Georgia Medicare Gives Thanks

Georgia Medicare Looks at 2018

As Dickens said, “This is the best of times and the worst of times.” Like all years, there are times when things are good and times when things are not so good. From a business perspective I would give this year a 9 on a scale of 10. Georgia Medicare expert reflects on 2018.

Georgia Medicare expert

The Good News

Georgia Medicare supplement clients continue to bless me with referrals. My business grows mostly by word of mouth. When my advice is useful clients remember and pass my name along to their friends.

Like that old shampoo commercial where Heather Locklear told two friends about Faberge, and they told two friends, and so on.

Good new spreads like wildfire, and it is appreciated. With more than 500 GA Medicare clients, new referrals come in almost every month.

Thank you for being generous and sharing my name with your friends.

Georgia Medicare YouTube Channel

After years of planning and hoping it would happen, I finally implemented my Georgia Medicare YouTube channel in early summer. With the help of Christy Sanchez this labor of love is now a reality.

The videos are not fancy or technically complicated. It’s just me talking to the camera the same way I speak to you on the phone. Feel free to like, share and comment on any of the videos.

Of course you can also ask questions.

Say Hello to New Medigap Carriers

I currently count almost 60 insurance carriers offering Medicare supplement plans in Georgia. Many are brand new to the Medigap business. Others are new to Georgia.

At least 6 carriers are new to the Georgia Medicare market. Each one has cut rates to the bone in an attempt to gain market share.

It’s a race to see who can offer the lowest Medigap rate.

For at least a year.

New carriers include Lumico, Western United (late 2017), Everest (late 2016), American Continental, Prosperity (gotta love that name), Mass Mutual, Unified and Pan American. I might have missed a few but that’s a mouthful.

I generally don’t recommend a carrier until they have been here at least 3 years. In the past carriers (like AFLAC) have either disappeared from the market or blew up their rates on renewal in the first 3 years.

I don’t need that kind of drama in my life and neither do you.

Say Hello to a New Name for an Old Friend

One shining star is Anthem Blue Cross. BCBSGA has been co-branded with parent Anthem for a few years now. As of July 2018 the Anthem name is on all new Medicare plans in Georgia.

Of course you can call them direct or use an agent like myself. When you go direct you are a “house account”. You will never know who will answer the phone or anything about them. 

Last week they could have been asking if you wanted fries with your meal.

When you call me you will never hear “Press 1 for English”. You get me or voice mail. Leave a message and I will call you back.

No extra charge for my 40+ years experience.

You can enroll in an Anthem Medigap plan using my link . . . if you have an hour or so to kill. 

https://brokerportal.anthem.com/ac/BobVineyardAnthemGA

Or call me direct. I can take your information in about 10 minutes.

You choose.

The Bad News

A few carriers like Equitable, Manhattan and Aetna Health and Life stopped writing new Medigap business in Georgia. If you have a plan with them you can keep it as long as you pay your premiums.

I hope to move as many as possible away from these carriers in hopes of seeing fewer and smaller rate increases at renewal.

Thank You!

Thank you for all your support, for passing my name along and especially the kind words for my Georgia Medicare YouTube Channel.

I look foward to helping as many people as possible to navigate the Georgia  Medicare maze.

Why Are Georgia Medigap Rates So High?

Why are Georgia Medigap rates so high? Which Medicare supplement carrier raises rates the most? Why are (this carriers) Medigap rates going up so much? Which carrier raises rates more? UPDATE 2017 – Wild times ahead! Many carrier rates are increasing by 10% to 15% and some even higher.

georgia medigap ratesThe most popular search term at Georgia Medicare Plans is for Georgia Medigap rates. One large well known carrier in particular dominates the searches more than any other Medicare supplement carrier.

That same carrier has handed out more rate increases since 2012 than any other Medicare supplement carrier. They increased rates ELEVEN TIMES since 2012!

Why is this? What is the answer?

The simple answer is, do your homework before buying.

  • Never buy on carrier name recognition alone
  • Don’t buy a plan based on rate UNLESS you also know the rate history for that carrier
  • Listen to your friends, but don’t buy a plan based solely on their recommendation
  • Never buy under sales pressure

When you make the right choice you can keep that plan for years and never have any regrets. When you turn 65 and enroll in Medicare, that may be your only opportunity to purchase a Medigap plan. There is only ONE open enrollment for Medicare supplement plans.

Why look at only a handful of Medicare supplement plans when you have the opportunity to compare over 170 different plans? Check out GA Medigap Quotes for instant, side by side comparisons of the most popular plans.

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If you don’t know where you are going you will never get there.

 

What’s up with Georgia Medigap rates?

