What Is the Difference Between Medicare Advantage and Medigap?

Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private companies that have the coverage of Medicare Parts A and B along with additional benefits that often include prescription drug coverage, while Medigap plans supplement Medicare A and B, reports Medicare.gov. People enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans are not eligible for Medigap coverage.

Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Medicare Part C, include all the hospital and medical coverage of traditional Medicare Parts A and B except home hospice care, which is still covered by traditional Medicare, according to Medicare.gov. Medicare Advantage plans usually include prescription drug coverage, which traditional Medicare covers in separate Medicare Part D plans. Additionally, Medicare Advantage plans also often cover services traditional Medicare does not provide, such as dental, hearing, vision and health and wellness programs. Medicare Advantage plan holders often pay an extra premium in addition to the standard Medicare Part B premium.

Medigap plans are sold by private companies and are intended to cover gaps in traditional Medicare Parts A and B such as deductibles, copayments and coinsurance, states Medicare.gov. A Medigap plan holder pays a monthly premium to the private insurance company in addition to the premium to Medicare for Part B coverage. Medicare Advantage plans have the benefit of offering all coverage combined into one plan but the disadvantage of being restricted to the plan's network of medical providers, reports Evi Heilbrunn for U.S. New & World Report. Traditional Medicare plus Medigap offers a better selection of providers and more options for payment of medical expenses.