Medicare supplements are also known as “medigap” plans because they fill the gaps in Medicare. Medicare supplements cost more than Medicare Advantage – up front. Lately, most of my clients who are turning 65 have chosen a Medicare supplement over Medicare Advantage.
My clients who chose a Medicare supplement are not well-off, but they are comfortable spending $105 – 150 per month for a medigap plan.
My clients who chose a Plan F (as in “full coverage”) are all very healthy. Many of them take no prescriptions, or maybe a cholesterol drug or a blood pressure pill.
So why did these people choose a Medicare supplement instead of a Medicare Advantage plan?
I also go into more detail explaining the pros and cons of each type of coverage. When I call a Plan F Medicare supplement the “get it and forget it” plan, people seem to like that idea.
Plan F (as in “full coverage”) is the most expensive medigap plan, but it is the simplest plan. That’s because it fills all the gaps in Medicare and a person should never get a bill. As long as Medicare pays the claim, the medigap Plan F will pay it’s part – and the patient has no co-pays.
I tell my clients, if you ever get a bill, you can tell the doctor’s office, “Denise said I should not get a bill, so there is something wrong”. And this is true. Usually, a bill results from a mistake in coding at the doctor’s office.
Medicare Advantage is very popular in Arizona, with nearly 50% of Medicare beneficiaries in Pima, Pinal and Maricopa counties enrolled in these private plans. Medicare Advantage plans are popular with people who would rather take their chances that they will stay healthy and will not have the “pay as you go” costs that are part of every Advantage plan (co-pays for doctor visits, labs, therapy, hospital stays).
Why choose a Medicare supplement?
Medicare supplements are popular with people who have been paying for their own health insurance before they turned 65. These folks were paying $400 – $1000 for health insurance, so when they see they can get Medicare ($104.90) plus a supplement ($147) and have no co-pays or deductibles…..well, they know this is a really good deal.
I have also had several clients say they are willing to pay for really good coverage – just in case. “That’s what insurance is for – the unexpected”, one client told me. And that’s why some people choose Medigap over Medicare Advantage.
I explain the difference between Medigap and Medicare Advantage much like I do in this video: