To Good Health: Supplements vs. Advantage Plans

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Confused on which Medicare plan suits your health-care needs? Below is a quick reference to help you understand the differences in Medicare Supplements and Advantage plans.


Medicare Supplements: Must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and B. Cannot be declined coverage during Open Enrollment and Guaranteed Issue periods.
Medicare Advantage: Must have Medicare Parts A and B and live in the service area of your plan.


Medicare Supplements: Premium varies with age. Generally, no copay costs at the time of service. No out-of-pocket maximum.
Medicare Advantage: Premiums vary. Copays must be paid for medical services. Many plans have an out-of-pocket annual maximum.


Medicare Supplements: No networks. No referrals required for specialist visits.
Medicare Advantage: Has a network much like HMOs or PPOs. In many cases, a referral is required for specialist visits.


Medicare Supplements: Part D plans are not sold with Supplement plans. But Part D plans are available if prescription coverage is needed.
Medicare Advantage: Most plans are packaged with a drug plan and a network.


Medicare Supplements: Plans are standardized – price and customer experience is the differentiator. Supplements are regulated by federal and state law.
Medicare Advantage: Plans are not standardized. Plans are regulated by Medicare/CMS.

Since 1947, TRH Health Plans has helped more than 60,000 fellow Tennesseans know the differences between Supplements and Advantage plans. We can do the same for you and your friends. Just visit a TRH Representative in your local Farm Bureau office; call us at (877) 874-8323 or visit us online at


  1. Paul

    November 4, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    I currently have TRH supplement plan. Can I also get TRH drug plan? What is the cheapest plan cost? I current take no drugs.

    • Rachel Bertone

      November 5, 2015 at 8:16 am

      Hi Paul,

      Please contact a TRH representative directly at your local Farm Bureau office or call them at (877) 874-8323. Hope this helps!

      Rachel Bertone
      editor, TN Home and Farm

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