While most peoples’ health insurance costs go down when they sign up for Medicare, many are surprised that Medicare doesn’t pay 100% of their medical expenses. There are deductibles, copays, and coinsurance which can add up to hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars per year of out-of-pocket costs if you have Medicare alone.
How can you bridge the gaps and keep more money in your pocket? There are basically two ways you can go. Below is an explanation of each:
Medicare Supplemental Plans – You remain in Original Medicare and can go to any doctor who takes Medicare throughout the United States. Your plan travels with you, and you do not have to get a new plan if you move out of state. You don’t need to get referrals to see a specialist. If you want prescription drug coverage, you would have to purchase a stand-alone Part D plan to go with your Supplemental Plan since none of these plans cover prescription drugs.
Medicare Advantage Plans – You opt out of Original Medicare and go with a private company that combines Parts A, B and D into one plan (which is also called Medicare Part C). Most plans require you to see network doctors and get referrals to see a specialist. Some plans exclude Part D if you have other drug coverage such as VA benefits. Advantage Plans include Special Needs Plans for people with certain chronic conditions and Medi-Medi plans for those who qualify for both Medicare and MediCal.