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What you need to know about Medicare Advantage Plans vs. Medicare Supplement Plans

There are many misconceptions revolving around Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Supplement Plans, such as Advantage Plans being a type of Supplement plan, Supplement plans working the same way with Advantage plans as they would with Original Medicare, or even understanding when the best time to enroll for each plan is.

Because of these misconceptions, it can be hard to choose a Medicare plan, so let’s discuss those differences.

Are Medicare Advantage Plans part of the Medicare Supplement Plans?

No. Definitely not. But still a great question, though. The two are very different. When you first become eligible for Medicare, you can choose between Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage Plans. Medicare Advantage Plans are another way to get your Medicare Parts A and B benefits. Medicare supplement plans can be used with Original Medicare, which means that whatever Original Medicare doesn’t pay for your medical costs, your Supplement plan will cover most, if not all, of the remaining costs. 

Can Medicare Supplement Plans work with Medicare Advantage Plans?

Medicare supplement plans are specifically designed to pay the deductibles, copays, and coinsurance for Original Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans have copays and coinsurance that is different from Original Medicare. Medicare supplement plans are not flexible and will not adapt to the various different benefit designs of Medicare Advantage. For this reason, supplemental plans will not work with Medicare Advantage. If you are currently on Medicare Advantage and would like to switch back to Original Medicare so you can apply for a Medicare supplement plan, you can do so during the annual enrollment period or a special enrollment period. However, you may have to be medically underwritten to get a Medicare supplement plan, so it is possible to be turned down for coverage. 

When can I enroll or disenroll with Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Supplement Plans?

Unfortunately, you can’t enroll or disenroll with a Medicare plan whenever you choose to. There are certain enrollment/disenrollment periods for each plan that you need to be aware of. The initial enrollment period (IEP) provides you with a window where you are eligible to enroll in the plan of your choice three months before the month you turn 65, the month of, and three months after the month you turn 65. If you happen to miss this period, you’ll have to wait until the next enrollment period comes around. There is an open enrollment period for both Medicare Advantage Plans and Original Medicare which takes place from October 15 through December 7 every year. 

If you are already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, and missed the December 7th deadline to switch to Original Medicare, there is a Medicare Advantage disenrollment period that starts January 1 and lasts through February 14. If you want to switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage Plans, you can do so during the annual enrollment period.

Have questions or concerns?

Bobby Brock Insurance offers Medicare help for free! If you need help finding a Medicare plan that’s right for you, give us a call at 877-877-5505. Our experienced insurance agents work for you, not the insurance company.

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