Weighing Your Options: A Guide to Medigap vs Medicare Supplement Insurance

By admin / August 10, 2020

Fifteen percent of Americans — or more than 49 million people — rely on Medicare for healthcare, according to AARP. Meanwhile, 14 million Americans have signed up for Medicare supplement insurance, also known as Medigap. Medicare Supplement plans are standardized and have been given letter designations from A through N. But the top plans to compare are Plan G and Plan N.

Perhaps you’re weighing up each option in the Medigap vs. Medicare debate. Deciding between the two can be difficult, especially if you’re not versed in healthcare coverage and all the jargon that goes with it.

So, to make that job easier, we’re here to help: weigh your options with this guide.

Medigap vs. Medicare

Firstly, it’s essential to understand what you’re deciding between here — it’s not Medigap vs. Medicare insurance.

Instead, you’re choosing between Medicare Advantage vs. Medigap.

That’s because you will, first and foremost, have to have a basic Medicare policy. As you likely know, Medicare is the federal insurance program for Americans 65 or older.

Medicare only covers 80 percent of your medical expenses, though, leaving you responsible for the other 20 percent. If you need major surgery, that 20 percent payment could end up costing you thousands of dollars.

That’s why so many people choose to supplement their Medicare insurance. The two main options are Medicare Advantage and Medigap.

Medicare Advantage

You can purchase a Medicare Advantage plan to bridge the gap. Your coverage won’t come from the government, though. Instead, private insurance companies provide this supplement.

About one-third of Medicare qualifiers choose Medicare Advantage plans, and for a good reason. You can choose between a health maintenance organization (HMO) or a preferred provider organization (PPO) plan. The latter of which allows you to visit in- and out-of-network health practitioners in your home state, broadening the quantity and often the quality of healthcare you receive.

Medicare Advantage plans will cover dental, vision, hearing and wellness programs. It usually covers prescriptions, which is a big draw. In general, Medicare Advantage is cheaper than Medigap, but it doesn’t cover as much as the latter.


Medigap is similar to Medicare Advantage, in that it’s not a policy provided by the federal government. Instead, private insurance companies provide you with your Medigap policy. You can see what those might look like on sites like Medicarewire.com.

Medigap covers the out-of-pocket expenses you’d accrue if you used Medicare on its own. It typically provides you more coverage than Medicare Advantage, but that means you’ll pay more for it.

However, if you travel often or live in two different states, Medigap is probably the coverage you need. It gives you healthcare nationally and even has supplements for internationally provided healthcare. However, it doesn’t cover prescriptions like Medicare Advantage.

You’ll pay more each month for this kind of care. However, it means that when you do need medical attention, you probably won’t have any out-of-pocket expenses.

Choose Your Coverage

The only person who can end the Medigap vs. Medicare debate is you. Now that you know the advantages of each plan, you can choose the one that seems to suit your healthcare needs now and in the future.

Need more healthcare advice? Be sure to check out the lifestyle section of our blog.

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