Can I Get a Medicare Advantage and Add a Medicare Supplement Plan?

Making a determination as to whether you should choose Original Medicare along with Medicare Supplement, or to go with a Medicare Advantage plan can be somewhat overwhelming. There are many factors to consider – and it seems that there are very good reasons to go with both.

Signing up for both Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement, however, is not allowed. This is because doing so would essentially duplicate your benefits. So, while you are able to shop around and consider either of these options, having both at the same time is definitely not a possibility.

Considering All of Your Options

Prior to applying for either, it is important that you consider all of the options that you have with regard to both Original Medicare (Medicare Parts A and B) combined with a Medicare Supplement policy versus going with a Medicare Advantage plan.

In doing so, it will be essential to determine how, and how often, you would use your coverage. This will help you to get a better idea as to how much you may pay out-of-pocket over a one year period of time.

Advantages and Drawbacks of Medicare Advantage Plans

Certainly, there are both advantages and drawbacks to owning a Medicare Advantage plan. Some of the key benefits to having such a plan would include:

  • You may be able to obtain all of your coverage from just one source
  • The potential for a lower total premium as compared to that of a Medicare Supplement policy plus Medicare Part D prescription drug plan
  • Additional benefits such as vision and dental coverage

Conversely, there are also some possible drawbacks with Medicare Advantage. These could include the following:

  • The possibility of having to use in-network doctors and other medical providers
  • Payment of a higher fee for using out-of-network providers
  • Payment of a copayment each time you receive treatment or go to an appointment

Advantages and Drawbacks of Medicare Supplement Plans

Purchasing a Medicare Supplement, or “Medigap,” policy can also come with some pros and cons. On the positive side:

  • Financial relief from Medicare’s deductibles and copayments
  • Payment for some preventive care
  • Payment for some foreign travel emergencies
  • Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance on some policies
  • At home recovery payment on certain plans

There are also a few drawbacks that come with purchasing a Medicare Supplement policy, which can include:

  • Certain copayments and coinsurance is only covered in some Medicare Supplement plans
  • No prescription drug coverage
  • No eyeglass coverage
  • Not all states are covered

Considerations Before Moving Forward

Before moving forward and deciding on a plan, it is important to really compare the benefits of each in order to determine which option will work best for you and your health care needs. In addition, if you do opt for a Medicare Advantage plan, you will need to ensure that the plan you want is available in your geographic area. Likewise, make sure that the doctors – as well as any specialists – are in the network, if applicable.

If this is the case and you go the route of Medicare Advantage, you will not need to purchase a Medicare Supplement policy, and vice versa. This is because you would essentially be duplicating your coverage. In fact, if an agent sold you coverage knowing that you already had the other, it would be considered an illegal offense.

What About Switching Your Coverage

Once you have made your decision, you are allowed to change your coverage – but not at just any time. There are only certain times of the year when you can “disenroll” in one plan and switch into another – so be sure than the plan you choose now is one that you can live with – at least until the next enrollment period.

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