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.

How to Make the Right Medigap Choice

logo-collage-smallChoosing the right Medigap plan can be a time-consuming and overwhelming process if you allow it to be. While there is a lot of information out there and a lot of people and companies vying for your “attention”, choosing a Medigap policy does not have to be difficult. Follow this three-step guide to narrowing the choices, reducing the clutter and selecting the plan that is right for you.

  1. Understand the plans. First of all, you must have an understanding of the plans – what they cover, how they work and what is important in the decision-making process. The first thing to know is that the plans are Federally-standardized. That is, all companies provide the same coverage plans – a Plan F with one company is the same as a Plan F with another company. Additionally, the plans all work the same way. Claims are automated (paid electronically without involvement from the patient), and they are done through the Medicare “crossover” system. Lastly, all plans can be used at any doctor or hospital that takes Medicare, so that means that you will still be able to use it if you use services from Internationalherniacare, in other words, as long as a physician takes your primary coverage (Medicare), they will take your Medigap plan regardless of what Medigap company sold you the plan.In summary, and the main thing to understand when it comes to Medigap plans, is that there are no differences to compare as far as coverage, reliability, how the plan works, where you can use it, etc. The two factors to compare when it comes to Medigap are price (first and foremost) and company rating/reputation. The Federal standardization of plans has made the other variables non-existent or irrelevant.
  2. Compare the rates. Once you understand “what” to compare, it is time to actual do the comparing. There are a couple of ways to do this. The “old-fashioned” way is to get the phone numbers of all companies offering Medigap plans in your area and call them and ask their rates. Some companies will give you this information over the phone; some will require that an agent come to your house to meet with you prior to giving you the information. For most people, this way of doing it is not appealing. However, it is an option.The other way of going about it – which I believe most people would find preferable – is to use an independent agent, or broker, to compare the plans. An independent agent does not work specifically for one particular insurance company, so they are not going to try to “sell” you on their company. Instead, they can give you unbiased information of what company’s offer competitively priced plans in your area. Additionally, they can provide other information such as company rating, past rate stability and reputations, which may help you narrow down the choices and make an informed decision.Keep in mind that the main thing to compare when it comes to Medigap (Medicare Supplement) plans is the rates, as plan coverage is completely standardized by the Federal government. A good independent agent can provide a full breakdown of the companies that offer companies in your zip code, as well as what the rates would be for someone at your age.
  3. Choose wisely. Once you have the information that pertains to premium rates and company rating/reputation, you can easily narrow the choices to which reputable companies are competitively priced for your area. While many people know about Plan F, which is the most common plan, it is not always the most wise choice. It is the most comprehensive but also the most expensive. Plan G is an alternative that typically would provide a savings when compared to Plan F – under Plan G, you have to pay a $147/year deductible but that’s the only difference between ‘F’ and ‘G’ and the premium savings is often $300+/year resulting in a significant net savings.Once you choose a plan, it is easy to enroll, particularly if you are in an “open enrollment” period (i.e. turning 65 or just going on Medicare). Simply complete an application, which the independent agent can facilitate either online or by phone, then the application will be processed by the insurance company. You’ll receive an insurance card and policy in the mail.
    While signing up for a Medigap plan is an overwhelming charge for many people, it does not have to be. The standardization of Medigap plans and the proliferation of information available online has made comparing and choosing a Medigap plan much easier than choosing most other types of insurance.If you would like a listing of the companies/rates in your area or have other questions, you can contact us online or call 877.506.3378.

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.

2014 Medigap Plans

2014 Medigap plans will be the same, coverage-wise, as 2013 Medigap plans. With Medigap, coverage is Federally-standardized and all plans go by the Medigap coverage chart. This has been changed in recent years – effective June 1, 2010 – but since that point there have been no changes to the coverage chart. The Federal government – CMS, really – is the one that sets forth this chart and determines what Medigap plans will cover. Although the prices for the plans from different companies can vary considerably, this ensures that the coverage is the same for “like” plans. In other words, a Plan F with one company is the same as a Plan F with another.

So, although the coverage on the 2014 Medigap plans is the same as the 2013 plans, there are other factors to consider. First of all, many people mistakenly think that there is an annual enrollment period for Medigap plans – this is not the case. The annual enrollment period that runs October 15-December 7 is actually for the Part D Rx plans and the Medicare Advantage plans, which take the place of Medicare. For Medigap plans, you can sign up for, leave, or change plans at any time of the year.

