Updated: Apr 18
While most seniors know about the federal Medicare program, not everyone is familiar with the private programs that offer health insurance beyond what is included in normal Medicare plans (Parts A and B). The most common supplemental programs are Medigap and Medicare Advantage. Below is a brief summary of the differences between the options and a highlight of what might be relevant to you or your loved one should you be at an age where Medicare is the primary insurance for your health care needs.
Medigap, a/k/a Medicare Supplement Insurance, offers additional coverage for normal Medicare plans. It fill “gaps” in normal Medicare coverage by enabling you pay for out-of-pocket costs that Medicare generally doesn’t cover. These Medigap plans are offered by private insurance companies licensed by the state and there are typically different types of Medigap plans, each providing different degrees of coverage.
Medicare Advantage, often called “Part C,” offers an alternative to the original Medicare plans. These plans are bundled with the typical Medicare Plan A and B plans, creating more complete coverage for the insured person. If you opt for Medicare Advantage, you are still a Medicare patient. Medicare Advantage plans are typically provided by private insurance companies that are approved by Medicare, but they are funded by the government. Most Medicare Advantage Plans will also include Medicare Part D, also known as prescription drug coverage. However, if the plan doesn’t include this, you can always join a separate Medicare prescription drug plan.
While the Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans can each be beneficial, there are key differences between the two. Being well acquainted with these differences can help you choose the type of plan that works best for you.
Choice of Physician
For a useful summary of the options and key advantages and disadvantages of these options please follow this link.