Home Depot and Medicare

The first time I walked into Home Depot I was overwhelmed. All I wanted was a hammer. What I didn’t know was, what kind of hammer I needed. Home Depot must have had 50 different kinds of hammers. hammers and medicare 300x171 Home Depot and Medicare

All I wanted was to drive a few nails into some lumber.

Medicare is the same way, but different.

When you turn 65 and enter into the Medicare system for the first time it can be like my venture to Home Depot. It can be very overwhelming.

Feel free to browse around our Medicare “store” where you can shop and compare plans with one click in the comfort of your home.

medicareplansgeorgia Home Depot and Medicare


Home Depot knows hammers

Did you know there are claw hammers, tack hammers, ball pein hammers, cross pein hammers, club hammers, sledge hammers …………

The list goes on.

Fortunately for me there were people who knew how to help me. What kind of project am I doing? Am I handy with tools? Will there be other projects next year? How much can I afford to pay for a hammer? Do I need anything to go with my hammer, such as band-aids? Will I need an electric hammer or will a manual one work?

So many questions. Who knew that choosing a hammer would be so difficult?

The same is true with Medicare.


Choosing a Medicare plan is like picking out a hammer

cartoon medicare more complicated than rocket science 300x300 Home Depot and Medicare When you turned 65 you probably talked to your friends about Medicare. What kind of plan did they have? Did they like it? Why did they buy it?

You also have received tons of stuff in the mail. Some from Medicare but most from insurance carriers pushing their plan.

Medicare used to be simple.

You turned 65. You went on Medicare. You picked out a supplement plan.

Now there are drug plans and Advantage plans. PPO’s, HMO’s, POS plans and more.

Let’s face it. You’re not in Kansas any more.

Too bad there’s not a Home Depot for Medicare.


No Home Depot, but you can get close

More like an Amazon for Medicare.

Georgia Medicare Plans is like shopping on Amazon for Medicare but with the personal service and expert advice you expect from a Home Depot.

Welcome to our “store”.

We welcome the DIY crowd at Georgia Medicare Plans. Feel free to look around, compare rates and plans. Make yourself at home.

We are here to help and answer any questions, but only if you need it. There is never any pressure to buy anything. You are free to enter and leave at your discretion, but we hope you will stay and ask a few questions.

Bob Vineyard has worked in the health insurance field since 1975 and specifically focused on Medicare for the last 5 years. We understand your frustrations.

You have questions. We have answers.

What is the difference in Medicare Advantage and Medicare supplement? What is a Medigap plan? Do I need a drug plan if I don’t take any medications? Which plans are accepted by my doctor? Which plans pay better than others? Which ones do not require me to file a claim? Is Medicare supplement plan F better than a Medicare Advantage plan? Do I need a supplement plan to go with my Advantage plan?

We are like Home Depot and Amazon. Personalized help and online shopping.


May I help you?

The most dreaded words in retail.

Most of the time we look away and say “No thank you, I am just looking”. Never make eye contact. If you do you know to get ready for a sales pitch.

At Georgia Medicare Plans there are no sales pitches. We don’t pester you to make an appointment. I won’t come to your home. I won’t try to sell you something you don’t need or want.

Most people that turn 65 think they are shopping for a Medicare plan. bob on fb Home Depot and Medicare

They are wrong.

What they really need is someone that knows the Medicare system and can explain it in ways they can understand ………….. in 10 minutes or less ………….. over the phone.

You are not shopping for a plan. You are shopping for an agent. That’s me on the right, in the Chop House at Turner Field.

I am here to help.

And I won’t make you buy a hammer.

Who Has the Best Medigap Plans in Georgia?

Which Georgia carrier has the best Medigap plans? Who has the lowest rates for GA Medicare supplement insurance? Will all doctors take my Medigap plan? Am I better off to buy direct from a well known carrier? low medigap rates 300x199 Who Has the Best Medigap Plans in Georgia?


Best Medigap plans

With over 170 plans to pick from, it is almost impossible for you to find the best Medigap plan on your own.

There are 11 CMS approved plan designs from over 30 carriers. Georgia seniors wanting to shop and compare will find it difficult to see rates from more than 3 or 4 carriers and they will almost always consider plan F without examining the merits of other plans.

Getting Medigap rates from BCBSGA, Humana, Mutual of Omaha and United Healthcare (AARP) are relatively easy. But a careful shopper will not stop there unless they have buckets of money to throw away for the same coverage.


Barbara has A-fib

Last week I talked with Barbara. Very nice lady with a delightful sense of humor.  She was in the middle of baking a cake for her son who was home on leave and getting ready to be deployed overseas.

