Medicare versus Medicare Advantage

One of the frequent questions being bounced around out there is "What's best - a traditional Medicare Supplement or the Medicare Advantage program?"

Both sides have strong opinions on the matter. I used to be of the opinion that the Medicare Advantage program would go away. I am now not ashamed to tell you I was wrong. For whatever reason, funding has actually been increased for the next year, and I am not sure it's going away. It should be remembered the entire program was initiated under a Republican Presidency and most Democrats (including current President Obama) opposed the program.

I will share my thoughts but please remember, my opinions are not worth any more than yours. I believe that traditional Medicare is the best bet for any consumer with moderate to high income. I believe the F plan or G plan satisfies most consumers in those above-mentioned income levels. I like the idea that a person that has paid into Medicare during his years of employment, now gets the opportunity to collect on the taxes paid. I like the idea most all doctors and hospitals accept and recognize traditional Medicare plans.

I also like that Medicare Advantage programs can be offered to anyone despite their health and income. I personally believe that if a person is lower income they are far better off getting a MA plan over straight Medicare. Many lower income consumers cannot afford to have a Medicare Supplement, and by going with Medicare Advantage they get better coverage.

Consumers also need to factor where they live, and make sure their hospital and doctors of their choice accept the MA plan they are considering. We see the Metropolitan areas favoring the MA plans, and that many rural areas may not even offer a plan for their county.

I'm not sure that I've shed much light on the subject, but I can tell you that I personally prefer the traditional Medicare Supplement for my clients, but a great service can be provided to consumers with health issues or low income by helping them purchase an MA plan with prescription drug coverage.

My biggest concern for the average consumer is that they need to have a great agent who tell them at the end of each year whether or not their plan has changed, and if so, what is best for the next calendar year.


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