Patients enrolled in Medicare plans have to decide if they need supplemental insurance, and two basic options exist. First, you can enroll in traditional Medicare Parts A and B and then buy a Medigap supplemental policy that provides coverage for “gaps” in your policy. The other option is to purchase a Medicare “Advantage” plan. Medicare Advantage plans offer some benefits, such as the convenience of getting all your coverage from one source. However, there are big, and often unknown, disadvantages of these plans. Private insurers administer Medicare Advantage plans; therefore, fewer providers hold Medicare Advantage contracts. As a result, these plans can restrict the available network of doctors and hospitals.
In addition, Medicare Advantage plans often require referrals from primary care doctors and pre-authorization, which can delay and obstruct surgery scheduling. Be aware that enrolling in a Medicare Advantage may delay the scheduling of necessary procedures, and be sure to research if your preferred doctors are in a Medicare Advantage network prior to enrolling!