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What’s the Difference Between a Medicare Advantage Plan and a Medicare Supplement Plan?

Posted by Elder Health Plans, October 20, 2021

When you first enroll in Medicare, you might find yourself overwhelmed with how many different options you face. Aside from Original Medicare, or Medicare Parts A and B, you can also opt for a Medicare Advantage plan. Or, you can add a Medicare Supplement plan. But what’s the difference, and which types of plans best suit your needs?

There’s no single Medicare path that works best for everyone, but here’s what you need to know about your options.

Choose between Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage. Your first choice will be between Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage. You can either enroll in Medicare Parts A and B, as offered by Medicare itself, or you can choose an Advantage plan which is administered by a private health insurance company.

If you enroll in Original Medicare, you can seek treatment from any provider that accepts Medicare. Most people don’t pay for Part A coverage, and only pay premiums for Part B.

Advantage plans must meet certain standards, but each company will determine a number of factors related to the plan’s network, coverage limits, and more. Many Advantage plans also include Part D coverage, or a prescription drug plan. In exchange for one monthly premium, you can achieve well-rounded coverage (but the plan still might not include everything you want or need).

You can add Medicare Supplement plans to your Original Medicare coverage. Supplement plans, also called Medigap plans, help to cover certain cost-sharing expenses like copayments and deductibles. A Medigap plan can also pay for healthcare services when you travel outside of the country. You can only add a Supplement plan to Original Medicare; they don’t work with Advantage plans.

Supplement plans don’t cover prescription drugs, or other expenses not covered by Medicare such as dental and vision. You should consider additional plans for those services if you want to address that need.

For more information on Medicare Advantage or Supplement (Medigap) plans, give us a call to discuss your options. We can help you determine which path is right for you.

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