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What Are the Differences Between Medigap and Medicare Advantage?

Posted by Seton McAndrews | CFP®, Vice President Investments

September 27, 2013

What is Medigap?

Medigap is private insurance you can purchase to help cover some or most of your out-of-pocket expenses associated with Traditional Medicare. It doesn’t replace your Traditional Medicare, it just helps you pay for it. You’d still get all of the coverage associated with Plans A and B.

What Does Medigap Cover?

The out-of-pocket expenses Medigap helps you pay for: Part A hospital deductibles, Part B outpatient co-pays, out-of-country medical emergencies, and fees not covered by Parts A and B.1

Why Do People Purchase Medigap?

People looking to reduce out-of-pocket healthcare costs are usually the ones to purchase Medigap. There are ten Medigap plan options, and all of them are standardized by law, so the benefits of each is the same regardless of which insurer sells it. The only difference between the ten plans is the cost (it can be expensive), so shopping around is crucial.2

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Medicare Healthcare in Retirement

What’s the Difference Between Traditional Medicare and Medicare Parts C and D?

September 23, 2013
In our previous post on Medicare Parts A and B, we outlined some of the basic features of Traditional Medicare, which provides hospital and medical coverage to those enrolled. While Traditional Medicare will cover many of your basic medical needs, some people choose to explore other types of healthcare plans because of various costs and different types of coverage available. In this piece, we’ll explore Medicare supplemental insurance plans as available through Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D. Both are offered through private insurers, and most plans require premiums, co-payments and deductibles. Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage): Costs and Benefits Medicare Part C is an alternative to Medicare Parts A and B, and it must by law provide coverage “equivalent” to Parts A and B.1 If you purchase a Medicare Part C plan it will replace your coverage through Medicare Parts A and B. With a Medicare Part C plan, you don't have to pay Medicare Part A and Part B deductibles and co-payments, because Medicare Part C plans have their own deductibles and co-pays. You would, however, still have to pay Part B premiums.2 [+] Read More

How Does Traditional Medicare Factor Into Your Healthcare Coverage in Retirement?

September 18, 2013
Traditional Medicare is another name for Medicare Parts A and B. Most people are automatically enrolled in Parts A and B and receive their benefit cards 3 months before their 65th birthday. You’ll be automatically enrolled if you’re already receiving Social Security retirement benefits when you turn 65.1 If you’re not automatically enrolled and want to apply, there is a seven month window to join: three months before your 65th birthday, the month of your 65th birthday, and three months after your 65th birthday. If you miss that window, there is “General Enrollment” every year between January 1 and March 31.1 Below we’ll break down the differences between Medicare Part A and Part B. Medicare Part A: Costs and Benefits Part A usually requires no premium payments, though there are some deductibles and coinsurances associated with coverage (more on these costs below). Part A covers hospitalization, or inpatient care. This includes hospital care, nursing facility care, nursing home care, hospice, and home health services.2 [+] Read More

Understanding Your Options for Healthcare Coverage in Retirement

September 17, 2013
The Basics of Medicare Parts A, B, C, D, and Medigap As you enter retirement or approach the age of 65, there are a lot of questions about what happens next: When should I start taking Social Security? How should I diversify my portfolio to ensure my long-term investment goals are met? Equally important is setting up your healthcare coverage. You’ll need to consider your healthcare needs, what coverage options are available to you, what the cost is going to be, what your budget allows, and so on. In our four-part series on Medicare, we’ll examine details about your healthcare options in retirement, to give you a foundation for making informed decisions as you build your comprehensive financial plan. [+] Read More