and independence; they cost billions each year.

As a result, fall prevention is a critical part of supporting the health and wellness of older Americans. Some carriers offer their Medicare Advantage plan members an annual allowance for safety items (such as handrails) that can reduce the risk of injury from falls in the home.

Social support connections

Millions of older adults struggle with loneliness, and this lack of social support can have a profound negative impact on health. Small group programs, held either online or in person, can improve people's sense of social connectedness and boost health and well-being. That’s why another important aspect of non-medical benefits is helping members find community and combat isolation. A number of Medicare Advantage plans offer services that can help you find and participate in social opportunities that enrich your life, such as:

  • Classes based on your personal interests
  • Volunteer work
  • Recreational activities
  • Nearby senior centers

Additionally, some Medicare Advantage plans provide adult companions to select members at no cost. These people provide companionship and help with household needs for up to a certain number of hours per month.

Other benefits

Certain Medicare Advantage plans also offer other innovative, non-medical benefits for members. Some examples are below:

  • Allowance to buy over-the-counter items, such as vitamins, bandages, toothpaste and hand lotions
  • Help paying utility bills, such as water, gas, electricity, phone, and internet service
  • Fitness memberships to keep older adults active
  • Access to brain games and exercises to promote good mental health

Learn more about Medicare Advantage supplemental benefits

Your health isn’t one-dimensional, and your health plan shouldn’t be either. Non-medical benefits are something you’ll want to think about when you’re exploring different Medicare Advantage plans for 2024 coverage. Get expert help in understanding your Medicare coverage options by talking to a licensed adviser that meets NCOA’s Standards of Excellence. Our trusted experts can help you choose a plan that provides the unique benefits you need—and they won’t ever pressure you into buying a specific plan.


1. KFF. Medicare Advantage 2024 Spotlight: First Look. November 15, 2023. Found on the internet at https://www.kff.org/medicare/issue-brief/medicare-advantage-2024-spotlight-first-look/

2. Older Adult Falls Reported by State, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Found on the internet at https://www.cdc.gov/falls/data/falls-by-state.html