What are Medicare and Medicare Advantage?
Original Medicare is made up of Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance). If you are already receiving Social Security benefits, you will automatically be signed up for Original (Traditional) Medicare.
But there is another option called Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage plans offer all of the coverage of Original Medicare, but are run by private insurance companies regulated by Medicare. Some Medicare Advantage plans come with additional coverage, like prescription drug coverage, vision, dental, and hearing care. About one-third of all Medicare beneficiaries are now enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan.
With Medicare Advantage plans, you pay a monthly premium to your plan plus your monthly Part B premium. Some plans have $0 premium, but they may come with higher copays and coinsurance.
Here are some of the reasons people choose Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage.
- Few limitations on which doctors you can use. You can go to any doctor who accepts Medicare.
- No referrals required to see specialists.
- With a Medigap supplement plan, you have reliable coverage at predictable costs.
- Offers the same coverage anywhere in the U.S. Good for those who travel or move to a different state.
- Good for people who visit the doctor often.
- You pay no additional premium, only your Part B premium.
- Extra benefits such as vision, dental, and Part D coverage.
- Spending cap ($6,700) on how much you can spend out of pocket each year.
- Good for those on a tight budget and who don’t visit the doctor as often.
- New services may be offered, such as transportation, home health aides, meal delivery, and home safety features. Note: these benefits may not be available yet and may not be offered by all plans.
- The ability to try out a plan for 3 months and then switch back to another Medicare Advantage plan or Original Medicare.
- Some plans come with $0 premiums.
In the end, the choice is up to you, based on your health, finances, and personal preferences. Reflect on what’s most important to you so you can choose the best coverage for your needs.