Good question. The answer is not simple but I will do my best to explain. But first, here is a sample of queries that drove searchers to my site over the last few weeks.ga medigap rate increase

How often does Mutual of Omaha raise their Medicare supplement rates? What are Mutual of Omaha Medigap rates? Why are Mutual of Omaha Medicare supplement rates going up so much? Rate increases for United of Omaha? Which carrier has raised rates most often, Mutual of Omaha or Aetna?

Everyone our age remembers Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. Tune in Sunday evening to watch Marlon Perkins track a mother lion and then close the show by saying “Just like the mother lion protects her cubs, Mutual of Omaha will protect you”.

Corny, but effective.

When asking about Medigap rate increases you need to understand there are 4 different carriers that trade on the Omaha name, not just Mutual of Omaha. Tracking rate history can be challenging at best and impossible for most consumers.

 

Georgia Medigap rate changes

Since 2012 Omaha carriers have increased rates no less than 11 times. Some rate increases applied only to legacy (in force) policyholders, some for new applicants, and some increase applied to both. Below is a summary of  changes in Georgia Medigap rates.

  • September 2012 – increase for United of Omaha modernized plans, new and in force
  • December 2012 – increase for United of Omaha standardized plans issued prior to June, 2010
  • July 2013 – increase for Mutual of Omaha standardized plans
  • August 2013 – increase for United World standardized plans issued prior to June, 2010
  • September 2013 – increase for new United of Omaha applications
  • October 2013 – increase for legacy (in force) United of Omaha modernized plan policyholders
  • October 2013 – increase for United of Omaha legacy plan N policy holders
  • December 2013 – increase for United of Omaha standardized plan policyholders
  • October 2014 – increase for United of Omaha plan N policyholders
  • August 2015 – increase for new and legacy Omaha Insurance Company modernized plan policyholders
  • October 2015 – increase for United of Omaha legacy modernized plan policyholders

That’s a lot of rate increases spread over 4 issuing carriers in less than 4 years.

And consider this. New applicants will eventually fall into the legacy class within a short while.

The carriers I recommend have had only 4 rate increases  (each) since 2012. Legacy policyholders receive the same rate adjustment as new policyholders. In other words, legacy policyholders are not burdened with frequent or higher rate increases so new applicants can enjoy lower rates for a while.

Legacy policyholders with carriers I suggest do not pay higher rates than those applying for new coverage.

 

 

Buying a Medigap plan when turning 65

When you first turn 65 you can purchase any Medigap plan you want, no questions asked. During your initial open enrollment it doesn’t matter if you medigap rate peacecan run marathons or if you have one foot in the grave.

In the future you can change plans any time you want, but only if you are healthy. There are no annual enrollment periods for Medicare supplement plans. The plan you buy when you turn 65 may be a plan you have to keep for the rest of your life.

If the premium is no longer affordable you option is to switch to a Medicare Advantage plan (lower premiums, higher out of pocket, no choice of doctors) or have original Medicare as your only coverage.

We help you find the right plan that meets your needs and budget so you can have peace of mind now and in the future.

 

Why limit yourself to one Medigap carrier?

Georgia Medicare Plans is appointed to represent over a dozen Medicare supplement carriers. In almost every situation we can offer you the absolute lowest rate for the plan you want.

But sometimes you might want to pay a few dollars more for long term rate stability.

Or you can just buy based on brand name and hope for the best.

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#GeorgiaMedigapRates  #MedicareSupplementRateIncreases  #GAMedigapRates #2017MedicareSupplementRates

13 Silent Signs of a Thyroid Problem

Symptoms of a thyroid problem are often vague, but if you notice any of the following thyroid symptoms persisting, or have more than one, see a doctor.

Source: 13 Silent Signs of a Thyroid Problem

Does Medicare cover thyroid testing?

As a general rule, Medicare Part B covers most preventive screening including most tests for thyroid issues. Do you have hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) or hyperthyroidism (over-active thyroid)? How do you know? What kind of tests are involved in checking my thyroid? Will Medicare pay for those tests?

 

What happens when your doctor checks your thyroid?

Your thyroid rests just below your Adams apple. During a routine exam, such as your Welcome to Medicare exam, your doctor thyroidmay ask you to hold your head back and swallow. While you are swallowing your doctor is feeling for bumps or nodules on your thyroid.

If your doctor detects an abnormality in your thyroid they may recommend additional testing such as a thyroid scan and uptake, imaging testing or perhaps a needle biopsy.

Most diagnostic testing is covered by Medicare Part B. If you have Medicare supplement plan F your out of pocket for approved claims would be $0.

Several Georgia Medicare supplement plans have competitive rates. Often we can save our clients $450 per year or more with no loss of coverage.

