Happy 65th Birthday!
Congratulations! You’re about to turn 65! This is a big meaningful development in your life. You are about to become eligible for Medicare. Now what? What does Medicare cover? What doesn’t it cover? Do you get a Medicare Supplement and a prescription plan (Medicare Part D), or do you get a Medicare Advantage plan.
What is a Medicare Supplement?
A Supplement is private insurance. It will pay AFTER Medicare. Depending on the plan that you get, it can cover the Part A Deductible, the Part B Deductible, the 20% that Medicare does not cover, the Part B Excess charges, Emergency Foreign Travel, Skilled Nursing, At Home Recovery and Preventive Care not typically covered, except in limited circumstances. A supplement does not cover prescriptions. Prescriptions are covered under a separate plan (Medicare Part D), which is provided by private insurance companies. Supplements are uniform by the Federal Government. They are lettered A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M & N. Each uniform Medigap policy must offer the same basic benefits no matter which insurance company sells it. Cost is usually the only difference between Medigap policies with the same letter sold by different insurance companies. A Supplement will be accepted by any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare.
What is a Medicare Advantage Plan?
A Medicare Advantage Plan is a Private Health Plan run by a private insurance company approved by Medicare. It is NOT a Supplement. They provide your Part A and Part B coverage, but can charge different amounts for certain sets. They may offer additional coverage and some plans offer prescription coverage. These plans pay INSTEAD of Medicare. They are sometimes referred to as Medicare Part C. Not all doctors and hospitals that accept Medicare will accept all Advantage Plans, so you need to be careful, and check with your local doctor or hospital.
So, what is the best choice? That all depends on your particular situation and budget. The best thing to do is to consult with an “independent” insurance agent that specializes in Medicare products. He can analyze your situation, explain the details of all your options, and help you find the best plan for your situation and budget.