Comparing Medicare Advantage plans vs. Medicare Supplement Insurance plans

Medicare Advantage (Part C) and Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans both offer coverage for out-of-pocket medical expenses. 


You cannot have both a Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plan. Understanding your health and how you’ll use your plan will help you determine which one may best fit your needs. Keep reading for breakdowns on each type of plan and how each works at a basic level.

Medicare Advantage plans


Medicare Advantage plans offer additional features and benefits – beyond Medicare Parts A and B (Original Medicare). Most UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans include*:


  • $0 copays on most common prescriptions**
  • $0 copays for primary care visits
  • Vision and dental coverage
  • Fitness programs


Medicare Supplement Insurance plans


Since Medicare doesn’t pay for everything, Medicare Supplement plans are designed to help cover out-of-pocket expenses. Also known as “Medigap,” these plans complement your existing Original Medicare coverage.


Depending on the plan you choose, you may receive coverage for many out-of-pocket expenses that Part A (hospital) and Part B (doctor) don’t cover, such as: 


  • Deductibles
  • Coinsurance
  • Copayments (copays)

Shop plans in your area


See the Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans available where you live.

Comparing Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans


Here are some of the key items people like to compare when deciding between a Medicare Advantage plan and a Medigap plan. 

Medicare Advantage plans Medigap plans
Doctors and hospitals

You may be required to use doctors and hospitals in the plan network.

You can select your own doctors and hospitals that accept Medicare patients.


You may need referrals and may be required to use network specialists, depending on the plan.

You can see specialists without referrals. 

Coverage when you travel

Non-emergency care might depend on your plan’s service area. Emergency care is generally covered for travel within the United States and sometimes abroad.

Coverage goes with you when you travel across the United States and, depending on the plan, may cover emergency care when traveling abroad.


Generally, there are specific periods during the year when you can enroll in or switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan. And you generally can’t be denied coverage or charged more based on your health status.

You can apply to buy a plan any time after you turn 65. However, if you apply during your Open Enrollment Period, you are guaranteed coverage at the best available rate for you, regardless of your health status.


Generally, you pay a low or $0 monthly plan premium (in addition to your Part B premium). When you use services, you pay copays, coinsurance, and deductibles up to a set out-of-pocket limit.

For Medicare-approved doctor and hospital services, you’ll pay a monthly plan premium in addition to your Part B premium. When you use services, you’ll have
low—or no—copays and coinsurance, depending on the plan selected. 

Prescription drug coverage

Prescription drug coverage is included with most plans.

Prescription drug coverage is not included. Consider buying a standalone Part D plan for more complete coverage. 

Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement Plan information and tools


UnitedHealthcare provides information and tools to make it easier to find the plan you need, and learn as much as possible before you choose.

Medicare Advantage plans

Find out more about the benefits of Medicare Advantage plans from UnitedHealthcare.

More About Medicare Advantage plans

Medicare Supplement plans

Find out more about the benefits of Medicare Supplement plans from UnitedHealthcare.

More About Medicare Supplement plans

View plans and pricing

Find Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans in your area.

Shop plans

Find a Plan

Call Us

Call UnitedHealthcare at FED TFN, TTY 711 (toll-free)


Hours: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

7 days a week

Call UnitedHealthcare at MEDSUPP TFN, TTY 711 (toll-free)



7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET,

Monday – Friday

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, Saturday

Meet with Us

Make an appointment with a licensed insurance agent/producer in your area

*Benefits and features vary by plan/area. Limitations and exclusions apply.


** These benefits are not available with all plans and may vary by plan. The “most common prescriptions” refers to Tier 1 and 2 drugs filled through a preferred mail order pharmacy.

View Important Disclosures Below


AARP endorses the AARP Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans, insured by UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company.


UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company pays royalty fees to AARP for the use of its intellectual property. These fees are used for the general purposes of AARP. AARP and its affiliates are not insurers. AARP does not employ or endorse agents, brokers or producers. 


You must be an AARP member to enroll in an AARP Medicare Supplement Plan.


Insured by UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company, Hartford, CT (UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company of New York, Islandia, NY for New York residents). Policy Form No. GRP 79171 GPS-1 (G-36000-4).


In some states, plans may be available to persons under age 65 who are eligible for Medicare by reason of disability or End-Stage Renal Disease.


Not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. Government or the federal Medicare program.


This is a solicitation of insurance. A licensed insurance agent/producer may contact you.