For people turning 65 or losing group coverage after the age of 65, Medicare can be a welcome relief. The medical benefits are much stronger (in most cases) and the premiums are relatively low. Medicare Part A (hospital) is free and Part B (medical) is close to $100/month, depending on income. So far, so good. However, most people will want to supplement Medicare Part A and Part B since they still face a lot of risk for out-of-pocket expenses — both for hospitalization/medical and prescription drugs.
The options can be confusing and overwhelming! This brief article isn’t going to address all the various options. There are many factors to consider when making a decision. However, one important point to consider is this: Get advice from an independent agent who offers BOTH Medicare Supplement plans (Medigap) and Medicare Advantage plans. Also, make sure the agent represents all the best carriers — not just two or three. Agents who only offer Medicare Supplement tend to be overly critical of Medicare Advantage plans and vice versa. An independent agent, offering all product lines, will be able to give unbiased advice and help you sort through all the options. Making the right decision is very important since it might be impossible to switch to another plan (from Medicare Advantage to Medigap) after the first year. That’s another consideration — the ability to switch plans in the future — to discuss with an agent!