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. It even helps out with the Car accident lawyers, just in case you get into any trouble out on the street.

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, at the end of the month they also to a big meeting where they grill with one of the best electric grill out there.

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.

What Is a Medicare Supplement?

What is a Medicare Supplement? The question seems simple enough. However, if you are turning 65 or going on Medicare for the first time, it can seem a little overwhelming. You are, no doubt, getting inundated with information in the mail and computer, maybe even phone calls. There is a lot of information out there, and much of it is confusing – I would even say some of it has the end-goal in mind of confusing you. But the basic foundation of understanding Medicare Supplements is understanding what they are and what they are not.

First of all, what are they? They are plans sold by private insurance companies to fill in gaps in the Federal Medicare program (Medicare Parts A and B). These plans are Federally-standardized – in other words, the government says what they must cover. There are 10 standardized plans, which are named for letters (i.e. A, F, G, N). Each plan covers different amount of “gaps” in Medicare. Here is the coverage chart that shows what they cover: Medigap coverage chart. The individual companies set their pricing, and this can vary a good bit (although the coverage is the same on “like” plans). Also, rates vary by your age and location.

These plans pay claims automatically through the Medicare “crossover” system so you do not have to file claims. Also, they can be used at any doctor/hospital that takes Medicare, which is still your primary insurance (the Medicare Supplement is secondary). The plans are sometimes called Medigap plans. The terms “Medigap” and “Medicare Supplement” are interchangeable.

So, what are Medicare Supplements NOT? Put simply, the type of plans that replace Medicare A & B, called Medicare Advantage plans, are NOT Medicare Supplements. These plans are not supplements to Medicare, but rather replacements of Medicare. Also Medicare Part D plans (the Rx coverage part of Medicare) are technically not Medicare Supplements.

Secondly, employer-type plans are generally not Medicare Supplements. They may pay secondary to Medicare and act as a supplement, but in most cases, they don’t fall under the standardized plans structure of actual Medicare Supplements.

It is important to understand the differences in terminology between Medicare Supplements and other similar types of plans. It is important to know, also, that some agents/companies may try to call their plan a Medicare Supplement, when in reality it is not. Whenever possible, we recommend using an independent broker that can assist you (for no charge) with comparing all companies and plan types.

If you have questions or wish to discuss further, please call us at 877.506.3378 or request information on our website at http://medicare-supplement.us/medicare-supplement-quotes.php.

The Differences in Medicare Advantage and Medigap – What You Need to Know

This time of year, there is much confusion about the two different types of Medicare plans. The purpose of this article is to differentiate between the two types of plans and elaborate on what makes them different and how they work.

On the one hand, there are Medigap plans – these plans work with the Federal Medicare program, filling in the gaps and supplementing Medicare. Then, there is the other type of plan – which is quite different – Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage plans are not Medicare Supplements. On the contrary, they replace Medicare A & B with a privatized version of Medicare offered exclusively through private companies that are approved annually by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The upcoming time of year is especially confusing for those who are on Medicare, primarily because of what many people refer to as the “Medicare Enrollment Period”. The formal name for the period is the “Annual Election Period” – during this time, you can make changes to your Medicare Advantage or Part D prescription drug plan. However, you can change Medigap plans at any time – there is no annual enrollment period that applies to these plans.

The primary differences between Medicare Advantage and Medigap are:

  • Premium
    Medicare Advantage plans will generally have a lower premium than Medigap plans in almost all instances. In some places, Medicare Advantage premiums can be as low as $0/month. Medigap plans have premiums that are based on your age, gender, zip code, and tobacco usage, and those premiums range widely depending on those factors.
  • Coverage
    Medigap plan coverage is, generally, more comprehensive than Medicare Advantage plan coverage. Essentially, you get what you pay for. In some cases, Medigap plans (particularly in the case of Plan F) will cover everything that Medicare doesn’t cover at the doctor/hospital with no out of pocket costs. Medicare Advantage plans have a complex system of co-pays and deductibles that vary for different services/procedures and for in/out of network.
  • Doctor Accessibility
    Medigap plans do not have networks – you can use any Medigap plan at any doctor, nationwide, that takes Medicare. Most Medicare Advantage, typically, have a regional network of doctors/hospitals that are contracted to participate in their plan. You can use out of network doctors in emergency situations or if you are willing to pay a higher co-pay/deductible amount.
  • Portability
    If you move to a new state, you will have to change your Medicare Advantage plans. These plans are done by county, so if you move, you will be automatically disenrolled from your current plan and have to choose a new plan. Medigap plans, on the other hand, are national. Any plan can be used anywhere nationwide that takes Medicare, and if you move, you CAN change plans but you are not required to do so.
  • Enrollment Requirements
    Medigap plans are available on an open enrollment basis when you first turn 65 or go on Medicare. During this time period, you do not have to answer health questions, take a physical, be concerned with pre-existing conditions, etc. After that period, you do have to answer health questions (in most states) if you want to get a Medigap plan. With Medicare Advantage, you can enroll in a plan during the annual enrollment period at any time without having to answer health questions. What this means is that – if you take a Medicare Advantage plan initially, and then later if your health changes, wish to move to the more comprehensive coverage, you will have to qualify medically in order to do so.

