If you have Medicare Parts A and B, you can join a Medicare Advantage plan.Many of these plans provide extra coverage and may lower your out-of-pocket costs.
With these plans, you can’t have a Medigap policy, because Medicare Advantage plans cover many of the same benefits a Medigap policy covers. This includes benefits like extra days in the hospital after you’ve used days that Medicare covers.
You can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during your initial enrollment period, the first time you’re eligible for Medicare.
You can also enroll during the annual Medicare open enrollment period from October 15 – December 7 each year.
The effective date for the enrollment is January 1 of the upcoming year. There are also special enrollment periods for some situations.
If you decide to join a Medicare Advantage plan, you use the health card that you get from your Medicare Advantage plan provider for your health care.
Also, you might have to pay a monthly premium for your Medicare Advantage plan because of the extra benefits it offers.
A Medicare Supplement (or Medigap Insurance) policy is private health insurance specifically designed to supplement the Original Medicare Plan.
This means it helps pay some of the health care costs ("gaps") that the Original Medicare Plan doesn't cover (like coinsurance and deductibles).
Medicare Supplement policies may also cover certain things that Medicare doesn't cover.
Because Medigap policies are regulated by state and Federal laws, all benefits for all options are the same regardless of insurer. The differences will be in the price.
You can get a Medicare supplemental plan only if you have Original Medicare.