Do Medicare Supplements Offer a Family Discount?

Many times, I get the question about whether Medicare Supplements offer a family discount or whether a husband and a wife can sign up for a joint Medicare Supplement policy. While all Medicare Supplements are separate policies, many companies do offer a husband-wife discount. This discount can provide a significant savings, when you take out a policy with the same company. So whenever possible, it is recommended that you do so.

Often times, there are several companies around the same price for a standardized Medicare supplement plan. Coverage is the same; however, rates can vary considerably. By choosing the company that offers the husband-wife discount, you can reduce your premiums and ensure that you have the lowest possible price for a plan.

Obtaining the Medicare supplement family discount is easy to do. With most companies you can get it whether you apply at the same time or not. Sometimes, if one spouse is on Medicare and the other is not yet age 65, you should consider which companies may offer a discount that will help you later, when you are comparing and selecting plans.

Some of the prominent companies that do offer a husband-wife discount are Mutual of Omaha, Aetna, CIGNA, and AARP / United Healthcare. All of these companies offer a discount on their standardized Medigap plans that allows you to reduce the premium cost of your plans. The amount of the discount varies, but it can be anywhere from 5% to 12%. It also dependent on your state.

One of the new, exciting things with the household discounts in Medicare Supplements is that you do not have to BOTH be on Medicare with some of the companies. Some of the companies now offer the discount just for being married or living with someone over age 60.

When you are comparing Medicare Supplement plans, you should always get a Medicare Supplement quote from a reputable independent agency. They can give you an idea of all the plans that are available for your age and zip code, as well as what the rates for those particular plans are. From that comparison, you can easily determine which option is going to make the most sense for you, since plans are Federally-standardized (coverage is the same from one company to another).

Medicare-Supplement-Comparison.com is a leading, independent brokerage, and we can help provide the Medicare Supplement comparison that you are seeking by email. To obtain this, simply visit Medicare Supplement quotes.

Medicare Supplement Plan G – Looking Better and Better for 2012

Medicare Supplement Plan G is the less-talked-about cousin of Plan F. While ‘F’ gets all the glory and the “it covers everything that Medicare doesn’t” talk, ‘G’ is often overlooked. This pertains to consumers and even the companies themselves, many of which do not offer it. Even some of the largest Medicare Supplement companies in the country have chosen to omit ‘G’ from their plan offerings (including AARP/United Healthcare and Anthem BCBS in many states). Plan F is certainly the most convenient for the companies to explain (pays all deductible and co-pays – end of story) and consumer (don’t have any out of pocket costs for Medicare-covered costs at doctor/hospital); however, is it most convenient for your pocketbook?

The answer to that question comes in two parts – the now and the later. First of all, let’s deal with the “now”. For 2012, Medicare has reduced the Medicare Part B deductible from $162 to $140/year. Not much in insurance goes down, but this has! Politically-motivated or not, this is a “win” for people who have ‘G’, as their annual out of pocket costs have been reduced from $162/year to $140/year. You see, the only plan difference between ‘F’ and ‘G’ is the coverage of that Part B deductible. Now that it is $140/year, we can easily do the math and see that benefit is worth $11.67/month in premiums ($140 divided by 12 months). With that in mind, we can set ourselves to comparing ‘F’ and ‘G’ premiums. Now in nearly all cases, savings on Plan G are equal to or greater than $15/month. The average premium difference I see is around $20. Taking that example, you would save $240/year in exchange for paying $140/year. That’s $100 more than you had before you came to my website!

The 2nd implication in the ‘G’ vs. ‘F’ debate is called adverse selection. Now this is an insurance term that most people may not know. The short of it is that, on average, the people on ‘F’ are less healthy than the people on ‘G’. The reason for this is that ‘F’ is offered in several significant ‘guaranteed issue’ situations (no health questions asked) whereas ‘G’ is not. So say, for example, you’re losing your employer coverage 12/31/11 and you know you have a triple bypass scheduled for January 15, 2012. You can get a Medicare Supplement Plan F under ‘guaranteed issue’ due to losing the employer coverage, but you cannot get a Plan ‘G’. Over thousands and thousands of insureds, this leads to greater increases or more frequent increases on ‘F’ than on ‘G’.