Shop and compare now. Your information is NEVER sold. Instant GA Medigap quotes.

Georgia Medigap plans & Prices

Georgia Medigap plans & Prices

 

What is hypothyroidism? Hyperthyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is a medical condition where your gland does not produce enough hormone. If your thyroid is under-performing you may feel sluggish.

Other symptoms may include an irregular menstrual cycle, constipation, loss of hair, unexplained weight gain or difficulty losing weight.

Hyperthyroidism is the opposite of hypothryroidism. In this situation your gland produces too much hormone.

Symptoms include quick weight loss, rapid heart rate, you sweat a lot, are moody or anxious.

If you have any of these symptoms you should see a doctor.

Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are easily treated with prescription medication.

Other common thyroid issues include:

  • goiter
  • thyroid nodules
  • thyroiditis
  • thyroid cancer

Ask your doctor if you have any concerns, and relax. The exam and testing is usually covered by Medicare and your Medigap policy.

 

If you found this article to be of help, share this link with your friends.

 

 

#MedicarePartB  #13SignsOfThyroidProblems #Hypothyroid  #Hyperthyroid #MedicareSupplementPlanF #GAMedigapQuotes

 

 

Medicare Supplement Rate Changes February 2014

Medicare supplement rate changes report for February, 2014. Which carriers are increasing rates? Which ones are lowering rates?

View report here.

 

 

Medicare supplement rate changes

Bob Vineyard - Georgia Medicare PlansGeorgia Medicare carriers are changing rates too. Some, like New Era, are increasing rates slightly. Other carriers, notably Aetna, recently increased rates for Continental Life (an Aetna subsidiary) right before closing out that block. At the same time they introduced Aetna Health and Life with lower rates.

I am a baby boomer, born in 1950. In September of 2014 I will join you on Medicare. With all the options available, which one is right for you? While I will share with you my choice the bottom line is the plan you pick needs to be right for you.

Shop and compare rates now.

Your information is never sold! 

 

Shop and compare GA Medigap quotes

Georgia Medicare plans specializes in Medicare supplement coverage and Medicare Part D. On average, our clients save over $450 per year when they follow our advice for Medigap coverage and more than $1,000 on Part D plans.AP20C7

We can’t guarantee that much savings for you but we will work to find a plan that fits YOUR needs and budget.

With more than 170 different Medigap plans in Georgia, how do you find the right one?

We can help.

Searching online more often than not results in your phone ringing off the hook. With MOST sites (but not with ours) your data is sold to a dozen or more agents that will call and call in hopes of getting you to buy anything.

Attending seminars with bitter coffee and stale cookies is no fun either. These meetings are usually boring and designed to get you to commit to an in home sales visit. Anytime you invite a sales person into your home you can expect a lot of pressure to buy on the spot.

Who wants to do that?

We will call, but only once.

We ask questions, then listen.

Our goal is to educate you on your options, then help you find a plan that fits your needs and budget.

Medicare supplement rates change from year to year, some more than others. Shop and compare now.

Georgia Medigap plans & Prices

Georgia Medigap plans & Prices

 

New Era Medicare Supplement Rate Increase

New Era Medicare supplement rates are changing, but not by much. Since 2011 New Era Medigap rates in Georgia have increased less than any other carrier. Georgia Medicare Plans has complete confidence in New Era and consider them a New Era Medigap rates2preferred carrier for our Medigap clients.

Retirees turning 65 can easily become confused with all the options. Medicare Advantage or original Medicare plus a supplement plan?

Your zip code may offer as few as 4 Advantage plans or up to a dozen. With more than 170 Medicare supplement plans state wide your head is probably spinning.

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How do you find the right plan that fits your needs and budget?

 

Medigap or Medicare Advantage?

Which plan is best for you?

It depends. Each approach to funding your out of pocket medical needs is unique. What works for Joe may not be good for Mary, and vice versa.

Medicare Advantage plans have moving parts (deductibles, copay’s, out of network penalties, etc.).  The lower premium can be attractive but trying to budget for out of pocket expenses which can run as high as $6700 for network approved charges is a challenge.

Medigap (also known as Medicare supplement) is easy to understand. There are no doctor or hospital networks, you can use your plan anywhere in the state of Georgia or across the country without worry. With most Medigap plans your out of pocket is less than $500 per year, even if you use your plan a lot.

Over 80% of our clients chose a Medicare supplement plan from New Era and have never regretted that decision.

New Era Medigap rates are not available online but we are happy to provide you with a quote via email.

