The answer to the question above is yes – and no – because Medicare has changed over the years and so have the Medicare Supplements (also known as Medigap plans). Medicare Advantage is available, as well, though the jury is out on both sides as to whether it works well or not. Ask one person who has it and they will tell you it’s great. Ask another and they will tell you they are not happy with it.
The issue, though, is whether a senior should have a Medigap plan or Medicare Advantage. That depends on the senior. There are several factors involved in making this decision. For instance, if you are a senior but you don’t have any chronic illness, go to the doctor for your annual checkup and still play golf once or twice a week, you probably don’t need Medicare Supplement Insurance, and could instead get by with a no premium Medicare Advantage plan. On the other hand if you do have a chronic illness, have regular doctor visits, treatments and medications that you must have to stay healthy you probably do need a Medicare Supplement plan.
The reason for that is that your doctor visits, treatments and medication might have an actual cost of $500 per month, but the supplement might only cost $95 per month. Getting the right supplement could save you over $400 per month in this case. That is a lot of money for anyone. In this situation, a person really can’t afford not to have a supplement.
There is also another scenario. There can be the person that takes blood pressure or other medication, but their symptoms are controlled with medication and they see their doctor every two to three months just to check in. Those individuals may or may not choose a supplement, or there may be one that is reasonable that will cover just what they need. They do need to have prescription coverage (Medicare Part D) because they are on long-term prescriptions that can cost a fortune, even in generic form.
So, the final answer is that it comes down to each person’s individual situation as to whether they can afford not to have a Medicare Supplement. If you are a senior and you need information or are in doubt as to what coverage you need, you can start by visiting www.MedigapAdvisors.com. You will find information to help you determine what is right for your situation and links to other sites as well.
Wiley Long is founder and president of Medigap Advisors, and is passionate about helping people navigate the confusing waters of Medicare. He is the author of The Medicare Playbook: Designing Your Successful Health Coverage Strategy, a clear and simple explanation so you can make the most of your Medicare coverage. For more information visit www.MediGapAdvisors.com.