Why Medicare Supplement Insurance is a good option when Medicare is not enough
If you discover that Medicare only allows you to pay many of your health care needs, what can you do to cover more of your medical expenses? The Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans can be used to supplement the basic Medicare benefits of Part A and Part B, also known as Original Medicare.
Both types of plans will help you with Medicare deductibles and copayment rates. Only Medicare benefit plans now cover prescription drugs. If you have Original Medicare and a Medigap Plan, you can also add a Prescription Drug Plan known as Medicare Part D. Make sure your medications are covered before enrolling in any plan.
Medicare supplemental insurance has fewer restrictions on the choice of doctors.
One of the main differences between Advantage and Medigap plans implies your freedom to select a doctor. Medicare supplement plans allow you to choose any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare. Advantage plans generally provide care through HMOs that limit your choice of doctors to a network. You will not be restricted in situations where you need emergency or urgent care. If you need an out-of-network specialist for non-emergency or non-urgent care, lack of coverage can deprive you of critical care for your condition.
Medicare Advantage plans are not standardized
A second important difference between these two types of coverage is the standardization of benefits. Medigap Insurance has been standardized in 10 benefit packages and each combination of benefits is designated by letter. For example, Medigap Plan F has more benefits and the benefits will always be the same, regardless of whether your Plan F is provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield, Human, etc.
Medicare Advantage plans are not standardized, so you should ask more questions and understand the rules that apply to each individual plan. Different benefit plans may require you to follow different rules and plans may pay for different prescription drugs.
Following one plan may cost you more in the long run
Most people prefer to look for ways to increase their health care coverage once and end it, but this is an expensive strategy. The available plans change from year to year. For example, Medigap coverage reduced some plans and added two new packages in the low premium range in 2010. If you don’t look at the new plans when they hit the market, you may lose opportunities to expand your coverage or reduce your premiums.