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.

Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplemental Plan N – A Great Alternative to Being Declined Coverage

Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement Plan N is a “Guaranteed Issue” plan. What this means is that they offer this plan on a no health questions asked basis to all who apply. This is one of the few plans offered like this, nationwide. In some states, there are special times of the year or other special circumstances that allow everyone an open enrollment period with no health questions asked.

But, generally speaking, you do have to qualify medically when you sign up for a Medicare supplement plan. In the case of Mutual of Omaha’s Plan N, though, this is not the case.

This has truly been a benefit for those who have been previously unable to get coverage. Those who have health problems ongoing or have a history of health problems generally get declined by Medicare Supplement plans, when they apply. This allows them an option, in which they will not get declined.

Plan N is a new Medicare Supplement plan – it began on June 1, 2010. It has been successful as an appealing plan to those who are losing, or leaving, Medicare Advantage plans, which have encountered significant cuts for 2011, in most areas. Plan N does have a $20 doctor’s office co-pay, as well as a $50 emergency room co-pay. Additionally, it does not cover the Medicare Part B deductible of $162/year. That said, it still covers the 20% not covered by Medicare at the hospital so that, between Medicare and your supplement plan, you have little to no cost for hospital visits, or stays.

We believe Plan N, which is offered at an even lower price point than other supplement plans, is a great alternative to those who cannot get other coverage, have been declined or are simply paying too much for an overpriced Plan F. Plan N allows significant premium savings (as much as 50-60% lower than Plan F prices) while still giving you the hospital coverage and doctor flexibility that you need from your supplement plan.

If you want a customized quote, or if we can assist in providing additional Plan N information, please let us know. You can reach us at toll-free 877.506.3378 or request a Medicare Supplement quote. Alternatively, you can visit our Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement page for more information about this company and their plans.

Medigap Plan N – The Optimal Alternative to Medicare Advantage

Many Medicare Advantage plans are not offering coverage for 2011. What this means is that many Medicare-eligible seniors are being forced to face tough decisions about replacing their Medicare Advantage plans. It also means, however, that they are “Guaranteed Issue” into some Medigap plans. This gives them an opportunity to move to the stability and flexibility of the Medigap program and easily get out of the floundering Medicare Advantage programs.

The Medigap plan that most closely resembles what one might be used to with Medicare Advantage is the Plan N. Plan N is a new Medigap plan that combines the stability and flexibility of Medigap coverage with the low premiums and minimal co-pays that are a part of Advantage plans. Here are some details about Plan N, if you aren’t already familiar with it:

  • With Plan N, you can go to any doctor that takes Medicare. There are no networks or referrals needed.
  • Plan N covers the 20% that Medicare doesn’t cover at the hospital.
  • Plan N has a $20 doctor’s office co-pay and a $50 emergency room co-pay.
  • Plan N DOES cover the Medicare Part A deductible of $1,100. It DOES NOT cover the Medicare Part B deductible of $155/year.
  • Plan N is, in some cases, “guaranteed issue”. This means that you can get this plan without having to answer medical questions or go through medical underwriting.

Plan N is certainly a reasonable option for those on Medicare who wish to (or have to) replace their Medicare Advantage plans for 2011. Plan N is a viable alternative that allows you to return to “original” Medicare A & B and have a supplement that’s designed to go with Medicare and fill in the majority of the gaps in Medicare A & B.

To get a Medigap Plan N quote for your age and zip code, or to get quotes on all supplement plans in your area, please visit Medigap Plan N quotes or call us 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.

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.

Does Medicare Cover Preventive Care?

Here is a bullet-point list of some of the preventive care that Medicare covers (most people think Medicare doesn’t cover preventive care at all – not true):

– “Welcome to Medicare” physical (within 1st 6 mos.)

– Cardiovascular screening (once every 5 years)

– Mammograms (once a year)

– Cervical screening (once every 2 years)

– Prostate screening (once every year)

– Colorectal screening (varies depending on type and history)

– Glaucoma tests (once every year)

– Shots (varies)

– Bone density tests (once every 2 years)
and more!

See Medicare’s booklet on the topic here: www.medicare.gov/
Publications/Pubs/pdf/10110.pdf

Medicare and Medicare Supplement Insurance in 2011 – What We Know & What We Don’t Know

It’s hard to think of Jan. 1 when it’s 95+ degrees outside, like it has been in most parts of the country the last month. However, it is August and 2011 will be here before you know it. I anticipate there to be several changes with Medicare and Medicare insurance in 2011. Some of which were in place before the health insurance reform act, some of which are offshoots of the act itself. Here’s a brief look at what we do know and what we don’t know so far:

What We Do Know

  • Medigap coverage is not changing on 1/1/11. Your coverage will never change, unless you willingly change it. The plans are standardized and the same from company to company.
  • Medicare Advantage plans will be required, in 2011 and on, to have a network in place. In other words, PFFS plans, which is what most of the plans have been in the past, will be extinct. Those companies that do PFFS plans will offer the same plans through a network (PPO or HMO-type plan) OR they will cease offering those plans altogether.
  • Several major Medicare Advantage companies will not be participating any longer in the program (i.e. CIGNA) and others will operate in far fewer counties. People in plans that are not renewing have a special enrollment period that starts October 1. They can choose a Medicare Advantage or Medigap plan without having to qualify medically or worry about pre-existing conditions.
  • As a side result of these non-renewing plans, there will be thousands upon thousands of Medicare-eligible individuals having to find new coverage at one time. I expect this to cause an influx of people onto the more stable Medigap plans, which will in turn cause slow turnaround times for Medicare and the companies themselves. In short, if you are one of these people who is losing a plan or are re-evaluating your drug coverage, getting started in October is highly advisable.
  • Medicare Part D is projected to have a smaller, yet to be determined, ‘donut hole’. Over the next 10 years, this ‘donut hole’ is supposed to be closed completely.

What We Don’t Know

  • We don’t know what the fate will be of all the Medicare Advantage companies yet. They are still in the process of filing plans, getting them approved, etc.
  • We don’t know what Part D plans will cover/not cover for next year. Their plans typically aren’t released until mid-October for the Nov. 15 start date.

Sometimes, new Medigap companies/rates come out around the first of the year; however, the information hasn’t been released yet. We will certainly keep you posted on it, as it is released, however, if/when new plans come out.

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 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.