A Guide to Medicare Supplement Plans

Medicare Supplement insurance plans are standardized throughout every plan, so you will receive the same basic benefits from Medicare Supplement insurance as you do from Medicare Supplement Plan N, regardless of which insurance carrier you buy from. However, there are differences between the various plans and which one(s) you should select based on your current medical needs. Knowing the difference between the various Medicare Supplement plans will help you make an informed decision about what type of Medicare Supplement insurance is best for you.

Medicare Advantage Plans – These Medicare Supplement plans are offered by different private companies and are usually standardized across the board. They are managed by a medical provider that accepts Medicare, but differs from plan to plan in terms of Medicare Advantage benefits and/or cost structure. While some Medicare Supplement plans may offer coordinated care for seniors, most of them does not; therefore, selecting a Medicare Supplement plan that accepts medigap Medicare advantage plans may not be necessary. Most Medigap policies are standardized across all carriers, so if you already have a medigap policy, you may want to stay with that carrier for the purposes of Medicare Supplement plan selection.

Medicare Part D Plans – Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage pays the Part D premiums. The provider of the Medicare Part D plan will decide whether or not they participate in Medicare Part D and, therefore, whether or not they accept Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement plans. It is recommended that Medicare Supplement plans are selected based on their availability and selection. In the beginning, there were several “open enrollment” time periods where a person could enroll without a prescription, but after the open enrollment period, the availability of these services were limited.

PPOs (Preferred Provider Organizations) – These are another Medicare Supplement option available to those with Medicare. A physician and a legal representative to select the providers within Medicare, and the member is responsible for choosing the Part D providers that participate in their Medicare Advantage Plans. Members who join Medicare Part D and select PPOs as their Medicare Supplement plan choice have the opportunity to buy into one of the most comprehensive Medicare programs in the world, but they will pay more for this benefit. Part D premiums are based on the applicant’s ability to pay, and a PPO plan’s cost is determined by the same factors that determine Medicare premiums. As with all other Medicare options, there are several different PPO plans available, and they do vary significantly in coverage and cost.

HMOs (Health Maintenance Organizations) – HMOs are similar to Medicare Part D and PPOs in many ways. They also offer standardized plans for basic benefits like vision care and prescription drugs, however, they vary slightly in terms of coverage. A member will typically be required to choose a primary care physician, but a small percentage of HMO plans include the option to choose your doctor through a referral system. As with PPOs, a majority of HMO plans also include emergency care, in-clinic care, and a few HMOs even include the option to purchase supplemental insurance.

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