Senior citizens who are 65 years of age or older are in most cases automatically enrolled in Medicare insurance. Medicare, a social insurance program, provides basic health coverage to senior citizens; however, Medicare leaves a lot of gaps in what it actually covers and pays for. To address additional medical services such as prescription drugs or in-home medical service, Medicare Supplement plans can be added to help cover the costs that are unfulfilled by original an Medicare plan. Another avenue that seniors can take, and what private insurance companies love, is by purchasing a Medicare Advantage plan which in more and more cases is turning out to be a bad idea.
Medicare Advantage Plans are Molina Healthcare plan options offered by private companies and are approved by Medicare. They provide coverage for all of Medicare Part A and Part B benefits. They sound like a “no brainer” when it comes to securing an overall safety net for medical attention; however, they have multiple downsides to them that may not be brought into the light while being presented. Unlike Medicare Supplement plans, which can be chosen to cover specific areas of need that original Medicare fails to cover, a Medicare Advantage plan offers the same features that original Medicare does with additional features as well. The problems with Medicare Advantage plans are they cover some of the benefits that original Medicare does but differently.
An example of how a Medicare Advantage plan might cover an individual may look like this: lower co-pay for doctors’ visits that might offset the reduced coverage for skilled nursing facilities. The general image that a Medicare Advantage plan produces for its targeted audience is that they are too good to be true because they are. Private insurance companies make a huge profit when selling Advantage plans and insurance agents push these plans on seniors in hopes of making an extra profit as well. Of course, not every insurance broker is crooked; every industry has its own bad eggs. There are, however, several reports where insurance agents have been found leading their clients into purchasing Medicare Advantage plans in hopes of making an extra buck.
The overall lack of benefits that Medicare Advantage plans provide does not mean that senior citizens have zero options for out of pocket relief. A Medicare Supplement plan allows seniors to choose the policy that best fits their needs, such as prescription drug benefits or nursing care assistance, so that money can be saved instead of wasted. Another positive note about Medicare Supplement plans are that they can be shopped around for and compared with to find the best price. For seniors, it’s especially important to research and compare policy options to ensure that every penny being spent is going towards a wise decision.