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 Supplement Rate Increase History

How often do Medicare supplement rates increase? What is average premium increase? Where can I find supplement plan rate histories? Do plan F Medigap rates increase more than other plans? Why are my rates so high?

All good questions but here is something you should know.

Tracking rate increase histories doesn’t matter. This video explains.

Medicare Supplement Rate Increase History

Why Medicare Supplement Rate Increase Histories Don’t Matter

Don’t worry about previous rates. The history of a particular plan or carrier does not allow you to predict future rate increases.

  • Renewal rates are market driven
  • Renewal rates also reflect loss ratios
  • Loss ratios impact renewal rates but are tempered by market share
  • Medigap carriers rarely stay in a particular market longer than 3 or 4 years
Medicare premium sticker shock
Medigap Rate Sticker Shock

Medicare supplement rates are market driven

During the last few years most carriers did not care about offering competitive plan F rates. This is especially true for “household” name brands. Carriers that market direct to consumers know folks will buy their product without shopping rates. Popular brands include Anthem Blue Cross, Mutual of Omaha and AARP/United Healthcare.

Name recognition, size and financial strength may be a consideration for most products. But this criteria does not extend to Medigap plans.

All Medicare supplement carriers pay claims on a timely basis. Most are paid in 3 to 5 days once the claim is received from Medicare.

When you pay more for your Medigap plan you don’t get more, you simply paid too much.

Some carriers that are new to the market are aggressively pricing their G plan. Don’t get sucked into a low entry rate. Ask #GAMedicareExpert Bob Vineyard for advice. Never any charge.

Loss ratios drive renewal rates

Some carriers will intentionally underprice their plans to attract market share. These plans and rates may be very competitive for a year or two before the renewal increases are double digit.

Don’t get lured into a low price offered by a carrier that has only been in the Georgia Medicare market a few years.

Low rates and loose underwriting will generate high loss ratios. What follows are huge rate increases and the possibility the carrier will withdraw completely from the market.

Medigap carriers come and go

As of May 2019 there are almost 50 carriers writing Medicare supplement plans in Georgia. Over the last 4 years or so we have seen at least 20 carriers leave the market and be replaced with lower priced plans. Often the departing carrier is owned by a large, brand name carrier. The parent company introduces another subsidiary with lower rates than the retired carrier.

Don’t get sucked into buying a plan from a carrier that is owned by a household name. That subsidiary will probably leave Georgia within 3 to 4 years. Future rate increases are almost always significantly higher than companies that are still writing new business.

Ask a Medicare expert for advice

Bob Vineyard has over 40 years in the health insurance industry and is also on Medicare. You have questions? We have answers.

Here is my offer.

Give me 10 to 15 minutes by phone to answer your questions. If you don’t feel comfortable with my approach or believe you can get better help and advice elsewhere, move on. We part as friends.

This isn’t personal, it’s just business.

But if you like what I have to offer and would like my help navigating the Medicare maze, let’s do business. Never any pressure. It is always at your pace.

This is what I call an offer you can’t refuse.