As far as companies and rates go, there are always changes going on with Medigap. Over the past year or two, there have been several new companies to enter the marketplace, including CIGNA, AFLAC, Stonebridge Life, and Central States Indemnity, that have very competitive rates in many states and are striving to become market leaders due to price competitiveness and financial stability.

Just like there is not an annual enrollment period for the plans, Medigap rates do not change with the calendar year necessarily. So while your Medigap company may change rates 1/1/14, it is more common that your plan will change rates on your policy anniversary date.

Moving into 2014, it looks like the aforementioned companies, as well as some old “stand-bys”, such as Mutual of Omaha, AARP/United Healthcare, Aetna, etc will continue to be prominent players in the national Medigap market. The rates, of course, depend on what state you are in, your age, gender, and sometimes, other factors. So, it is important, if you are comparing plans, to get an accurate depiction of what is available in your area and what the actual rates would be.

Medicare-Supplement.US is a leading, independent Medigap brokerage that works with 35+ companies in 39 states. If you want a comparison for your specific situation, contact us online or call us at 877.506.3378.

 

Supplemental Medicare Plans – What Are They and Who Needs Them?

Supplemental Medicare plans are plans that “follow” behind Medicare and fill in the gaps in coverage in Medicare. These plans are also called Medicare supplements or Medigap plans, and they are sold through private insurance companies. There are a handful of these options out there and they vary by state, so it is important to be apprised of what’s available in your area if you are trying to determine if this type of a plan is a good idea for you. Here are a few considerations:

  • First, you should understand what you have. Are you on an employer group plan now? If so, will that plan continue even after you go on Medicare? And, at what cost to you? If you do not have other coverage, such as a employer-based plan or retiree plan, will you plan to have only Medicare coverage?
  • Next, it is essential to understand what Medicare does and does not cover. Medicare is relatively comprehensive coverage; however, it does “leave out” an unlimited 20% of medical costs at the doctor/hospital. In other words, if you have only Medicare – with no supplemental Medicare plan – you would be responsible for an unlimited 20% of costs at the doctor/hospital.
  • Last, you should understand what a supplemental Medicare plan would do for you in order to decide if it would be a good idea. There are two types of plans available to those on Medicare – actual supplement plans and Medicare Advantage plans. It is important not to confuse the two. Medicare Advantage plans take the place of Medicare – they do not supplement it. The coverage is at a lower level, and although premiums are also lower, there are some things to consider such as network restrictions, future portability and long-term viability.

Your health is very important to your all-around well-being, particularly when you are of Medicare age. Because of that, it is wise to consider whether a supplemental Medicare plan makes sense for you. It can give you financial peace of mind as well as providing for good, long-term health.

 

Going on Medicare Part 1 – Understanding Medicare Parts vs. Medigap Plans

**This is Part 1 of a 5-part series intended to explain various aspects of Medicare and Medigap policies to someone turning 65 or about to go on here.**You will, no doubt, be inundated with information by mail, phone and email regarding your upcoming transition to Medicare. This article explains the differences in “parts” and “plans”, which is a commonly confused difference that can lead to tremendous misunderstandings and mistakes when looking at plan options.

Part 1 – Parts vs. Plans – Lots of Letters and

Terminology!

One of the most confusing (to most people) things about turning-65 is understanding the terminology. More specifically, there are “parts” (of Medicare) and “plans” (Medigap). Many people get these confused and it can lead to making decisions that are not to your advantage.

Parts of Medicare

There are four parts of Medicare. Medicare Part A is the part that covers hospital and inpatient services. You get this automatically from paying into the Medicare system during your working life.

Medicare Part B is the part of Medicare that covers doctor’s office and outpatient services (like labwork, etc.). You must sign up for Part B in order to have this part of Medicare. There is a $104.90/month premium for this that is generally paid through a Social Security deduction.

Medicare Part C is an optional part of Medicare that is also known as Medicare Advantage. If you wish to stay with “original” Medicare (Medicare Parts A & B), you do NOT need to sign up for Part C. In fact, if you sign up for ‘C’, all of your coverage is provided through the private Part C company and Parts A & B no longer provide your benefits.

Medicare Part D is the prescription drugs part of Medicare. This part of Medicare is also optional and provided through private companies as well as the cannabis store location designation, in order to have prescription drug coverage, specially green certified services, you must sign up for Part D. You can do this by calling 1-800-MEDICARE or through an independent agent.

