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Medicare Plan Options for People with Low Incomes

by Arthur Fitzwater | Licensed since 2011

This article was updated on: 10/22/2015

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Medigap plans, also called Medicare Supplement plans, can be helpful for people with lower incomes, as some Medigap plans cover many of the expenses that Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, does not cover. Such expenses can include copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. Some Medigap plans don’t require any copayment for routine medical services, such as doctor visits.

One drawback of Medigap plans is that the monthly premiums can be prohibitively expensive for people on limited incomes, depending on the type of plan and geographical location of the beneficiary. In addition, Medigap plans don’t include prescription drug coverage, so beneficiaries typically would need to enroll in a stand-alone prescription drug plan that covers medications. A beneficiary would then have a separate monthly premium for the stand-alone prescription drug plan in addition to the monthly premium for the Medigap plan.

Lower-income beneficiaries may take a different approach to their medical coverage and enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. Medicare Advantage plans are very different from Medigap. A Medigap policy is added to Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, while Medicare Advantage plans must offer at least the same amount of coverage as Part A and Part B, and may provide additional benefits as well. Many Medicare Advantage plans provide drug coverage, but not all do. When you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you receive all of your Medicare benefits through that private plan. Please note that a beneficiary should not have a Medigap plan and a Medicare Advantage plan concurrently. So, if you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll need to contact the insurance company through which you have your Medigap plan to cancel that plan.

The monthly premiums for Medicare Advantage plans may be lower than Medigap premiums, but could require copayments for some healthcare services, including visits to doctors and hospitals.

As you can see, premiums and deductibles can vary, depending on the Medicare plan option you select. Would you like to ask me other questions? Learn more about me by clicking the “View profile” link below. There are also links below that let you schedule a phone appointment or have me email you more information. Want to compare plans on your own? Use the Compare Plans buttons on this page. Or, for personalized assistance from a licensed insurance agent, just call us when you’re ready.

Call’s licensed insurance agents at 1-844-847-2659, TTY users 711; Monday through Friday, 8AM to 8PM ET.

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