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I’m New To Medicare: Should I Sign Up For A Medicare Supplement Or A Medicare Advantage Plan?

I’m New to Medicare: Should I sign up for a Medicare Supplement or a Medicare Advantage plan?

Are you turning 65 soon or have otherwise recently become eligible for Medicare? If so, then you are most likely aware that there are many considerations that go into choosing the right Medicare plan for your needs. It can be very overwhelming and not all Medicare plans are one-size-fits-all. No matter what your situation, it all boils down to deciding between two main options. Option one is to keep Original Medicare (Parts A and B) and add a Medicare Supplement plan and/or a Part D prescription drug plan. Option two is a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan. Read on for more information to help determine which option is right for you.

What is the difference between Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage?
One way to look at these two choices is the way you look at the difference between a monthly gym membership versus paying per individual exercise class. For individual classes, your total monthly bill depends on the number of classes you take. For example, you could pay $40 in April for taking four Zumba classes, and $60 in May for taking six Zumba classes.

At a membership gym, you would pay the same $50 fee every month, no matter how many (or how few) Zumba classes you sign up for. Medicare Advantage plans charge by the visit, much like that “pay per class” Zumba. With Medicare Supplement, the policy charges one set price per month, much like a monthly gym membership.

What are the pros and cons to Medicare Supplement?


More flexibility in choosing healthcare providers

Freedom to switch plans year-round

Easy to compare plans

Coverage travels with you throughout the United States


Higher monthly premium costs

Do not include prescription drug coverage

Typically do not include added benefits/programs

If enrolling outside of your initial 6-month window, you will be underwritten

What are the pros and cons to Medicare Advantage?


Lower monthly premium costs

Limit maximum amount you must pay out-of-pocket each year

Additional benefits and programs (i.e. dental, vision, gym memberships, etc.)

Many plans include prescription drug coverage (Part D)


Less freedom in choosing healthcare providers

Switching plans is limited to the annual enrollment period

Getting coverage for procedures can be more complicated (referrals, prior authorization, etc.)

Some limitations on compatibility with other forms of retiree coverage (i.e. Tricare)

Not Sure What Plan Type Is Right For You

Try discussing these options with a licensed broker. You can access their help for free. Seeking professional advice (and doing your research upfront) can make a huge difference in your health and finances for years to come.

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