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 5 Reasons to Choose a Medicare Supplement over Medicare Advantage 


You are more than likely seeing Medicare Advantage TV commercials on a daily basis especially now that we are in the Annual Enrollment Period that runs from October 15 through December 7.  Aside from these commercials being a little misleading, they also don’t mention the fact that there is another option available.  Let’s take a look at Medicare Supplements and a few reasons why this option might be the right choice for you. 

First off, what are Medicare Supplement plans?  Medicare Supplements, also referred to as Medigap plans, are sold by private insurance companies to help fill the gaps of Original Medicare coverage.  Essentially, they pay the portion of the bills that you would otherwise be responsible for if you only had Original Medicare.  While they do not cover prescription drugs or many of the other additional benefits that are covered by Medicare Advantage plans, here are 5 reasons to choose a Medicare Supplement over a Medicare Advantage plan. 

 1.  No network restrictions 

A Medicare Supplement gives you the freedom to choose any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare patents.  You are not restricted to a specific network of doctors like you are with a Medicare Advantage plan.   

2.  A Medicare Supplement travels with you 

 Since you are not restricted by a network of doctors, a Medicare Supplement is a great option for people who travel frequently or snowbirds who live in a different part of the country at different times during the year.  They also may provide international travel coverage, but you should always check with your plan to get more information about your Medigap coverage while traveling.   

3.  You don’t have to worry about prior authorizations or referrals with Medicare Supplement 

 With some Medicare Advantage plans, you may need prior authorization from your insurance company before you can get certain tests and procedures done.  You may also need referrals to see specialists.  With Medicare Supplements, you don’t have to worry about prior authorizations or referrals.  As long as the services are covered by Medicare, and the doctors accept Medicare, then you are covered by the Medicare Supplement. 

4.  You don’t have to worry about benefit changes 

 Medicare Advantage plans can change their benefits from year to year.  This means that the coverage you had last year might not be the same going into the new plan year.  This is the reason for the Annual Enrollment Period when beneficiaries have the option to switch plans every year.  With Medicare Supplements, your benefits won’t change, but your premiums may change. 

5.  Lower out-of-pocket costs 

Medicare Supplements do typically have a higher monthly premium compared to Medicare Advantage plans.  This can, however, make it easier to budget because your monthly costs are more predictable.  With Medicare Supplements you typically will not have copays or coinsurance, so your only cost is the monthly premium after you have met the Part B deductible.  With Medicare Advantage plans, you will have copays, coinsurance, and the more that you are using the plan, the more out of pocket cost you will have.  There is less risk of expensive medical bills in the event of an accident or illness with Medicare Supplements. 

Choosing a health insurance plan can be a difficult decision, especially if you are a senior on a fixed income.  There is no one option that is best for everyone but if you are looking for a plan that offers more freedom, flexibility and gives you the peace of mind knowing that you won’t have to worry about out-of-pocket costs, then a Medicare Supplement might be the answer for you. 

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