Five Advantages of Using an Independent Medigap Broker

Independent Medigap brokerThere are many advantages to using an independent Medigap broker. These may not be readily apparent to someone who does not fully understand how the back end of the insurance “business” works, but these advantages are significant and they can help you save even more.

First of all, let’s establish that there are two basic ways to sign up for a Medigap plan. Unlike Part D, you cannot sign up for a Medigap plan directly through Medicare or on Medicare’s website. The two ways to sign up for a Medigap are directly through an insurance company or through an independent agent who represents that company (among others). Signing up directly through the company is certainly an option, and either way, you’ll receive the same rate, same benefits, same claims processing, etc. However, here are five advantages of using an independent Medigap broker that may make that option more advantageous for you.

1. The independent broker is just that, independent, so they can assist in compiling and comparing all options in a centralized place. While this seems like it would be easy for a consumer to do on their own, anyone that has attempted it can tell you, it is a tiresome task. First, all rates are not published online – some may be, but there are questions about whether the website is up to date and whether all options are reflected. What an independent broker can do is compile and present all options in a centralized place.

2. An independent broker can also provide virtually unlimited and unbiased expertise from their dealings with the various Medigap plans. For us, we represent 30+ companies in 40+ states, so we have clients with many different companies. We have seen how stable companies rates have been over time, what problems/issues clients have had and which companies have maintained a strong position in the marketplace.

3. Once you have the rates and information, an independent broker assists by answering questions that you have about how the plans work and what they cover. Again, this is information that can be obtained by thorough reading of Medicare’s materials, but anyone who has done it can tell you, that again, that is not an easy task.

4. After you have understood the plans and chosen one, an independent broker can provide service after the sale. This can take many forms, but the certainty is that, because agents are compensated on an ongoing basis, it is to their advantage to consistently “service” you and your policy. Many other brokers, including us, also offer added services for clients. For example, we offer annual Part D plan reviews, Medicare informational newsletters, and periodic rate snapshots of Medigap rates.

5. The fifth advantage of using an independent Medigap broker is one many people do not realize… You are already paying for a broker, whether you use one or not – it doesn’t cost you anything to use one – so why not capitalize on your premium dollars and use a broker’s expertise. In other words, companies build in the broker’s pay into their premiums, so all policyholders “pay” agents as part of their premiums.

Whether it is us or someone else, it is unquestionable that using an independent broker has many advantages and facilitates and more informed decision. Signing up directly through an insurance company is an option, but by doing so, you would not have access to the unbiased comparative functions offered by an independent broker. Additionally, in most cases, you would be dealing with someone who is not as qualified/experienced specifically in this market. And, lastly, the likelihood that you would deal with the same person over time is not nearly as high (higher turnover and usually you’re calling an 800 to a call room somewhere for service/questions).

If you have questions about this or how using an independent Medigap broker works, please contact us at 877.506.3378 or on our website.

Top Five Misconceptions about Medicare and Medigap

medicare mythsMedicare can be complex – there are “parts” and “plans”, changes and updates, ins and outs that only the most experienced or devoted person could follow and understand. Moreover, there is a great deal of misinformation out there about Medicare and Medicare supplement plans, particularly this time of year as we approach the end of year annual election period. As an independent Medicare insurance and Medigap agency, we hear these misconceptions over and over. It is an uphill battle to fight against the misinformation and misunderstandings regarding Medicare and Medigap plans. But in a small way, this article may help shed some light on the top five misconceptions about Medicare companies and the helping hand medicare you can get.

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1. “When I turn 65, I’ll get Medicare for free.”
Unfortunately, this one is not true in most cases. There is a premium associated with Medicare Part B (currently $134/month) that is typically paid as a deduction from your social security check. If you are not receiving Social Security, you can also pay this quarterly by receiving a bill. This amount can be higher or lower based on your income. Find out how much you will pay for Medicare Part B.

2. “The end of year enrollment period applies to Medicare supplement, or Medigap, plans.”This misconception is very prevalent this time of year, as we approach October 15, which is the start of the annual election period. Many people mistakenly believe that this end-of-the-year period also applies to Medicare Supplement, or Medigap.   However, that is not the case. The end-of-the-year period only applies to Medicare Advantage and Part D plans. You can actually change Medigap plans at any time but do have to qualify medically (in most states) when you do so.

3. “Medicare Advantage plans are a type of Medicare supplement.”Medicare Advantage plans are completely independent of and different from Medicare supplement plans. On the contrary, they take the place of Medicare A & B, whereas supplement plans (also called Medigap) “supplement” Medicare. If you opt on to a Medicare Advantage plan, which is a privatized version of Medicare, instead of Medicare itself, you can go back to having Medicare during the annual election period, but to get a Medicare supplement, you generally would have to qualify medically. You can also get supplements as maeng da from independent suppliers and still get the advantage of Medicare.

