Medicare Advantage Plans or Medicare plans?

This is a question that is asked by many retirees, who need to get proper health coverage to live a long, happy and satisfied life. Many have found Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage Plans to have worked wonderfully for them.

Medicare Supplement plans

Also known as Medigap Insurance is said to have underwent crucial changes on 1st June, 2010. This plan has been designed to provide coverage for coinsurance and deductibles that are to be otherwise paid by Medicare recipients while obtaining healthcare services. Some plans had been eliminated and new ones included.

The eliminated plans

The eliminated plans are Medigap E/H/I/J known as ‘Home Recovery Benefit’ and ‘Preventive Care Benefit’ plans. The newly included ones were M and M plans, even though, it is not quite certain if new Medigap plans will be offered by all providers. Hospice care benefits also have been included with the new Medigap plans.

New plans

N plan introduced is considered to have benefits similar to that of Plan D with the exception of having a physician copayment for visits and emergency room visit copayment. It is after the payment of deductible that the co-pays tend to apply. Benefits similar to Plan D are offered by Plan M. however, coverage offered is just 50% of Part A deductible and nothing from Part B deductible. Plan N cost is about 70% of Plan F cost. Plan M cost is around 85% of Plan F cost. Overall, from 12 plans, Medigap plans got reduced to 10 plans.

Medicare Advantage Plans

Medigap plans are offered by private insurance providers as a supplement for filling up the gaps left by original Part A & B Medicare. Private providers offering Medicare Advantage Plans have contracts with government for implementing Medicare benefits. But still, the individual is required to maintain Part A & B, while continue paying of Part B premium by selecting Advantage plans.

Some changes in Medicare Advantage Plans

Few changes which affect MA plans include reducing fees along with mandatory loss ratio. Members are offered less benefits. for instance, when compared to Advantage plans, less amount is to be paid for Medigap plan, if Plan N Medigap is selected. Besides this, Plan N is not likely to have network restrictions, out of pocket expenses for hospital stays and restrictive enrollment periods. But prescription coverage is not included in Medigap plans, which is offered by few Advantage plans.

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