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From the Ask The Planman Podcast...
EP 40: Part 1 – What is ACA?
What do you know about the affordable care act? Are you confused by terminology like co-insurance, maximum out of pocket? Do you know how your deductibles and co-pays work? How do you know if you can qualify for federal subsidies? What’s a MEC?
EP 4: Understanding Medicare w/ David Abrams
Are you turning 65 or know someone turning 65? If you think health insurance is confusing now, wait until you try to enroll in Medicare! With over almost 9 years of experience working with Medicare and senior health benefits. David Abrams, from Insurance Benefits for Seniors is here discussing the numerous options available to recipients of Medicare.
EP 1: Talking Health Insurance w/ Joe Krivelow
In today’s episode of ‘Ask the Planman, we are joined by Mr. Joe Krivelow, founder of Compass Health Consultants and a leading expert in the field of health insurance. Joe has helped thousands of customers understand and find the coverage that best fit their needs. 
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Medicare Explained: Unpacking Your Path to Comprehensive Coverage

Medicare is a government-run insurance program for people age 65 and older and people qualifying disabilities. Medicare beneficiaries have access to Part A hospital insurance and Part B medical insurance. They also have the option to purchase prescription drug coverage through Part D of the program.

If you want to enroll in a single plan that includes all of these insurance components, you can do so through a Medicare Advantage plan, which is offered through Part C of Medicare. These plans are privately brokered plans that are offered by insurance companies that have been approved by Medicare to provide Part A and B benefits. 

Let’s explore what Medicare is, its various parts, options, eligibility requirements, enrollment periods, and the costs associated with this program.

Medicare is a federal health insurance program designed to provide coverage for individuals who are 65 and older, as well as certain younger individuals with disabilities. It helps cover a wide range of medical expenses, including hospital stays, doctor visits, prescription drugs, and preventive services.

The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) for Medicare surrounds your 65th birthday, beginning three months prior and extending three months after, allowing you to enroll in Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D. For instance, if your birthday is in July, your IEP runs from April to October. To avoid coverage gaps or penalties, it’s advisable to enroll during the three months before your birthday month, as enrollment later may delay coverage commencement. Beyond the IEP, you can sign up or modify your coverage during the Annual Open Enrollment Period (October 15 – December 7), or potentially qualify for a Special Enrollment Period under certain conditions.

Medicare consists of four parts. Part A (hospital insurance) covers hospital stays, skilled nursing care, and some home healthcare. Part B (medical insurance) covers doctor visits, outpatient services, and medical supplies. Together, Parts A and B form “Original Medicare.” Part C, or Medicare Advantage, is an alternative combining Part A and B benefits, often including prescription drug coverage (Part D) and extra benefits like dental, vision, and hearing. Part D, offering prescription drug coverage, is also available separately for Original Medicare users.

Original Medicare refers to Part A and Part B, which are managed directly by the federal government.

Medicare Advantage (Part C) is an alternative way to receive your Medicare benefits through private insurance companies approved by Medicare.

Advantage plans combine the benefits of Part A and Part B and often include prescription drug coverage (Part D), along with additional benefits not available through Original Medicare.

Though Medicare Advantage plans must at least match Original Medicare benefits, they often go above and beyond. They frequently include enticing supplemental benefits, such as hearing, dental, and vision coverage. Some even offer convenient perks like meal delivery or transportation for healthcare appointments.  

Medicare Advantage plans are available in several different forms. There are Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans, Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans, Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) plans, Medicare Medical Savings Account (MSA) plans, and Special Needs Plans (SNPs). PPO plans are one of the most flexible options available, making them very popular for Medicare beneficiaries.

A Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) is a type of Medicare Advantage plan under Part C, offering a network of healthcare providers. Costs are lower when using in-network services. PPO plans cover basic Part A and B benefits, usually include prescription drugs, and might offer extra services. Unlike some plans, they don’t require a primary care doctor or specialist referrals, but using in-network specialists is more cost-effective.

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans are a type of Medicare Advantage plan that requires using in-network providers, with a few exceptions. These plans often require a primary care physician for specialist referrals, with some procedures excluded. It’s important to ensure your providers are in-network before enrolling. HMO plans typically include prescription drug coverage and may offer additional benefits not covered by Original Medicare, such as meal delivery or vision coverage. Separate Part D drug coverage cannot be purchased with these plans. 


Beyond PPO and HMO, Medicare Advantage includes more options:

  • Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) Plans: These plans set their own rates for services. You can choose any Medicare-approved provider accepting the plan’s terms.
  • Special Needs Plans (SNPs): SNPs are tailored for individuals with specific diseases or chronic conditions, adjusting benefits and provider choices accordingly.
  • HMO Point of Service (HMO-POS): A HMO variant offering slightly more flexibility in using out-of-network services, though at higher costs.
  • Medicare Medical Savings Account (MSA): MSA plans pair a high deductible insurance with a savings account. Funds from the account pay for healthcare before the deductible is met, with the plan covering subsequent costs.