The issues surrounding Medigap and Medicare Advantage are complex. Different plans are better for different people. Health status, location and financial means all come into play – or should – when comparing these types of plans. If you have questions or wish to compare the plans that are available to you, please call us at 877.506.3378 or visit us at Compare Medicare Plans.

Medicare Supplement Insurance Guide – Simplified Information

Medicare Supplement insurance plans are not nearly as complex as you think. Often, I hear the refrain that people are overwhelmed with the choices and the abundance of information that is available; however, I believe this also greatly contributes to the complexity with which they are viewed. In reality, the plans are pretty straight-forward. This article is designed to be a primer, with the goal being that you could discard your whole “stack” of information and just read this and know enough to make a wise Medicare supplement plan selection when you are turning 65 or just going on Medicare for the first time.

  • The plans are standardized. Every company is required to go by the standardized plans chart and offer the same coverage plans. Here is the Medigap coverage chart.
  • Plans can be used anywhere, nationwide, that takes Medicare. Medigap plans (another name for Medicare Supplements) are non-network plans. You do not have to check with your doctor about each plan – if your doctor takes Medicare, he/she will take any Medigap plan.
  • Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans are very different from Medicare Advantage plans, which replace Medicare. Advantage plans are NOT Medicare Supplements, and really, cannot be compared to one another.
  • The most predominant factor that should be used when comparing Medicare Supplement plans is the rate offered. Since coverage, claim payments and doctor acceptance are all standardized, this is the most important factor.
  • You have a 6-month open enrollment window when you first turn 65 or sign up for Medicare. After that time, you can change plans at any time. Contrary to popular belief, there is not an annual enrollment period for Medicare Supplements (only applies to Part D). However, in most companies/situations, you do have to answer medical questions.
  • Prescription coverage is provided through Medicare Part D. Medicare Supplement plans do not cover prescription drugs.
  • Medicare Supplement companies are ranked by AM Best, which is an independent rating service that rates insurance companies. These ratings can be viewed on AM Best’s website; however, they are not an indicator on whether, if or how a company pays claims, as all companies pay claims through the Medicare “crossover” system. They are more of a reflection on the financial “size” of a company.
  • You can get Medicare Supplement quotes or rates online, typically, from an independent brokerage that works with all of the companies so that you can compare in a centralized place. This is advisable as you can get an unbiased comparison of the options so you can make an informed decision based on rates, company history etc.

This is, obviously, not an exhaustive list of everything you need to know about Medigap plans. However, it is a comprehensive list that can be used to inform you about the main things you need to know about Medicare Supplement plans, in a short, easy to understand way.

If you have additional questions, or if we can help in any way, please contact us online at Medicare-Supplement.US or toll-free at 877.506.3378.

Medicare Supplemental Insurance – Will It Change in the Future?

Health insurance, particularly Medicare insurance, is a constantly changing thing. In 2010, the standardized Medigap plans changed to add some new plans, eliminate some old plans, and revamp existing plans. In recent months, talk has continued about ways to rework the Medigap plans in a way that will be beneficial to the long-term sustainability of Medicare.

With the debt “crisis” of the summer of 2011, Medicare has been one of the most talked-about places to cut spending. Some of this talk centers around how cutting Medigap plans or changing the way they work will positively affect the spending made on behalf of those on Medicare. While it definitely remains to be seen what will happen long-term, here are a few of the ideas that have been volleyed about concerning Medigap plans and how they work:

