Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement?

I have been involved in the Medicare Supplement health plan field for over 34 years in some way shape or manner.  Several years ago a new product showed up on the market for Medicare-aged people. It is called Medicare Advantage.  So which is better.  In this article, I will break this down for you hopefully in a simple way.  Let’s talk about the big kid on the block.  Medicare Supplements.   Medicare Supplements have been around the longest time.  They are tried and true.  They are standardized which means EVERY plan is the same with EVERY company.   The confusion comes in because the prices for each exact plan can differ widely.  This is spelled out for you in the Medicare guidebooks people receive when they are on Medicare.  People think and sometimes in error that if I buy a Medicare Supplement from a big name company  I will get more.  However YOU DON’T!!!  The federal government stepped in and mandated that every Medicare Supplement company HAS to offer the SAME plan.  No ifs, and or buts. People I speak to overpay for their supplements.  Ok enough on that.  So each plan is spelled out.  They are sold on an alphabet letter plans A-N.  The most popular Plan is Plan F.  However, Plan G will overtake that soon.  Why?  The federal government is doing away with the Plan F in 2020.  So if you have a Plan F you can keep it.  But since there will be no NEW business coming into The Plan F itself, premiums will rise.  No one wants to continue to have big rate increases.  So most people will buy a plan G.  The good news is its practically the same plan!!   Let me explain- Plan F and Plan G both have basic benefits. They both pay the big Part A Medicare deductible.  The Part B deductible is covered by the Plan F not the plan G.  Hang tight I will come back to this.  They both cover  Skilled Nursing Co-insurance.  Both cover the Part B  coinsurance and foreign Travel emergency.  The Plan F roughly is 20-30% higher than the plan G yet they are essentially the same plan.  Let’s talk about the ONE difference  Plan G does not cover the Part B deductible.  Wait!!  You still have to pay it.  Plan F pays it.  Wait though.  You are paying the insurance company more to do that.  Take the bull by the horns and pay it yourself.  Save your money$$$$.  Anyway,  Let’s talk about if you have plan F or Plan G Medicare Supplement.   Ok so you have your Red, White, and Blue Medicare card and you go to the Doctor.  Most services are covered by Medicare.  So basically you show up for the Doctor they bill Medicare and your Medicare Supplement and you go home.

You will pay around $85 -110 monthly for your Medicare Supplement Plan G.

Medicare Supplement plans are tried and true.  There have been rumors occasionally the Medicare Supplement plans will no longer be available for sale throughout the last 30 years.  Obviously, they have not gone away.

Let us talk a little about Medicare Advantage.  Is there an advantage?  When you sign up for Medicare Advantage, your plan now takes the place of Medicare.  You are under your plans mercy.  Some advantage plans actually cost NOTHING.  That’s great! a free policy!!  Is anything free?   I think you know the answer to that.  No.  It costs somebody or some system somewhere.  Some Medicare Advantage policies are close to what a premium is for a traditional Medicare Supplement.  Let’s take a look at what a typical office visit costs you when you go to the MD.  There are co-pays involved.  $20-30 dollars each visit.  That co-pay is for ALL outpatient office visits.  Some specialty visits cost $50   What if you go to the Doctor 3 times in a month?  That starts adding up.  Medicare Advantage policies are NOT STANDARDIZED.  That leaves room for surprises.  Since they are not standardized,  I will do my best to provide explanations.   So we already addressed the co-pay costs $20-$50 per office visit. Oh and guess what else.  You have to go into their network of Doctors!   You can’t choose your own.  If your network of Doctors decides to leave the network. Guess what again.  You are out of luck.  Now they are supposed to give you a 30-day notice before your network Doctor pulls out.  As if that is any comfort.  What if I am admitted to the hospital?  A lot of plans make you pay for the first 3-5 days out of pocket!!  Then if you have a total knee replacement or hip replacement, and need to go into a rehab facility-you are out more money.   WAIT!!  What happened to free??   Some Medicare Advantage plans can have you paying $3000-$6700 as an out of pocket expense.  FREE?  A zero cost for my policy?  As I mentioned before, there is nothing connected Advantage policies that are free.   If you get sick, you are going to pay MORE for your Medicare Advantage than you will a Medicare Supplement.  Medicare Advantage tried to a Clever thing.  We all remember the problems with HMO’s several years ago. They were not working well.  Medicare Advantage came along and realized that.  So they invented the words again cleverly- Private fee for service   PFFS for short.  I don’t care what they say it is along the same lines or working as an HMO.  Some Advantage plans say they are COST SHARING.  Ok, let’s break this down.   You share the cost!  FREE, zero cost for my policy?  What happened to my free or zero cost policy?

