Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage
MedicareAs many know Medicare is available to anyone over 65 and the government will defray many of your health care costs. Medicare itself is largely broken down into four parts:
- Part A – Hospital Coverage.
- Part B – Medical Insurance – For doctor and medical procedures you will pay a deductible and then a copay percentage for costs.
- Part C – Supplemental Insurance – This is where Medicare Advantage factors in.
- Part D – Prescription Drug Coverage – This is not automatic when you enroll in Medicare but you can choose to pay a monthly fee to get some of your prescription drug costs covered.
Medicare AdvantageMedicare Advantage (or Part C) is a useful tool within Medicare itself whereby you can purchase private insurance to supplement the coverage of Medicare and further protect yourself from the major costs of health care over time. Private insurance plans can vary greatly but one requirement of Medicare Advantage plans is that they at least provide comparable coverage to what is available under Medicare itself, and often much more.
Key reasons to take advantage of Medicare Advantage are:
- You want to cap your medical costs in terms of what you could potentially have to pay out if a major health issue were to occur. Private plans can provide significant additional coverage and you can limit your escalating cost to whatever the plan premium is.
- You have prescription drug costs. Base Medicare doesn't cover prescription costs and even Part D's coverage can be limited. If you have significant ongoing prescription drug costs a Medicare Advantage plan that covers prescriptions would be beneficial.
- You want to have additional coverage for things like vision or dental expenses. These costs are not included in Medicare but many supplemental plans will provide some form of coverage for these expenses.
Medicare vs. Medical AdvantageUnder many circumstances you will likely want to capitalize on a Medical Advantage plan to supplement your health care costs going forward. Many retirees have had their life savings wiped out by the extra costs associated with an expensive medical procedure and protecting yourself from this is important. Medical Advantage features do come with a costs, however, so you should carefully consider what additional features you need and what you are willing to pay for. Reviewing all of the small print yourself or with a health services professional is strongly recommended before committing to any supplemental insurance plan.
By Jeffrey Glen