If you qualify for Medicare (or will soon) you should be investigating the options you have in addition to original Medicare. You may be able to select from private insurers to reduce the costs of your medical care. Medicare Advantage Plans are health plans offered by private insurance companies that provide your Medicare benefits and take over as your primary insurance. Medicare Supplement Plans pay benefits in addition to what original Medicare already pays. And don’t forget Prescription Drug Plans which are sometimes referred to as “Part D” plans. Original Medicare does not provide coverage for prescription drugs, but you may be assessed a penalty if you decide to enroll at a later date for a Part D plan and you did not enroll when you were first eligible or you have not had creditable coverage such as through the Veteran’s Administration.
Want More tips and Information? Check out or Medicare Supplemental Health Insurance Tips and Info page.
Medicare Coverage Plan Choices
- The original (or traditional) Medicare Plan
- Medicare Advantage Plans (including HMO (Health Maintenance Organization), PPO (Preferred Provider Organization), and PFFS (Private Fee-For-Service))
- Medicare Prescription Drug Plans
- Medicare Supplement (or Medigap) Plans
Original Medicare Plan
- A fee-for-service plan
- Health care provider gets paid for each service you receive
- You can go to any health care provider that accepts Medicare
- Does NOT pay for all health care costs
Medicare Advantage Plans
- Three main types of Medicare Advantage Plans: HMOs, PPOs, and PFFSs
- Plans are offered by private insurance companies
- Plans provide all of the benefits of Original Medicare and generally provide additional benefits and lower copayments
- May be a limit on where you can get your care, which doctors you can see, and how often you can see them
Prescription Drug Plans
If you have Medicare, you may need to select a Medicare prescription drug plan. Some Medicare Advantage Plans include prescription drug.
Be aware that drug plans vary considerably in coverage and costs. We recommend that you compare plans carefully to find the best plan for your individual health needs. We also recommend that you re-evaluate your drug plan each year during the Medicare Open Enrollment period. Costs, deductibles, and even drug formularies can change each year and your current plan may no longer suit your needs.
Compare Medicare Prescription Drug Plans
Click here for our Medicare Prescription Drug Plan comparison page, which uses the Government’s Medicare website to provide the results. We can help you purchase almost any plan that you’ll find on this comparison page.
Medicare Supplement Plans
Medicare Supplement Plans are provided by private insurance companies to fill the gaps in original Medicare coverage. Depending on the plan, it can help pay your share of coinsurance, copayments, and deductibles for Medicare covered services. Supplement Plans do not work with Medicare Advantage plans, and you generally can not enroll in a supplement plan if you are already enrolled in an Advantage plan. No supplement plans include prescription drug benefits, so you may also need to enroll in a Part D plan. For more information about Medicare Supplement Plans, please click here for the federal government publication, “Choosing a Medigap Policy”.
Uncertain about all those insurance terms? Here’s a link to a helpful glossary offered by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners: Glossary of Insurance Terms