It was his favorite. A chocolate bundt cake.

I told her we could talk any time but she insisted on getting answers now. All she had to do for the next 40 minutes was watch her cake in the oven so now was as good a time as any.

Barbara bought a Mutual of Omaha plan F when she turned 65. She just had a birthday and Mutual of Omaha’s “gift” was a rate increase. Her new premium will be over $220 per month for a plan that started out 3 years ago less than $150.

Barbara wants something more affordable. After reading some of my articles she decided that her Medigap plan F probably wasn’t the best choice. She knows that all Medigap plans with the same letter are identical in every way, except the premium. Can she get plan F at a lower price?

I told her that is entirely possible but she will have to pass medical underwriting. If she is approved she can purchase Medicare supplement plan F for $150 per month. A better choice would be plan N for $103 per month …………….. less than half what Mutual of Omaha will charge her.

But there is a problem.

Last year Barbara was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, also known as A-fib.

We have a number of carriers to pick from. Each one has different underwriting rules. All of them would reject her due to irregular heart rhythm.

The Mutual of Omaha rate was good (not great, just good) when she originally bought the plan, but now it is quite expensive and getting more so. Changing to a Medicare Advantage plan will give her a lower premium, but she had an Advantage plan before and didn’t like the idea of changing plans and doctors every year.

If you are looking for the best Medigap plans in Georgia, we can help you choose wisely.


Finding the lowest rate

Most seniors will compare plan F, pick the lowest rate and move on.

That’s the worst thing you can do.

Finding the best Medigap plan is a process.

  • Which plan is best suited to your needs and budget
  • Which carriers increase rates by 10% or more on renewal?
  • Which carriers have dropped plans?
  • What happens to policyholders that buy plans that are discontinued?
  • What happens to policyholders that buy from carriers that withdraw from the market?
  • How difficult is it to change plans in the future?
  • Should you shop every year or stay put?
  • Buy direct from a carrier or through a captive agent?

These are just a few things to consider.

Hardly a day goes by when I don’t talk to someone that bought their Medicare supplement plan without really understanding what they have. (The same is true, and even more so, with Medicare Advantage but that is another story entirely).

They buy a plan because of a celebrity endorsement, because “everyone knows this company”, because all my friends have this plan, or any number of reasons that seemed like a good decision at the time.


Simple rules for finding the best Medigap plan.

Medicare isn’t that hard, once you understand the process.

  • Don’t buy what your friends did (unless your friends are clients of mine)
  • You probably don’t want or need plan F
  • All medical providers that participate in Medicare will take ANY Medigap plan
  • You probably don’t need a “name brand” unless you like paying too much
  • So-called “family discounts” are normally used by carriers that charge too much
  • Silver Sneakers is a great program if you don’t mind paying an extra $50 per month or so to have “free” membership
  • If you want a Silver Sneakers plan, we have it
  • The carrier with the lowest Medigap rates will probably be one of the highest in 2 years


Buying from Georgia Medicare Plans

We have a simple philosophy. We never recommend any plan we wouldn’t buy for ourselves or our family. We have over 300 Medicare clients and I can count on one hand the number of times I have had to move a client because of a rate increase. Roughly 90% of my clients buy from the same carrier (someone you probably have never heard of) and most of them do not have plan F.

We save our clients more than $450 per year vs. the plan their friends suggested or one they bought without our help.

If you want the best Medigap plan, shop and compare. We are here to help.

medicareshopcompare2 1 Who Has the Best Medigap Plans in Georgia?

What is the Cost of Medigap Plans in Georgia?

In Georgia, what is the cost of Medigap plans? What do Georgia Medigap plans cover? Which companies offer Medicare supplement insurance? Is Medicare plan F the best? Should I buy a plan from Blue Cross or Mutual of Omaha?  FB Groucho Marx3 150x150 What is the Cost of Medigap Plans in Georgia?


What is the cost of Medigap plans in Georgia?

Medigap rates are determined by many factors.

If you are turning 65 and ageing in to Medicare your cost of Medigap coverage is less than you would at age 70 or 75. (This is especially true with AARP United Healthcare rates).

Tobacco users pay more than non-tobacco users.

With most companies, men pay higher rates than women. Some carriers offer teaser discounts if you buy multiple policies. Others quote you low, introductory rates then zap you at each successive renewal.

In most cases you will pay more for a “name brand” carrier vs. one you may never have heard of before. But don’t let that stop you. All Medicare supplement plans with the same letter are required by CMS to offer the EXACT SAME COVERAGE, but they are allowed to charge you whatever price they want.

