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Medicare Minutes: Medicare Advantage vs. Medicare Supplement

If you’re considering purchasing additional Medicare coverage, this latest episode in our Medicare Minutes series can help you decide between two of the most common options. Join us as we take a look at Medicare Advantage vs. Medicare Supplement plans.

Medicare Advantage vs. Medicare Supplement plans: How do they compare?

Before you begin your search for additional coverage, it’s important to start with a clear understanding of why you might need it. While Original Medicare Parts A & B will cover many of your most essential medical costs in this next phase of life, it doesn’t cover everything. In fact, it is more than likely that you will need a prescription, service, or procedure that is not covered by Parts A or B at some point in the future. Additionally, purchasing additional coverage could potentially save you money in the long run by cutting down your out-of-pocket costs. 

For these reasons and others, many people elect to purchase additional coverage. Two of the most common forms of additional coverage are Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans. If you know that you have medical needs that will not be addressed by Original Medicare, your first step toward filling in these gaps is ensuring that you fully understand your options.

Computer monitor showing comparisons of various Medicare plans.


An overview of Medicare Advantage plans:

Medicare Advantage plans are available as an alternative to Original Medicare. While they are required to provide the same benefits included under Medicare Parts A & B, they often include additional benefits. For example, many Advantage plans include prescription drug, vision, and/or dental coverage. In addition to offering attractive benefits, many of these plans have a $0 deductible, as well as a set out-of-pocket maximum. 

Medicare Advantage plans have become increasingly popular in recent years. In fact, as of 2017, 33% of Medicare recipients were covered under a Medicare Advantage plan.

You can read more about Medicare Advantage plans, as well as other types of Medicare coverage available, in the following article.


An overview of Medicare Supplement plans:

Medicare Supplement plans are more similar to Medicare Part D plans in that you would purchase this plan type in addition to Original Medicare. Depending on your location, there are up to 11 Medicare Supplement plans available. As you might guess, each plan type includes a different set of benefits, from foreign travel expenses to excess charges coverage and more.

Private companies sell Medicare Supplement plans, but CMS regulates them. As a result, each plan of a certain type must provide the same standard coverage, regardless of the carrier you purchase it from. However, one thing you will not find covered in any Medicare Supplement plan is prescription drugs. Consequently, you will need to purchase a standalone Part D plan as well if you decide to take this route.

Want to compare the various Medicare Supplement plans available? Visit the article below to see a side-by-side breakdown.


Want 1-on-1 Medicare guidance from a licensed agent?

Want a little more help comparing Medicare Advantage vs. Medicare Supplement plans? We have a team of Medicare agents that would be happy to help. Give us a call at 1-888-41-RENEW (TTY 711); we’re available Monday through Friday from 10am-6pm ET.

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Not sure where to start?

Read our quick-start guide for help, including which questions you should be asking as you approach retirement.

Read our quick start guide