How Does Medicare Compare to Private Health Insurance?

If you’ve never had Medicare before, you may be wondering: How does Medicare compare to private insurance? Or what does it mean when you change from private health insurance to Medicare? What are some of the pluses and minuses? You may also be wondering what the difference is between a Medicare supplement, regular Medicare, and the more popular Medicare Advantage plans (be it an HMO or a PPO).  

In general, when you come to Medicare, there are two kinds of insurance plans: 

1. Regular Medicare

This one is common, but with it you’ll need to enroll in a supplement plan called Part B, and you’ll also need to enroll in a separate prescription drug plan called Part D. This package works very well. 

The biggest advantage of regular Medicare is that it allows you to see virtually any doctor, anywhere, at any time that you like. It’s not a typical “network” like with private insurance. You have to go to Medicare-approved doctors, but you can go to any hospital, clinic, or doctor’s office where those Medicare-approved doctors are located.

2. Medicare Advantage

These plans are HMOs or PPO plans, and they are very popular because they add a lot of extra benefits. To get those benefits, you only have to pay the Part B premium compared to regular Medicare, where you’ll pay a premium for both Part B and Part D. Medicare Advantage plans also add important benefits, such as dental and vision. 

The main drawback to consider with Medicare Advantage plans is that you will have a network of doctors and hospitals to which you must go to get your care. Some people find that limiting, although in the St. Louis area, we have a large selection of healthcare providers that gives you more options to choose from. However, if you live in a rural area where healthcare is a long distance away, the Medicare supplement plan may serve as a better option. You should compare plans to make sure your healthcare provider will be a reasonable distance from your home. 

The last factor to consider is prescription drug coverage. In general, the prescription drug coverage on a Medicare Advantage plan is stronger than it is on Medicare Part D. In general, the Advantage plans tend to have more added benefits than Part D does. 

Contact MBhealth for Assistance with Medicare Enrollment

If you need help choosing the right insurance for your needs, contact MBhealth today. We’ll review your prescription drug use, your healthcare needs, and the frequency of your care to help you determine which Medicare or Medicare Advantage plans will suit you best. To get started, call us at (314) 544-5400 or visit our contact page to get in touch.

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