Once you become a Medicare beneficiary, you have a variety of Medicare health plans that you can choose from. You may be eligible for a group retiree plan from your employer, or VA Benefits or a Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Supplement plan. Often, people are confused by the options and need guidance to determine which health care plan is most suited for their needs.
What is a Medicare health plan?
A Medicare health care plan is a health insurance plan which is offered by private companies who contract with Medicare to provide Part A and Part B benefits to Medicare beneficiaries who enroll into the plan. Medicare health plans include Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Supplement plans.
What is a Medicare Advantage plan?
A Medicare Advantage plan is a type of Medicare health plan, offered by a private company, that contracts with Medicare to provide all needed Part A and Part B benefits. Medicare Advantage Plans include Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO), Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO) , Private Fee-for-Service Plans (PFFS) , Special Needs Plans (SNP), and Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans (MSA). Most Medicare Advantage plans also offer prescription drug coverage. Primarily, the way these plans work is that you will receive all of your health care benefits from the plan and not from Original Medicare.
What is a Medicare Supplement plan?
A Medicare Supplement plan, is also known as a Medigap policy, and is sold by private companies. These plans are NOT Medicare Advantage plans but are still part of Medicare. These plans can help to pay some of the health care costs that Original Medicare will not cover, like co-payments, coinsurance, and deductibles. Some of these plans provide Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) coverage, while most others provide only Part B coverage. When you have Original Medicare and purchase a Medicare Supplement plan, Medicare works in unison with the supplement plan. Medicare will pay its share of the Medicare-approved amount for covered health care costs and then the supplement plan will pay its share. The amount the supplement plan pays depends on the type of plan you choose.
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