Medigap Plan G – What It Covers and Why It Makes Sense

Medigap Plan G is one of the often-overlooked Medicare Supplement plans. Most agent and consumers look to Plan F, which is the most common and comprehensive plan, first. However, Plan G is a great plan and is very similar to Medigap Plan F (only one benefit difference). For that reason, I believe Plan G to be, in most cases, the most advantageous Medigap choice.

So, what does Plan G cover? Well, in short, it covers everything that Plan F covers with one exception. The exception is the Medicare Part B deductible. For 2017, this deductible is $183/year. Other than not covering that deductible, Plan G is absolutely identical to Medicare Supplement Plan F.

The benefits that G includes are: Basic Benefits (20% coinsurance, hospice coverage and blood), skilled nursing facility coinsurance, Part A deductible, Part B excess charges, and foreign travel emergency. These benefits are part of every Plan G because Medigap plans are standardized.

Since the coverage of the Part B deductible is the only difference, it is very easy to compare Plan F and Plan G. If you divide the deductible amount by 12 months, you get the figure $15.25/month. This is the “benefit difference” between the two plans, since all other benefits are identical. So if a Plan G is $20 less than a Plan F, it just makes sense.

Also, and this is something that many people do not realize, Plan G has historically been more rate-stable than Plan F. The primary reasons for this is Plan F is required to be offered on a “guaranteed issue” basis in several situations (i.e. losing employer coverage, losing Advantage plan coverage, etc.). Plan G, on the contrary, is not required to be “guaranteed issue” in these situations. What this means is that Plan F must accept people, regardless of pre-existing conditions, that fall into one of these situations. So on average, the people on Plan F could be less healthier than the people on Plan G, because to get Plan G (unless you are in open enrollment), you would have had to qualify medically. Less healthy people can lead to more claims, and rate increases are based on claims in a certain geographic area.

Lastly, in 2014, legislation passed that set an “end date” to the full coverage Medigap plans, including Plan F. These plans will no longer be available after 2020. At that point, the plans that are no longer available to new members will very likely be less stable over time than other options, including Plan G.

Altogether, Plan G is a great option. While many agents “push” Plan F, doing some simple math can show you that Plan G is more advantageous to you in most cases. If you have questions about Medicare Supplement plans or want to get Medicare supplement quotes, please contact us via our website.

Medicare Supplement Quotes – Why Are They So Different?

Medicare Supplement quotes can vary greatly, even with the standardization of plan coverage. In other words, even with the same coverage, claim payment system, doctor acceptance, etc., some companies charge a much higher price for their Medicare Supplement plans. In some instances, rates for “like” coverage can range by as much as $100/month and more.

Although this may seem difficult to understand – why are prices so different when coverage is the same – there are some pretty straight-forward reasons for the differences in premium and some simple principles to keep in mind when comparing quotes.

First of all, companies have the authority to set their own rates. The rates do have to be approved the state departments of insurance; however, the companies propose and set the rates. Different companies target different geographic areas, different age/gender combinations, and different plans (i.e. targeting Plan G over Plan F).

Also, different companies have different administrative costs (overhead) for running their plans/companies. This, too, can have an impact on price, as companies build in higher costs for marketing/selling their products into that product’s price.

In a more complex difference, companies set their rates in different ways. Three are several kinds of rating methodologies that companies can use – attained-age, community-rated or issue-age rated. This can determine what the rates are at different ages. It is commonly accepted that attained-age rates are lower initially, but may be higher over time. However, it is typically true that all companies/plans do go up over time, so there is no “silver bullet” for avoiding rates going up as you get older.

Keep in mind, when comparing and choosing a Medigap plan, that all companies must offer the same standardized benefits and pay claims in the same way. There are literally no variations from one company to another for “like” plans. However, rates can vary dramatically. It is most important to compare rates in an unbiased way and choose a plan that is competitively priced, if not the lowest priced for the plan you want.

If you have questions or wish to obtain a Medigap quote, please contact us online or at 877.506.3378.

Medicare Co-Pays and Deductible for 2012

The Medicare co-pays and deductibles for 2012 were announced last week and there have been some relatively noteworthy changes that you should be apprised of. First of all, it is important to note that these co-pays and deductibles do NOT directly affect you if you have a Medigap plans that pays the Medicare co-pays and deductibles OR if you have a Medicare Advantage plan that replaces Medicare A & B.

However, if you are on ONLY “original” Medicare A & B, the following are the co-pays and deductibles that you would pay for 2012. NOTE: this information is also available at Medicare.gov.

