What Is the Difference Between Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement Plans?
We all imagine that when we turn 65, we will enroll in Medicare and be done with it. But those of you approaching this milestone have begun to discover it’s not quite so simple! Medicare enrollment actually presents you with a number of decisions, and it can be difficult to sort through all of the numerous types of plans available to you.
You might have heard of Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans. Each type of plan serves a purpose, but they’re quite different. So if you’re wondering, “what is the difference between Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans”, this blog is for you.
A Medicare Advantage plan is offered by a private insurance company which has contracted with Medicare to provide a comprehensive plan. Advantage plans encompass both Medicare Parts A and B, and many also include Part D (prescription drug) coverage. These plans operate within a network structure, similar to other health insurance plans that you might have used over the years. You use doctors and facilities within your network, who have agreed to accept the Advantage plan.
You face the choice of enrolling in Original Medicare (Parts A and B) or an Advantage plan, but you can’t enroll in both.
On the other hand, those who enroll in Original Medicare can also add a Medicare Supplement plan (also called a Medigap plan). Supplement plans help to cover out-of-pocket expenses such as co-pays and deductibles, and also provide for other expenses like medical care that you receive outside of the country. If you opt for Original Medicare, a Medicare Supplement plan can help you to manage your expenses. However, you cannot add a Supplement policy to a Medicare Advantage plan.
If you do want to add a Supplement plan, the best time to do so falls within your original Medicare enrollment window. If you want to enroll in a Supplement plan later, you will be required to pass underwriting via a health screening, and are not guaranteed eligibility.
If you have any other questions about Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement plans, please give us a call. We can help you understand the differences and determine which route is right for you.