Medicare and You | Foreign Travel

Traveling outside of the United States? Medicare does not tag along. Get GeoBlue travel medical insurance coverage. Don’t leave home without it.

International Travel Medical insurance. Because you can’t count on Tyler Perry paying your health care bills.

An Atlanta couple was not allowed to leave a Mexican hospital because they did not travel medical insurance, and they couldn’t pay their $14,000 bill. Actor Tyler Perry has offered to pay their medical bills and travel costs of returning home.

Foreign Travel – Medicare Stays at Home

Many people believe Medicare will cover your health care costs when traveling outside of the country. While there are some things Medicare MAY cover, don’t count on it. Read Understanding Medicare.

Medicare usually doesn’t cover health care while you’re traveling outside the u.s. There are some exceptions, including some cases where Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) may pay for services that you get on board a ship within the territorial waters adjoining the land areas of the U.S.

Medicare and You Foreign Travel
Medicare and You Foreign Travel

Foreign Travel and Medicare

While Medicare may pay for hospital, doctor or emergency services in a foreign country, don’t count on it. You’re in the U.S. when a medical emergency occurs, and the foreign hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat your medical condition.

Foreign Travel and Medicare

You’re traveling through Canada without unreasonable delay by the most direct route between Alaska and another state when a medical emergency occurs, and the Canadian hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat the emergency. You live in the U.S. and the foreign hospital is closer to your home than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat your medical condition, regardless of whether an emergency exists.

In some cases, Medicare may cover medically necessary health care services you get on board a ship within the territorial waters adjoining the land areas of the U.S. Medicare won’t pay for health care services you get when a ship is more than 6 hours away from a U.S. port.

Medicare drug plans don’t cover prescription drugs you buy outside the U.S.

International Travel Medical Insurance

Because Medicare has limited travel medical coverage outside the U.S., you may choose to buy a travel insurance policy to get more coverage. Travel insurance doesn’t necessarily include health insurance. It’s important to read the conditions or restrictions carefully.

GeoBlue Foreign Medical Coverage

Planning overseas travel? Enjoy your trip and take along GeoBlue coverage.

Actual claims paid by GeoBlue GeoBlue member from Arizona was in southern France on vacation with spouse; they were touring important architecture from the Roman Empire. While attempting to take a photograph, member fell off a ledge, suffering a severe fracture to leg. He was taken immediately by ground ambulance to a public acute facility nearby, the Hôpital Universitaire Carémeau in Nimes. Broken femur, with severe ligament tears. Due to the acute nature of the injury, immediate surgery and rod insertion to repair the break is recommended.

GeoBlue’s medical assistance team screens and approves for appropriateness of care. GeoBlue arranges direct billing at the hospital to cover the expenses. Following surgery, the patient requires inpatient care for 5 days.

GeoBlue monitors the patient’s condition throughout hospital stay. Once the member is medically cleared to fly, GeoBlue coordinates travel back to the U.S. for both the member and spouse.

This coordination includes arranging for upgraded, more comfortable seating and wheelchair assistance. GeoBlue paid over $24,000 for this medical claim.

GeoBlue Voyager Insurance

Voyager Benefits Include: Worldwide Medical Evacuation benefits Hospitalization, Surgery, Physician Office Visits, Rx and more

Access Elite Providers in 180 countries who accept direct payment from GeoBlue. GeoBlue provides travel health insurance plans and assistance services to 650,000 travelers per year. GeoBlue programs are distinguished by a contracted community of over 6,000 elite providers in 190 countries.

https://www.geobluetravelinsurance.com/product_overview.cfm?link_id=160173 www.BlueWorldwideTravel.com agent ID 160173

Georgia Medicare Minute. GA Medicare expert. Medicare explained.

#MedicareForeignTravel #MedicareIntenationalTravel #GAMedicareExpert

Medicare Part D |How Does it Work?

How does Medicare Part D work? Almost no one understands it. The few that do know can’t explain it. 800-MEDICARE can’t help, neither can your friends. Most agents have no clue and neither do volunteer counselors.

Medicare Part D is confusing

GA Medicare plan expert Bob Vineyard looks at the most confusing part of Medicare.

How Does Medicare Part D Work?

Who Can Explain Medicare Part D?

