Choosing between Medicare Supplements and Medicare Advantage

by Steve

You may not be aware of the differences between Medicare Supplements and Medicare Advantage, and you certainly would not be alone if you didn’t.  These differences are important though, and you need to understand so that you can make the best possible choice for yourself.

Yuma Insurance can help you find the answers to all your health insurance questions.

Medicare Supplement Plans

Medicare Supplement plans are also known as “Medigap” plans due to the fact that they fill in and cover “gaps” in coverage that Original Medicare may not cover.  There are 12 different plans that range from A to L and they all provide a different amount of help and coverage.

These Supplement plans are provided by private health insurance companies, so they do not usually have a monthly premium and they vary in pricing by coverage, zip code and age in much the same way that other health insurance does.  The majority of these Supplement plans are also subject to yearly price increases, so while you may purchase the policy at one price, it may very well go up as the years go by.

Keep in mind that, while there are guaranteed enrollment periods, there may be other times or circumstances where a person may still be subject to normal health insurance underwriting, just like any other individual policy.  Be sure you understand how this may affect you before you drop another plan for a Supplement plan.

It is important for you to remember that when you are insured, you will still use your government issued card as well as the ID card issued by the insurer.  These two parts are meant to work together in order to provide the desired health coverage.

Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage plans vary in that they actually take over the health coverage for a person.  The member only needs to use their Medicare Advantage (MA) plan card to verify coverage.  There are different types of these plans as well, and they are provided by private insurance companies, too.

There are PPO, HMO or Fee For Service plans depending on what is available in your particular zip code and what you are looking for.  There are plans that come bundled with Part D (Prescription) coverage, some plans that require an additional premium and some plans that rebate part of the Part B premium that most Medicare beneficiaries have debited from their social security checks.  Many of these Medicare Advantage plans were shut down in 2009, so understand how these plans will serve you going forward.

There is no ‘one’ right plan for everyone and you will need to do some research to find the best fit for you.  Many seniors are more than happy with the flexibility of their Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan, while others feel better with an MA.  Your budget will also play a role in your decision, so you will need to know what your budget is from the beginning.

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