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Home Knowledge CenterMedicare Advantage vs. Medicare Supplement

Medicare Advantage vs. Medicare Supplement

Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement insurance policies provide different types of Medicare coverage. What are the similarities and differences, and which is better for you?

What’s the difference between Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement?

Medicare Advantage combines Medicare Part A and B for comprehensive coverage, all in one plan. It often includes Part D Prescription Drug coverage, too. These are also called Part C plans.

Medicare Supplement, also called Medigap, insurance policies help pay the out-of-pocket expenses not covered by Original Medicare (Part A and B). It is not part of the government’s Medicare program, but provides coverage in addition to it.

Here are the main differences between Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage:

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Is it better to have Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement (Medigap)?

Whether you choose to apply for a Medicare Advantage plan vs. a Medicare Supplement insurance plan depends on your needs. Here are a few factors to consider when deciding whether Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement is better for you:

  • Do you prefer to have all your coverage rolled into one plan? If so, a Medicare Advantage Plan may be the way to go. Many include Part D drug coverage, as well as vision, dental, and hearing, depending on the plan.
  • Do you want financial protection from unexpected out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles, copays, and coinsurance? If yes, Medicare Supplement plans work with Original Medicare and can help cover some of the remaining out-of-pocket expenses that Original Medicare doesn’t cover.
  • Do you need a plan that provides coverage for disabilities or long term care facilities? If so, Medicare Advantage offers Special Needs Plans that provide this type of coverage.
  • Do you want the freedom to see any doctors you choose? If so, Medicare Supplement plans have no required network and you can see any doctor that accepts Medicare, even if you’re away from home or traveling. Some Medicare Advantage plans may also allow you to see doctors and hospitals that are not in the plan’s network, giving you additional freedom to choose your doctors.

Learn more about Choosing a Medicare Plan

Can you have a Medicare Advantage plan and a Medicare Supplement plan?

Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement are different types of Medicare coverage. You cannot have both at the same time. Medicare Advantage bundles Part A and B often with Part D and other types of coverage. Medicare Supplement is additional coverage you can buy if you have Original Medicare Part A and B.

Learn more about Medicare Supplement

Can you change from a Medicare Advantage plan to a Medicare Supplement plan?

During the Annual Enrollment Period, which runs from October 15 to December 7 each year, you are free to reconsider your Medicare coverage. If you decide you want to try a Medicare Supplement plan vs. Medicare Advantage plan, you can make that change during this period.4

Considering Medicare Advantage vs. Medicare Supplement? One is not better than the other. They provide different types of coverage. Finding the right fit for you depends on what kind of Medicare coverage you’re seeking, as well as your health care needs. Review all details of plans when shopping and be open to considering alternatives when your needs change.

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1Original Medicare (Part A and B) coverage is required in order to purchase a Medicare Supplement plan.

2 These programs are NOT insurance and do not provide reimbursement for financial losses. Some restrictions may apply. Programs and services may be added or discontinued at any time. Customers are required to pay the entire discounted charge for any discounted products or services available through these programs. The Healthy Rewards program is provided by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company. Programs are provided through third party vendors who are solely responsible for their products and services. Program availability may vary by location, and are not available where prohibited by law.

3 Insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, American Retirement Life Insurance Company, Loyal American Life Insurance Company, or Cigna National Health Insurance Company. In Kansas, insured by Cigna National Life Insurance Company, Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company and Loyal American Life Insurance Company. American Retirement Life Insurance Company is not available to residents of Kansas. In Pennsylvania, Maryland North Carolina and Utah, insured by Cigna National Health Insurance Company domiciled in Ohio. In New Mexico, Idaho and Ohio, insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company.

4 Medicare Supplement plans may be subject to medical underwriting, and coverage may be denied.

View Kansas disclosures, exclusions, and limitations

Notice for persons eligible for Medicare because of disability:

In the following states, all Medicare Supplement plans are available to persons eligible for Medicare because of disability: [California], Colorado, [Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas], Kentucky, [Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, and Wisconsin.]