 

Choosing a Medigap plan

CMS (Center for Medicare Services) makes it easy for Georgia retirees to choose a Medigap plan. The 2015 edition of Choosing a Medigap Plan is just a click away. This 50 page booklet explains the difference in Medicare Advantage vs. original Medicare and a Medicare supplement plan. Page 9 of the publication contains the following statement. 2015 choosing medigap policy

Each standardized Medigap policy must offer the same basic benefits, no matter which insurance company sells it. Cost is usually the only difference between Medigap policies with the same letter sold by different insurance companies.

If all plans with the same letter are identical in every way why not just find the plan with the lowest rate and buy it?

That theory used to work, for a while. As more carriers entered the market they jockeyed to gain market share by undercutting the premiums of other, established carriers. New carriers enter with low “teaser” rates then exit the market (like AFLAC) or they swap out an old carrier (such as United World with United of Omaha). When the swap occurs older (loyal) policyholders are stuck with paying higher rates to subsidize the lower rates offered to new policyholders.

Musical chairs was a fun game when we were kids but not so much when the music stops and you get left out of the circle because you are unable to qualify for a new, lower priced plan due to your health.

 

New Era rate increase

New Era has announced a rate increase for 2015. The new rates apply to plans with an April, 2015 effective date or later. It is not too late to save money by applying now.

Let us know how we can help.

Georgia Medigap plans & Prices

Georgia Medigap plans & Prices

 

 

 

Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement Rate Increases

Mutual of Omaha Medicare supplement rates increase annually. Most Georgia Medigap rates increase only once a year while others may increase twice in the same year. Mutual Medicare supplement rates will vary widely depending on which Mutual carrier you are searching.

Currently you may find Mutual of Omaha rates as well as United World, United of Omaha and more recently, Omaha Insurance Company.

Many online sites (including ours) will illustrate current Mutual rates. Quoted rates may not reflect any loads or discounts that could be applied to the final rate.

Mutual of Omaha Medicare supplement rates

Georgia Medigap plans & Prices

 

Mutual of Omaha Medicare supplement rates

The Mutual companies are widely promoted direct by the carrier as well as many agents in Georgia. Depending on your age, zip, gender and plan selection, you can find comparable plans with higher or lower rates. medicare shockmedicare shock

Some carriers offer household discounts in the 5 – 7% range but only if two or more people apply for coverage at the same time and are approved. Other carriers will extend the discount even if the other person in your household is not 65 and does not purchase coverage at the same time that you do.

 

Medigap rate increases

One of the more common questions we get on a daily basis is, “How much do the rates go up each year?“.

The answer is, it depends.

Some carriers, such as New Era and Equitable, have a stable rate history going back for 10 years or longer. Other carriers may be 50 years old or older but have only been offering Medigap coverage for a couple of years.

Our rule of thumb is, if you want a plan that is most likely to be stable year in and year out, look at their 5 year track record. If that carrier has not been offering coverage at least 5 years you might consider paying a few dollars more for stability.

If you have questions about Medigap rate histories for a particular carrier, Google is your friend.

 

Jim and Elizabeth

A few years ago we ran across a couple from south Georgia that had just received notice their Medicare supplement rates were increasing. Both had plan F from Mutual of Omaha and their premiums were going to increase by almost $200 per month. That was more than their budget would stand.

Medicare changesBoth were in good health and did not use tobacco. They purchased their plans 3 years earlier when they turned 65. The carrier offered in Georgia at that time was United of Omaha. In three years their premiums had increased 4 times and was considerably higher than when they originally purchased coverage.

We showed them the same plan F through a different company that would save them over $1700 per year and no loss in coverage. Switching to plan G would save them another $600 per year between the two of them.

How much can you save?

Consumer comments

Before doing any search keep in mind that consumers rarely take the time to go on the internet to say something good about a company and that applies to Medicare supplement carriers as well. Ask your agent for their feelings about a particular plan or carrier and gauge their response. Medi-gap

Some agents only promote one carrier such as Blue Cross, United Healthcare (AARP) or one of the Mutual companies. Most agents will also only mention Medigap plan F. It is the easiest to explain, carries the highest premium and highest compensation for them.

In the last few years the Mutual of Omaha companies have been trying to encourage their agents to promote the more aggressively priced plan G.

Most of our clients have chosen plan G but more recently (last 6 months) we are writing more plan N’s than any other plan. I may be inadvertently influencing new clients since I will purchase plan N when I go on Medicare in September, 2015.

Do your own research and come to your own conclusions before buying any Medicare supplement plan.

In Georgia there are over 170 different Medigap plans from 30+ carriers. Let us help you find the one that best fits your needs and budget. Shop and compare now.

GA Medigap Quotes

 

 

#MutualofOmahaMedicareSupplementrates   #MutualofOmahaMedigaprates