Medicare Advantage plans can vary in their cost. Some plans offer premium-free options but have higher copayments and other costs. You will also need to pay your Part B premiums in most cases, so factor that into the cost of coverage. 

Medicare offers valuable healthcare coverage, but it doesn’t catch everything. That’s where Medicare Supplement plans, also known as Medigap, step in. These privately-offered insurance products help cover those costs that slip through the Medicare net, enhancing affordability. All it takes is a monthly premium and potentially a deductible, and you get access to significant benefits. If you’re part of the Original Medicare plan, this inexpensive option could be a real game changer.

Medicare Supplement Insurance plans, standardized across the board, offer consistent benefits no matter when or where you enroll. With ten different letter-labeled plans, from A to N, each delivers a unique benefits set. Some, termed cost-sharing plans, handle a percentage of various out-of-pocket expenses. These plans kick into full coverage mode once you’ve hit your out-of-pocket limit and settled your annual Part B deductible. After these conditions are met, you’re set with full coverage for the rest of the calendar year.

Medicare Supplemental Insurance, or Medigap, is beneficial for individuals on Medicare who want additional coverage for costs not fully covered by Medicare Parts A and B. These costs can include deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments. It’s especially suitable for those who expect to require frequent healthcare services or hospitalizations, as these can lead to high out-of-pocket costs. Additionally, individuals who travel often might benefit from Medigap’s coverage of certain foreign healthcare costs. However, individuals should carefully consider their healthcare needs and financial situation before choosing a Medigap plan.  A more comprehensive Medigap plan may be beneficial if you have significant savings, while a basic plan may be suitable for smaller budgets. 

Yes, Medigap is the same as Medicare Supplement Insurance. The term “Medigap” is a nickname used to represent the concept that these plans fill in the “gaps” in coverage left by Original Medicare. Medigap plans are sold by private insurance companies and can help pay some of the out-of-pocket costs not covered by Original Medicare, such as deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.

Medigap provides ten plans (A-N) to offset Medicare’s out-of-pocket costs.

Plans A, B, M, N offer basic coverage for Part A and B coinsurance, three pints of blood, and hospice care costs.

Plans K and L limit coverage to 50% and 75% respectively until out-of-pocket limits are reached, then fully cover expenses.

Plans C, F, G offer comprehensive coverage including Part A and B coinsurance, three pints of blood, hospice care, skilled nursing facility costs, Part A deductibles, and foreign travel emergencies. C includes Part B deductible, G handles Part B excess charges, and F includes all.

High-deductible options for F and G, suited for infrequent hospital visitors, offer the same benefits after a deductible is met.

If you want a Medicare Supplement plan, it is possible to find them at relatively low costs. The cheapest plans would be plans K, L, and A. These plans are either basic plans or cost-sharing plans, so they have reasonably low premiums. If you opt for one of these plans, you can expect to pay around $100 a month for coverage. Comprehensive plans like Plan F or Plan G would cost about $200 a month on the other hand.

The best Medicare Supplement plans are the ones that offer the most comprehensive benefits packages. Plan F is the most popular plan for this reason, because it offers full coverage for effectively all out-of-pocket costs left over by Medicare. Unfortunately, Plan F is not available to new Medicare enrollees, so you must have enrolled before 2020 to qualify.

Medicare Supplements, also known as Medigap plans, are additional insurance policies designed to fill the coverage gaps of Original Medicare. These plans help pay for out-of-pocket expenses such as deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. Medigap plans are offered by private insurance companies and are standardized across different states, allowing you to choose the plan that best suits your needs.

When deciding between Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplements, it’s essential to consider your individual healthcare needs. Medicare Advantage plans often offer additional benefits but may have restrictions on providers. On the other hand, Medicare Supplements work alongside Original Medicare, giving you more flexibility in choosing doctors and hospitals. Carefully evaluate your healthcare requirements and preferences before making a decision.

Medicare consists of four parts: Part A covers hospital services like inpatient care and hospice, often without premiums if you’ve contributed Medicare taxes. Part B provides medical insurance for necessary and preventive services, requiring sign-up and monthly premiums. Part C, or Medicare Advantage, combines Part A and B benefits in a private plan, adding extras like transportation, meals, and often prescription drug coverage. Part D, sold by private insurers, covers prescription drugs. Additionally, Medigap assists with out-of-pocket costs such as coinsurance, copayments, and deductibles, offering ten different plans for varied needs.

While Medicare helps cover many healthcare expenses, it doesn’t cover everything. You may have to pay deductibles, co-payments, and coinsurance. The specific costs will depend on the type of Medicare coverage you choose. Some individuals opt for additional private insurance plans called Medigap policies to help cover the “gaps” in Medicare coverage.

Medicare provides a broad network of healthcare providers, and many doctors accept Medicare patients. However, it’s important to check whether your doctor is part of the Medicare network or if they accept Medicare assignment. Some Medicare Advantage plans have their own network of doctors, so be sure to review the plan’s provider directory.

