Medicare Supplement (Medigap)
As the name suggests, Medicare Supplement Plans “supplement” Medicare, so they are not Medicare Plans in and of themselves and they don’t really provide health care coverage themselves. Medicare supplement insurance plans help to pay some of the out-of-pocket costs that come with Medicare, like deductibles and coinsurance. They can only be used with Original Medicare, not with Medicare Advantage. Plans are standardized by the federal government. There are 10 plans labeled with letters – Plan G, for example. Every plan of the same letter provides the same benefits, no matter what insurance company offers it.
Medicare supplement insurance coverage is nationwide and goes with you wherever Original Medicare does. And while plan benefits are standardized, each plan sets its own premium. The amount can vary, even for the same coverage. So you and a friend who lives in a different state may both have Plan G, but your premiums may be very different. In general, though, among the different standardized plans, the broader the coverage the higher the premium. So for example, Plan A, which typically provides selective help, may have a lower premium than Plan G, which covers more of your costs.
Medicare Advantage Plans
Medicare Advantage plans are an alternative to Original Medicare and offer another way to get your benefits. Although you are still in the Medicare program, the plan contracts with Medicare to administer your benefits. Plans are offered regionally, often in a county or state, by private insurance companies.
As an ‘alternative’ to Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans must provide all the benefits that Original Medicare does. Plans combine Part A and Part B coverage into one package. Most Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage, or Part D. Typically, Medicare Advantage plans work to reduce the Part A and Part B copays/coinsurance, while also offering additional benefits including coverage for dental, vision or hearing care as well as wellness and fitness programs. The result is an all-in-one plan similar to what you may be used to having through an employer.
Generally speaking, Medicare Advantage Plans are significantly less in monthly premiums when compared to Supplement plans. Additionally, with Supplement plans, if you want Part D coverage, you have to pay an additional monthly premium on top of your Supplement plan premium.
Having your Medicare plan tailored to your situation is something we take seriously at Wasatch Benefits Group. If you have any questions in regards to additional insurance needs please ask us about any of the following: