Medicare Advice Center

Q. What is the difference between Medicare supplement insurance and Medicare Advantage?

The Short Answer

Both Medicare supplement insurance and Medicare Advantage plans are coverage options for Medicare enrollees. However, the terms of applying/enrolling and coverage differ between the two, and it is important to understand the differences.

More Detail

Medicare supplement insurance Plans:

  • Are good for people who would rather pay higher premiums in exchange for lower costs when they do see a doctor
  • Help cover the remaining portion of Medicare approved expenses that Medicare doesn’t pay
  • Are standardized, meaning the basic benefits of each plan are the same regardless of the company offering it
  • Do not have network restrictions
  • Do have monthly premiums
  • Cannot deny you coverage when you first enroll in Medicare
  • Are guaranteed renewable, meaning you are covered as long as you pay the premium within the grace period (except in cases of material misrepresentation by you)

Medicare Advantage Plans:

  • Are good for people who would rather pay low or no monthly premiums in exchange for costs when they do see a doctor
  • Are not standardized and vary by insurance company
  • Have network restrictions and often Primary Care Physicians coordinating care
  • Often have copays and coinsurance
  • May have low or no monthly premiums
  • Cannot deny you coverage when you first enroll in Medicare and each year during the Annual Enrollment Period from October 15-December 7

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