It’s no secret that there is a lot more to Medicare than a simple one-size-fits all plan. If need a health plan to better suit your needs than traditional Medicare can provide, you should consider a Medicare Advantage or Medigap plan. Here’s how to decide what plan will work best for you and what options are available.
What is Medicare Advantage?
A Medicare Advantage Plan provides coverage through private insurance companies. A Medicare Advantage Plan provides all the benefits of Part A, Part B (except Hospice care), and in most cases, Part D. However many of the Medicare Advantage Plans offer additional benefits beyond Original Medicare, including: dental, vision, wellness benefits and/or travel coverage.
What is Medigap (Medicare Supplement Insurance)?
Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) is a policy that helps pay for health care costs that Medicare may not cover. Medigap plans are sold by private insurance companies licensed to offer these plans in your state. Medigap policies do not cover most Part D prescription medications, so if you want drug coverage, you can add a standalone Part D plan that are available in your area. Medigap can cover some health care costs like copayments, coinsurance and deductibles that original Medicare doesn’t cover. Standardized Medigap policies are guaranteed renewable even when there are health concerns. However, Medigap does not cover long-term care, eyeglasses or dental care like a Medicare Advantage Plan might.
Types of Medigap Plans
The types of Medigap plans are a Medicare Select policy and a Standardized Plan. A Medicare Select policy is a Medigap plan that limits the plan to a network of doctors and hospitals. The standardized plan is a Medigap policy that has no network and requires no prior authorization for Medicare approved services. If your provider participates in the Medicare program, you are covered for standardized Medigap.
The Short and Sweet Version
To sum it up:
Medicare Advantage = A plan through a private insurance company instead of through the government. Includes all the benefits of original Medicare as well as benefits of that specific insurance company. Think of this like a buffet lunch with many options, but only those provided by the restaurant.
Medigap = You still have Medicare through the government but also pay for additional services you may require. Think of this like an a la carte lunch where you add sides to round out your meal.
What plan makes sense for you depends largely on your needs and what other coverage you may already have. If you have questions about your current plan or are wanting to switch to a new plan, we offer free one-on-one meetings with local Minnesotan Medicare agents and we also offer free informational Medicare workshops. We are happy to sit down with you to chart out your needs and find the option that’s right for you.