  1. Eliminating first-dollar coverage. One of the major ideas discussed is eliminating plans that cover all of the Medicare “gaps”. These plans, under the current system, are ‘C’ and ‘F’. Many have stated that this first-dollar coverage (i.e. plans that cover everything that Medicare itself doesn’t cover) causes more people to use their insurance more often, and in the long run, costs Medicare money. The point is that Medicare beneficiaries that have a Medigap ‘F’ or ‘C’ don’t have any “skin in the game” – they simply go to the doctor for anything and don’t pay a dime. There have been contrasting studies to show that this does not (or would not) lower costs to Medicare; however, it is uncertain what affect this would have on costs or medical outcomes. The other thing that is uncertain is if people who have these plans would be “grandfathered” in. Medigap plans are “guaranteed renewable”, so that leads one to believe that if you have one of these plans now, your first-dollar coverage would be protected as long as you kept paying the premiums.
  2. Implementing an overall deductible that Medigap plans cannot cover. Another popular idea that’s been discussed, that is in relation to the previous point, is an overall Medicare deductible. This would apply to both doctor and hopsital visits, and the number mentioned most often is around $550/year. This idea would prevent Medigap plans from covering this overall deductible, so you would have to meet this deductible before your Medigap plan started providing coverage. This will, no doubt, be unpopular with many who are on Medicare and accustomed to first-dollar type coverage.

Overall, it is very uncertain how the debt “crisis” of 2011 and resulting super-committee will affect Medicare itself and Medigap plans. However, what is certain is the significant reductions in coverage will be, in many circle, politically unpopular with the large voting base of seniors.

We advocate staying apprised of all developments and contacting your representatives whenever possible to make them aware of your wishes and concerns over the future of Medicare and Medigap insurance.

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.

Medigap Rate Increases – How To Avoid Them

The title to this post is admittedly deceiving. There is simply not way to altogether avoid Medigap rate increases. Regardless of the company you are with, or the plan that you have, all Medigap plans are going to go up in price over time.

Some companies claim that their rates do not go up, or at the least, go up at a slower rate than other options. I would be very leery of anyone who tells you this. Because quite simply, that is not the case. Even issue-age and community-rated policies are going to go up over time. They may not go up based on you getting a year older, but they go up for other more arbitrary reasons, including but not limited to, administrative costs increase, changes in Medicare, etc.

The most effective strategy, then, because you can’t avoid the rate increases, is to maximize your savings whenever possible. If your rate goes up, we advise “shopping” it around to see if you can get a better deal from another company for the same coverage plan. There is simply no other way to keep your costs low over time.

The best way to “shop” around is to get quotes by email. You can compare “like” plans – same coverage from a different company – and easily see if there is a more suitable option for you. If there is, changing Medigap plans is very easy to do. You can simply apply for the new plan with a future effective date. Then, once it is approved, you cancel the old policy effective that same day. And, there you have it, you’ve easily saved yourself hundreds of dollars a year (sometimes, thousands, depending on what plan you plan and where you live) and kept the same level of standardized Medigap coverage.

Now, many people obviously don’t realize the benefits of this, or simply don’t like thinking about health insurance, but the benefits far outweigh whatever perceived inconvenience you believe that it is. If we can assist in your comparison process, we’re happy to do so. Contact us at: Medicare-Supplement.US, Or get more information by calling 877.506.3378.

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 .

Medigap Plan F – Is the Most Common Plan Right for You?

Medigap Plan F is, without a doubt, the most common Medicare Supplement plan available. It is also the most comprehensive – it covers everything that Medicare doesn’t cover so that you don’t have any out of pocket costs. While there are certainly other plans that will offer a lower premium, none compare in level of coverage to the Plan F. When comparing the various Medigap plan options, it is important to understand what each plan, including Plan F, covers, so that you can determine if it is right for you.

So, what exactly does Plan F cover? Well first and foremost, it covers “Basic Benefits” (all supplement plans do). This includes the 20% coinsurance that Medicare doesn’t cover under Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. Basic benefits also includes your first three pints of blood needed each year and hospice Part A coinsurance (the 20% that Medicare doesn’t cover). Additionally, Plan F covers the skilled nursing facility coinsurance, which is the 20% that Medicare doesn’t cover, as well as both Medicare deductibles. The Medicare Part A deductible is $1,132/benefit period for 2011, and the Part B deductible is $162/year.

Medigap Plan F also covers the Medicare Part B Excess charges. This is not a common occurrence but can be problematic if you are going to a doctor that does not accept Medicare “assignment”. This means he doesn’t accept the Medicare-approved amounts for a service or procedure, and he or she passes on the “excess charges” to the patient. Plan F covers those charges. Plan F also covers foreign emergency travel, which is a good benefit to have for someone who travels abroad often.

Altogether, with a Plan F, in conjunction with your Medicare Parts A & B, you should not have any out of pocket costs at the doctor or hospital. With this plan, you have predictable out of pocket costs (just pay the premium and nothing else) over the course of the year.

That is the greatest advantage to the Medicare supplement F plan – it allows you predictability and reliability. That is why many people choose this plan; however, it is always good to look at your specific financial means and health needs to see which plan is right for you.

To get Medicare Supplement quotes and information, please contact us on our website.