I keep seeing commercials that I think can be confusing to people with Medicare. They imply that “Medicare C” is a new program that is more comprehensive than Original Medicare.
While the marketing agency who sponsors that commercial is not misleading in any way, it can still be confusing to people who do not focus on Medicare daily.
Medicare parts A and B comprise “Original Medicare”. Most, but not all, medical bills are paid by the government through this program. However, in the last years of the 20th century and the first years of the 21st century politicians made significant changes to Medicare.
During the 1990s congress decided that the federal government was not an insurance company. Congress passed legislation that was signed into law by president Bill Clinton.
The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 created an additional program to Medicare, called Medicare Choice. The name was changed with the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003. At that time the generic name was changed from Medicare Choice to Medicare Advantage.
When an individual elects to use Medicare Advantage, they elect to be removed totally from federal Medicare program and accept benefits from a private insurance company.
Both “Original Medicare” and “Medicare Advantage” plans have their pros and cons. In truth, both plans are excellent as long as an individual understands the plan’s rules and limitations.
Sadly, many folk look only at the advertised premium and do not spend the time to learn the plan’s rules and limitations until after they are already committed.
If you are enrolled in Medicare, or soon will be, look at more than just premium when you choose what plan you want. If you elect to use Medicare Advantage, and understand what you can, and cannot do, it can be a very nice plan.
However, if you elect a Medicare Advantage plan but do not take the time to learn the plan’s rules and limitations, you can find yourself in, what my father would have called, “A world of hurt” if something unexpected happens.