Plans – Medigap

Medigap plans are also named by letters, which is the source of most people’s confusion. The plans are standardized and each company is required to offer the plans from the standardized plans chart. This chart goes from “A” to “N”. You should select a plan that meets your needs from a reputable company with low rates. You can view the full chart here that shows what the standardized plans cover: Standardized Plans Chart

If you have any specific questions, or if we can help in any way, please do not hesitate to reply to this email or contact us toll-free at 877.506.3378. We are a leading, independent Medicare Insurance agency. Because we are an independent agency, we work as a centralized place to compare all plan options, ask questions, and make unbiased decisions.

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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

Time for a Check-Up… A Medicare Supplement Insurance Check-Up

Your doctor or dentist sends you a postcard or gives you a phone call when it’s time for your annual or bi-annual check-up. This is important to your physical health – ensures that any medications are doing their job and being administered in the correct dosages, it can be preventive of future problems, this is why you have to make sure you get a professional from Rockwest Dental where you will know for sure that your health is a priority. In short, it helps to maintain your health. Likewise, doing a periodic check-up on your Medigap insurance is a crucial part of any sound financial plan.

Medigap insurance, if you don’t already know, is the type of insurance that people on Medicare obtain to fill in the gaps in Medicare Parts A and B. These plans are Federally-standardized, so coverage is the same from one company to another. However, costs can vary considerably. For example, the same Plan F with one company may be $145/month while it is $100/month with a different company (all Plan F’s provide the same coverage and work the same way).

For this very significant reason, it is essential to perform a periodic check-up of your Medicare Supplement insurance. I typically recommend that you do this on an annual basis, although I have some clients that do it every two years. Regardless of how often you do it, it is essential that it gets done.

So, what exactly does this look like – a Medicare Supplement check-up? Well, first and foremost, it is essential to understand the basic tenets of Medigap insurance (the terms Medigap and Medicare Supplement are interchangeable). The basic tenets are: the plans are standardized, the coverage is the same from one company to the next, the claims are all paid through the same Medicare “crossover” system, and there is not an annual enrollment period (you can change at any time).

Next, you can simply compare the rates for the plan that you have. If you have Plan F, for example, as around 40% of people do, you can compare other Plan F rates very easily. If you find one that is less expensive, which is very likely if you have been in the plan more than a year, you can simply change plans and realize an instant savings for the same coverage.

Because this is our specialty, we work with many clients who are doing this. Some of the biggest concerns/questions are changing plans and the perceived “risk” of getting with a company that does not “pay as well”. It is important to understand that, with Medigap policies, companies pay through the Medicare “crossover” system, so claims are paid on the same time schedule in the same amount, regardless of company. There are, literally, no experiential differences from one company to the next.

So, what are you waiting for? Whether it is through us (compare Medigap rates) or someone else, get the comparison of the Medigap plans in your area. Compare the rates to what you are paying now and see if you can save yourself some money.

If you have questions about this information or wish to speak to someone directly, contact us on Twitter, email or fill out our quotes request online.

 

May 2013 Medigap Plan Report

Contrary to popular misconception, there is no such thing as an annual enrollment period for Medigap plans. In reality, you can change, or sign up for, a Medigap plan at any time of the year. There are no restrictions on when you can sign up for this type of plan.

The rates for Medigap plans can change during the year also, and many companies do change rates mid-year. Because of that, it is important to stay “on top” of your rates and compare rates when your rate changes or if you feel like you are paying too much. In almost all cases, if you have been on a plan more than a year, you can obtain the same coverage for a lower price through a different company.

May is as good a time as any to sign up for, or change, your Medigap plan. There are several newer companies that have become major players in the Medigap market in recent months. Some of the “old” names are still prominent – i.e. AARP/United Healthcare and Mutual of Omaha. But also, new companies like Central States Indemnity, Forethought, AFLAC, and Cigna Supplemental Benefits are competitively priced in many states and making a name for themselves in the Medicare marketplace.

Keep in mind that, with Medigap plans, the coverage, claim payments and doctor acceptance are the same with all of the companies. So there is no variation from one company’s plan to another, although the rates can vary greatly.

Overall, in the last three to five years, rates have certainly trended upward in most states. However, in recent months, with the influx of new companies offering lower, more competitive rates, rates may have actually come down in quite a few markets.

Plan F continues to be the most prominent plan, holding 40+% of the market share. However, people are purchasing Plans G and N at increasing amounts, as the Medicare-eligible population becomes more educated on the differences in the plans and how the benefit differences line up with the premium differences. For many people, particularly those in good health, Plans G and N actually make more sense than the more common Plan F.

If you have specific questions or want to get quotes that are customized for your age and zip code, you can contact us online at Medicare-Supplement.US or toll-free at 877.506.3378.