When you become eligible for Medicare, you have to decide whether you want a Medigap or Medicare Advantage plan. Both offer different types of coverage, but you can only choose one or the other. In some cases, a Medicare Advantage plan may be a better choice. Here are some of the types of coverage the Medicare Advantage plans offer and how it might be a better choice for you.

What is Medicare Advantage and Medigap?

Medicare only covers about 80% of your expenses. If you have a lot of health problems, then this 20% adds up to a lot of money. Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans both help to fill in the gap. If you want Medigap, then you must decide within a few months of qualifying for Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans are usually offered during an open enrollment period.

How is Medicare Advantage Different From Medigap?

Medigap plans have a higher premium than a Medicare Advantage plan. However, they are accepted anywhere Medicare is accepted. Medicare Advantage plans are usually limited to a particular network and you may be required to have a primary care physician. Medigap does not usually include prescription drug coverage, unlike many Medicare Advantage plans. Medicare Advantage also tends to include other extras like eyeglasses which are usually not covered by Medigap plans.

Why Choose Medicare Advantage Over Medigap?

If you are in good health and don't usually use health services that often, then a Medicare Advantage plan may be a better fit for you. You could also receive bonuses as gym memberships and non-prescription medication discounts. You're more likely to get prescription coverage with Medicare Advantage. You could be required to wait for Medigap coverage to begin if you have a pre-existing illness. However, some Medicare Advantage plans start right away.

Can You Change From One to the Other?

The good news is that if you don't like Medigap or your Medicare Advantage plan, you can switch and possibly go back to your old plan. With Medicare Advantage plans, you can switch between plans during open enrollment. With Medigap plans, you may be able to go back after switching to Medicare Advantage. But there is no guarantee you will get exactly the same plan you had before.

Most people enjoy the coverage and flexibility of Medicare Advantage plans. Whether you choose one over a Medigap plan depends on your health and circumstances. When choosing which insurance to buy, be sure to weigh the pros and cons of each type before you buy. If you need help with purchasing insurance, then talk to an insurance agent for help.

To learn more about a Medicare advantage program, contact an insurance company near you.