There a multiple types of “Medicare plans” that meet the health care needs of seniors aged 65 and better. Although, these plans are designed for Medicare beneficiaries aged 65+ some exceptions exist where individuals under age 65 may be eligible to enroll in Medicare health plans.
The needs of all Seniors are not the same, and thus there are a variety of Medicare health plan options that each may be the best fit for some people.
The most common healthcare options for seniors include:
- Medicare Supplements (Medigap)
- Medicare Advantage Plans (Medicare Part C)
- Medicare Drug Plan (Medicare Part D)
Medicare Supplement Plans (Medigap)
Medicare Supplement plans, (sometimes referred to as Medigap plans), are health insurance policies that include a standardized sets of benefits that pay the portion of the health care expenses that are not paid by Original Medicare. Medicare supplement plans are offered by private health insurance companies (i.e. Anthem, Aetna,Mutual of Omaha etc.).
If you have Original Medicare, and you enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan, Medicare will pay it’s share of approved amount for health care costs that it covers and the Medicare Supplement plan that you have enrolled in will then cover its share of the health care costs.
Medicare supplement plans contain a standardized set of benefits. There are ten standardized plans (A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M or N) and private insurance companies who wish to offer Medicare supplements can only offer these plans. In Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Minnesota, the standardized plans are slightly different.
Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C)
Medicare Advantage plans, otherwise known as Medicare Part C, is another way that Seniors can receive Medicare coverage. like Medicare Supplement plans, Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies.
If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you will still be enrolled in Original Medicare, however you will now receive Medicare benefits — Medicare Part A (hospital insurance), and Medicare Part B (medical insurance) — directly from the private insurance company that offers the Medicare Advantage plan as opposed to Original Medicare.
Medicare Advantage plans tend to be very affordable. In some cases they may not require any additional premium beyond what is paid to Original Medicare. The one downside to Medicare Advantage Plans is that your choice of doctors may be limited to those participating in the insurance companies network.
Medicare Drug Plan (Medicare Part D)
Medicare Drug Plans, sometimes also referred to as Medicare Part D, are stand alone Prescription Drug Plans. They only provide benefits that cover the cost of prescription drugs (i.e. no coverage for hospital or doctor services)
Everyone who is enrolled in Original Medicare is eligible to purchase A Medicare Drug Plan. To get Medicare prescription drug coverage, you must join a plan approved by Medicare to offer Medicare drug coverage.
These plans can be purchased in conjunction with a Medicare supplement or Medicare Advantage Plan.