There is a difference between Medicare Supplement plans and Medicare Advantage.

Medicare covers the vast majority of the health care expenses which you may incur. Part A covers inpatient care such as hospitalization, skilled nursing facilities and hospice. Part B covers physician and outpatient services. Part D covers prescription drugs. Both Part B and Part D require you to pay premiums.

Even though Medicare insurance is extensive, it does not cover everything. To have 100% of your health care covered you need Medicare Supplements or Medicare Advantage.

What are Medicare Supplements?

Supplemental insurance cover the "gaps" in the coverage which the original Medicare does not cover. Sometimes medical supplements are referred to as MediGap or Medsups. There are different levels of coverage labeled A through L. Each level provides a different amount of supplemental coverage. The price will varies based on level.

Medsups are provided by private health insurance companies. There is a monthly premium. The amount of premium is determine by the level of coverage, zip code, and age of the insured. Most plans are also subject to yearly price increases. So expect to pay more each year.

Medicare Supplement policies periodically have open enrollment periods. During this period you can get guaranteed enrollment. If you try to enroll outside of this period, you will be subjected to normal health insurance underwriting.

These policies are "in addition to" Medicare. You will have both a Medicare Id card and receive an Id card from the insurer. The two cards combined work together to provide your complete health care coverage.

What is Medicare Advantage?

Medicare Advantage is different from Medicare Supplements. The supplements are additional coverage, whereas the Advantage plans are replacement coverage. With supplemental coverage you need to file a claim with both Medicare and the supplemental insurance company. With Medicare Advantage, claims are processed through your Medicare Advantage provider.

There are multiple choices for Medicare Advantage. You may choose a PPO, HMO, or Fee For Service (Any Doc) plan. The types of plans available are dependent upon what is marketed in your zip code and your personal preferences.

Differences in plans:
Some plans come bundled with prescription coverage.
Some plans require an additional premium.
Some plans may rebate part of the Part B premium.

Choosing a Medicare Plan

No one plan is right for everybody. You can find many options for plans by following links online. A Medicare Advantage HMO or PPO plan may be right for you because of the network of health providers and benefits. Or perhaps, you would like the flexibility of a Medigap plan or Any Doc plan. Ultimately, it will be dictated by your budget. Shop around online.