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Medicare Advantage vs. Medigap

Some people with Medicare may choose to get their coverage through a Medicare Advantage plan, also called a Medicare health plan. These plans are sold by private companies that have a contract with Medicare. They cover all the same things as Medicare Parts A and B. Some may also offer extra benefits not covered under Medicare. You must have Medicare Parts A and B to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. Costs and coverage will differ between plans.

There are reasons why people with Medicare choose to buy a Medigap policy instead of enrolling in a Medicare Advantage Plan.

What is the difference?

Medicare Advantage plans:

  • Can charge different amounts for certain Medicare-covered services
  • May offer extra benefits such as hearing aids and prescription drug coverage for an extra cost
  • Often charge set amounts for office visits
  • May require you to use network doctors

Note: A Medigap policy does not help you when you are in a Medicare Advantage plan. In fact, it is against the law for an insurance company to sell you a Medigap if you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan.

Medigap policies:

  • Help cover the cost gaps in Medicare
  • Work with most hospitals, providers, and suppliers
  • Must offer the same standard benefits, making it easier to comparison shop between companies

What is Medicare SELECT?

Medicare SELECT policies are sold in some states. They are like regular Medigap policies with one exception. You may be required to use hospitals and doctors in their network, except in an emergency. A plan can choose to make any Medigap plan a Medicare SELECT plan. They often cost less than other Medigap policies.

Consider your options carefully. If you want, you can get personal help to see which type of plan best meets your needs.

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