Supplement Plans or Advantage Plans

There are key differences between Medicare Supplement Plans and Medicare Advantage Plans that should be understood before making your decision.


Medicare Supplement Plans

  • Typically higher monthly premiums compared to Advantage plans.

  • Covers the 20% gap that Medicare does not cover.

  • No network restrictions: you can go to any doctor or specialist in the country who accepts Medicare.

  • Low out of pocket costs: no copays in in some popular plans.

  • Low annual deductible of $197 for 2020.

  • Standardized Plans: these plans are identical from one insurance company to the next. 

  • Must purchase a separate Prescription Drug Plan.

  • Does not include Dental & Vision.

  • Plans can not be changed or cancelled on you each year, but premiums can increase over time.

Medicare Advantage Plans

  • Typically lower monthly premiums compared to Supplement Plans.

  • Plans can have out of pocket costs in the form of deductibles, copays and coinsurance.

  • "Network" Plans such as HMO and PPO. You must be sure your doctors and specialists are in the plan's network if enrolling in an HMO.

  • Most plans include your Part D, prescription drug plans. 

  • Some of these plans include Dental & Vision at low costs.

  • Plans can be changed or cancelled each year while new plans may become available. You are able to shop for new plans each year during open enrollment.


Medicare gives beneficiaries a 6 Month window to enroll in Supplemental insurance without having to undergo a health screening. This means that insurance companies must let you enroll in a plan up to 6 months after your Medicare Part B start date. If you miss this window, you could be denied coverage to to adverse health history and pre-existing conditions.

Important Information

This guide is meant to be for learning purposes only.  There can be unique situations that need to be considered when going on Medicare.