The folks in Congress who designed the PDP program don’t understand it and they will never use the plan. Most carrier service reps who answer the phone MIGHT be able to explain their plan but they won’t have a clue about their competitors.

Why is Part D so difficult?

Consider this . . .

The program was designed by folks in Congress who know nothing about health insurance and they turned it over to insurance carriers to manage. What could possibly go wrong?

If you believe they know what they are doing just witness how they messed up Obamacare. And don’t overlook the misnomer for the law . . . the AFFORDABLE Care Act.

WHO thinks Obamacare is AFFORDABLE? How many got to keep their plan no matter how much they liked it? Which of you were able to keep their doctor?

So why do you think they got Medicare Part D right?

Almost no one Understands Part D.

Medicare prescription drug insurance plans have moving parts. Some have a deductible, others do not. All have copay’s. Some copay’s are a flat dollar amount, others are a percent of the retail price. All plans have the donut hole. All plans have preferred pharmacy’s and drug formulary’s.

Some drug plans have a mail order option, others do not. Some mail order refills will save you money, others will not and some will even cost you MORE than filling at a pharmacy. The preferred pharmacy you use this year may not be favored next year.

Am I Required to Use my Drug Plan?

Will you pay less for your medications if you pay cash or use a discount like GoodRx vs running everything through your drug plan? Are you better off running ALL your drugs through the Medicare Drug Plan Finder or only checking prices on some of your med’s? Why will I pay a higher copay by using my drug plan vs a discount card?

Why should I buy a drug insurance plan if I don’t need it? What is the penalty for not having a drug plan? Is it the same every month? How long will I have to pay the penalty? Can I pay the penalty from my HSA?

Can I save money by ordering from Canada? Why is it less expensive to pay cash, use a discount card or order from Canada?

Can I enroll in Medicare Part D at any time? Can I switch drug plans whenever I want? Do I need to review my prescription plan every year or can I just let it renew?

Who Will Help me Find a Medicare Drug Plan?

Why do some agents help with Medicare Part D and others don’t? How much are agents paid to help with Part D? Are agents required to show me ALL the drug plans in my area? Why do agents only sell one or two plans? How many drug plans are offered in Georgia?

What is wrong with picking the plan with the lowest premium? Aren’t all drug plans the same? Why do I have to buy my drug plan from an insurance carrier? Many of the policies are from carriers I have never heard of. Why shouldn’t I just buy from the same company that sold me the Medicare supplement plan? Don’t I get a discount for buying Medicare Part D and Medigap from the same carrier? Is there a reason why I shouldn’t enroll in the same drug plan as my spouse?

My best friend says her plan is the best. What is wrong with buying the same plan she has? Can I use my PDP with any drug store? Can I continue to fill my prescriptions at the same pharmacy I have always used?

Where Can I Get Help With Medigap Coverage?

Shameless plug follows . . .

Georgia Medigap rates. Best GA Medicare supplement prices. GA Medigap rates. GA Medicare 2020. Medigap 2020 plans. 2020 Medicare premiums. Plan G. Georgia Medicare agent. Medicare 101. Georgia Medicare Minute. Medicare explained. Medicare Part D. Silver Sneakers. How does Medicare work?

Bob Vineyard has over 40 years experience in the health insurance field. All your questions will be answered. People love to buy but they hate to be sold.

All I ask is for you to give me 10 minutes by phone. Time to answer YOUR questions. You will NEVER be pressured to buy anything. This is your opportunity to ask ANY Medicare related question, then decide if you want to work with me or not. It’s that simple.

I call it “An offer you can’t refuse

Why is Medicare Part D So Confusing?

Seniors often buy the wrong drug plan and spend too much on their prescription plan. Seniors on Medicare spend an average of $263 per month on prescription medications.

Lower your medication bill by only using your drug card when necessary. The right drug plan will save a lot on brand names but you will almost always pay MORE for generics.

Consider paying cash or using GoodRx instead for maximum savings. Also look for drug plans that have a deductible.

#HowDoesMedicarePartDWork #GAMedicarePlans

Medicare Cancer Drugs Are Costly

Medicare cancer drugs are about to become more costly because of proposed changes in the way they are covered. CMS wants to “save money” by moving Part B drugs to Part D. GA Medicare expert Bob Vineyard breaks it down for you.

