There are multiple types of "Medicare plans" that could meet the health care needs of individuals getting ready to turn 65. Although, these plans are designed for Medicare beneficiaries aged 65+ some exceptions exist where individuals under age 65 may be eligible to enroll in a Medicare plan.
The needs of all eligible individuals are not the same, and thus there are a variety of Medicare plan options that each may be the best fit for each of them.
The most common Medicare plan options for eligible individuals include:
- Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap)
- Medicare Advantage Plans (Medicare Part C)
- Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Medicare Part D)
Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap)
Medicare Supplement Insurance, (sometimes referred to as Medigap), are health insurance policies that include a standardized sets of benefits that pay the portion of the health care expenses that are not paid by Original Medicare. Medicare supplement plans are offered by private health insurance companies (i.e. Anthem, Aetna, Mutual of Omaha etc.).
If you have Original Medicare, and you enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan, Medicare will pay its share of approved amount for health care costs that it covers and the Medicare Supplement plan that you have enrolled in will then cover its share of the health care costs.
Medicare supplement plans contain a standardized set of benefits. There are ten standardized plans (A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M or N) and private insurance companies who wish to offer Medicare supplements can only offer these plans. In Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Minnesota, the standardized plans are slightly different.
Medicare Advantage Plans (Medicare Part C)
Medicare Advantage plans, otherwise known as Medicare Part C, is another way that Medicare beneficiaries can receive Medicare coverage. Like Medicare Supplement plans, Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies.
If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you will still be enrolled in Original Medicare, however your Medicare benefits — Medicare Part A (hospital insurance), and Medicare Part B (medical insurance) — will be offered directly from the private insurance company approved by Medicare.
Medicare Advantage plans tend to be very affordable. In some cases they may not require any additional premium beyond your Medicare Part B premium. Your choice of doctors may be limited to those participating in the Medicare Advantage plan's network.
Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Medicare Part D)
Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, sometimes also referred to as Medicare Part D, are stand alone Prescription Drug Plans. They only provide benefits that cover the cost of prescription drugs (i.e. no coverage for hospital or doctor services)
Everyone who is enrolled in Original Medicare is eligible to enroll in A Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. To get Medicare prescription drug coverage, you must enroll in a plan approved by Medicare.
These plans can work in conjunction with a Medicare Supplement Insurance or Medicare Advantage Plan.