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Hi Adam, I will be turning 65 soon and wanted to know the difference between what a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage plan?

These two Medicare coverages differ greatly and often the “best” option will vary from person to person.  I will speak to general differences between the coverages because Medicare Advantage plans will vary not just from state to state but from county to county.

Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage (MAs) plans are referred to as “New” Medicare and make up Part C of Medicare.  These plans offer lower monthly costs and additional benefits when compared to Medicare Supplements.  MAs can include coverage for dental, vision and medications.  They can also offer transportation to and from the doctor and a stipend for over the counter medical products.  MAs, however, have strict networks and your medical needs must be meet within that network.  Also, while the monthly costs of the plan may be lower than a Medicare Supplement once you get sick and need to use the plan maximum out of pocket costs can be 4-5 times that of a Medicare Supplement.

Medicare Supplement

Medicare Supplement plans cover the gaps left by Original Medicare Parts A and B.  Medicare Supplements cost more than MAs on a monthly basis.  However, with Medicare Supplements there are no network restrictions.  A client can visit any Medicare approved doctor or hospital in US.  Not only that but outside of a small annual deductible the full amount of a person’s medical bills are paid in full.

Generally speaking our office recommends Medicare Supplements.  The entire point of purchasing insurance is so that whenever a major event takes place you are worried about recovery and not “How can I afford this?”  Medicare Supplements remove the worry of having to pay for costly medical procedures.  Extended hospital stay following a heart attack?  Paid for by Medicare Supplement.  12 months of chemotherapy?  Paid for by Medicare Supplement.  Losing sight because of cataracts or glaucoma?  Paid for by Medicare Supplement.