What if my Medicare Advantage policy does not cover my procedure?  This happened to a lady and she was shocked that her procedure was not covered.  Let me say this.  When you get sick and you are at one of the worst periods in your life.  The last thing you want to hear is that your Medicare Advantage plan does not cover your illness of your procedure.  Now what I am telling you so far may upset a lot of people.  I am not the only who is shedding light on the DISADVANTAGES of Medicare Advantage.  There have been numerous reports on this whether it is in print or video.  Good morning America did a spot on this and I can email the video to you if you ask me.   Some people say, well I am going to go ahead and take out a Medicare Advantage policy anyway because I am healthy and my situation will let me go with an Advantage policy so I won’t have all those out of pocket expenses.   Let me explain why that is an error in thinking.   Ok, do you have a crystal ball?  How long are you going to stay healthy?  Some people have told me also, we have a good bloodline in our family and we don’t get sick or we don’t get sick often.   Ladies and Gentlemen, are you really going to play guessing games and fortune telling when it comes to your health?   Insurance is something we do not want to pay for.  I get that.  Insurance does provide peace of mind.   Peace of mind is valuable especially in this day and age of existence.  Why would you put your family or yourself in a situation of owing money to a Doctor or hospital?  That may sound harsh.  I get it, sometimes people cannot afford a policy.  What I am trying to say is that if you can afford a Medicare Supplement over a Medicare Advantage then please choose the Medicare Supplement.  You are going to be so much better off.

Just peruse the internet and look at the many problems people have had in one way, shape or form with Advantage policies.

I am not going to let Medicare Supplement plans off the hook either.  They could use some improvement.  In some states, certain plans are not available and they are more expensive in certain states.  If you want a Part D medicine plan, it is a separate item you will have to purchase. Most of all Doctors DO accept Medicare Supplements and they actually like you have a Medicare Supplement.  Why? because they know they are going to get reimbursed for their services.  Some Doctors offices WILL NOT accept Medicare Advantage as an insurance.   Some offices have signs/notices displayed.  They have informed patients when plans are not accepted.  A minor problem with Medicare Supplements is going to occur in 2020.  The federal government is going to do away with the Plan F and Plan C.  This is the most comprehensive plan available.   A policyholder that has this plan does not have to pay anything out of pocket when going to the Doctor or hospital.  If you are a current Plan F or Plan C owner then you can keep this.  What is taking the place of Plan F?  Plan G has always been there as an alternative to Plan F.   Now it will be pushed to the forefront as the premier Medicare Supplement plan.  It will actually be the same coverage.  Instead of the Plan F paying the Part B deductible and it costs more money, the deductible will be paid by you.  Plan G prices have been consistently lower than Plan F prices.  So I don’t really see losing the Plan F as a disadvantage.  I look for more creativity also by the insurance companies to come up with alternative plans to current Medicare Supplements also.   These will more than likely be STANDARDIZED to cut out any additional confusion.

You will have questions about which is better for you, a Medicare Supplement of Advantage.  Look for an experienced agent for help.  Don’t hire a rookie agent.  Rookies may know their stuff, however, they are going to fall short on long-term help for you and your family.  This business is complicated.  Don’t chance an important decision on a rookie.  I will throw in a plug for myself.  I have 17 + years of experience and have been around this business for 34 + years.  I am licensed in multi-states.  I have a medical background that can help you make the best-informed decision.   I KNOW MEDICARE.   I co-own a Physical Therapy practice.  Our company has billed Medicare for our services!   You will not find too many agents that have our experience and clout.  Contact me for customer testimonials.  They are on my Facebook page at Allstar Senior Benefits and my website at wwww.allstarseniorbenefits.com.   I will also help you for free on saving money on your Part D medicine plans.  I have a life insurance company that will help save funeral costs and cut your prices to the funeral home nearly in half.

My office door is always open for questions.  Mitch Winstead  My website is  http://www.allstarseniorbenefits.com

Facebook page is at Allstar Senior Benefits http://www.facebook.com/medsuppguru.com Email- mitch@allstarseniorbenefits.com

Toll-free 866-598-8170  or 910-538-4547   Thanks for reading!