PART A

  • Part A Deductible = $1156 per benefit period
  • Part A Premium = $451/month (this only applies to people who have not qualified for Part A entitlement through work during your lifetime
  • $289/day for days 61-90 of each benefit period
  • $144.50/day for days 21-100 of each benefit period

PART B

  • Part B Deductible = $140/year
  • Part B Premium = $99.90/month. You may pay more if you exceed $85,000/year in annual income.
  • Part B Coinsurance = 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for covered services
  • Part B Coinsurance = 40% for mental health coinsurance for Medicare-approved covered services

Overall, some of these changes, in particular the Part B deductible and premium, are definitely a welcome sight for Medicare-eligible individuals. The Part B deductible in 2011 is $162/year so it is going down by $22/year for 2012.

The effects that this information will have on a Medigap insurance remains to be seen. It can be expected that the claims ratios on Plan F’s would be smaller than in year’s past since that gap (which ‘F’ covers) is smaller. This may help keep ‘F’ premium rates more stable with some insurers. In the past, Plan G, which doesn’t cover the Part B deductible, has been the more rate-stable choice over time. This change may level off rate stability on ‘G’ and ‘F’.

To get updated information about Medicare Supplement rates for 2012, you can contact us at 877.506.3378 or visit our website to request this information by email. To get the information by email, go to 2012 Medicare Supplement prices.

Going on Medicare – What You Need to Do

Going on Medicare, or turning 65, is one of the largest insurance-related transitions one can have in their life. There is a lot to consider and certainly a lot of information out there about Medicare insurance plans. If you’re like most people, you’ll be inundated with paperwork and solicitations leading up to your 65th birthday – everyone wants to be your friend when you are turning 65!

Here are the five most important things to know when you turning 65 that will make that transition an easy one:

  1. First of all, in most cases, you’ll be enrolled automatically in Medicare A & B. Typically, Medicare sends you a red, white, and blue Medicare card 2-3 months before your 65th birthday. Medicare is always active on the first day of the month you turn 65 (unless your birthday is the 1st day of a month, in which case Medicare starts the 1st day of the preceding month).
  2. Medicare A & B provide good coverage, but there are some “gaps” in Medicare, which is why the majority of people have some other type of coverage – i.e. Medicare Supplements or Medicare Advantage. The “gaps” in Medicare are a couple of Medicare deductibles (Part A deductible = $1,132 and Part B deductible = $162), as well as an unlimited 20% that you are responsible for if you have only Medicare.
  3. There are two types of Medicare insurance plans and they work very differently. It is important to understand the differences. Medicare Supplement plans work with Medicare and pay AFTER Medicare pays. Medicare Advantage plans replace Medicare and pay INSTEAD of Medicare. Coverage varies greatly with these plans.
  4. Medicare Supplement plans are standardized – that is, each company is required to offer the same standard plans, so comparing them is easy to do and is a function of price and company rating. Medicare Advantage plans have a system of co-pays and deductibles that can vary considerably from one company to another. These plans are more difficult to compare because of this, as well as the added factor of having networks (Medicare Supplement plans can be used at anywhere nationwide).
  5. No matter who it is, it is to your advantage (and at no cost to you) to use a Medicare insurance broker, who can explain both types of plans and help you compare the options in an unbiased, centralized place.

To get more information about turning 65 or going on Medicare, you can view Medicare Supplement Insurance. To get quotes and comparisons for Medicare plans in your area, go to Medicare-Supplement.US.

Medicare Supplements – Smart Ways To Shop

Medicare Supplement insurance fills in the “gaps” in Medicare. These are plans sold by private insurance companies that are designed to work with Medicare. Most importantly, they are Federally-standardized, so comparing plans between companies is easy to do and should be done, primarily, on the basis of price and company rating. Coverage is exactly the same from one company to another.

There are a few ways that you can “shop” for Medicare Supplement insurance. The old-fashioned way is to invite insurance agents into your home, one after the other maybe, for face-to-face meetings to discuss the one company that they sell. The newer, more efficient and advantageous way to “shop” is via an independent agent/agency.

This can actually be done exclusively online or over the phone, you can even do this by using orogold products guide and find the best products. You don’t even have to meet with anyone. Sure, you’ll get boatloads of stuff in the mail, especially if you are turning 65 or leaving some sort of employer-type coverage. However, with the standardization of coverage, claim payments and doctor accessibility, one company or plan is not better than another. The primary thing you always want to look at is price, along with company reputation.