Even after I explain these two facts – and they are facts, not opinions – many people say they prefer Plan F. And, that’s certainly okay. But the key is knowing the facts, not taking Plan F because your aunt who’s a nurse said to or because the commercial during the nightly news talked about it. If you want more information on these plans, what they cost or how they work, call us at 877.506.3378 or visit our website to request information at Medicare Supplement Quotes.

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.

Can I Get Out of My Medicare Advantage Plan?

Many people, once they sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan, ask this question. While Medicare Advantage plans seem appealing at the outset, with their lower premiums, there are some definite “disadvantages”. Although they can be the right choice for some people, some of the disadvantages, such as lack of doctor choice, out of pocket costs, and constant plan changes, make these plans frustrating for some. And, when that happens, some people ask the question: “When can I get out of my Medicare Advantage plan?”

The answer to this question is not as simple as you may think it would be. With Medicare Supplement plans and most other types of insurance, you can simply cancel the plan when you no longer want or need it. However, with Medicare Advantage, it’s not that simple. These plans work on a calendar-year basis, so once you’re in, you’re typically in for the year.

That said, Medicare has established a new Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP). This period runs from January 1, 2011 to February 14, 2011. During this period, you can NOT enroll in a new Medicare Advantage plan (unless you fall into a special set of circumstances); however, you can disenroll from your current Advantage plan. After disenrolling, you can return to “original” Medicare. Then, you have the option of adding a Medicare Supplement plan to supplement your Medicare coverage.

Medicare Supplement plans, contrary to Medicare Advantage plans which replace Medicare, fill in the “gaps” in Medicare coverage. With Medicare Supplement, you pay the monthly premium; then, if you have the top level plan (Plan F), you don’t have any co-pays, deductible or coinsurance to pay out of your pocket. There are also some new Medicare Supplement plans, including Plan N. Plan N is lower-priced (often similarly priced with some of the Advantage plans) and it is very similar to the more comprehensive plans at the hospital. The difference is that you have a small $20 co-pay at the doctor’s office and a $50 co-pay at the emergency room. Plus, you do have to meet the Medicare Part B deductible, which is $162/year.

If you have questions about this new Medicare Advantage disenrollment period or want to evaluate what options are available to you if/when you DO leave your Advantage plan, I recommend (whether it’s us or someone else) speaking to an independent brokerage. They can explain the ramifications of whatever choices you are considering, to ensure that you make the choice that is right for you. You can contact us at 877.506.3378 or at Medicare Supplement quote.

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.

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.

What Does Medicare Cover – The Parts of Medicare and What They Cover

This is typically the first question someone asks when they begin the process of comparing plan options prior to their 65th birthday (or Medicare start date). It is, in its simplest form, the most important base knowledge that you must have to compare plan options in an educated way. This will, in layman’s terms, explain the parts of Medicare and what they cover.

Medicare Part A

What It Covers: Medicare Part A is the most basic part of Medicare. It covers medically necessary hospital, skilled nursing facility, home health and hospice care. If you have Medicare Part A, it covers 80% at the hospital/skilled nursing facility.

Medicare Part A does have a deductible that must be met before the coverage starts. This deductible, for the year 2010, is $1,100.

How to Get It: You pay into the Medicare system in your working years, and that qualifies you for Medicare Part A. There is no additional premium. You get Part A automatically when you either go on Medicare disability (prior to age 65) or when you turn age 65. It starts the first day of the month in which you turn 65.

Medicare Part B

What It Covers: Medicare Part B is an optional part of Medicare. It is the part of Medicare that covers doctor’s visits, doctor’s services, outpatient services, laboratory work, and medical equipment. In order to have full coverage, you have to have both parts A & B. But you are not automatically signed up for B, you have the option of declining it.