The carriers are allowed to charge more, or less, according to what the market will bear. But you don’t get a “better” plan by paying more. In most cases if you bought a “blue” plan, one from a mutual company or a plan offered by a large senior organization you paid too much.


Comparing plans in Hartwell, Georgia

Bill and Alice are turning 65 and looking at the cost of Medigap plans in their area. Specifically, they have asked about Medicare supplement plan F because that is what their friends have. They have also asked for rates from Blue Cross and Humana.

I never recommend plan F, and I never suggest buying from a name brand carrier. Even if you have money to burn, there is no need to pay more unless you just feel good about making the carrier and the agent wealthy.

Blue Cross rates for Bill are $176 a month, Humana is $175

Blue Cross rates for Alice are $176 and Humana is $168.

If they want Medigap plan F with either of those carriers I will be happy to assist. But I am obligated to tell them they can get the exact same plan for $40 – $50 less each.

They can save even more by picking something other than plan F.

If they follow my advice they will save well over $1400 per year.

Or they can listen to their friends, buy plan F from the Blue company, and fritter away $120 per month and have nothing to show for it. Pride and folly can be expensive.


What do Georgia Medigap plans cover?

All Medigap plans are standardized and the benefit structure is dictated by CMS. Georgia Medicare supplement plans are required to cover approved Medicare Part A and Part B approved expenses.

Medigap plan F covers 100% of approved Part A and B expenses. The 10 other plans available in Georgia pay something less than 100% but still deliver great value.

Over 90% of our clients have something OTHER THAN plan F and enjoy the savings.


Which companies offer Medicare supplement insurance?

There are more than 30 carriers that write Medicare supplement insurance in Georgia. Most seniors focus on the names they recognize and ignore the rest. In most cases they are paying more than they should without getting additional value.

We have been buying gasoline from Costco for several years now. Every time we fill up we save anywhere from $0.05 to $0.10 per gallon and sometimes even more than that. For every 15 gallons we average saving more than $1 per tank.

That may not sound like much but it adds up. Every dollar saved on a tank of gas is a dollar we can use somewhere else.

If you are like Bill and Alice and we could show you how to save $80 – $100 per month on the cost of Medigap coverage, would you be interested?

With over 170 different Medigap plans I know we can help you find a plan that fits your needs and budget. If we help you save over $500 a year then a few minutes on the phone with us was worth your time, right?

medicareplansgeorgia What is the Cost of Medigap Plans in Georgia?

Is Medicare Enough? Do You Need a Medigap Plan?

Fill the gaps in Medicare with a Medigap plan. Medicare covers about 64% of your health care costs. Who pays the rest? Do you need a supplement plan? How do Medicare supplement plans work? happy old man in yard 300x225 Is Medicare Enough? Do You Need a Medigap Plan?


Filling the gaps with a Medigap plan

Medicare doesn’t cover everything. What is the best way to budget for unexpected medical bills not paid by Medicare due to deductibles and coinsurance?

Medicare doesn’t cover at all — and estimates are that a typical couple will ultimately need about $250,000 for medical expenses not covered by Medicare.

That’s a lot of cash. Which is why 90 percent of Medicare beneficiaries have some form of supplemental insurance, a Medigap plan. Where do they get it?

  • 25 percent join Medicare Advantage programs, which provide more complete health coverage

  • 33 percent have employer- or military-sponsored coverage

  • 15 percent have Medicaid, the state health insurance program for the poor

  • 17 percent purchase a Medicare supplemental insurance program, fondly called “Medigap.”

Readers Digest

Medicare Advantage plans, while popular, aren’t for everyone. Most have limited doctor networks and high out of pocket limits, especially if you receive out of network medical care. Many seniors have difficulty with all the moving parts in an Advantage plan. Most are not aware of how much an Advantage plan really costs, until it is too late.

That’s why informed seniors in Georgia opt for a Medigap plan.

But which one is best?


What you need to know about a Medigap plan

Medigap plans are standardized. It says so in the 2014 Medicare booklet, Choosing a Medigap Policy. “Cost is the only difference between Medigap policies with the same letter sold by different insurance companies” (page 13).

Here’s what you need to know about the wonderful world of Medigap insurance.

