Which Medicare Should You Get?

Both are good options. Medicare Advantage (Part C) feels a little more like private HMO or PPO insurance that you would get from an employer. Original Medicare plus Supplemental is accepted by more doctors across the country but is a little more confusing. Prices fluctuate more with Advantage, but they also tend to cost less in premiums.

Part D & Supplemental

Cost
Premiums may be more than Advantage but that doesn’t mean the overall cost will be higher when you factor in drug prices.

Coverage
Medicare covers medical services and supplies in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other health care settings. Services are either covered under Part A or Part B. Medicare D covers your medications. Medigap covers whatever A & B fail to cover.

Supplemental
You can add a Medigap policy to help pay your out-of-pocket costs in Original Medicare, such as your deductible and coinsurance.

Prescription Drugs
You’ll need to join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Medicare D) to get drug coverage.

Quality of Care
You can get a snapshot of the quality of care health care providers (and facilities) give their patients by visiting Medicare.gov.

International Travel
Original Medicare generally doesn’t cover care outside the U.S. You may be able to buy supplemental insurance that offers travel coverage.

Snowbirds
Original Medicare is accepted by over 95% of providers.

Part C/Advantage

Cost
Plans have a yearly limit on your out-of-pocket costs. Once you reach a certain limit, you’ll pay nothing for covered services for the rest of the year. Costs on medications may fluctuate a lot year after year.

Coverage
Plans must cover all of the services that Original Medicare covers. Plans may offer benefits that Original Medicare doesn’t cover, like vision, hearing, or dental. It covers more but is also accepted by fewer doctors. You need to stay in-network to keep costs down.

Supplemental
It may be more cost-effective to join a Medicare Advantage Plan, when your cost sharing is lower (or included).

Prescription Drugs
Most Medicare Advantage Plans include drug coverage.

Quality of Care
The Medicare Plan Finder at Medicare.gov/find-a-plan features a star rating system for Medicare plans.

International Travel
Plans usually don’t cover care you get outside of the U.S.

Snowbirds
You will be limited to in-network doctors.