How to Get It: As mentioned, Part B is optional. You have the option of declining it when your Medicare starts, although in most situations, you are sent a Medicare card showing effective dates for Parts A & B, and you must notify Medicare if you do not want Part B. Part B, contrary to Part A, does have a monthly premium of $96-110/month depending on income and when you turned 65. Most people pay this as a deduction from the social security checks.

Medicare Part C

What It Covers: Medicare Part C is a privatized version of Medicare called Medicare Advantage. When you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you opt out of the Government’s Medicare coverage and elect to be covered entirely by the private company. These plans vary greatly in their coverage; however, most plans have in common the coverage of doctor/hospital charges, lab work, outpatient, some preventive care (varies greatly) and prescription drugs (optional).

How to Get It: To get a Medicare Advantage plan, you have to sign up through the private company’s agent or directly through the private company itself. You can only do so during designated enrollment periods. Generally speaking, these are when you first turn 65 (three months on either side of your birth month), November 15-December 31 each year, and/or other special enrollment periods such as losing employer coverage, moving to a new state, etc.

Medicare Part D

What It Covers: Medicare Part D covers prescription drugs. These plans are administered through private companies but approved by Medicare. The coverage on the plans varies greatly, and it is essential to compare the details of the plan formularies before choosing one.

How to Get It: Like Part C, you can get these plans through the private company’s agents or directly through the private company. You can only do so during the same enrollment periods as mentioned above.

Medigap Plans

What It Covers: Medigap plans are designed to fill in the “gaps” in Medicare A & B. The plan coverage is standardized from company to company so you can easily compare “apples to apples”.

How to Get It: You must have Medicare A & B to sign up for a Medigap plan. You can sign up for one through the company directly or through an agent. Medicare-Supplement-Comparison is a leading independent agency that works with Medigap (and Parts C & D). If you would like a rate quote comparison of all the options in your area, please visit Medicare Supplement quote.

Getting a Medicare Supplement comparison is an easy way to compare your options for Medicare Advantage, Part D and Medigap plans. Most seniors agree that Medicare, by itself, is not sufficient coverage, and supplementing that is a necessity. If you have any questions about this information, please contact us on our medigap quotes page or at 877.506.3378.

Medicare Payments – Congress Passes Legislation to Postpone Medicare Doctor Cuts

Congress passed legislation today, which President Obama later signed, that spared doctors seeing Medicare patients from a projected 21% fee cut. This bill did not eliminate this proposal completely but rather postponed a decision on it for 6 months (atleast until November). By that time, or at that time, lawmakers propose to work on a more permanent solution that will be lasting.

This bill was passed in a hurry and signed right away by the President because, earlier this week, Medicare officials announced that claims that had already been received would be processed at the lower fees rates. This caused a quick and sudden stir, as well as quick movement by the legislators to get the bill made into law.

Originally, this $6.5 billion bill had been part of a larger bill, which dealt with unemployment subsidies and money to the states to assist in avoiding layoffs. However, Republicans had been blocking this bill because of the cost. Once the Medicare portion of the bill was stripped out to its stand-alone version, however, it was quickly passed.

Many seniors, possibly rightfully so, are worried about accessibility to doctors if a physician fee cut does go through, fearing that this will cause doctors to not accept Medicare patients. However, their fears of this, like the decision on the physician fee cut, can be postponed for a few more months.

Medicare Supplement Comparison is a leading resource for Medicare news and information, as well as Medicare Supplement quotes. MSC.com is presented by Secure Medicare Solutions, a Medicare insurance brokerage that works with numerous insurance companies so that you can compare multiple options in one centralized place.

Medicare Supplement Quotes – The RIGHT Way to “Shop” for a Medicare Supplement Online

To get Medicare Supplement quotes from a variety of companies, shopping for a Medicare Supplement plan online is the wave of the future. In fact, it’s the wave of right now, with ever-increasing numbers of Medicare-age individuals going online for quotes and information. Comparing plans this way is easy to do because you can do it in the comfort of your own home and on your own time. This does not require you to make hasty decisions or feel pressured by a salesperson.

