When enrolling for Medicare, we are all faced with two options: Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan. Which should you elect? This blog will compare the two plans to help you make a decision.

In some ways, the plans are very similar, but they each have their unique benefits. In short, Original is the traditional program offered directly through the federal government. Advantage are the private plans that contract with the federal government to provide Medicare benefits. Let’s take closer look. 

Choosing the Right Medicare Plan for You

Original Medicare 

This is the Medicare Plan that includes Parts A (inpatient/hospital coverage) & B (outpatient/medical coverage). Basically, Medicare Part A covers hospital stays, while Part B covers just about everything else, like doctors visits, and special tests. On this plan, you will receive a red, white, and blue card to show to your providers when receiving care. Most doctors in the country take your insurance. Additionally, Medicare limits how much you can be charged if you visit participating or non-participating providers.

Additionally, you can choose to enroll in Medicare Part D, which helps cover the costs of your prescription medications. Keep in mind, you can only enroll in Part D if you reside in a service area of a Part D plan.

If you’re automatically enrolled in Medicare, as many people are, you’re usually enrolled in Part A and Part B. If you’re already getting Social Security benefits when you turn 65 or qualify by disability, you’re usually enrolled automatically. Additionally, you may eligible for amazing benefits before turning 65. Take our quiz to see if you are missing out on these incredible benefits.

Medicare Advantage

Also known as Medicare Part C, Medicare Advantage bundles Parts A, B, and D from Original Medicare into one. While you’ll continue to be enrolled in Medicare, these are offered by private insurance companies which are approved by Medicare. Some of these plans cover dental, hearing, eye care, and prescription drug coverage.

It’s important to note that there are a few stipulations. You need to have Medicare Part A and Part B to be eligible and live in the plan’s service area. In addition, you must still pay your Medicare Part B premium, along with the plan premium if it charges one. With that said, this is still a great option for anyone looking for more benefits for less money.

What’s the Difference?

While Original Medicare covers 80% of your medical costs, if you anticipate needing a lot of prescriptions, it’s important to note that the 20% out of pocket fees could add up quickly.

On the flip side, Medicare Advantage operates within a managed care network which can make it difficult to find the treatment needed within the network of service providers and facilities. With that said, it should also be noted that the new benefits available with the Advantage plan are worthy of looking into.