Best Medicare Supplements – What Are the Best Options for Your Age and Zip Code?

The best Medicare Supplement plans are easy to find. Keep in mind that, with Medicare Supplement insurance, plans are standardized, so the “best” plans are the ones that are the least expensive.

The easiest way to find these least expensive plans is to do a medicare supplement comparison. This will show you exactly which plans are competitively-priced for your age and zip code. Many people attempt to include other factors in their comparison of the “best” Medicare Supplements; however, the fact remains that everything except price is equal.

Some things that do NOT help determine which is the best Medicare Supplement are:

  1. Which company “pays better”. The reality is that all companies pay the same. They each pay through the Medicare “crossover” system. This system dictates that all companies pay the same amount for a service/procedure and all pay in a timely manner.
  2. Which supplement is accepted by more doctors. Many people think that, just because they have heard of a company or plan, it means that a doctor is more likely to have heard of it also and thus more likely to accept it. However, with Medicare Supplements, as long as you have a standardized Medicare Supplement plan (i.e. G, F, N, etc.), your doctor/hospital must take the plan if they take Medicare.
  3. Which plan has the most coverage. Again, since plans are standardized, a Plan F with one company is the exact same as a Plan F with another company. So, one company simply does not have more coverage than another.
  4. Which plan has been in business the longest. This also is not a factor in how a company pays, what kind of coverage they offer, etc. With Medicare Supplements, these plans are Federally-standardized so there are not differences from one company to another.
  5. Which plan has the best television commercials. This is, obviously, not important in comparing plans. I just include this to say that you will get swamped with information about Medicare (TV, mail, phone, etc) if you are turning 65 or comparing plans. It is important that you have a good understanding of HOW to compare plans so that when you do compare, you can choose the best Medicare Supplement for you.

So in short, these things above just simply don’t matter. The only thing that matters when comparing Medicare Supplement plans to find the best Medicare Supplements for your age and zip code is price. Ultimately, your monthly premium is the only thing that differentiates one Medicare Supplement from another. If you want to get a rate quote chart that offers a Medicare supplement comparison of the plans available in your area, please contact us on our website or by calling 877.506.3378.

Medicare Supplement Annual Enrollment Period – Is There One?

One of the common myths with Medicare Supplement insurance is that there is an annual open enrollment period. Many seniors, either through faulty information or incorrect assumptions, believe that there is an annual period, during which you can sign up for Medicare Supplements or change your current Medicare Supplement insurance. On the contrary, you can change Medicare supplement plans at any time – there is no set enrollment period.

One of the main reasons for this incorrect belief is that there IS an annual enrollment period for Medicare Part D (prescription coverage) and Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage), which people often mistakenly refer to as a Medicare supplement. The enrollment period for these types of plans is November 15-December 31 of each year (this time period is changing for 2011, but these are the dates for the 2010 annual election period).

That said, the end of the year is an excellent time to review your Medicare Supplement coverage and make any necessary changes. Medicare Supplement coverage does not change on an annual basis like Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D. The plans are the same over time; however, your rates do change. Some companies change rates based on your age (this usually occurs around your birthday), other companies change rates annually (this occurs 1/1 of each year), and other companies change rates on your policy anniversary date. Either way, when your rate changes, it is highly likely that you are able to switch to an equal plan from a different company and save money on your coverage.

It is advisable to re-evaluate your Medicare Supplement / Medigap coverage on at least a bi-annual basis, as insurance is a rapidly changing field that requires one to be aware of current rates and trends. In the last year in many areas of the country, Medicare Supplement rates have actually gone down due to new companies entering the marketplace and new plans being released (Medigap Plan N). This means that now is a better time than ever to re-evaluate your coverage and make a change if you find that you can save money for equal coverage.

To receive a full comparison of Medigap quotes for your age and zip code, you can contact us at Medicare supplement quote or toll-free at 877.506.3378.