While comparing Medigap options, doing it this way is certainly advisable; however, there are a few things to remember in order to make sure that you make an informed, thorough decision.

  1. First and foremost, keep in mind that, regardless of who you purchase a supplement from, the price is going to be the same. Brokers/agents cannot charge you an additional fee for using them. Likewise, the insurance company does not charge more if you go directly through the company. With this in mind, you can compare without the fear that you are paying more than you should be for a plan.
  2. Plans are completely standardized so there is no difference from one company to another on a “like” plan. This makes it easy to compare “apples to apples”, so to speak. For example, a Plan F with Mutual of Omaha is the exact same as a Plan F with AARP (United Healthcare). And, those Plan F’s are the exact same as Plan F’s from Blue Cross or anyone else you are comparing. With that in mind, price is the primary comparison point, along with the reputation of the company.
  3. There are some distinct advantages to using a brokerage to compare your options. As previously mentioned, rates are the same regardless of whether you have an agent or not. With that in mind, there are some clear-cut advantages to having an agent versus not having one. First of all, an agent can help you compare options from all of the companies that do plans for your area. Secondly, an agent is a ready reference if you have any questions about the application process or your policy (after it is in effect). Third and possibly most important, an agent can help you re-evaluate your options at a later time if you are ever dissatisfied with your current policy. If you sign up directly with the company, they obviously have no incentive to assist you in comparing other options like an agent does.

Overall, comparing your options for a Medicare Supplement plan is easy to do and should not be something that you allow to overwhelm or intimidate you. There are plenty of options and resources online that can assist you in this process, and you should certainly be with an agency/brokerage and insurance company that you personally feel completely comfortable with.

ABOUT US
Medicare-Supplement-Comparison.com is a leading, independent brokerage agency that works exclusively with Medicare insurance. We allow you to compare quotes by email for all of the companies in your area so that you can make an informed decision that you will feel completely comfortable with. Then, after you are enrolled, we provide additional value-added services that you just can’t get in other places. For a Medicare Supplement quote comparison by email, visit: Medicare Supplement Quotes. Or, you can call us at 877.506.3378.

Medicare Supplement Plans – Three Little-Known Ways to Save Money

Many people are talking about saving money these days. It is a primary topic of discussion. Prices for some things seem set in stone, though, as if there is no way to reduce your costs. Most seniors assume that Medicare Supplement plans fall into the “set in stone” category; however, that is not necessarily the case, as there are several significant ways to save money on your Medigap plans.

Below, we have listed three way to save money on your Medigap insurance that many people may not recognize or know about:

  1. Household (husband-wife) Discount – This is probably the easiest way to save money – to have the same plan as your spouse. Not all companies offer this, but the majority of competitively-priced companies do. It is an incentive to keep all of your business (both you and your spouse) with the same company. If you ARE with the same company and are NOT receiving this discount, you should ask your current company about it – or, possibly, find a new company that would be less expensive and/or offer this discount.
  2. Payment Mode Discount – Companies handle this is different ways. Many are less expensive when you pay monthly by bank draft; however, some are still less expensive if you pay annually or semi-annually. Regardless, this is something to look into.
  3. Early Enrollment Discount – A few companies offer an early enrollment discount for those who enroll in their plan within a certain time period after turning 65. This discount usually is reduced over time; however, when enrolling at or near age 65, the discount can make one company’s rates better than another.

Keep in mind that the actual rate for Medicare Supplement plans is set. One agent or broker cannot offer a better rate than another. However, these company-offered discounts can affect the rates a good bit and make rates with one company more competitive than another.

If you are not getting all, or any, of these discounts and you feel like you should qualify, we recommend comparing your coverage to see if there is another company that offers the discounts and would be more advantageous to you financially.

Garrett recommends that you look into these three ways to save money on your Medicare Supplement plan. Even if it doesn’t work out for you, and you are not able to save any money, you don’t have anything to lose. Best case scenario, you find several ways to reduce your premium with either your current company or with another, more advantageous company.