It would be easier if all Medicare Plans were exactly the same. The core of which, i.e., Original Medicare is the same. The differences come in the Medicare Advantage Plans that have become increasingly popular over the last 18 years.

The origins of Medicare Advantage (also known as Medicare Part C) go back to the 1970s. At that time, beneficiaries could receive managed care through private insurance companies. In 1997 the program, then called “Medicare Choice,” became official with the passing of the Balanced Budget Act. In 2003, Medicare Part D {Prescription Drug Coverage} was created and Medicare Choice plans were renamed to Medicare Advantage plans. Medicare did not offer coverage for prescription medications prior to 2003. This new addition allowed beneficiaries to get their health and prescription coverage through a single plan using one ID card.

How are Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement Plans Different from Original Medicare?

Unlike Original Medicare, which is government insurance, Medicare Advantage plans are administered by private insurance companies. These plans cover at least the same benefits of Original Medicare and typically include extra coverage such as out-of-pocket maximums, minimal dental or hearing coverage, and fitness benefits. Most Medicare Advantage plans also include prescription drug coverage.

Medicare Supplement Plans [Plans A-N] are designed to ‘wrap around’ original Medicare or fill-in, based on the plan in a variety of areas in which Original Medicare does not provide coverage. This type of Plan is offered through Private Insurance companies to work in conjunction with Original Medicare. And, even with a Medicare Supplement Plan and Original Medicare, there is still No Prescription Drug coverage without a Stand-Alone Prescription Drug Plan.

Selecting the best suited plan for you is not always so easy. It can be useful in working with a representative or firm that specializes in this area of planning. At Marathon Financial Advisors, we are dedicated to helping to nurture your “Medicare Literacy” with the long term goal of helping you select the program most likely to meet your healthcare needs most effectively.

Each individual is unique. It is not uncommon for spouses to end-up enrolling in different plans, based on Medical Providers in a Network or prescriptions that each are taking. The ‘fine-tuning’ process should help them go through a thorough deliberative approach is securing the best coverage for them.

In some Medicare Advantage programs we have seen that many have added new features and benefits that seem to be appealing for some. Dental coverage imbedded in the plan, re-imbursement for some of your Medicare part B premium or an allotment of free over-the-counter products (such as vitamins, eye drops even first aid supplies) have begun to emerge as added available benefits in some plans. The Market for these plans is rather competitive. Comparing the plans is increasingly more important. Although there are many advertisements, particularly during the Annual Enrollment Period [AEP] (October 15 – December 7), be certain to become a good consumer by doing your due diligence every year.

If you are new to Medicare, soon to become eligible, or would like to review options for better coverage….Let’s Talk. We have the resources to help you reach the best coverage decision for your personal circumstances.  

Join us for a free seminar in person or virtual:

Virtual: October 4th, 6:30pm, ZOOM

In-Person: October 6th, 6:30pm, Dewitt Community Center, 148 Sanders Creek Parkway, E. Syracuse

Medicare doesn’t need to be confusing.

Marathon Financial is here to help guide you through your financial journey. Did you know there are 4 parts to Medicare? Selecting a plan can be daunting with all the information out there. That’s where we come in…Learn More.