The “donut hole” refers to a coverage gap in Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. It’s a temporary limit on what the plan will cover for prescription drugs. Once you reach a certain spending threshold, you enter the coverage gap and are responsible for a larger share of your drug costs. However, thanks to recent changes in the law, the coverage gap is gradually closing.

Yes, you have the opportunity to review and make changes to your Medicare coverage each year during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), which typically runs from October 15 to December 7

Yes, it’s possible to be eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. This is known as “dual eligibility.” If you qualify for both programs, Medicare becomes your primary insurance, and Medicaid helps cover some of the costs that Medicare doesn’t pay for. Dual-eligible individuals may have access to additional benefits and reduced out-of-pocket expenses.

Yes, you can still be eligible for Medicare even if you’re still working. If you or your spouse are actively working and have employer-sponsored health coverage, you may choose to delay enrolling in Part B without facing late enrollment penalties. However, it’s important to assess your specific situation and consult with your employer’s benefits coordinator or a Medicare advisor to make an informed decision.

Navigating Medicare can be complex, and it’s common to seek assistance. One option is to reach out to Weinstein Wealth Insurance Solutions who can provide personalized guidance to help you understand your options and assist with your enrollment. Additionally, the official Medicare website ( offers valuable information and resources to help you make informed decisions about your healthcare coverage.

Pros & cons of Medicare Advantage

In the realm of healthcare coverage, understanding the nuances of various options is critical. This includes a careful examination of Medicare Advantage and how it compares to Original Medicare. Here, we will objectively scrutinize the pros and cons of Medicare Advantage. It’s not just about choosing a healthcare plan, but selecting the one that best aligns with your unique needs and circumstances. With a clear perspective, you’re empowered to make a decision that ensures not just coverage, but comfort and security. Let’s tackle the intricacies of Medicare Advantage together.

Pros of Medicare Advantage

All-in-One Coverage: Medicare Advantage plans often bundle hospital insurance, medical insurance, and sometimes prescription drug coverage into one plan. This can simplify managing your health care.

Additional Benefits: Many Medicare Advantage plans offer additional benefits not covered by Original Medicare, such as dental care, vision care, hearing aids, wellness programs, and sometimes even gym memberships.

Out-of-Pocket Maximums: Unlike Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans have a limit on how much you have to pay out-of-pocket each year for medical services. Once you reach this limit, the plan covers all of your costs.

Coordinated Care: Many Medicare Advantage plans are set up to provide coordinated care, especially if they are Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) or Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs). This means the various healthcare professionals involved in your care communicate with each other, which can improve the quality of care.

Cost Certainty: With Medicare Advantage, you have a clear understanding of what your costs will be each month due to your premium, which can provide peace of mind for budgeting purposes.

Prescription Drug Coverage: Most Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage, so you don’t need to enroll in a separate Medicare Part D plan.

Cons of Medicare Advantage

Provider Restrictions: Many Medicare Advantage plans have network restrictions. You may have to see providers within the plan’s network or pay more to see providers outside the network.

Referral Requirements: Some Medicare Advantage plans, such as HMOs, require referrals to see specialists. This could delay care and add additional steps to the process.

Geographic Limitations: If you travel frequently or have multiple residences, a Medicare Advantage plan might not be the best option for you, as many plans only cover services within a specific geographic area.

Plan Changes: Medicare Advantage plans can change their coverage rules each year, which could affect your out-of-pocket costs, the doctors you can see, and your benefits.

Potential for Higher Costs: Depending on your health needs, a Medicare Advantage plan could end up being more expensive than Original Medicare. This is because Medicare Advantage plans often charge copays for covered services.

Limited Enrollment Periods: Unlike Original Medicare, which allows you to switch between Parts A and B or add Part D during any month of the year, Medicare Advantage has specific enrollment periods.

Navigate Medicare with Confidence: Your Path to Optimal Healthcare Begins Now!


Navigating the diverse landscape of Medicare can be a challenge, but you don’t have to do it alone. The experienced insurance consultants at Weinstein Wealth Insurance Solutions are here to lend our expertise and help you decipher the complexity of Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D, along with Medicare Supplement Insurance. We’ll work with you to evaluate your individual needs, your family’s needs, and match them with the best-suited Medicare plans.

Remember, the optimal Medicare choice isn’t always the most obvious one; it requires understanding your unique circumstances and aligning them with the right set of benefits. Don’t let the vastness of Medicare intimidate you. We can break it down together, ensuring that you can confidently make an informed decision about your healthcare future.

So, are you ready to embark on this journey with a seasoned guide by your side? We invite you to reach out, discuss your questions, and begin the process of determining which Medicare options are the best for you and your family. The health and peace of mind of your loved ones are our utmost priority. Let’s collaborate to secure that. Reach out today and let’s navigate your Medicare options together.