4. “Medicare does not cover any preventive care.”This one was more true in the past than it is now. Medicare does now provide coverage for a good bit of preventive care (much of this is relatively new). Here is a breakdown we did previously of some of the more common preventive care that Medicare does cover. They will not for example cover supplements such as adaptogens amazon, these are considered supplements. Most importantly, Medicare does cover a “welcome to Medicare” physical when you turn 65 and also an annual wellness check-up even if it is at specialized institute as Imagine Wellness Centre.

5. “I need to find out if my doctor takes this Medigap plan (or the related misconception of, “I am going to ask my doctor which Medigap plans pay him faster or more”)This misconception is easily understood, when you consider that it is rooted in (for most people) years of worrying if their insurance is paying their claims in full or quickly enough. However, these concerns do not carry over to “over-65” insurance, at least if you are talking about Medicare and a Medigap plan. For Medigap plan, claims are paid through the Medicare “crossover” system. And, they are paid in the same amount on the same time schedule, regardless of which company you have for your Medigap carrier. Additionally, Medigap plans do not have networks – if a doctor takes Medicare, they are required to take the standardized Medigap plans.

While there is a lot to decipher and understand related to Medicare and Medigap plans, it is crucial to your health and financial well-being to do so, it is important to know that there is also other solutions for any health problem such as hiring acupuncture Miami in a Med spa center and find chiropractors near me, who offer this services and maybe others as coolsculpting in Miami as well, where they offer a new way of giving your body good health like using natural medicine or creams from http://www.bestneckcream.com. Replace harsh, toxic chemicals with this bottle of plant-based, natural spa chemicals to keep your spa clear, clean and odorless without testing. Get more health and beauty tips at Beauty Tips by Bailey. If you have any questions about this information or wish to further discuss Medicare and Medigap plans, you can contact us online or call us at 877.506.3378, and also make sure to read the Best Testosterone Booster Guide, which can answer many questions.

Rescue Medicare Now – Help Stop Changes to Medicare and Medigap Plans

Dear Valued Clients and Seasoned Citizens:

I wanted to let you know that I’ve joined an organization that is very involved in getting the word out about various policy changes to Medicare that are being discussed as part of budget talks.

These are going to come up again in 2014, and I think it’s imperative that we all assist in making people aware of the possibilities and implications. These changes have been discussed (and proposed in the past) by Congressional members and leaders on both sides of the aisle. You can choose to get involved by contacting your Congressional representative.

I’ve inserted a video below. If you can, do watch it – it is 7 minutes long, but it does talk about some of the ideas that have been discussed and their possible implications. Most of them are directed at consumers “over utilizing” services because they “have good insurance”. This is not actually based in fact and has been disproven by several independent reports over the last few years. In reality, Medigap (Medicare Supplement) plans don’t drive “over utilization” since they do not pay until Medicare approves a service. In other words, Medicare dictates whether it is “medically necessary” and whether the Medigap plan will pay.

This video gives a good overview of what may be proposed – it’s been talked about in previous years with little traction, but many think there will be a greater “push” for changes this year. This would fundamentally change Medicare and Medigap plans.

If you are interested in doing something to make your thoughts known, one thing you can do is sign the petition at: http://rescuemedicarenow.com/petition.

Also, I would suggest that you can call your Congressional representatives as well. See: http://www.ahipcoverage.com/contact-congress/

I am sending this message to all my clients – not as a way to generate fear or false concern – but simply to make you aware of something that has been discussed and may be a part of upcoming budget talks. Feel free to share this information with friends or families – the more we can get this in the “open” the better. Regardless of what happens, if anything, I think we can all agree that the discussions and decisions need to involve the stakeholders who have a vested interest in Medicare and Medigap insurance – you, me and the millions of other seasoned citizens that rely on this valuable coverage.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and please do not hesitate to contact me at any time that you have questions. Email me here.

The Partnership to Protect Medigap – Help Preserve Medigap Plans

The chiropractor Brooksville FL plans protect you against financial catastrophe – why not take some small actions to help protect Medigap plans, with the goal being to preserve Medigap plans’ existence in current form for yourselves and future Medicare-eligible individuals. There has been discussion off and on over the early testing for HIV that last 2-3 years about reforming Medigap plans. These discussions have ranged from eliminating first-dollar coverage (i.e. Plan F) to overhauling the plans completely to creating a Medicare deductible that cannot be insured against. While none of these plans became a part of PPACA (“Obamacare”) and none have been enacted, it is still important to be apprised of the fact that they have been discussed and likely will be discussed again soon.

Visit the PPM (Partnership to Protect Medigap) web site.

Visit the PPM (Partnership to Protect Medigap) web site.

