With Medicare Open Enrollment ticking down, we’re still getting last minute questions about Medicare and related health insurance plans, and this has been one of the most common over the last few days: Is a Medigap plan the same as a Medicare Advantage plan? Medigaps and Medicare Advantage plans are both called Medicare supplemental plans, so are they the same thing?
Well, the short answer is No, even though they’re both often referred to as as Medicare supplemental plans, Medigaps and Medicare Advantage plans are not actually the same thing. Medigaps supplement your Medicare coverage if you are on Original Medicare. On the other hand, Medicare Advantage plans are alternatives to Original Medicare altogether.
Medigaps are private insurance which you can use to supplement your coverage and pay your out-of-pocket expenses if you are on Original Medicare. Depending on the plan that you choose, Medigaps can cover expenses like the 20 percent you’d otherwise pay for physician visits and other outpatient services, the Part A hospital deductible (currently $1,100 for each hospital benefit period), most of the cost of medical emergencies abroad and other out-of-pocket expenses that Original Medicare doesn’t cover. Medigaps are limited to ten standard benefit packages, but premiums can vary wildly, so shop around!
Medicare Advantage plans are also private health insurance, but instead of just supplementing Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans replace Original Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans must provide all the coverage that Original Medicare provides, but they also often provide additional benefits such as prescription drug coverage, vision care, etc. Medicare Advantage plans can vary widely on premiums and copayments, and many Medicare Advantage plans restrict you to only using doctors in their network. Yet again, it pays to shop around!
Have you enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan for next year? Tell us about it!
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