What’s The Difference Between Medicare Supplements And Medicare Advantage?

Original Medicare with supplemental insurance? Or, Medicare Advantage? When it comes time to enroll in Medicare, these are options you’ll have.

What’s the difference? Read on.

Original Medicare + Medicare Supplement
Medicare Parts A and B are offered by the federal government. They cover hospital and medical costs. But they don’t cover all costs. For instance, Medicare doesn’t cover copayments or prescription drugs.

That’s where Medicare supplement insurance (also called Medigap) comes into play. The federal government standardizes what each supplement covers. But Medigaps are sold and serviced by private firms.

BCBSND offers a variety of supplemental insurance plans and prescription drug plans to help pay health care costs not covered by Medicare. Medicare supplement plans A, C, F, F High Deductible, G, L and N are available through BCBSND. Call 800-280-BLUE (2583) for assistance in obtaining one of the plans.

Explore the benefits of BCBSND supplements.

Medicare Advantage
Medicare Advantage plans are created when a private company takes over the administration of your original Medicare Parts A and B.

Unlike Medicare supplements, the benefits within Medicare Advantage plans are not regulated and can vary widely. Some may leave you responsible for most of your out-of-pocket costs.

For example, some companies offer Medicare Advantage with a $0 premium. Keep in mind that simply means the plan offers no benefits in addition to your original Medicare. You will still pay a premium. You’ll just pay it to the government instead of the private company.

Other Medicare Advantage plans will cover some of the gaps in your original Medicare Parts A and B. That coverage ranges from prescription drugs to vision to wellness programs and more.  

When considering Medicare Advantage plans, it’s important to read and compare carefully. Know exactly which benefits are included in your plan, and which expenses you’ll pay out of pocket.

BCBSND does not currently offer any Medicare Advantage plans, but we are always seeking to expand services to better serve our members.

Handy tools
Consider working with a licensed independent agent to walk through your options. Use our online agent finder to find one near you.  

Need to start at the beginning? Read our BCBSND Medicare 101 information to learn more about coverage and benefits.

Discover four things you need to know about switching Medicare supplement plans.


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