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Medicare versus Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicare offers comprehensive health insurance coverage to people beginning at age 65 and to others who meet special eligibility criteria. As a Medicare beneficiary, you have many options regarding the future of your health insurance coverage.

When you first become eligible for Medicare, you will have seven months to sign up for Part A or Part B coverage. An annual open-enrollment period lets you choose a Medicare Advantage plan instead of traditional Medicare. This enrollment period is typically October 15 to December 7. If you switch to a Medicare Advantage plan and you realize you made a mistake, you will usually have an opportunity to go back to traditional Medicare between January 1 and February 14. It is important to review the terms and conditions of each policy to ensure you select the plan that best meets your health care needs.

Your biggest decision is whether you will choose to stay with traditional Medicare or convert to a private Medicare Advantage HMO or PPO plan. Medicare Advantage plans are also referred to as “replacement” plans because they replace traditional Medicare and supplemental plans. Certain plans may not be accepted by all providers or may have benefit limitations or exclusions that will increase your out-of- pocket expenses.

Sarasota Memorial accepts traditional Medicare and supplemental plans. We are also in-network with most Medicare Advantage plans offered by Aetna, Blue Cross and BlueShield, Humana and United Healthcare. To ensure that we are a participating provider with your Medicare Advantage plan, please contact the Member Services number on the back of your insurance card.

Medicare Supplements – Standard vs. Select
Sarasota Memorial accepts all standard Medicare supplemental plans. If you choose a Medicare Select supplemental plan, you will likely be responsible for the Part A deductible for any non-emergent inpatient hospital stay. Your plan may also make you responsible for your 20 percent outpatient co-insurance amount, while standard supplements do not.To learn more about Medicare, visit for a free copy of the Medicare & You handbook, or call 1-800- MEDICARE (1-800- 633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.