4 Mistakes Retirees Make in Choosing a Medicare Plan

What are the 4 mistakes you can make in choosing a Medicare plan? Do you understand the difference in original Medicare and private Medicare Advantage? medicare shock1 150x150 4 Mistakes Retirees Make in Choosing a Medicare PlanDo you assume the plan your friends bought is best for you? Did you ask a knowledgeable agent to help or just shop online to find a plan? Have you budgeted for the total cost of health care? Don’t make the same mistake Tony made.

Many consumers start by shopping online, which is not a bad way to go as long as you understand the results. Others ask their friends about the kind of coverage they have. Nothing wrong with that as long as your friends researched and understood their options.

Sadly, too many end up repeating the same mistakes their friend made an only realize when it is too late to make a change.

Shop and compare over 170 different plans in the comfort of your home.


Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage

You might be surprised at how many fail to understand the difference in original Medicare vs. a private Medicare Advantage plan. They think their Advantage plan is a supplement to Medicare.

say what 300x186 4 Mistakes Retirees Make in Choosing a Medicare PlanIt’s not.

Medicare annual open enrollment is when everyone can make changes in their plan.


Medicare and a supplement is more expensive than Medicare Advantage.

It depends.

Original Medicare allows you to use any doctor, lab or hospital without penalty. You can travel anywhere in the country and have the same level of coverage as you have at home. You can keep the same plan, and doctor, from year to year.

Medicare Advantage picks doctors for you. If you use someone that is not in network, you pay a penalty. Your doctor can be fired from the plan in the middle of the year. United Healthcare has made headlines because they told participating doctors they were no longer needed, leaving patients high and dry.

Can you afford to make that mistake?


Letting your friends pick a plan for you

Have you ever had a friend set you up for a blind date? Oh, they mean well, but most of the time you will smile and be pleasant while inside you are saying to yourself “What were they thinking?”. blind date 290x300 4 Mistakes Retirees Make in Choosing a Medicare Plan

One of the 4 mistakes many people make is buying the same plan a friend has. If you follow this philosophy you will probably buy a $0 premium Medicare Advantage plan or buy Medigap plan F from United Healthcare (AARP), Blue Cross or one of the current Mutual of Omaha companies.

What could be better than $0 premium? And your doctor(s) are in network so is there anything else to consider?

Or plan F pays 100% of my health care costs. It must be a great plan, right?

The $0 premium plan with $0 deductible might be just right, but did you estimate what your health care costs will be?

And about that plan F.

Depending on your age, gender and zip, Medicare supplement plan rates vary considerably. I recently ran a quote for a female, age 65, in Conyers. The United Healthcare (AARP) plan F was 19th on the list of plans ranked from lowest premium to highest. Blue Cross was 23rd.

If you are really sold on plan F you could have saved $350 a year (or more) if you had purchased from someone OTHER than the name brand carrier.

You would have saved even more, almost $600 a year, by choosing plan G ………. a plan not offered by United or Blue.


Shopping online

Amazon is the worlds largest retail shopping mall. You can find almost anything you want. Sometimes it is a good price, sometimes not. When the purchase arrives, if you don’t like it you can return it.

Buying a Medicare plan online isn’t the same thing.

Too often you won’t know if you like the plan until you actually use it. By then it may be too late to exchange it.

If you go to Medicare.gov there is a lot of information about Medicare Advantage and drug plans, but almost nothing usable when it comes to Medigap.

A common piece of advice on Medicare Advantage is to make sure your doctor is in network but how many times do you stop to check your medication list?

Most people don’t, especially the DIY crowd.

Big mistake.

The biggest hassle in online shopping is landing on a site that will sell your information to dozens of insurance agents. Your phone won’t stop ringing and your email will be stuffed with “buy me” notices.

Georgia Medicare Plans never sells your information to anyone. We call once. That’s it. You decide if you want more information.

Shop and compare now.

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Tony almost made a $6,000 mistake

Tony is turning 65. Like everyone else he is bombarded with information about available plans. And Tony has asked friends which plan they have and would recommend.

But Tony also likes to do his own research. That’s how he found me.

bag of money 234x300 4 Mistakes Retirees Make in Choosing a Medicare PlanMost of his friends have a $0 premium Medicare Advantage plan. Tony has a chronic condition that is under control and he has doctors he trusts. He wants a plan that includes his current doctors.

Tony was proactive and asked his doctors which plans they accept.

“All of them”.

That’s when he found my site. And then he called.

We talked for a few minutes and discussed the differences in original Medicare and a supplement plan vs. Medicare Advantage. Tony was not aware that doctors can be dropped from an Advantage plan in mid year. He also was not aware of the out of network restrictions and penalties. We discussed out easy it is to slip out of network, especially with P.A.R.E. claims.

Then we talked out Medicare and Medigap plans. We also looked at his expected annual cost of health care.

Failing to consider your cost of health care is one of the 4 mistakes almost everyone makes.

But it was the discussion about his meds that brought things to a head.

Tony takes two specific medications to keep his health in control. One is relatively inexpensive, the other is not. He gave me a complete list of his medications and I ran a prescription drug report for him.

After looking over the list I decided to do something I rarely do. Medicare drug reports are quite detailed, and confusing. I normally just show clients the top two plans rather than sending them 20 or more to review.

I repeated the process for the $0 premium Advantage plan he said he wanted.

Then I compared the results.

The Medicare Part D plan with the lowest annual drug costs would result in $3,000 in out of pocket costs for his medications.

The $0 premium plan would have him spending almost $9,000 for the exact same medications.

If Tony had taken the advice of his friends and purchased the $0 premium Advantage plan he would have made a $6,000 mistake.

Can you afford to make that kind of error?

Give us a call to discuss plans that fit your needs AND budget. Or you can start the process by using our online instant quote engine.




#MedicareAdvantage #Medicareannualopenenrollment

Credit Card Thieves Targeting You

Credit card thieves have ingenious ways of stealing your money. These crooks are stealing your money right under your nose. credit card theft 300x192 Credit Card Thieves Targeting You

A man at a local restaurant paid for his meal with his credit card. The bill for the meal came, he signed it and the waitress folded the receipt and passed the credit card along.

Usually, he would just take it and place it in his wallet or pocket. Funny enough, though, he actually took a look at the card and, lo and behold, it was the expired card of another person. Credit card thieves trying to steal money right under his nose.

He called the waitress and she looked perplexed.

She took it back, apologized, and hurried back to the counter under the watchful eye of the man.


Medicare supplement carriers are ripping you off with your approval. Georgia retirees are overpaying an average of $450 for their Medigap plan. We save our clients that much or more by moving them to a quality carrier that offers the EXACT SAME coverage for a lower price.

We showed one Georgia couple how to save over $1700 per year by changing our their Mutual of Omaha plan F for the exact same coverage.

No loss of coverage. Pocket over $1700 in savings.

Did you know there are over 170 different Medigap plans in Georgia? Shop and compare Medigap plans instantly. Click to save.


All the waitress did while walking to the counter was wave the wrong expired card to the counter cashier, and the counter cashier immediately looked down and took out the real card. Credit card thieves are stealing thousands each day with this simple trick.

No exchange of words — nothing! She took it and came back to the man with an apology..

Verdict Make sure the credit cards in your wallet are yours.

Check the name on the card every time you sign for something and/or the card is taken away for even a short period of time.

Many people just take back the credit card without even looking at it, ‘assuming’ that it has to be theirs.


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?