Traditional Medicare with a Medicare supplement, also known as Medigap, can be a better option than Medicare Advantage for some people. One reason is that with traditional Medicare, you have the ability to see any doctor that accepts Medicare, without the need for prior approval. This means you have more flexibility in choosing your healthcare providers.
Medicare Advantage plans, on the other hand, typically require a referral from your primary care physician as well as plan approval if you want services from specialists covered by the plan. This can limit your choice of providers and may require additional steps to receive care.
Another advantage of traditional Medicare with a Medicare supplement is that there are no annual contract changes. Once you enroll in a Medigap plan, your coverage remains the same year after year. With Medicare Advantage plans, however, the benefits and costs can change annually.
It’s important to note that Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) has a six-month open enrollment period (OEP). Your open enrollment period begins when you are both 65 years old and enrolled in Medicare Part B. Unlike the Medicare OEP that happens once every year, you have only one Medigap OEP.
It’s also important to note that if you sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan and later decide you want to switch to traditional Medicare with a Medigap plan, you may not be able to do so if you have developed a health problem. In general, if you miss your initial Medigap open enrollment period, insurance companies are allowed to use medical underwriting to decide whether to accept your application and how much to charge you for coverage.
These are just some of the reasons why traditional Medicare with a Medicare supplement may be a better option than Medicare Advantage for some people. It’s important to carefully consider your individual needs and preferences when making a decision about your healthcare coverage.