About Medicare Supplement Insurance,
Advantage Plans and Drug Plans
Gaps in traditional Medicare insurance have led people over the past 40 years to purchase supplemental or Medigap insurance policies to provide less worry-free coverage under Medicare.
Medicare Advantage plans were created along with the Medicare drug benefit as a result of the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act. The plans are funded by Medicare but design and administration are carried out by private-sector insurers. An Advantage plan must offer at least the same benefits of original Medicare but may offer better benefits as well. MA plans are designed around provisions of modern group insurance coverage and these plans do away with the gaps in coverage with original Medicare. Many of these plans are integrated with the new Medicare drug benefit as well.
Because of the modern design, there is no need for a Medicare supplement (Medigap) policy and the additional cost of the supplement is eliminated. The trade-off for this improvement is generally more direct out-of-pocket costs for MA beneficiaries. Eligible Medicare beneficiaries typically enroll with an MA by signing on with a designated agent of the insurer.
Medicare Supplements: Plans secondary to Original Medicare - MEDIGAP's.
Medicare Advantage Plans: Stand along Medicare Advantage plans - MA's, or, all in one Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plans - MAPD's. These consist of; PFFS - Private Fee For Service , PPO - Preferred Provider Organization , HMO - Health Maintenance Organization & HSA - Health Savings Account. They all can be offered as MA's or MAPD's, depending on the CMS guidelines for plan availability the Carriers choice.
Medicare Prescription Drug Plans: Stand Alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plans or MPDP's.
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