What Is an All in One Medicare Plan?
- Find out what an all in one Medicare plan may cover, and learn about its limitations. Discover some alternative ways you can get comprehensive coverage.
If you're looking to expand your Medicare coverage, an all in one Medicare plan could be a good solution. Government-provided Original Medicare doesn't offer an all in one option — you'll need to work with a private insurance provider.
Typically, companies that advertise all in one plans are referring to Medicare Advantage. However, you can also buy supplemental policies to create your own comprehensive coverage solution.
All in One Medicare Advantage Plans
Medicare Advantage plans, which are also known as "Part C" plans, are sold by private companies. By law, each one must include Medicare Part A and B benefits; the insurer typically adds other benefits, such as Medicare Part D and dental, vision or hearing coverage. You can expect to pay a premium for these extras.
While an all in one Medicare Advantage plan may offer more benefits, it can also come with limitations. Typically, the provider will require you to use an in-network doctor, and you'll probably need a referral to see a specialist. In comparison, Original Medicare allows you to visit any doctor who accepts Medicare, and doesn't typically require a referral.
As you consider different all in one Medicare options, it's important to read the restrictions and compare out-of-pocket costs. While a plan may offer coverage for hearing aids, vision services or dental work, the annual limits may be low. In some cases, it may be more cost-effective to buy individual policies with higher premiums but better coverage.
How Much Does Medicare Advantage Cost?
Medicare Advantage plans can vary significantly in terms of price based on your location, your health and when you apply. The provider also makes a difference — companies may offer different pricing for virtually identical plans. Some plans have premiums of $0, while others are considerably higher.
Building Your Own All in One Medicare Plans
If a Medicare Advantage plan isn't the right solution for you, you may be able to use different insurance plans to build your coverage. In addition to the government-provided Medicare Part A and Part B, you might also consider:
- Medicare supplement insurance (Medigap): Medigap plans are insurance policies from private providers that help fill the gaps in Original Medicare coverage. They can help you pay for things that aren't included in your Part A and Part B coverage, such as deductibles, copayments or coinsurance. In comparison to Medicare Advantage plans, Medigap policies usually have higher premiums but lower out-of-pocket costs.
- Part D prescription drug coverage: Part D plans, which you can buy from private insurance providers, reduce the cost of prescription medications. Companies typically offer a variety of plans, so you can select the one that best suits your health.
- Additional policies: To round out your coverage, you can buy other policies from private insurers. Common options include vision, dental, hearing and long-term care.
Depending on your situation, you may also qualify for standard or retiree insurance coverage through a current or former employer.
Choosing Additional Insurance Coverage
If you choose a DIY all in one Medicare plan, it can take time to find the most beneficial options. As you might guess, costs can add up quickly; to keep them manageable, it's helpful to create priorities. Keep in mind that if you don't qualify for Medigap, a Medicare Advantage plan may be a better option.
For each area of concern, consider what type of care you might need each year. Then, estimate the out-of-pocket costs for services:
- Without insurance
- With a low-premium insurance policy
- With a high-premium insurance policy
If you don't anticipate needing certain services, such as dental work or eyeglasses, it might be cheaper to forgo insurance and pay for exams out-of-pocket. However, if you're expecting major work — particularly when it comes to your teeth — it can be worthwhile to pay high premiums in exchange for comprehensive coverage.
How Much Does Supplemental Insurance Cost?
Just like Medicare Advantage plans, the price for supplemental insurance plans can vary widely. Premiums can be drastically different from provider to provider, so it's important to shop around.
If you're thinking of getting a Medigap plan, you'll usually get the best deal during the Medigap Open Enrollment Period. During this time, Medigap providers are required to offer the same pricing to all applicants, regardless of health.