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Let us help you understand your Medicare options.

Save yourself the time & hassle of navigating Medicare and let SelectQuote do it for you. There’s no obligation to enroll.

Let us help you understand your Medicare options.

Save yourself the time & hassle of navigating Medicare and let SelectQuote do it for you. There’s no obligation to enroll.

Medicare Supplement Insurance vs. Medicare Advantage: How do they compare?

When the time comes to explore your Medicare options, you may be surprised (even overwhelmed) at the number of options you have to consider. Here’s an overview of your options and some facts to consider as you choose which is right for you:

Medicare Advantage Plans

(also known as Medicare Part C)

This option includes the coverage of Part A, Part B, typically also includes Part D and sometimes includes additional benefits not available with Original Medicare such as hearing, dental and vision coverage.These plans may also offer a $0/mo. premiums.

Special Considerations for Medicare Advantage Plans:

  • While government run, these plans are sold by private insurers who set their own monthly premiums. Some may include extras such as vision, hearing and dental benefits and most also include prescription drug benefits.
  • These plans can cover different out-of-pocket costs and/or different co-pays, similar to private health insurance plans. Some have HMO or PPO plan options, and some may pay some portion of out-of-network care, while others will only cover doctors and facilities that are in the HMO or PPO network.
  • Medicare Advantage plans are an alternative to Medicare Parts A and B.

Medicare Supplement Insurance

(also known as Medigap)

This option is private insurance that supplements Medicare Parts A and B. It helps pay some health care costs Parts A and B don’t pay for, such as copayments, coinsurance and deductibles.

Special Considerations for Medicare Supplement Insurance:

  • These plans are standardized and each policy follows Federal and State laws to protect you.
  • Private health insurance companies sell Medicare Supplement Insurance plans, but each standardized Medicare Supplement policy must offer the same basic benefits; no matter which company sells it.
  • You must have Medicare Part A and B in order to buy a Medicare Supplement or Medigap policy.

What should you consider as you make your Medicare decision?

Everyone has different priorities when it comes to choosing a preferred Medicare option. In general, most people look at the following factors when deciding between a Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement Insurance plan:

  • Costs – For some, cost is most important, considering premium costs, costs you might incur from spending time in the hospital or receiving medical care such as deductibles, co-pays, etc. Generally, Medigap coverage has a higher monthly premium but could result in lower out-of-pocket expenses compared to some Medicare Advantage plans. Medicare Advantage plans generally cost less and cover more services, which can be the better option for someone on a budget.
  • Breadth of Services – For individuals with a history of needing heightened medical care or hospitalization, or who anticipate needing these in the future, having access to the most services (and the most freedom to choose preferred doctors) is first and foremost. Medicare Advantage plans generally limit you to the doctors and facilities within the HMO or PPO and may not cover any out-of-network care. Medigap policies cover you if you go to any doctor or facility that accepts Medicare.
  • Lifestyle – Medicare Advantage plans only operate within a certain region. If you live in more than one state throughout the year, a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan may be a better choice than a Medicare Advantage plan. This may also be true if you travel frequently because, while some Medigap plans provide coverage when traveling outside of the US and cover you in all 50 states, Medicare Advantage Plans generally do not.

Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C)

Medicare Supplement (Medigap)

In a nutshell…

Provide an alternative to Original Medicare (Parts A and B). Offered by private health insurance companies that are approved by Medicare.

Help cover gaps in coverage from Medicare Parts A and B. These plans are also standardized by the government.

Can I still see my doctor?

Maybe. Medicare Advantage plans typically require you to stay in network for care.

You can choose any doctor who accepts Medicare patients; there are no networks.

Are my prescription drugs covered?

Most include prescription drug coverage.

No, but Medicare Part D Prescription Drug coverage can be purchased in addition to a Medicare Supplement plan to help cover these expenses.

What does it cost?

Typically, lower monthly premiums. In fact, some
plans may even be $0/mo. In addition to a monthly premium, you will typically have a co-pay when you go to the doctor or hospital.

Commonly higher premiums, but these costs can be offset by much lower annual out-of-pocket costs for healthcare services. Some plans don’t even require you to pay a co-pay when you visit the doctor or hospital.

When can I make changes?

Each year during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). There are also special situations like losing coverage or moving that allow you to select a new plan.

You are able to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan during your initial enrollment period. As long as you continue to pay your premium, you can never lose coverage.

What else should I know?

Some plans offer extra benefits that Original Medicare doesn’t cover—like vision, hearing or dental. These plans have a yearly limit on what you pay out-of-pocket for Medicare Part A and B covered services. Some plans even offer fitness and wellness benefits.

The best time to buy a Medicare Supplement policy is during your Initial Enrollment Period. After this enrollment period, you may not be able to buy a Medicare Supplement policy. If you are able to, though, it may cost more.

Who should consider this type of coverage?

Anyone looking to pay lower monthly premiums
and paying a co-pay when they go to the doctor or hospital.

Anyone who would prefer to pay for higher monthly premiums and minimal to no co-pays when going to the doctor or hospital.

Medicare Advantage
(Medicare Part C)

In a nutshell…

Provide an alternative to Original Medicare (Parts A and B). Offered by private health insurance companies that are approved by Medicare.

Can I still see my doctor?

Maybe. Medicare Advantage plans typically require you to stay in network for care.

Are my prescription drugs covered?

Most include prescription drug coverage.

What does it cost?

Typically, lower monthly premiums. In fact, some
plans may even be $0/mo. In addition to a monthly premium, you will typically have a co-pay when you go to the doctor or hospital.

When can I make changes?

Each year during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). There are also special situations like losing coverage or moving that allow you to select a new plan.

What else should I know?

Some plans offer extra benefits that Original Medicare doesn’t cover—like vision, hearing or dental. These plans have a yearly limit on what you pay out-of-pocket for Medicare Part A and B covered services. Some plans even offer fitness and wellness benefits.

Who should consider this type of coverage?

Anyone looking to pay lower monthly premiums and paying a co-pay when they go to the doctor or hospital.

Medicare Supplement
(Medigap)

In a nutshell…

Help cover gaps in coverage from Medicare Parts A and B. These plans are also standardized by the government.

Can I still see my doctor?

You can choose any doctor who accepts Medicare patients; there are no networks.

Are my prescription drugs covered?

No, but Medicare Part D Prescription Drug coverage can be purchased in addition to a Medicare Supplement plan to help cover these expenses.

What does it cost?

Commonly higher premiums, but these costs can be offset by much lower annual out-of-pocket costs for healthcare services. Some plans don’t even require you to pay a co-pay when you visit the doctor or hospital.

When can I make changes?

You are able to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan during your initial enrollment period. As long as you continue to pay your premium, you can never lose coverage.

What else should I know?

The best time to buy a Medicare Supplement policy is during your Initial Enrollment Period. After this enrollment period, you may not be able to buy a Medicare Supplement policy. If you are able to, though, it may cost more.

Who should consider this type of coverage?

Anyone who would prefer to pay for higher monthly premiums and minimal to no co-pays when going to the doctor or hospital.

Let SelectQuote Help You Understand Your Medicare Options

Figuring out which Medicare plan is right for you isn’t something you have to do on your own. Once you better understand the basics, save yourself the time and the hassle of navigating Medicare and let us do it for you. In just minutes, we can compare Medicare options from some of the most trusted carriers to find the right coverage for you. It’s a free service and there’s no obligation to purchase a plan.

We do the shopping. You do the saving.

No obligation to enroll