Choosing the Right Medicare Supplement for You

What’s the better option, Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement (Medigap)? This is a question that will be asked by many people who are turning 65 years old. In my opinion, the Medicare Supplementary Plan F would be the best option. Plan F covers Part A and Part B co-insurance and Part A and Part B deductibles. Therefore, most, if not all, expenses are paid by the Original Medicare and the Medicare Supplement Plan F. Plan F, however, is likely to be the plan with the highest premium.

Medicare supplement insurance policies are an important part of a long-term plan for anyone over 65 years old. With the ever-increasing cost of healthcare, a Medicare supplement plan can help you eliminate your expenses out of pocket.

Medicare itself pays 80% of most covered services. That leaves you responsible for the other 20%. While 20% does not sound overwhelming, it may be safe to consider a hospital bill for cancer, heart attack, stroke or other important medical “event”.

Medigap doesn’t contain any Medicare Prescription Drugs benefits. This means that you need to buy a different Part D plan (PDP) which will increase your monthly health insurance costs.

Medigap plans are standardized, which means that Plan F offers the same benefits, regardless of which insurance company you are referring to. The other Medicare supplement plans are A, B, C, D, F, high deductible F, G, K, L, M and N. All insurance companies that sell Medicare supplements need to offer Plan A. Fares, plans and insurance companies which sell Medicare supplements vary from state to state.

A AARP Medicare Advantage Plan could be a good alternative to Original Medicare.   Many of the plans contain Part D. Premiums for Medicare Advantage plans are generally lower than Medicare Supplement plans. Some Medicare Advantage plans have no premiums. The benefits of the Medicare Advantage plan vary from one county to another. Many Medicare Advantage plans offer additional benefits that Medicare does not cover, such as dentistry, vision, or a free gym membership.

If you’re considering Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO, and POS plans, you’ll need to check that your doctors are contracted and what your outlay is for each covered service. Technically, if you enroll for a PPO plan, you can go to any doctor. But if the doctor does not take the PPO, you would have to pay the doctor his fees and later get reimbursed from the plan. If it’s a PFFS plan, you’ll need to check with your doctors to see if they would accept it. Note that a vendor may refuse to accept a PFFS plan at any time, even if he has previously accepted it.

Every situation is unique and their needs are different. I believe that it is important for seniors to do a lot of research, meet people they trust, and try to make the best decisions for yourself.

Because Medigap automatically pays its share of Medicare covered expenses, you can keep your healthcare providers already working with Medicare. Medigap insurance does not restrict you to a provider network or requires referral to a specialist. However, Medicare Advantage plans typically have such requirements.

Advantage plans are not standardized like Medigap plans, so it is important to understand the rules for each individual plan before signing up. This includes finding out which prescription drugs are covered.