Medicare Advantage vs Medicare Supplement Plans
We all like to believe that we’ll escape the risks of ill-health. However, the odds aren’t in our favor when it comes to injury and illness.
Over 173 million Americans are overburdened with medical debt due to hospitalization and other health-related costs.
Fortunately, thanks to Medicare, we all have the opportunity to avoid the exorbitant costs of unexpected medical expenses as we age. Unfortunately, we can’t all afford the associated costs. So, if you want to help your aging parents stay healthy and well-cared for, read on.
Medicare isn’t the only option available either. You’ve got plenty of choices regarding fine-tuning who picks up the tab for their medical costs.
Here’s your guide to comparing Medicare Advantage vs Medicare supplement plans if you want to ensure that your parents enjoy a happy, healthy, and debt-free retirement.
Medicare Advantage vs Supplement Plans
Although Original Medicare, i.e., Part A and B, cover a wide range of health care expenses, they don’t pay for everything.
Beneficiaries still need to pay for deductibles and co-payments. Over time these expenses can add up. Some necessities like routine dental and vision procedures, treatment while overseas, and prescription drugs also fall outside Medicare benefits.
That’s not to say you can’t get cover for these things. You can’t get it from Original Medicare.
Medigap supplemental plans are Medicare’s solution for those who don’t want to pay for some of these exclusions.
While Medicare Advantage plans, offered by private insurers, can also help you pay for these extra costs.
The main difference between Medicare supplement and medicare advantage policies is that you only pay one premium with Medicare Advantage insurance. You have to buy a Medigap supplement plan separately when purchasing Original Medicare.
What Is Medicare Advantage?
To get to grips with how it all works, you need a basic idea of what Medicare offers.
Medicare consists of four main parts, namely:
1) Part A that pays for in-hospital care, nursing facility care, and limited home health care
2) Part B for some medical supplies, doctor’s services, outpatient care, and preventive care
3) Part C, which is Medicare Advantage
4) Part D is an optional cover for vaccines and prescription drugs
You buy both Medicare Advantage plans and Medigap supplement plans from private insurers.
Medicare Advantage plans fall under Medicare Part C. By law, they must offer customers at least the same benefits as Medicare Part A and B. After that, insurers make their own rules concerning their benefits and premiums.
Most Medicare Advantage plans cover Part A, B, D, and the Medigap portion of Medicare. Some of these plans also offer extra coverage for vision, dental, and hearing-related services.
What Are Medigap Supplement Plans?
There are ten different Medigap policies available to all US citizens over the age of 65. They’re identified according to different letters of the alphabet, i.e., A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N.
Recently, congress suspended Plans F and C.
You can still buy these policies if you were eligible for Medicaid before 2020, and you can still reap the benefits if you signed up before 2020.
All Medigap supplemental insurance plans offer standardized benefits across the country. Yet, some states have different minimum requirements when it comes to these plans.
Take a look at this video outlining the benefits of Medicare supplement plans for more information.
Choosing Between Medicare Advantage vs Medicare Supplement Plans
Thanks to the huge variety of Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans available. There’s a perfect health insurance plan available for you somewhere.
So, it pays to keep searching until you find the ideal one.
These are some of the things to think about when comparing medicare advantage vs medicare supplement plans.
Medicare Advantage plans offer two open enrollment periods per year. You can only enroll in Medigap plans within the first six months after turning 65, except in special circumstances.
For example, if you’re left without appropriate medical cover due to no fault of your own, Medigap insurers will allow you to enroll at any time of the year.
The premiums for Medicare Advantage plans differ widely according to the services they offer. Generally, the higher your premium, the more benefits you’ll receive.
Some Medicare Advantage plans offer limited coverage for a zero monthly premium. There are a few other costs associated with these plans, so make sure you know all the extra fees involved.
There are no free Medigap policies, and the premiums are usually determined according to your age.
You still need to pay your Medicare Part B premium with both insurance types every month, although you won’t need to pay a deductible for Part B when you enroll in some Medicare Advantage plans.
While Medigap’s designed to cover all co-payments and deductibles associated with Medicare Part A, not all Advantage plans cover these costs.
Depending on the Advantage plan you choose, you could save on a host of extra services like prescription drugs, vision, and dental, or more. Many Advantage plans offer cover for medical treatment overseas.
Like Original Medicare, Medigap Insurance is widely accepted everywhere in America, while Medicare Advantage plans have a limited doctor’s network.
Since private insurers offer both these types of plans, it’s worth sitting down to discuss your options with a reputable insurance provider before you make your choice.
More Healthy Choices
I hope I’ve been able to shed some light on how to compare Medicare Advantage vs Medicare supplement plans.
You only have a limited window of opportunity to sign up for these plans, and it’s tricky to make changes afterward. So, it’s essential to take time considering all the pros and cons before you decide.