If you haven’t seen advertisements touting zero-premium plans with free health club memberships, free dental and vision and much, then you will soon!  So, what’s the catch? 

First-off, insurance carriers are subsidized by the federal government (CMS) to administer Medicare Parts A & B.  So, they are getting paid. In fact, there is a complex bidding process where carriers can receive rebates so they can offer their enrollees extra benefits.  This is not the case with Medigap plans. 

Unlike Medigap plans, Medicare Advantage plans are NOT standardized, so the benefits can vary greatly.  Usually, the richer the benefits, the higher the copays and other out-of-pocket costs. So, it’s a trade-off. These zero-premium plans with extra benefits often have high out-of-pocket maximums.  

Zero-premium Plans Compared to Medigap Plans?

Most Medigap plans have very low out-of-pocket maximums, but you pay a higher monthly premium.  There are several pros and cons to consider when comparing the low or no-cost Medicare Advantage plans to Medigap plans. You can read about those pros and cons in my article, The 7 Biggest Medicare Enrollment Mistakes (emailed to you) under Mistake #2: Confusing Medicare Supplement with Medicare Advantage.

The reality is that many of these benefit-laden zero-premium PPO Medicare Advantage plans are a good fit for some people.  These plans aren’t gimmicky and there isn’t really a “catch” – it’s just a matter of comparing the benefits of the different plan types and determining what is the best fit for you.

Happy Clients on Both Types of Plans

Many of our clients are very happy with their Medicare Advantage plans.  They take advantage of the extra benefits such as routine dental, vision, over-the-counter allowances.  In recent years, the additional benefits have become even better. Some carriers offer free transportation services, meal delivery, medical alert devices, etc.

Despite these additional benefits, most people in the US – approximately 60% – opt for a Medigap plan.  However, every state (and every county) is different. It’s important to consider all your options – including zero-premium Medicare Advantage plans – and make an informed decision about what’s best for you now AND in the future.

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