Medicare Advantage Plans Vs Supplemental Plans

As you are enrolling into the Medicare system, you may have heard the term "Medigap" tossed around - but what exactly is it, and how does it compare to a standard Medicare Advantage plan? Before you enroll in one or the other, you should learn about some differences between Medicare Advantage plans Vs Medicare supplemental plans (Medigap). One is not necessarily better than the other, and both types of plans can be tailored to provide the comprehensive coverage that you need.

A Medigap plan is designed to "fill the gaps" for policies that may not be covered by Medicare Part A and Part B. It was designed by companies to offer Medicare beneficiaries with more options in case standard Medicare cannot provide certain benefits. A Medicare supplemental plan may come in the form of a health maintenance organization (HMO) or a preferred provider organization (PPO), and both are networks of health care providers and facilities. A Medicare supplemental plan will typically provide full benefits from Medicare Plan A and Plan B and the potential for more benefits as well. When comparing Medicare Advantage plans Vs Medicare supplemental plans, you should note that both are offered only through privately run organizations.

Although Medigap is designed to "fill the gaps", when comparing Medicare Advantage plans Vs Medicare supplemental plans, you should not think that Medigap is limited to only a few sparse coverage options. Rather, a Medigap plan (combined with Part A & B benefits) typically has more options versus a Medicare supplemental plan. On the other hand, there are many different types of HMOs and PPOs, so you may find many different types of price options - and some may be more appealing versus the Plan A & B option enhanced by Medigap.

However, there is one key difference with Medicare Advantage plans Vs Medicare supplemental plans, and that's how Medigap does not provide prescription drug benefits. Typically, this must be acquired separately through Medicare Plan D. On the other hand, a Medicare Advantage plan, depending on the company you choose, may provide prescription drug benefits as part of their package. So, the proper way to decide between these options is to compare the price points. Medicare Plan D may be less expensive versus a private prescription drug option through an HMO or PPO. Alternatively, you may find Medicare Plan D through Medigap is less appealing versus a competitive rate from a Medicare Advantage plan.

Medicare Advantage plans Vs Medicare supplemental plans both entail working through a private insurer. Although the benefits provided by a service like Medigap are standardized, the price-points are not. Because these services are part of the private insurance industry, you will find many different options, as well as many different companies that provide varying levels of quality.

When you are deciding between Medicare Advantage plans Vs Medicare supplemental plans, there are a number of variables you should look at. The first thing to be aware of is the monthly premium and the deductibles. Be careful of any tiny clauses in the descriptions of either service that could entail additional charges or premium / deductible rate increases that you wouldn't otherwise be aware of. Typically, if an insurance company seems too good to be true, well - you know the rest.

You need to also compare Medicare Advantage plans Vs Medicare supplemental plans in relation to your prescription drug and / or medical needs. If you require only a minimal amount of drugs or medical services per month, there are plans better tailored to support less general expenses. On the other hand, if you requirements are heavy - you may need a plan that is optimized to save you money during frequent trips to the hospital and heavy amounts of prescription medication. You don't want a plan tailored around the wrong set of needs.

You should also keep an eye on any doctor and healthcare facility restrictions as you compare Medicare Advantage plans Vs Medicare supplemental plans. If a particular plan does not cover visits to the gastroenterologist - and yet your medical conditions may include gastroenterological issues - you'll know immediately that it's not the right service to meet your needs.

Another important factor is the benefits. While Medigap typically has a wider array of benefits, an HMO or PPO may better serve you if a plan is optimized around your particular condition and your needs. There is no sense in paying additional fees for benefits on a Medicare package that do not apply to you.

As you compare Medicare Advantage plans Vs Medicare supplemental plans, you'll have probably gathered by now the main variable is what your specific needs are, and which plan accommodates them the best. One final thing to note is to consider consumer ratings of different private insurers. This alone is one of the best techniques in helping to decide which plan is right for you, as you should immediately screen out companies with reputations that include unjust fees hidden in the fine print, poor customer service or any other issues that would prevent you from receiving proper, affordable care.