Medicare is extremely beneficial, but once you have enrolled for Part A and B, you need to take a call on additional coverage. Besides the Original Medicare, you can choose to go for Medicare Advantage or Medigap. In this post, we will try to understand the difference between Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans.
The basic difference
A Medigap plan basically works like a supplemental policy that covers costs that are not a part of original Medicare. Even with Medigap, you will still have to pay for part B premium. Basically, you will be still covered by original Medicare if you have Medigap, and the latter will pay the portion of the bill that’s not paid by Medicare, as per the coverage, terms and conditions. Please note that Medigap doesn’t cover prescription drugs.
On the other hand, Medicare Advantage plans work like replacement plan for the Original Medicare. It does cover prescription drugs and will pay for the things that are included in Part A and Part B.
Both Medicare Advantage and Medigap are sold by private insurance providers that have been licensed by the state. However, if you have Medicare Advantage, you will have to leave the policy before you can enroll for Medigap. In short, you cannot have both policies at the same time.
Other things to know
The cost of Medigap policies can be around $150-200 per month, depending on the age and health history of the beneficiary. Medicare Advantage is usually cheaper, at around $100 at the maximum, depending on the plan. There are no Out-of-pocket costs with Medigap, which can be pretty high with Medicare Advantage, depending on the plan. In terms of choice for doctors and hospitals, beneficiaries can choose to go for any healthcare service that participates in Medicare. On the other hand, Medicare Advantage beneficiaries can choose HMOs only, and for PPOs, one can go for any provider, but providers outside the list of the providers may cost more.
Further details for help
The cost of Medigap is dependent on the plans, which are named after letters from A to N. The benefits of Medicare supplement plan F will be same in all states (47, as Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have unique plans), although the costs can differ, based on the insurance provider.
In terms of cards, you will have to keep three cards with Medigap. Besides red, white, and blue Medicare card, you will also need a Medigap card and additional Part D card, if you have opted for it. On the contrary, you just to carry the Medicare Advantage card with you at all times, without keeping the red, white, and blue Medicare card.