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Monday, March 26, 2007

Medicare Plans

Medicare is a wonderful program that I wish I could join. There are many good solutions and very few bad ones. Basically, Medicare is the government program designed to pay the doctor and hospital bills of people who are disabled, or American citizens who have reached the age of 65. Many people believe that any move toward a National Health Care system will expand the role of Medicare to more Americans.

Though there are no bad options for people eligible for medicare, there are several options to choose from. Now with the new Part D programs available, there are even more and better options than ever before with medicare. While Medicare is designed to pay for most of the doctors and hospital bills, there are gaps in coverage (Medicare supplements are often called "medigap" policies). These gaps exist in the form of doctors office and hospital deductibles and coinsurance. Inexpensive Medicare supplement policies are available to cover the gaps in coverage.

Of these "medigap" policies, there are two major types of plans. Those two plans are called

  1. Medicare Advantage Plans
  2. Traditional Medicare Supplement plans A-J

The Medicare Advantage Plans are the new type of plan and are similar to HMO programs. With Medicare Advantage plans, you join a network of doctors and have low co payments for doctors visits when you go to the doctors' offices. Usually you will have emergency service worldwide, but you do not have coverage outside of the HMO doctor network. Many of these plans include the Part D prescription drug program at no extra charge. The major benefit of the Medicare Advantage Plan is that it gives you better coverage than regular Medicare, but it does not cost any more than medicare. A drawback of this program is that if you live in a rural area, there may be few doctors available for in-network coverage - so you might not be able to get coverage for the doctors you want.

The traditional Medicare Supplement plans are wonderful, but they do cost an extra monthly fee that the Medicare Advantage plans do not. However, once you get a traditional medicare supplement program, you typically can go anywhere to any doctor and any hospital and pay nothing. If you live in a rural area with limited access to doctors, this would cover you without needing a network. The doctors have to accept "assignment" from medicare, but more doctors accept assignment from medicare than are included in any Medicare Advantage Network.

If you have questions, please contact your local agents, or browse sites like this one Medicare Supplements.

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