A few months ago, I made mention of TV ads ostensibly about Medicare plans. You’ve probably seen them. Some celebrity talking about how his Medicare plan covers everything from A to Z, and with no added cost to the premium.

I’ve heard them talk about Medicare paying for transportation, in-home care, dental, vision and someone to mow the lawn. (OK, the lawn piece wasn’t actually promised.)

While at a community meeting today, the topic came up again. A couple points to remember:

• These ads are referring to a Medicare Advantage Plan, which is a plan that covers Medicare benefits plus add-ons. The additional provisions, naturally enough, bring additional costs to the premium.

• Advantage Plans are not available in Pacific County.

And now a note about supplemental/medi-gap plans. These are various Medicare-approved insurance plans designed to pay what Medicare does not. Medicare covers about 80% of your medical. Supplemental plans can cover some or all of the remaining 20%. Now, a couple points to remember regarding these:

• Supplemental plans do not require waiting for an open enrollment period. They can be changed throughout the year.

• Although the plans are required to, all cover the same areas; premiums and co-pays can differ widely. There are different schedule plans so it pays to explore options.

Lastly, we’re not talking about Medicare prescription coverage in any of these. Medicare Part D requires another insurance choice, and there are options there, also.

Medicare.gov is a great place to explore options regarding all of this. And unlike climbing through the branches of an ever-growing phone tree, you can go at your own pace. The site is very user-friendly and informative.

Or, you can call any of the numbers at the end of this column and talk to real, live people about Medicare and its mysteries.

Information & Assistance

Long Beach: 360-642-3634

or 888-571-6558

Raymond: 360-942-2177

or 888-571-6557

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