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Offered by: Jennifer Bell – Bell Benefits, LLC

A Medicare Supplement is an additional insurance policy that a person buys to work in tandem with Medicare. Medicare is the primary payer when you see a provider and the Medicare Supplement pays second. This means you can go to any provider who takes “Original Medicare” and you can use both Medicare and your Medicare Supplement. This makes it a national plan.

Original Medicare doesn’t cover prescriptions that you take on a daily basis. When you have a Medicare Supplement, you also need a Prescription Drug Plan to cover your medications.

A Medicare Advantage (MA) Plan is not a Medicare Supplement. MA plans in our area are commonly in the form of a HMO or PPO. They have copays and coinsurance for doctor visits and procedures. They function in networks and geographic service areas.

In a HMO, you must use providers who are contracted with your plan, or in-network. In a PPO, you can use in-network or out-of-network providers but will pay lower out of pocket costs when you see providers in the network. A lot of the MA plans also include prescription drug coverage and other added benefits like Dental, Vision or Hearing.

A lot of people who have MA plans say they have “free” health insurance. In reality, Medicare is taking the money you pay them for Part B and redirecting those funds to the insurance company to provide you with MA coverage.

Even though this was a quick overview, I hope it helps. Please contact me with any questions you might have.