PARTS of Medicare vs. Medigap PLANS – Understanding the Difference

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 $110.50/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. In order to have prescription drug coverage, 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. Medicare-Supplement-Comparison.com is 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.

2011 Part D Information – Breaking News About Premiums, Donut Hole Coverage

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released today the projected average premium for the Part D plans in 2011. Projected numbers for 2011 show that the monthly premiums will increase by approximately $1, from $29 in 2010 to $30 in 2011. This is good news for Medicare Part D policyholders who feared large increases in the Part D premiums next year.

With some of the changes caused by PPACA (i.e. “health insurance reform”), some Medicare enrollees, as well as some in the insurance industry expected the Part D premiums to increase a good bit for next year. So, this news is welcome.

The PPACA, which was signed into law in March, changed some of the benefit structure for Part D. The changes that beneficiaries will see from this include a 50% reduction in brand-name co-pays when they are in the “donut hole” and a 7% reduction in generic co-pays when they are in the “donut hole”. This will greatly help anyone who reaches the “donut hole” to save on their medications while they are in that coverage gap.

To get more information about Medicare Part D or these changes, visit Medicare Supplement Quote. You can also request information on Medicare Supplement plans (Medigap) and/or Medicare Advantage.

FOUR COMMON MYTHS ABOUT MEDICARE / MEDIGAP PLANS

In talking to hundreds of folks each week who are on Medicare from around the country, we hear some pretty “wild” things. Whether given the wrong information by news media, an unscrupulous or misinformed agent, or just assuming something to be true that is not, there is a lot of misinformation about Medicare and Medigap plans. Here are a few we’ve heard recently that fall on the “MYTH” side of the TRUTH vs. MYTH divide.

  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 November 15-December 31 each year. 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 Nov. 15-March 31. 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. I 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. Different companies use different criteria to change rates, but there are not any plans that do not go up in price over time.

Health Insurance & Respiratory Diseases – Getting Insured

Facing a challenging medical diagnosis can be overwhelming. There are many things that can cause stress in a situation like this, not the least of which is getting or maintaining appropriate health insurance to keep your health care expenses down.

COPD, which is a progressive respiratory disorder that makes breathing difficult, can be particularly difficult when applying for health insurance. Here are some tips on getting insured, even if you have this diagnosis:

Under-65: Individual Health Insurance

Individual health insurance companies require you to answer health questions and look into your medical history when you apply for a plan. Because of this, having COPD can be a problem when applying, as this is generally a questions that is asked in order for you to qualify for a plan. Here are a couple solutions to the problem of being declined for health insurance because you have COPD:

  1. The first and easiest way to get insured is to find coverage through either your, or a spouse’s, employer. Employer group plans typically do not ask medical questions, and although they may exclude coverage of pre-existing conditions for 6 or 12 months, you can have complete coverage after that time period.
  2. The second way is to investigate high-risk pools. Over thirty states currently maintain high-risk pools. This coverage is expensive; however, if you have a good number of medical expenses with more expected, it can certainly be worth it.
  3. The last option is to move. That sounds like a lot of work to have coverage, but if your situation is dire enough, you could move to one of five states (NY, NJ, VT, MA, and ME), which require “guaranteed issue” (i.e. the insurance companies cannot turn you down).

Over-65: Medicare-Age Insurance

When you turn 65 and go on Medicare, you do not have to qualify medically, obviously. Also, you have a 6-month period following that 65 birthday, during which you can compare Medicare supplement quotes and sign up for a plan without having to qualify medically for the supplement. This ensures that you will have full coverage, with no out of pocket costs. Medicare covers 80%, and the supplement covers the other 20%.

If you do NOT sign up for a plan during this open enrollment period, you can always sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan later. These plans do not provide as comprehensive of coverage; however, they also do not ask any medical questions to qualify you.

If you want more information about finding a Medicare plan if you have COPD, you can get a Medigap quote or contact us at 877.506.3378.