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Can You Have a Medicare Advantage Plan and Medicare Supplement Plan at the Same Time?

A Medicare Advantage plan might save you money in some cases. A Medicare Supplement plan might save you money in a different way. But these types of plans don’t work together.

What’s a Medicare Advantage plan?

When you’re trying to decide between a Medicare Advantage plan and a Medicare Supplement plan, it’s important to understand what each type of plan is.

Insurance companies that offer Medicare Advantage plans have contract agreements with Medicare to provide your Medicare Part A and Part B benefits. So, you get your Part A and Part B benefits through an insurance company instead of directly through the government.

Medicare Advantage plans can include extra benefits. Most of them include prescription drug coverage, and some offer routine vision or hearing services, for example. Learn more about Medicare Advantage plans.

What’s a Medicare Supplement plan?

Medicare Supplement insurance is meant to work alongside your Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) coverage. Medicare Supplement (also called Medigap) plans are sold by private insurance companies, and may help pay your out-of-pocket costs from Part A and Part B. Copayments and coinsurance are examples of these costs.

Medicare Supplement plans are standardized with lettered names in 47 states – for example, Medicare Supplement Plan K. In Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, each state has its own separate set of Medicare Supplement plans.

Medicare Supplement plans generally cover Medicare-approved inpatient hospital care for an additional year (365 days) after your Medicare Part A coverage runs out. Medicare Supplement plans also usually cover at least 50% of your Part B coinsurance or copayments for doctor visits and other Part B services. Most Medicare Supplement plans cover 100% of this benefit.

Can you have Medicare Advantage and Medigap at the same time?

A Medigap (Medicare Supplement) plan won’t pay for the coinsurance, copayments, deductibles, or other out-of-pocket costs of your Medicare Advantage plan.

There may be specific instances, mainly temporary, when you can have a Medicare Advantage plan and a Medicare Supplement plan at the same time – but even then, the Medicare Supplement plan won’t cover Medicare Advantage plan cost-sharing expenses.

When can you have a Medicare Advantage and Medigap at the same time?

There are some specific situations where you can temporarily have a Medicare Advantage and Medigap plan at the same time while you’re in transition from one type of coverage to another.

If you sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan, and decide you’d rather drop the plan and return to Original Medicare, you might be able to buy a Medicare Supplement plan:

  • If you enrolled in the Medicare Advantage plan when you were first eligible for Medicare
  • If you’re within your first year of having the Medicare Advantage plan. This is called your Trial Right.

If you had a Medicare Supplement plan and dropped it to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan for the first time:

  • If you decide to return to Original Medicare within the first year of being enrolled in the Medicare Advantage plan, you can buy the same Medicare Supplement plan.

If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, and the plan stops providing Medicare coverage in your area, or you move out of the plan’s service area:

  • You can switch back to Original Medicare, Part A and Part B.
  • You can then buy any Medigap Plan A, B, C, F, K, or L that’s sold in your state.
  • An insurance company cannot deny your application for one of the above Medigap plans, nor charge you more if you have a health condition. However, in some cases the insurance company can impose a waiting period of up to six months before it covers your pre-existing condition.

There may be other situations when you have guaranteed-issue rights to buy a Medicare Supplement plan. Remember, even if you have a Medicare Advantage plan and a Medigap plan at the same time temporarily, your Medigap plan won’t pay your Medicare Advantage plan’s coinsurance and other out-of-pocket costs.

What else should I know about having Medicare Advantage and Medigap at the same time?

  • Generally, in the situations above, you can apply for a Medigap plan starting 60 days before your Medicare Advantage coverage ends. You usually have until 63 days after your coverage ends to buy a Medigap plan.
  • If you drop your Medicare Advantage plan, return to Original Medicare, and try to get your former Medigap plan back – you might not be able to do so unless you have one of a “trial right” or guaranteed-issue right such as those mentioned above.
  • If you have a Medicare Advantage plan and someone tries to sell you a Medicare Supplement plan, that’s illegal. Tell your state insurance department if someone does this.

Please note that you must pay your monthly Medicare Part B premium no matter whether you have a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Supplement plan. Of course, you also need to pay any premium your plan may charge.

Trying to juggle Medicare coverage options can be complicated. Do you have questions? Feel free to give us a call and speak with a licensed eHealth insurance agent. To check out the Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans available where you live, just click the Browse Plans button on this page.

The product and service descriptions, if any, provided on these eHealth web pages are not intended to constitute offers to sell or solicitations in connection with any product or service. All products are not available in all areas and are subject to applicable laws, rules, and regulations.

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