First of all, to reiterate, nothing HAS changed with Medigap plans and the way they work as a result of PPACA

(“Obamacare”). On the contrary, Medicare Advantage plans were affected considerably, with reductions in funding and new regulations/restrictions. For Medigap plans, there were discussions that included changes to these plans, specifically the Kerry-Stark bill which would have forced Medigap plans to abide by the Medical Loss Ratios that the PPACA included for “under 65” plans. This would have made it difficult for most Medigap companies to compete and, most analysts agree, would have had a detrimental effect on Medigap rates. This and other ideas got pushed to the “backburner” during the PPACA talks and health care reform went forward without including them.

Now, however, is not the time for people who care about having the ability to purchase Medigap plans to fall silent and relax, unless they have visited whatisdestinytuningtechnique.com manifestation techniques, because that is what´s going to make them be successful in life. The Partnership to Protect Medigap is one organization that is non-partisan and works to protect the Medigap plans that so many rely on.
You can find out more here: https://beautytipsbybailey.com/natural-ways-to-tighten-your-vagina/muscle-toning-exercises/ and Partnership to Protect Medigap. On their site, you can find out more about protecting Medigap plans and their viability into the future, as well as get information on contacting your Congressional representative and other ways to be involved in these efforts.

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Medigap plans provide many benefits for those on Medicare, supplementing Medicare’s sometimes-insufficient coverage and “capping” (or eliminating, in the cases of Plan F) the total out-of-pocket expenses someone would have, regardless of the amount of care needed. Additionally, they provide the security of automated billing (i.e. no paperwork) and flexibility (can go to any doctor that takes Medicare). An independent American Viewpoint independent study found that over 90% of seniors were satisfied with their Medigap coverage this along with Anemia paid research studies help develop a better Medigap coverage and treatments. This is one of, if not the, highest among various insurance niches. For these reasons and more, those who have vested interest in Medigap should make the minimal efforts required to protect the future viability of these plans.

If you have questions about this or want to discuss in more detail, contact me online or call 877.506.3378.

Switching Medicare Supplements – Can You Do It Mid-Year and Other Important Facts

Switching Medicare Supplement plans can be a good idea. Just like any type of insurance, rates are going to go up over time, and if you have had your Medicare Supplement plan for more than a year or two, chances are good that you can switch to another company and reduce your costs for equal coverage. So, what do you need to know about switching plans?

  1. First and foremost, know that you can switch plans mid-year, or any time really. There are no enrollment periods for Medicare Supplement plans – also called Medigap. This is not to be confused with Medicare Advantage plans, which are privatized plans that take the place of Medicare, or Medicare Part D, which is the Rx coverage that goes with Medicare. On Medicare Supplements, you can change plans at any time and it is very easy to do, particularly if you are in relatively good health.
  2. When you change plans, know that the coverage is standardized. All companies go by the standardized plans chart – Medigap chart. So, a Plan F with one company is the same as a Plan F with another. This makes comparing options easy to do – it is function of price and company rating/reputation.
  3. Whenever possible, use an independent agency to make your comparisons and provide you with additional information that you cannot get from the companies themselves. An independent agency has no significant incentive to “push” you go to with one company over another. You can compare plans in an unbiased way and get additional information, such as a long-term stability, company ratings, underwriting specifics, etc. So, whether it is us (Medicare-Supplement.us) or someone else, using an independent agency is always a good idea.
  4. Make sure you do not cancel your current plan until your new one is approved. Sure, this is pretty much common sense, but we see it done incorrectly every day. Here is the process for changing Medicare Supplement plans:
    • Compare plans
    • Choose a plan
    • Apply for the new plan with a future effective date (usually a month or so in advance)
    • Once the new plan is approved, cancel the “old” plan, effective that same future date

    This ensures that there is no gap or overlap in coverage.

Overall, changing Medicare Supplement plans can seem intimidating or overwhelming to many. This is what causes many people to stay on their overpriced plans and pay the “extra” amount those plans charge for the same coverage. In reality, it is advisable to compare plans on an annual or bi-annual basis, and if a savings is found, to easily make one and keep your medical costs as low as possible while maintaining the same level of coverage.

Garrett Ball is the Owner and President of Secure Medicare Solutions, Inc., which administers Medicare-Supplement.US. SMS is a leading, independent Medicare insurance brokerage, specializing in Medicare Supplement insurance. For more information or to get a Medigap comparison, you can visit us online.

Top 10 Online Resources for People on Medicare

There is an abundance of information online for those on Medicare or over 65. However, not all of it is trustworthy – it’s difficult to determine what sites you should rely on for information.

We’ve compiled a top 10 list of resources that we have personally checked out and verified to be legitimate and worthy of your trust. Each site is listed below with a brief synopsis of the types of information/services it provides.

