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Old 12-23-2014, 07:26 AM   #21
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Could you elaborate on this? I don't understand..do you mean that you get better healthcare access on a supplement plan than on the advantage plan? Aside from paying more out of pocket? Thanks.


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It is hard to determine "Better", but having choices helps determine that. It's been covered many times in threads here and on other sites like Bogleheads. Do a search, the explanations are out there.

You may not even pay more out of pocket if you have a plan like Plan F and have a costly medical event. Plus, you can pick your doctors and other services. May not seem like a big deal, but wait until you have cancer, some other disease, or need an organ replacement. Those things are in the future of older people, unless you get lucky and die in an accident or suffer a critical life ending event.
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Old 12-23-2014, 07:39 AM   #22
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Could you elaborate on this? I don't understand..do you mean that you get better healthcare access on a supplement plan than on the advantage plan? Aside from paying more out of pocket? Thanks.
To add to aja8888's response, the insurer business model for Medicare Advantage plans is to restrict the network of service providers and the drug formulary. In other words, not every doctor or hospital will take your insurance, not every drug is covered, and some drugs will cost you more out of pocket. You may also need pre-approvals.

This is the only way they can make any money. If you cannot afford a supplemental plan, this may not be a bad option. If your insurance objective is to have broadest coverage, a Medicare Supplemental plan is usually superior.
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Old 12-24-2014, 10:32 AM   #23
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To add to aja8888's response, the insurer business model for Medicare Advantage plans is to restrict the network of service providers and the drug formulary. In other words, not every doctor or hospital will take your insurance, not every drug is covered, and some drugs will cost you more out of pocket. You may also need pre-approvals.
Another point to consider is, unlike original Medicare with a supplement, you don't have the option to change just your drug (Part D) plan each year. I consider this a major loss of flexibility.
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Old 12-24-2014, 11:13 AM   #24
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OTOH, this reminds me of the choosing an HMO vs. PPO in an employer plan decision. Personally, I've had an HMO with the same primary care and specialist the entire time. Throughout this period, I had hernia repair surgery, all medications covered, and have been happy with the coverage.

Again, my 81 year old mother is an example of someone happy with her MA plan, even with switching plans.

I agree it's a highly personal choice, and if flexibility is your main concern (as in those who prefer PPO vs. HMO plans), then medicare supplements might be a better choice. I also agree when choosing an MA plan, as in choosing an HMO, it's important to research drug coverage. I've done so in both cases and have had no problem.
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