Here are three tips for comparing Medicare Supplement plans:

  1. First and foremost, understand the standardization of plans. The most important thing to know is that companies offer the same coverage plans. For example, a Medigap Plan F with one company is the exact same as a Plan F with another.
  2. Secondly, you should use an independent agent or agency, whenever possible. No matter which agent/agency it is, we highly recommend you use an independent resource to research and sign up for a plan. If you go exclusively to the company or an agent that only works with one company, that is like asking Ford what they think about Chevrolet. Obviously, an agent that only sells one company is going to stress that his/her plan or company is best. On the flip side, an independent agent can give an unbiased comparison of all of the options.
  3. Lastly, base your decision on what you think and understand, not what you see or hear. What I mean by this, is that everyone has an opinion on their Medicare Supplement plan. Not a day goes by that I don’t have a conversation with someone who doesn’t realize the plans are standardized and thinks they have a great plan. Then, when they realize they can get the same exact coverage for $1000+ less a year, their plan doesn’t sound so good anymore. There is lot of advertising and misinformation out there. So, work with an unbiased resource to sort through it and so that you can make an educated, informed decision.

All in all, choosing a Medigap policy is not that hard to do. The plans are standardized, you can go to any doctor and the claim payments are all standardized. So, the most important thing is finding a well-priced plan from a reputable company. Do that, and a Medicare Supplement insurance plan can save you thousands of dollars a year.

Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement – Why It Is A Good Choice

Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement plans are one of the leaders, nationwide, as far as market share. There’s a good reason for that. These plans contain the two things that you should be looking for, when comparing Medicare Supplement insurance:

  1. Competitive pricing – Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplements are almost always among the most competitively priced in the market. They generally have very competitive rates on the Medigap Plan G and the Medigap Plan F, which are arguably the two most popular Medicare Supplements offered. Whenever checking prices, you will invariably see that Mutual of Omaha consistently ranks in the top 2-3 price-wise, in most areas of the country. This fact alone has led them to prominence as one of the top providers of Medigap insurance over the last 10 years.Not only are their rates competitive, but they have a robust independent agent network that makes their plans available to a large number of people in nearly all areas.

    When the modernized Medicare supplement plans came out in 2010, Mutual of Omaha further strengthened their position as a price-leader, by offering the Medigap Plan N for a great rate with limited medical underwriting.

  2. Company stability/reliability – In addition to competitive pricing, Mutual of Omaha also has a great position as a reputable company that has been in business for 100+ years. The company is ‘A+’ rated by AM Best, and although company ratings aren’t everything, they are a great indicator of financial strength, reserves on hand, and continued ability to meet financial obligations to its policyholders.Also, because Mutual of Omaha has gained a position as one of the top 2-3 players in the Medicare Supplement marketplace, they have a large number of insureds, which spreads their “risk” over a very large pool. This, ostensibly, makes them less susceptible to rate increases over time.

Mutual of Omaha is the choice for Medicare Supplement insurance for so many people for a reason – it is a well-priced leader in the Medigap marketplace, as well as being a stable, well-respected company with a great track record. There are certainly many choices for Medicare Supplement insurance, but Mutual of Omaha Medigap plans are always one you should consider.

Medicare Supplement Rates – What Determines Medigap Pricing

Medicare Supplement rates can vary greatly from one company to another. Although plan benefits are completely standardized by the Federal government, companies are at liberty to set their own rates and certainly do so. Because of this, you will find that rates can be as different as hundreds (even thousands) of dollars a year difference from one company to another.

If you are comparing Medicare supplement plan options, rates are the primary thing that you want to look at, simply because coverage is standardized. So it is of utmost importance that you understand, not only that rates do vary from one company to another, but why they vary from one company to another.