Medicare cancer drugs
Medicare Cancer Drugs Becoming More Expensive

Not only cancer drugs, but medications for rheumatoid arthritis, macular degeneration and osteoporosis. DME drugs such as insulin may become ineligible for Medicare Part B reimbursement.

Medicare Cancer Drugs Becoming More Expensive

Saving Medicare – Sort of . . .

Medicare Advantage plans are now able to make changes in the way expensive, injectable drugs are covered. Drugs administered in a clinical setting will be subject to scrutiny.

Medicare Advantage plans will be REQUIRED to try cheaper drugs which may not be as effective as cancer drugs administered in a clinical setting.

These Advantage plans will be encouraged to employ step therapy to “reduce costs and improve outcome”.

Reducing costs means saving money spent by Medicare and the insurance carrier.

Not saving YOU money.

Note, this is only a test. Using Medicare Advantage patients as guinea pigs to see if lower cost drugs result in similar outcomes as more expensive protocols. Do you really want to be a test model?

If the test works cancer drugs will be shifted away from Part B coverage to Part D. This means you, the patient, will pay MORE for your medication.

Treating Cancer is Expensive

Years ago most treatment involved extensive surgery, radiation and chemo. Most of the treatment was as a hospital inpatient.

Now cancer, like most other medical conditions, is treated on an outpatient basis.

If you have original Medicare and a supplement plan your out of pocket costs are minimal. Often less than $500 per year for health care.

Drugs are a different story . . . unless you are receiving treatment under Medicare Part B.

Also, outpatient self administered drugs are subject to copay’s or coinsurance. It doesn’t matter if you have an Advantage plan or stand alone PDP. Your cost is the same.

Cancer forces 42% of patients to exhaust life savings in 2 years. The average patient saw a loss of $92,098. Bankruptcy occurred in 38.2 percent after four or more years. – Becker Hospital Review

How Medicare Covers Cancer in 2019

Finding and Choosing the Right Plan

Turning 65 many get confused about the various health insurance options. Some ask friends or relatives. Others attend seminars. And there is all the mail that arrives every day before you are Medicare eligible.

Part D is the most confusing component of Medicare.

If you or a family member have experienced cancer you know about the cost of prescription drugs.

You need help, but not from just anyone. Consider talking with an expert. A GA Medicare expert . . .

Give me 10 minutes by phone to answer your questions. Ask me anything about Medicare. Anything at all.

Either you like what you hear or you don’t. If you don’t feel I can help you then we part as friends. No hard feelings. It’s not personal, just business.

But if you want and need my help I am ready to guide you through the Medicare maze. We move forward at your pace, not mine.

All I ask is an opportunity to EARN your business.

When you allow me to be your agent you have unfettered access any time. Call or email.

And there is never any charge.

This is my offer you can’t refuse.

What is the Pharmacy Gag Rule?

What is the pharmacy gag rule and why should I care? Is it because the medicine has a bad taste? Does the gag rule affect my Medicare Part D coverage? GA Medicare expert Bob Vineyard answers your questions.

pharmacy gag rule
What is the Pharmacy Gag Rule?

The pharmacy gag rule existed in a handful of states prior to October, 2018. It works like this.

You take a prescription to your pharmacy. If you ask the druggist about a lower price he/she was prohibited from telling you how to save money where the gag rule was in place.

The result, you pay more for your medication when you use insurance.

What is the Pharmacy Gag Rule?

How Does the Gag Rule Affect Me?

Essentially you pay more for your drugs than you should.

A recent study by JAMA indicates people with Medicare Part D drug insurance overpaid for prescriptions by $135 million in 2013. Copayments in those plans were higher than the cash price for nearly 1 in 4 drugs purchased in 2013. For 12 of the 20 most commonly prescribed drugs, patients overpaid by more than 33 percent.KHN

That’s more than just sofa change. Seniors on a fixed income need to hang on to as much of their money as possible.

Some folks, like Steve Knievel, considers $135 million “falling short of where it needs to be”

As a nation we spend $450 million on prescription medications. I think cutting costs by 25% to be significant.

Good News – Bad News

First the good news.

People on Medicare can see the impact of the pharmacy gag rule next year. As of January 1, 2020 a senior on Medicare is entitled to know if they can get their drugs for less by paying cash.

Pharmacists are allowed to tell you how to save money without using your Part D card.