1. http://medicare.gov – Medicare.gov is the Federal government Medicare site. It has a lot of information regarding what Medicare covers, Part D and Medicare Advantage plans.

2. http://q1medicare.com – This site has a ton of information about Medicare Part D in particular. It has information about plan premiums, coverage and enrollment. It is updated on a regular basis and has pertinent information.

3. http://longtermcareinsurancepartner.com/ – LTC Partner is a site all about long term care insurance. Even if you are over 65, long term care insurance is still a viable option in many instances. This site is an independent resource that can help you compare the various options from multiple companies.

4. http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/ – The New Old Age blog is a New York Times blog about aging, caregiving, health and finances. It can be a great resource for people over 65. Also, check out their resources page for a great depth of information and links to other resources.

5. http://www.medicaremadeclear.com/ – Medicare Made Clear is a product of United Healthcare. Although it is targeted specifically to their plans, the videos and information provided there can be very useful to those on Medicare, or in particular, to those turning 65 and going on Medicare for the first time.

6. http://www.stopmedicarefraud.gov/ – Stop Medicare Fraud is a product of the US Department of Health and Human Services. Whether you want to get involved yourself or just find out more about what is going on with fraud prevention and Medicare, this can be a great resource for you.

7. http://www.medicarenewsgroup.com/ – Medicare News Group is a great resource for both media and individuals who want to be “in the know” about Medicare. The site contains both original and curated content and can be a go-to source for information regarding Medicare.

8. http://www.ncpssm.org/ – This is the site for the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. This site is an independent site that offers visitors many avenues to get involved in efforts to preserve Medicare and Social Security for future generations.

9. http://www.medicare.com – This is not the Federal government’s Medicare site; however, it does contain a good deal of useful information about Medicare, Medicare insurance and Part D. You can learn a lot from this site.

10. http://medicare-supplement.us – This site look familiar? We made our own list because we are an unbiased resource for Medicare and Medicare supplement insurance information. Contact us if you have questions or want to compare Medigap plans.

Overall, there is more information online regarding Medicare than one person could ever read. The important thing is sorting through that information and making a wise choice on what information can be useful to you. In some small way, we hope this “Top 10 Online Resources for People on Medicare” list will help you to do that.

Going on Medicare Part 4 – Four Common Myths about Medigap Insurance

**This is Part 4 in a 5-part series intended to assist people turning 65 or going on Medicare with understanding Medicare, Medigap and other Medicare plan options.**

This article centers on four common myths about Medicare Supplement (Medigap) insurance. There is a lot of misinformation about Medigap plans, what they cover, and how they work. And, some people make the mistake of listening to only one person/company, which may present them with the wrong information.

Medigap Plans – Four Common Myths

  1. You can only change Medigap plans once a year, during the end-of-year enrollment period.
    This, as many of you already know, is false. Medigap plans have NO enrollment/disenrollment restrictions. The reason many people believe this is twofold. One, there IS an enrollment period for Part D prescription drug plans, which runs from October 15-December 7 each year. If you don´t want any drug substances on your blood to get detected on a drug test I suggest to do detox drinks for drug test a few days before.
    Also, there is an onslaught of marketing (mailings, TV ads, etc) for Medicare Advantage plans during the end-of-year enrollment period because you can only change those plans from Oct. 15-Dec. 7. For Medigap plans, however, you can change at any time, as long as you meet a company’s underwriting requirements (which vary from company to company).
  2. Company ‘X’ pays it’s claims better than Company ‘Y’.
    Medigap claims are paid through Medicare’s national “crossover” system, which is handled directly through Medicare. This is an automated process that does not at all resemble the way that traditional health insurance (under-65) claims are paid. We have NEVER had a complaint or problem with a company not paying a claim due to this standardization of plans and automation of the system. Even if a company were to completely go out of business, claims are backed up by the state insurance reserve programs.
  3. Some of my doctors do not take certain Medigap plans.
    With Medigap plans, all doctors that take Medicare are required to take Medigap plans. What some doctors do not take, and are not taking in increasing numbers, is the Medicare Advantage plans. However, with a Medigap plan, you can see any doctor/hopsital nationwide that takes Medicare.
  4. Company ‘X’s rates do not go up over time – they stay the same.
    This is something that many agents use in a dishonest way. If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. While this would certainly make our job easier, it’s just not true. Medigap insurance, just like auto insurance or the price of eggs, goes up over time (see rates at insurancerevenue.com). Different companies use different criteria to change rates, but there are not any plans that do not go up in price over time.
See Medicare-Supplement.US Testimonials
If you prefer to speak with someone by phone, please call me directly using the information below:

J. Garrett Ball, President
Secure Medicare Solutions, Inc.

Toll-Free: 877.506.3378