Medicare gives you the power to find a plan that best fits your needs. Two new policies that were not around in the Medicare of Johnson’s time are: the Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) and the Medicare Advantage Plan.


So how are they different? If you need help defraying the costs that original Medicare plans don’t cover you can opt for the Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap). To qualify for Medigap insurance coverage you must receive Medicare Part A and Part B, which makes sense since Medigap does not add new coverage but rather covers the costs that original Medicare doesn’t. That means that in addition to paying a monthly premium for your government-subsidized Medicare you also pay a private insurance agency for Medigap coverage.


Medigap insurance coverage works well if you need a subsidy to the original Medicare policies. It also works if you have special circumstances, for instance receiving coverage while traveling abroad.


But there are many things that Medigap does not cover. Since it only supplements your original Medicare rather than providing complete Medicare coverage, you won’t be able to receive benefits such as dental, vision and hearing care or sign up for wellness programs. For those you need a Medicare Advantage Plan. Just like Medigap, it is privately funded. But unlike Medigap, all your original Medicare benefits are covered under your Medicare Advantage Plan. It’s an all-in-one deal.


Both of these new options simply aim to provide you with more flexible choices to make Medicare fit your needs.