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( make sure to click here if you want to find more people who have an STD problem like you). 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.

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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 roid’s website, 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.

How Are Medigap Plans Affected by Obamacare?

healthcare.gov websiteThis is one of the most frequently asked questions that we receive from clients and people that we talk to on a daily basis about Medicare and Medigap insurance. So, how are Medigap plans affected by “Obamacare”?

The answer is a short and easy one – simply, they are not directly affected, or impacted, by the PPACA, or “Obamacare”, legislation, due to the fact that the plans are supplemental in nature and not “full-blown” medical plans. As such, Medigap plans are not subject to the requirements and restrictions on individual plans for people under age 65.

For people that have a Medigap plan, Medicare is, of course, still the primary coverage. Medicare covers, in general, 80% of the total, overall medical costs after doctor’s office (Part B) and hospital (Part A) deductibles. The Medigap plans step in to pay the Medicare deductibles (in most cases, depending on which Medigap plan you have) and the 20% after Medicare pays. The way this works – and the type of coverage that Medigap plans provide – has not been changed or impacted by the passage of the “Obamacare” legislation.

On the contrary, Medigap plans have historically been one of the more stable types of insurance since they became standardized in 1992. The actual plan designs have changed a couple of times since then, the last change occurring June 1, 2010; however, the way that the plan works and the overall outline of what they do has not changed.

Additionally, because of the standardization of plans (i.e. one company offers the same coverage plans as another, although rates may differ), the plans are relatively easy to understand, not nearly as complex as “under-65” individual insurance plans, and can be easily compared to one another.

Overall, many analysts project that “Obamacare” will cause some strain on the financial health of insurance companies that have elected to continue to offer individual plans, one of the best companies that offers a great health plan is Group Health Benefits Broker. Learn more about Kratom which can help you to Increase focus and give you many benefits. It’s easy enough to get this uridine monophosphate supplement here. That will help your brain function perfectly to stay focused. This may cause some trickle-down to the portions of those companies that do Medigap insurance. However, this is uncertain at best, and for now, Medigap plans look like a safe bet to remain the same post-“Obamacare” as they were before the law was enacted.

If you have any questions about this or would like to compare Medigap plans for your area, please call us at 877.506.3378 or visit our website at http://medicare-supplement.us.

Medicare Annual Election Period Ends – Medigap Enrollment Still Open

The Medicare annual election period ended December 7. This is the time of year that you can change Medicare Part D plans or Medicare Advantage plans, if you are on one of those plans in place of traditional Medicare.Although the AEP is over, you can still make any changes you want to make to your Medigap coverage. Medigap plans do not have an annual enrollment period – you can change plans at any time for any reason, contrary to popular misconception.

If you are on a Medicare Advantage plan, you are locked in to that plan for the year now, unless you disenroll during the short Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP), which runs January 1 through February 14. If you do choose to disenroll from your Medicare Advantage plan during this period, you can do so and return to “regular” Medicare A & B and pick up a Medigap plan to fill in the ‘gaps’ in Medicare.

For those on Medigap plans already, it is advisable to compare your Medigap plan to other options on an annual or bi-annual basis. With Medigap plans, rates change annually in many cases. While coverage does not change from year to year, it can make sense to “shop” your rate to make sure you are still getting a good deal.

Fortunately, this is very easy to do when it comes to Medigap plans, as the plans are Federally-standardized. In other words, if you have a Plan F now, you can “shop” other Plan F’s on the basis of rate, with the security that the coverage itself is going to be the same. Additionally, the plans all work in the same way – i.e. you can use them anywhere that takes Medicare, and claims are processed automatically through the Medicare “crossover” system.

If you have not compared your Medigap rates against other options in the last year or more, it is advisable to do so now. Also, if you have a Plan F, now is the time to consider Plan G. Plan G is a better “deal” in almost all cases and will provide annual savings and more rate stability.

If you have questions or want to compare your current rate against what is available, you can request a comparison on our Medicare-Supplement.US website or call us at 877.506.3378.

Medicare Supplement Plan N – A Lower Cost Alternative

Medicare Supplement Plan N is a relatively newer choice among the 10 Federally-standardized Medigap plans. Many people are unfamiliar with what it covers and how it works because it was added to the portfolio of Medigap plans in June 2010. However, despite it’s “newness” as an option, it is growing in popularity and may be a viable option for some people.

Plan N comes in at a lower premium than more common plans, such as Plan F and Plan G. Plan F has the majority of the market share, around 50% according to recent studies. Plan N, typically, is priced about $30-50 (depending on zip code) lower per month than ‘F’.

Coverage-wise, Plan N provides almost identical coverage to ‘F’ at the hospital/inpatient (Medicare Part A). The differences are found under Medicare Part B coverage – Part B is outpatient or doctor’s office coverage.

