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Medicare Supplement vs. Medicare Benefit: What's the Difference?

Applying for Medicare when you reach retirement age sounds easy. But just because you are covered by the federal health insurance program does not mean that you will not face the costs.

With Original Medicare (parts A and B), you get coverage for health-related expenses such as hospital care, doctor visits, medical procedures and equipment. Just like a traditional health insurance, Medicare pays its share of the Medicare-approved amount, and you are responsible for some. It usually includes out-of-pocket expenses such as copies, co-insurance and deductible.

However, for many seniors — especially those with a fixed income — the risk of having unforeseen medical expenses in retirement can be stressful. Fortunately, you have options to help you feel at ease.

In today's insurance market, there are two primary choices to protect Medicare recipients from medical expenses: Medicare Supplement insurance and Medicare Advantage plans. But how do you decide which plan is right for you?

Here's a quick guide to help you understand the difference:

What is a Medicare Supplementary Plan?

Sometimes called "Medigap", a Medicare supplemental plan is a private insurance policy that helps you pay for what Medicare does not cover. You can apply for insurance when you sign up for Medicare Parts A and B. Available plans will vary depending on your state of residence.

In addition to helping you cover unexpected expenses, Medicare supplement plans offer some additional benefits, including: the ability to choose any doctor or hospital that accepts Original Medicare.

What is a Medicare Advantage Plan?

A Medicare Advantage plan, sometimes called "Part C", is another option to cover medical expenses for the elderly. But unlike a Medicare supplemental plan, which acts as an insurance in addition to Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans are more like a private form of health insurance you buy instead of Medicare. In most cases, these plans cover everything provided by Medicare parts A, B and D, while offering some additional services.

Medicare Advantage plans are offered by a number of private companies, including:

  • Healthcare organizations [1
    9659013] Preferred provider organizations
  • Private fee payment plans
  • Special needs plans
  • Medicare medical savings accounts

Note that although Medicare Advantage plans generally have lower premiums, they still have out-of-pocket expenses such as copies and deductibles. And because they are like a health insurance plan, you may be tied to a particular provider network and need referrals to see a specialist.

Let ERIE Help You Choose

When it comes to reviewing and choosing Medicare coverage options, decisions can be daunting. But you do not have to be an expert because we are here to help. Contact your local Erie Insurance agent or find an agent in your area.

Erie Family Life and our agents can help you find the best option for you and your family. And we offer a range of Medicare supplement plans to suit your life and budget. Best of all, we are always here when you need us, ready to answer your questions. That is our promise of service.

ERIE® Medicare Supplement insurance products and services provided by Erie Family Life Insurance Company. Go to erieinsurance.com for company license information.

The policy has exceptions, limitations and conditions under which the policy may continue to apply or terminate. For costs and complete coverage information, contact your local ERIE agent or refer to the Government Guide Choosing a Medigap Policy: A Guide to Health Insurance for Medicare Individuals. In Wisconsin, you will receive "The Guide to Health Insurance for People in Wisconsin."

The eligibility for insurance cover will be determined at the time of application based on the applicable insurance guidelines and rules in force at that time.

ERIE Medicare Supplement insurance is not available in the District of Columbia and New York. Life insurance not available in New York.

Medicare Supplement Policy Form for Tennessee: EFLMS3003 9/17 (A) TN; EFLMS3009 9/17 (F) TN; EFLMS3014 9/17 (G) TN; EFLMS3019 9/17 (N) TN.

Maryland: Medicare's supplement policy is available to disabled people under 65 years of age.

Not affiliated with or endorsed by the US Government or Federal Medicare Program. This is a call for insurance. An agent (or company) can contact you.

EFLMSB4 04/21

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