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The Pros and Cons of Your Medicare Options

What is the difference between a Medicare Supplement and a Medicare Advantage plan?

As you start to navigate the Medicare waters, you are probably pushed back and forth between Traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage. Here are some general pros and cons to go over:

Traditional Medicare with a Supplement


  • No networks. (Go to any doctor that accepts Medicare)

  • Your care is between you and your doctor. You are in charge.

  • You have a fixed rate and fixed costs

  • You pay your monthly premium and yearly deductible. (Amount depends on the plan chosen)

  • The plans are consistent in that they offer the same benefits each year.


  • You have to pay monthly premiums.

  • If you are healthy you may see it as a waste to pay each month, especially in this wonderful economy, right now.

  • The premiums will increase each year.

  • You will have a cost of doing business increase and most plans have an increase for getting a year older.

  • Does not come with a drug plan, dental or vision plan.

  • You must purchase these products in addition to your Supplement.

Medicare Advantage:


  • No monthly premium on most plans.

  • You do not pay anything monthly other than your Medicare Premium.

  • Gym membership and a lot of plans have some dental, vision, and hearing included.

  • There are also plans that have some over the counter benefits. This will depend on your zip code.

  • Drug plans are included in most plans.

  • The drug plans work the same, so you may hit the dreaded donut hole but you will not pay extra each month for the plan.


  • Uncertain costs.

  • These plans have copays. So every time you go to the doctor, you will have copays. Need to see a specialist, cool bring your wallet. Going to the hospital, bring your money it is going to cost you.

  • The networks change often.

  • Your primary doctor may be in the network one year, but not the next.

  • The insurance company dictates your care.

Here is the best way to describe the differences between the two:

With Traditional Medicare, the insurance company is in the waiting room and their only question is about how much is owed. With a Medicare Advantage plan, the insurance company is in the examination room and they could have a say over your care.

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