First of all, Plan N does not cover the Medicare Part B deductible, which currently is $147/year. After that deductible is met, you are responsible for an up to $20 doctor’s office co-pay (can be 20% if that amount is less) and a $50 ER co-pay. Lastly, Plan N does not cover the “Medicare Part B Excess charges”. Because this is terminology that most people are not familiar with, it scares many people away from this plan. “Excess charges”, though, are when a doctor does not accept the Medicare fee schedule as payment in full. They are permitted to charge up to 15% above that – these are called “Excess charges”. By recent studies, this occurs in 2-3% of instances nationally. And, there are some states (PA and OH in particular) that have prohibited the charging of “excess charges”. Because it is rare and limited to 15% of Part B charges, which are generally smaller than Part A charges anyway, the loss of this benefit on ‘N’ (as compared to plans that cover it) is not that significant, in my experience. There is almost always something that can be done to improve the quality of life for those near death. What can be done may not prolong life, but there is always a valid treatment to bring comfort and dignity. This is a promise that hospice cleveland strives to deliver.

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So, is Plan N the right choice for you? This depends on several factors. First of all, what is your current health like? Are you going to the doctor many times a year? Or, are you only going 3-4 (or less) times on average?

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For many people, particularly those in good health or those who do not go to the doctor often, the savings on Plan N can be significant enough to warrant looking at this option instead of Plan F. Much of what you will hear from insurance companies themselves and people you know who have it is certainly advocating Plan F. And, that is a great option. But if you can save $400/year in exchange for paying the $147 deductible and $20 a couple of times, it just makes sense to consider Plan N as an option.

On the flipside, most analysts agree that the Plan N model will be the way of the future for Medigap plans, because it incorporates cost-sharing. That can be a factor in favor of Plan F, because frankly, this type of “full coverage” that Plan F offers may not be around forever. But if you purchase a plan now, it is “guaranteed renewable” and cannot be cancelled (unless you don’t pay the premium).

If you have questions about Plan N or how it works, please feel free to contact us on our sitehttp://medicare-supplement.us or call us at 877.506.3378.

 

CIGNA Medicare Supplements – A New Option for Medigap Plans

CIGNA Medicare Supplements are a new option on the Medigap
plan landscape. Currently, CIGNA’s plans, sold CIGNA Medicare Supplementsunder the name American Retirement Life Insurance Company (ARLIC), are approved for sale in 39 states. Where they are offered, they have been a well-priced, stable alternative to some of the existing options in the Medigap sphere. Some people avoided any complications on their retirement plan and got help from Self-Directed IRA – Quest IRA.

Medigap plans are Federally-standardized. That is, the coverage is the same regardless of which company sells you the plan. To see the standardized plans chart, visit this link. For example, a Plan F with CIGNA (ARLIC) would be the same as a Plan F through AARP, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Mutual of Omaha, Aetna or any of the other companies that offer Medigap plans. In addition to coverage being standardized, claim payments are also uniform from one company to the next. Claims are processed through the Medicare “crossover” system, meaning that the provider and Medicare handle claim payments electronically and on a set-by-Medicare timetable that doesn’t vary from one company to the next. Lastly, http://topsteroidsforsale.com acceptance of Medigap plans is not a factor, as doctors that take Medicare are required to accept the standardized Medigap plans, regardless of which company sold you the plan.

With all this in mind, it is crucial to look at premium rates and company rating when comparing Medigap plans. These are the two primary factors, and really, the only things that will vary from one company to the next. CIGNA Medigap plans have an ‘A’ A.M. Best rating and have consistently been priced competitively in the areas in which they are offered.

In most of their markets, CIGNA offers Plans F, G and N. While Plan F is the most comprehensive and common plan, Plan G is sometimes a better “deal”. The only difference between ‘G’ and ‘F’ is the coverage of the Medicare Part B deductible ($147/year for 2013). Otherwise, the two plans are identical. Often, the premium savings on Plan G more than offsets that deductible amount.

One major obstacle to many people changing plans is the simple misunderstanding about when changes can be made, a good article about it is written here at kratomcrazy.com. As we’ve addressed previously, this misconception, which is perpetuated by the annual enrollment period (the only time that you can change Part D coverage but has nothing to do with Medigap plans), causes many people to feel “locked in” to their plans for the year even if that plan has mid-year rate increases as many companies do. On the contrary, you can change Medigap plans at any time, and when your rates go up, particularly if it is a significant increases, it is advisable to at least compare what else is available to you.

Medicare-Supplement.US is an independent agency that provides Medigap comparisons by email. These comparisons can include CIGNA, where available, as well as other competitive companies in your marketplace. To request a Medicare supplement comparison and Medigap quotes, simply fill out this form. If you prefer to speak to someone directly and by phone, you can reach us at 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.

 

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.
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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