  • Meet the basic requirements. You must have already enrolled in Medicare Part A and B in order to buy a Medigap plan.
  • Get the real thing. All Medigap policies must be labeled “Medicare Supplemental Insurance” and follow all Federal and state regulations related to Medigap policies.
  • If you want it, get it now.“Now” being when you enroll in Medicare Part B (you’re eligible the first day of the month in which you turned 65, but you can wait). For the first six months after you sign up for Part B, all Medigap programs must accept you and must cover all preexisting conditions. They also can’t charge you more based on past or present health problems. This is known as “guaranteed issue rights,” or Medigap protections.After that first six months, however, plans can turn you down if you have preexisting health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer. The good news? Once you’re in, you’re in for life; the insurance company can’t cancel your policy unless you stop paying your premiums, lied on your application form, or the company goes bankrupt.

It is rare for a Medigap carrier to go bankrupt, but not unusual for them to withdraw from the market completely or discontinue a plan. When that happens you may be stuck with ever increasing premiums.

AFLAC got into the Medicare supplement market in 2012 then promptly withdrew 16 months later. Those who bought a Medigap plan from them were stuck unless they were healthy enough to qualify for a plan with another carrier.

Mutual of Omaha offered Medigap plan N in 2010 then discontinued the plan in 2011. Rates have steadily risen, often by double digits, since then for those who were stuck with that policy. Blue Cross of Georgia suddenly stopped writing Medicare supplement plans G and Hi F at the beginning of 2014.

Don’t get stuck in a plan you can’t live with long term.


How do Medigap plans work?

Simply stated, approved Medicare Part A and Part B expenses not paid by Medicare due to deductibles and coinsurance crossover to your Medicare supplement plan. Medigap plan F is the most popular. It is also the most expensive and pays the highest commission to the agent pushing that plan.

You probably don’t need Medigap plan F, even if you can afford it.

With over 170 different plans in Georgia, how to you find the right one for you?

Bob Vineyard at Georgia Medicare Plans can walk you through your options in a 15 minute phone call. You will understand the different plans and how they work. You will learn which carriers have a stable history in Georgia and which ones are brand new.

(We only recommend plans that have been in the Medicare market 3 years or longer. Find out why).

Ready to start looking? Shop and compare Medigap plans now.

medicareshopcompare2 1 300x98 Is Medicare Enough? Do You Need a Medigap Plan?


#GeorgiaMedicarePlans #MedicareSupplement #MedigapPlan

How Do I Find the Best Medicare Supplement Plan in Georgia?

Looking for the best Medicare supplement plan in Georgia? Where to start? How much will it cost? How can I save money but still have the best Medigap plan?


The best Medicare supplement plan in Georgia

The best plan is the one that meets your needs and budget. Medicare sheep 300x225 How Do I Find the Best Medicare Supplement Plan in Georgia?

All Medigap plans assigned the same letter are identical in every way. Medicare says it. Look it up.

Every way except the premium you pay.

Over half the seniors that have a Medigap plan choose plan F.

Almost 3 out of 4 Georgia seniors buy their coverage from Blue Cross, AARP (United Healthcare) or the “Mutual” company.

Did they get the best Medicare supplement plan in Georgia?

No, they simply followed the crowd.

My mother used to say “If Greg jumped off a cliff would you want to also?”.

Just because your friends bought plan F from a “big name” carrier doesn’t mean it is the right choice for you.


Four things  you need to know about Medigap plans

Medicare supplement plan F is the most expensive plan available in Georgia.

Plans offered by the top 3 Medigap carriers in Georgia are some of the most expensive plans.

The more you pay for your plan the more money the carrier and the agent make off your monthly premium.

When you pay more you don’t get more, you simply paid too much.


So where do you start your search for the best Medicare supplement plan in Georgia?

You start where you are right now.

FB Groucho Marx3 150x150 How Do I Find the Best Medicare Supplement Plan in Georgia?Bob Vineyard and Georgia Medicare Plans have access to over 170 different Medicare plans and rates. That’s a bit overwhelming.

But you don’t have to call insurance carriers or invite agents into your home. We shop the market for you and show you the best Medigap plans available based on your needs and budget.

And you can do this on your time frame, in the comfort of your home.

I don’t have to come to your home. You won’t have to come see me.

How easy is that?

I have been doing this a long time. This is not a hobby or sideline for me. This is the way I earn my living.

Two things happen when I treat you right.

You save money every month (unless you decide to follow the sheep).

We both sleep better at night.

You get to count your money saved rather than counting sheep.


How do you shop for the best plan?

It depends.

Do you want rates fast or faster?

If you want fast rates, complete and submit this request form. I will respond in 24 hours or less. 

If you want faster rates, click the image below.

Easy peasy.

medicareshopcompare2 1 How Do I Find the Best Medicare Supplement Plan in Georgia?