The easiest way to understand this is to look at a breakdown of what factors go into Medicare Supplement rate pricing:

  1. What Rating Mechanism the Company Uses to Set Rates. This is probably the most important factor to determining what a company will charge for their Medicare Supplement plans. There are three different rating methods: community-rated, attained-age rated and issue-age rated. Although rates with all three types of ratings will go up over time (contrary to what some companies or agents may try to tell you), some methodologies are thought to be more stable over time. Community-rated and issue-age rated, according to Medicare, hold their value more stable over time. In practice, though, I have found that, although the rating method has a large impact on initial Medicare Supplement rates, it is not a certain predictor of future rate stability.
  2. Administrative/Overhead Costs of the Company. Obviously, this factor comes into play, just like it would with anything. If a company does considerably more marketing, has more employees, etc. they are going to end up passing some of those costs on to the consumer. There is no real way to know this in advance, other than general observation, but as always, it is better to be with a larger, more stable company than a “fly-by-night” company.
  3. Marketing Goals/Factors. Companies set their own marketing/sales agendas. Some companies target certain areas, certain age groups, or certain plans in which they want to make their plans competitively priced. In some cases, you will find that companies set their prices at a high enough level as to make it obvious that they don’t want that business, due to it being what they deem to be an unhealthy or adverse risk for their company.

Overall, there are many choices when it comes to Medicare Supplement insurance. Although plans and companies have a large impact on what their rates are, ultimately the state departments of insurance approve all rates. Because of this, it is essential to your financial health and well-being that you get Medicare Supplement quotes from a variety of companies when comparing plans.

Medigap Plan N – No Longer Guaranteed Issue, But Still a Smart Choice

Medigap Plan N has only been out for a little less than a year – it came out June 1, 2010. During a good part of the time since then, it was offered on a “guaranteed issue” basis by at least one insurer (Mutual of Omaha). Now, that company is no longer offering “guaranteed issue” Plan N; however, there is still limited underwriting which makes it a good choice for those who have some pre-existing conditions or health problems.

Even notwithstanding your health, Medicare Supplement Plan N can be a very good choice for your Medigap coverage. Premiums are usually 15-25% lower than Plan F premiums. The differences in the two plans are significant; however, they may not offset the premium savings that you cna gain with a Plan N.

Plan differences between the F and N plans are:

  • Coverage of the Medicare Part B deductible ($162/year)
  • The co-pays that Plan N has – $20 at the doctor’s office, $50 at the emergency room
  • Coverage of the Part B excess charges – this rarely happens but is when a doctor charges more than the Medicare-approved amount

Other than these three benefit differences, the two plans (F and N) are identical. With that in mind, you can easily do a comparison to see which one makes the most sense for you.

If you are in good health and/or are on a fixed income, you may find that Plan N just makes sense. The coverage is still good, and it still works just like any other Medigap plan. You can go to any doctor or hospital that takes Medicare, nationwide. There are no network restrictions. Additionally, benefits are Federally-standardized and do not change at all on an annual basis.

When it comes down to comparing plan options, the main thing to look at is which plan fits your unique health and financial needs. From there, it is easy to compare “apples to apples” and see which company offers the least expensive plan for the plan option that you are looking for. To get more information or Medigap Plan N quotes, please contact us on our website.

Medigap Plan G – The Smart Alternative to Plan F

Medigap Plan G is a smart alternative to Plan F. While many agents and agencies push Plan F primarily, Plan G is generally a better value if you do the math on the two options. When comparing Medicare Supplement plans, it is important to look at all the options and understand the plan differences. In doing so, you will see that there is only one benefit difference between the two plans – Plan F and Plan G. Understanding this benefit difference is the first step to comparing these two plans.

There are several reasons why Plan G is a better value than many of the other plan options, which we’ve spelled out below:

  1. First and foremost, it is a better value, in most cases. The math is simple to do. The only benefit difference between Plan G and Plan F is the coverage of the Medicare Part B deductible. For 2011, this deductible is $162/year. Typically, you will the premium savings on Plan G to be approximately $15-20/month. In an example, if the premium savings is $20/month, then you would spend an extra $162/year (if you go to the doctor) in exchange for saving $240/year. It just makes sense.
  2. The second major advantage to having Plan G is that rates are historically more stable over time with Plan G than with many of the alternatives. The reason for this is simple to understand. Plans F and C, and several others, are required to be offered (by all companies) on a “guaranteed issue” basis when you are losing employer coverage or Advantage plan coverage. Because companies cannot underwrite those plans in these situations, the people on the plans are, on average, less healthy than people on some of the other plans, like Plan G, that are not required to be offered on a “guaranteed issue” basis in these situations. Less healthy people leads to more claims, which leads to larger and/or more frequent rate increases.

For these two primary reasons, you will find that Plan G is a great alternative to other plans like the Plan F. While many people will push for the Plan F, do the math yourself and make an informed decision. I believe you will find that Medigap Plan G is often the way to go. If you have any questions about which plan is right for you or if you want to get a Medicare Supplement quote, please contact using our website: Quotes from Medicare-Supplement.US .