According to a recent study, more than 40% of Medicare beneficiaries want to improve their existing plans. They look for plans with better options and easier premiums. If you want to switch from an Original Medicare plan to another one, you must consider many factors.
Switching from a Medicare Advantage to a Medicare Supplement Plan is never easy. It depends on where you live, the current insurance policy and the service provider.
Before you decide to switch from an Advantage to a Supplement plan, you should be aware of the differences in these policies.
The Major Differences
In simple terms, Medicare Advantage represents the Original Medicare Part C. It allows beneficiaries to avail the benefits of Medicare Part A or Part B from a third-party private insurance company. The benefits must be availed by an approved company. Some insurance service providers offer additional rewards and benefits. For example, you may receive vision coverage as a part of Medicare Part C.
On the other hand, Medicare Supplement Plans work with Medicare Part A and Part B. It takes care of benefits that are not provided by Part A or Part B. This means you are less likely to incur out-of-pocket charges.
Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement Plans are not 100% compatible. This is why you should be very careful with the switch.
Understanding the Thin Line!
You can never use a Medicare supplement plan to pay the gaps in your Medicare Advantage policy. If you have an Advantage plan, it is illegal to purchase a Supplement plan.
To buy a Medicare Supplement Plan, you must pay for the Original Part A and Part B.
Yet, the reverse is not true! If you have purchased a Medicare Supplement plan, you can switch to the Advantage plan. You may keep the supplemental plan, even if it cannot be used to fill the gaps in your Advantage plan.
When should you change?
There will be specific instances when the switch becomes useful. In such cases, you must remember the following points:
- The Medicare Advantage Policy can be released only at certain times. You can leave the plan between the 1st of January and the 14th of February. This is the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period. You can release the Advantage Plan between the 15th of October and 7th of December too. This is known as the Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Election Period
- Once the Advantage plan is released and an Original Medicare Plan is purchased, you can choose a supplemental plan.