Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Difference Between Medicare Advantage And Medicare Supplement Insurance

By B. Loughead
Medicare is the US Government's federally administered nationwide social insurance that was established in 1965. Americans who are 65 years of age or older are guaranteed access to health care through this program. However, younger individuals with disabilities or who are in the end stage of renal disease are covered by Medicare. Medicare benefits are broken down into four categories as follows:

• Part A - hospital insurance                                   
• Part B - medical insurance
• Part C - Medicare Advantage plans
• Part D - prescription drug plans

Part A covers any hospitalization that is required while Part B covers visits to the doctor as well as any medical equipment that the patient may need. Consequently, there are gaps in these coverages which can be covered by either a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement plan.
Private companies offer Plans that work with Medicare and oftentimes include prescription coverage. They can be HMO's, PPO's, or private services but they will not negatively impact you despite receiving Medicare benefits. Secondary health insurance policies related to Medicare coverage are known as Medicare Supplements. They are also referred to as "Medigap" policies which are standardized by the Federal Government. As with Medicare Advantage Plans, Medicare Supplements also work with Medicare.

Both types of plans are similar to one another with certain aspects, but there is also a considerable difference between them as well as many different options. They provide additional coverage to your existing Medicare, but one of the primary differences is that Medicare Advantage premiums are usually lower than Medicare Supplement plans. They include benefits and prescription drug coverage that your original Medicare does not. Out-of-pocket expenses are also higher.

There are certain services that Medicare Supplements do not cover and there is no provider network with Supplement plans whereas there is with Advantage plans. Although there are provider networks, you will pay additional costs for going outside of that provider network. Another significant difference between Advantage and supplement insurance is that Advantage plans limit the times during the year that you can enroll in one of their plans.

Conversely, Supplement plans allow you to enroll whenever you want throughout the entire year. Finally, you are required to have both Medicare Parts A and B in order to enroll in Medicare Advantage and Medicare supplement plans. More information regarding either type of plan is available at Medicare's official website. You should talk with a licensed professional from an independent insurance broker before making any decisions.

Summit Medigap is an independent insurance agency that specializes in Medicare supplement insurance. We make Medicare seem easy™. For more information about Medicare supplement insurance visit or call us at 1-888-40-Summit (888-407-8664).

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