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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEDICARE ADVANTAGE AND MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT PLANS?

Introduction:

Medicare Supplement plansOriginal Medicare does not cover all of your healthcare expenses. Two choices are usually used to add-on more coverage to your Original Medicare to cover your healthcare expenses not covered by Original Medicare.  One is the Medicare Advantage Plan, and the other is the Medicare Supplement Plan. Medicare Advantage plans are those plans which offer the coverage the same as Medicare Part A, B, and D as well as it also provides some additional benefits and coverage. It is an alternative way to obtain Original Medicare benefits and coverage. Medicare Supplement Plans known as medigap. are the plans that cover the gap between Original Medicare and your actual healthcare needs. They work along with your Original Medicare. Both methods are quite different from one another. Though, one thing that is common in them is that both plans are presented via private insurance companies. Usually, the enrollment in both Medicare Advantage plan and Medicare supplement plan is not possible at the same time.

 

Difference between Medicare Advantage Plan and Medicare Supplement Plan:

While evaluating add-on or supplement to your Original Medicare, you have to recognize the difference between Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Supplement plans based on their benefits, costs, coverage, and their working procedure.

 

  1. Medicare Supplement Plans:

Medicare supplement plans may provide coverage for out-of-pocket expenses, i.e. coinsurance, copayment, and deductibles, not covered under Original Medicare.  The excellent time for their enrollment is open enrollment period as in this period you can get certain benefits and guaranteed coverage for your out-of-pocket expenses.

Cost of Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans:

There are ten different types of Medigap plans labeled as Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, Plan D, Plan F, Plan G, Plan K, Plan L, Plan M, and Plan N. The federal government standardizes all these plans. However, the cost for all these plans may vary with geographic location and insurance companies. Also, prices may differ based on your age at the time of enrollment and coverage type that you want to acquire. If you want more coverage, then you have to pay more for it. Similarly, if your age is more at enrollment time, then more premiums will be charged for it. Likewise, for a high deductible plan, a low premium is charged.

 

Benefits of Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans:

These plans are considered a good fit because of the benefits they provide:

  • It offers coverage for out-of-pocket expenses.
  • It provides coverage for traveling anywhere you travel.
  • It is a good fit for you to cover deductibles, coinsurance, and copayment not covered under Original Medicare.
  • It provides relief and peace of mind.
  • It offers financial stability to cover your healthcare benefits.
  • No reference is required to see any desired specialist.

How do these plans work?

Medicare Supplement Insurance plans provide coverage for out-of-pocket expenses not covered under Original Medicare. Consequently, they charge a premium that is an extra amount from what you already pays as a premium for Medicare Part A, B, and D.

  1. Medicare Advantage Plan:

 

Medicare Advantage Plan is the plan offered by private insurance companies that is an add-on to the Original Medicare. These plans cover everything covered under Medicare. Also, it provides coverage for those healthcare expenses not covered under Medicare. The excellent time for its enrollment is the open enrollment period. You must enroll in Medicare Part A and B to be eligible for enrollment in Medicare Advantage Plans.

 

Cost of Medicare Advantage Plans:

Medicare Advantage Plans have different types of Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), Special Needs Plan (SNP), Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), Medical Saving Account (MSA), and Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS). Their costs may vary with the type of plan and insurance company. So, you have to shop around for searching for a good plan for you at an affordable cost.

Benefits of Medicare Advantage Plans:

These plans are the best fit for you due to the benefits they offer:

  • They provide coverage for hospitalization, medical, and prescription drug.
  • They provide add-on coverage for vision care, dental care, hearing, and transportation for a doctor or hospital visit.
  • They offer more coverage at a low cost.

How do these plans work?

Medicare Advantage plans to provide more coverage for expenses at a low cost. These plans cover everything covered in Medicare Part A, B, and D as well as offer some extra benefits. Consequently, they charge an advantage premium besides the premium for Medicare Part B that an individual already pays.

Can Both Plans be used At the Same Time?

The Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans work separately. You cannot use both methods at the same time. You have to drop one plan to adopt another one. If you get enrolled in the Medicare Advantage Plan, then it would be illegal for the private insurance company to sell you Medicare supplement plan. It would be legal only in one situation, i.e. you display your written proof that you are dropping your Medicare Advantage Plan. To cut or cancel any plan, you have to contact your insurance company that will help you with the cancellation project.

Which Plan is the Best Choice?

To add-on or supplement your Medicare coverage, you have to pick one of two plans, i.e. either Medicare Supplement Plans or Medicare Advantage Plans. The selection of one method is quite a significant and challenging decision. However, whether to pick a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Medicare Supplement Plan depends on your healthcare needs and your anticipated healthcare expenses.

If you have more medical and health issues, and you have to pay a lot of anticipated out-of-pocket medical expenses, then the Medicare Supplement Plan is the best choice. Though it charges a high premium, but it provides more coverage to cover your out-of-pocket healthcare expenses and give you a relief and peace of mind for your healthcare coverage. Conversely, if you have fewer medical and health issues, and you have to pay less anticipated out-of-pocket medical expenses, then the Medicare Advantage Plan is the best choice since it charges a low premium and provides more coverage to cover your prescribed drug expenses and save your money.

Bottom Line:

The Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans both are good as both of them provide some add-on benefits to you with your Medicare. Medicare Advantage Plan covers what the actual Medicare offers as well as provides some additional coverage to you for your health expenses. However, Medicare Supplement Plan provides coverage for out-of-pocket costs that are not covered by Medicare. You can select the best one according to your healthcare needs and preferences to meet your medical expenses. So, determine your healthcare needs and pick the option that best fits and fulfills your needs.