Understanding the differences…
Both Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage can be attractive coverage options when you are enrolled in Medicare.
What is most attractive to you will depend on your individual preferences.
You must enroll in both Medicare A and B
To be eligible for either Medicare Supplement (MediGap) or Medicare Advantage (Part C), you must be enrolled in both Medicare A and B. Medicare Supplements work with Medicare A and B to provide you coverage. Medicare Advantage replaces Medicare A and B for coverage (but you still are require to pay for Part B).
Medicare Supplement Insurance has an Open Enrollment Period for the first 6 months in which you are enrolled in Medicare Part B. During this time, you will be able to purchase ANY Medicare Supplement Plan with no medical underwriting. After this 6 month period ends, you will be medically underwritten if you want to purchase a Medicare Supplement or change Medicare Supplement Plans or insurance companies.
- CA, CT, MA, ME, MO, NY, OR, WA have exceptions to these rules.
- Also, if you are already on Medicare Part B (for more than 6 months), but loose your group coverage, you will have SOME plans available on a Guaranteed Issue basis. There will be less options available which do not require you to answer medical questions to qualify.
Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans provide an Initial Election Period when you enroll in Medicare, a Special Election Period when you come off your group coverage plan (Employer Coverage, Cobra, Retiree, Severance), and also allow you to change plans once a year during the Annual Election Period (October 15th through December 7th) without medical underwriting.