Now the bad news.

Just because a druggist CAN tell you about lower prices does not mean they WILL tell you.

If you want to save money you will have to ask . . .

You can also save money by checking out Free and Low Cost Prescription Drugs.

But if You Like Paying Too Much . . .

You can always use your Part D plan.

GA Medicare expert Bob Vineyard has over 500 clients in Georgia. He specializes in explaining how to save money on prescription medications.

There is no pharmacy gag rule that can keep him quiet.

Georgia Medicare Plans YouTube Channel has several videos explaining how Medicare Part D works. Here are just a few things you can learn.

  • Choose a Part D plan that has a deductible
  • Use preferred pharmacy’s
  • Ask your doctor about generic alternatives
  • Pay cash for generic drugs
  • Use a discount card like GoodRx for generics
  • Consider buying brand names by mail from Canada

Every year we review our clients current drug plan and compare it to the new plans for the following year. Almost every time our clients will save money. An average of $60 per month.

Two years ago we saved one client over $600 per month and another over $700 per month.

A few weeks ago we showed a client how to cut his prescription eye medications from $800 to less than $250.

Let’s face it. Medicare Part D is confusing. But it doesn’t have to be.

How much can you save?

The pharmacy gag rule never kept us from telling our Medicare supplement clients how to save money.

Medicare Part D is Confusing

Medicare Part D is confusing to me. Why is that? What makes it so hard to understand? What is the donut hole? I thought it was going away. What’s wrong with picking the plan with the lowest premium . . . as long as it doesn’t have a deductible? And why do some plans have a deductible? How does it work? Do I pay the deductible BEFORE I have copay’s?

Medicare Part D is Confusing

Can anyone explain how Medicare drug plans work?

GA Medicare expert Bob Vineyard can help.

Why is Part D so Confusing?

Why is Medicare Part D so confusing. The Medicare drug coverage is designed by folks in Congress who will never use the plan. Part D is administered by insurance carriers.

What could possibly go wrong?

When you search for the phrase “Medicare Part D confusing” there are 107 million results. Congratulations! You are not the only one who is confused by Medicare drug plans.

Medicare Part D is Confusing

What if I Can’t Afford My Drugs?

Medicare Part D (Medicare prescription drug coverage) helps cover the cost of prescription drugs. If you have limited resources and income you may be able to get Extra Help. Monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and prescription co-payments — related to a Medicare prescription drug plan.

To qualify for Extra Help you must meet the resources and income requirement. You must also live in the United States.

In some cases you might qualify for a PAP (Patient Assistance Program).

Yes, Medicare Part D is confusing but there is plenty of help. You just need to know who to ask. Consider the folks at Georgia Cares as an example.

Medicare Late Enrollment Penalties

Did you know you can be penalized for failure to enroll in a Medicare drug plan on a timely basis?

The late enrollment penalty is an amount added to your Medicare Part D monthly premium.

You may owe a late enrollment penalty if you lack creditable coverage for 63 days or more after your Initial Enrollment Period is over, you go without:

  • Creditable drug coverage
  • Medicare Part D plan
  • Medicare Advantage plan that includes drug coverage
  • Other coverage such as employer group health plan

Also the LEP depends on how long you went without creditable coverage.

Your penalty is determined by multiplying 1% of the “national base beneficiary premium” ($33.19 in 2019) times the number of full, uncovered months you didn’t have Part D or creditable coverage. The monthly premium is rounded to the nearest $.10 and added to your monthly Part D premium.

The penalty you will pay is based on a formula so it could increase from year to year. It is also payable for life.

Medicare Part D is confusing. GA Medicare expert Bob Vineyard can help.

Part D Deductible

The majority of Medicare drug plans include a deductible. In most cases the deductible applies to tier 3 or higher drugs. The deductible can also be avoided by using mail order or filling your med’s at a preferred pharmacy.

Most people do not understand how the deductible works so they focus on plans without a deductible.

Many agents also do the same. Rather than explaining how a Part D deductible works they only sell plans without a deductible.

In most cases no deductible plans have higher premiums AND higher copay’s.

If you want to learn more about Medicare Part D plan deductibles, this video will help.

Medicare Drug Plan Finder
Using the Medicare Drug Plan Finder

Why is Medicare Part D confusing? If it was easy you wouldn’t need me.