Original Medicare is provided by the government, while an Advantage plan is offered by private insurance companies that have a contract with Medicare.  Both are insurance, but they can look very different – like comparing apples to oranges. Here are some comparisons to consider –

COSTS: 
Original Medicare – Parts A & B premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance (usually 20%).
Advantage – Parts A & B premiums, plan premiums (if the plan has one) copays & coinsurance up to the plans Annual Out-of-Pocket Maximum cost share.

SUPPLEMENT INSURANCE:
Original Medicare – you can purchase a supplemental policy to pay for some or all of the costs Medicare does not cover.
Advantage – you cannot have a supplemental policy AND Advantage at the same time.

EXTRA SERVICES:
Original Medicare – covers only medically necessary services, does not cover routine services.
Advantage – many plans cover routine services (such as dental, eyecare & hearing) as well as gym memberships, over-the-counter items, etc.

NATIONWIDE PROVIDERS:
Original Medicare – ability to see any provider nationwide that accepts Medicare.
Advantage – usually restricted to network providers the plan has set up (PPO does allow more provider choices at higher costs).

DRUG COVERAGE:
Original Medicare – does not cover prescription drugs.  You must purchase a separate stand-alone drug plan.
Advantage – many plans include prescription drug coverage – saving you money.

OUT-OF-POCKET LIMITS:
Original Medicare – there is no limit on what the beneficiary can spend on healthcare.
Advantage – all plans must have an annual cost-share limit.  Once you reach this, you don’t owe any more for services.  The maximum is $6,700, but many plans are lower than that.

Still confused?  Why not visit with a professional Medicare insurance agent and let them help you compare coverage to see what fits your needs?  Call, click or come in today!  You’ll be glad you did.  Never a fee for appointments!

We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE to get information on all of your options.