Tennessee Medicare Supplement Policy Forms

Plan A: CHLIC-MS-AA-A-TN; Plan F: CHLIC-MS-AA-F-TN; Plan High Deductible F (HDF): CHLIC-MS-AA-HDF-TN; Plan G: CHLIC-MS-AA-G-TN; and Plan N: CHLIC-MS-AA-N-TN

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Medicare Advantage Policy Disclaimers

All Cigna products and services are provided exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation. The Cigna name, logos, and other Cigna marks are owned by Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. All clinical products and services of the LivingWell Health Centers are either provided by or through clinicians contracted with HealthSpring Life & Health Insurance Company, Inc., HealthSpring of Florida, Inc., Bravo Health Mid-Atlantic, Inc., and Bravo Health Pennsylvania, Inc. or employees leased by HS Clinical Services, PC, Bravo Advanced Care Center, PC (PA), Bravo Advanced Care Center, PC (MD) and not by Cigna Corporation. The Cigna name, logos, and other Cigna marks are owned by Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. All pictures are used for illustrative purposes only.

Cigna contracts with Medicare to offer Medicare Advantage HMO and PPO plans and Part D Prescription Drug Plans (PDP) in select states, and with select State Medicaid programs. Enrollment in Cigna depends on contract renewal.

Medicare Supplement Policy Disclaimers

Medicare Supplement website content not approved for use in: Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Virginia.

AN OUTLINE OF COVERAGE IS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST. We'll provide an outline of coverage to all persons at the time the application is presented.

Our company and agents are not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. Government or the federal Medicare program. This is a solicitation for insurance. An insurance agent may contact you. Premium and benefits vary by plan selected. Plan availability varies by state. Medicare Supplement policies are underwritten by Cigna National Health Insurance Company, Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, American Retirement Life Insurance Company or Loyal American Life Insurance Company. Each insurer has sole responsibility for its own products.

The following Medicare Supplement Plans are available to persons eligible for Medicare due to disability: Plan A in Arkansas, Connecticut, Indiana, Maryland, Oklahoma, Texas, and Virginia; Plans A, F, and G in North Carolina; and Plans C and D in New Jersey for individuals aged 50-64. Medicare Supplement policies contain exclusions, limitations, and terms under which the policies may be continued in force or discontinued. For costs and complete details of coverage, contact the company.

This website is designed as a marketing aid and is not to be construed as a contract for insurance. It provides a brief description of the important features of the policy. Please refer to the policy for the full terms and conditions of coverage.

American Retirement Life Insurance Company, Cigna National Health Insurance Company and Loyal American Life Insurance Company do not issue policies in New Mexico.

Kansas Disclosures, Exclusions and Limitations

Medicare Supplement Policy Forms: Plan A: CNHIC-MS-AA-A-KS, CNHIC-MS-AO-A-KS; Plan F: CNHIC-MS-AA-F-KS, CNHIC-MS-AO-F-KS; Plan G: CNHIC-MS-AA-G-KS, CNHIC-MS-AO-G-KS; Plan N: CNHIC-MS-AA-N-KS, CNHIC-MS-AO-N-KS

Exclusions and Limitations:

The benefits of this policy will not duplicate any benefits paid by Medicare. The combined benefits of this policy and the benefits paid by Medicare may not exceed one-hundred percent (100%) of the Medicare Eligible Expenses incurred. This policy will not pay benefits for the following:

(1) the Medicare Part B Deductible;

(2) any expense which You are not legally obligated to pay; or services for which no charge is normally made in the absence of insurance;

(3) any services that are not medically necessary as determined by Medicare;

(4) any portion of any expense for which payment is made by Medicare or other government programs (except Medicaid); or for which payment would have been made by Medicare if You were enrolled in Parts A and B of Medicare;

(5) any type of expense not a Medicare Eligible Expense except as provided previously in this policy;

(6) any deductible, Coinsurance or Co-payment not covered by Medicare, unless such coverage is listed as a benefit in this policy; or

(7) Preexisting Conditions: We will not pay for any expenses incurred for care or treatment of a Preexisting Condition for the first six (6) months from the effective date of coverage. This exclusion does not apply if You applied for and were issued this policy under guaranteed issue status; if on the date of application for this policy You had at least six (6) months of prior Creditable Coverage; or, if this policy is replacing another Medicare Supplement policy and a six (6) month waiting period has already been satisfied. Evidence of prior coverage or replacement must have been disclosed on the application for this policy. If You had less than six (6) months prior Creditable Coverage, the Preexisting Conditions limitation will be reduced by the aggregate amount of Creditable Coverage. If this policy is replacing another Medicare Supplement policy, credit will be given for any portion of the waiting period that has been satisfied.

Selecting these links will take you away from Cigna.com to another website, which may be a non-Cigna website.

Y0036_22_101121_M | Page last updated 06/01/2022 .