Why Do I Need a Medicare Supplement?

Do I really need a Medicare supplement plan? You and 25 million others ask the same question. The answer is, you don’t NEED a Medigap plan but you will probably want one.

GA Medicare expert Bob Vineyard explains.

Original Medicare – Good and Bad

Original Medicare Part A, the hospital inpatient portion, does not charge a premium to most people. Other than the per admission deductible ($1364 in 2019) you will not have out of pocket expenses for most hospital stays. This applies if your hospital admission does not exceed 60 days and Medicare approves all hospital billed charges.

Charges by a surgeon or other non-staff member usually fall under Medicare Part B. The same is true for ER charges and expenses incurred when admitted for observation.

Medicare Part B is for outpatient health care charges. You are not required to enroll in Part B but you probably want to. Large claims exceeding $40,000 often have over half the total incurred on an outpatient basis.

Medicare Part B requires a premium payment. In 2019 the premium for most people is $135 per month. Part B has a yearly deductible ($185 in 2019). Above the deductible Medicare pays 80% of approved charges, you are responsible for the 20% balance.

There is no cap on your out of pocket expenses for Parts A or B.

A Medicare supplement plan will greatly reduce your out of pocket expenses for Parts A and B charges. Most buy a supplement plan for two reasons.

First, they are able to keep their doctor. No, this is not a campaign pledge. You really CAN keep your doctor(s). Also you are free to use any doctor or hospital in the U.S., penalty free.

Second, a Medigap plan allows you to budget future health care expenses. No worrying about unexpected large medical bills.

Do We Need a Medicare Supplement Plan?

Late Enrollment Penalties

The best time to enroll in Medicare is when you are first eligible. Medicare does grant a “free pass” in SOME situations when you enroll late. Make sure you understand the rules.

If you don’t qualify for no premium Part A you will incur late penalties if you fail to enroll on a timely basis.

Likewise, Medicare Part B has late penalties which can be waived in some situations. If you are charged a Part B late penalty you will pay it for life.

There are no late enrollment penalties for failure to enroll in a Medigap plan but there can be consequences. If you miss your initial enrollment or special enrollment period you will have to qualify medically for coverage. The decision is pass/fail. Either you qualify or you don’t.

How Much Does Medicare Cost?

Unless you have enjoyed “free” insurance up until now, you will probably find that original Medicare and a Medicare supplement plan are real bargains.

No provider networks. Never any non-par penalties or hidden provider charges.

You have questions. We have answers. Never any charge.

All I ask is that you allow me 10 minutes on the phone to answer your questions. If you like what you hear and believe I can help, then great.

If not, you walk away and we part as friends.

I call it an offer you can’t refuse.

#GAMedicareExpert #GAMedigapRates #GeorgiaMedicareSupplementPlans

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.

Medicare Supplement – What If You Just Bought?

Let’s say you turned 65, enrolled in Medicare and just bought a Medicare supplement plan. Did you make the right decision? What are some of the traps and mistakes?

Please take 3 minutes to read this then decide if you need to reconsider your decision. It might just save you a lot of time, money and grief.

You are turning 65 and about to go on Medicare. Here are some things you need to know about your journey.

Medicare Supplement - Turning 65

 

About That Medicare Supplement Plan You Just Bought

You are not alone.

Roughly 80% of retirees about to turn 65 have never bought health insurance before.

My 40 years in the health insurance business was not enough to prepare me for understanding the Medicare system. It took me about a month of research and talking to Medicare specialists before the light bulb turned on.

If it was that difficult for me I can imagine how confusing it is for you and everyone else.

Medicare supplement or Medicare Advantage?

 

Your Friends May Offer the Worst Advice

Your friends that are on Medicare are probably still confused about what they have and how it works. I know this because I talk to people every day that were told something about Medicare that is 100% wrong and will prove very costly down the road.

They are probably very good at many things, but Medicare experts they are not.

Ask your friends who THEY talked to in making their decision. If they were pleased, ask for a recommendation. Then you talk with that person and decide if they are giving solid advice or simply pushing a product.

Sadly, most agents talk too much and never listen to your needs.

If they bought a $0 premium Advantage plan (along with a bunch of junk to fill the gaps), or Medigap plan F they will learn to regret that choice later down the road.

 

Things You Probably Don’t Know

When you turn 65 you have ONLY ONE Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). During that time you can purchase ANY PLAN from ANY CARRIER without answering health questions. Your initial enrollment for Medigap begins the month when you turn 65 AND go on Medicare Part B. It ends 6 months later.

During your IEP you can freely change Medigap plans within the same carrier or move from one carrier to another without penalty. Most people we talk to will end up paying a lot more for their coverage than was necessary. It is not too late to change. Don’t let pride stop you from making a better financial decision. (More on this later)

You have 60 days from the time you turned 65 and enrolled in Medicare Part B to pick a Part D drug plan or Medicare Advantage plan. If you wait, your next opportunity will be during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) and you will pay a LIFETIME late enrollment penalty.

If you bought an Advantage plan and then learned that was the wrong decision you can still purchase a suitable Medigap during your IEP. This happens with some frequency so no need to feel embarrassed.

Many of the newer Advantage plans are “front end loaded” so you pay most of the costs of your care without the benefit of a copay. The networks are also more restrictive than you may have been accustomed to with traditional health insurance.

Get instant GA Medigap quotes, then request our FREE Medicare Supplement rate report that shows ALL the Medicare supplement rates.

 

Discovering What You Bought

Medigap “gotcha’s”

Medigap is simple, but not as simple as some might think. Sure, the plans are standardized. All plans with the same letter (plan F for example) are identical in every way except the price you pay.

But the simplicity stops there.

Financial ratings don’t matter. “A” rated carriers like AFLAC and Omaha have sucker punched retirees in the past. Offer a low going in rate then substantial increases in later years. Sometimes they stop writing new business with that carrier name.

Then what happens?

Look for LONG TERM STABILITY in the Medicare supplement market. If a carrier doesn’t have at least 5 years in the Medigap market operating under the SAME NAME, you probably want to cross them off your list.

The carrier names are interchangeable and every 3 – 4 years an old carrier will be swapped for a newer one that has rates 20 – 30% below the “old” carrier. The new, lower rates are only for NEW APPLICANTS.

Some carriers have “hot” rates in Georgia right now. But none of them have more than 2 years in the Medigap business an at least one has already had a 9% rate increase.

 

Which Carrier Did I Pick for My Own Coverage?

My choice

You don’t have to do what I do but consider this. I have more experience in the health insurance business than anyone you have talked to so far. There are some paths I won’t take because I know the pitfalls. Maybe you should do the same.

I enrolled in Medicare in September 2015. How many agents have you talked to so far that are also on Medicare?

My guess is none.

I didn’t buy a plan from any carrier with less than 5 years in the Medigap business.

I didn’t buy Medicare supplement plan F.

I didn’t buy a Medicare Advantage plan. Even if I did, I certainly would NOT buy a hospital indemnity plan, a cancer plan, a heart attack plan, etc to fill the gaps. An agent that pushes those policies is all about making as much money as possible off you.

 

It’s Your Plan and Your Money

Choose wisely.

Ultimately, whatever choice you make should fit your needs and budget. I don’t expect everyone to make the same decisions I make, nor would I pressure anyone to buy something just because I am doing it. But I do believe my clients deserve to know the choices I will make and why I am making them.

There are more than 250 different Medigap plans and rates in Georgia. You probably looked at half a dozen or less. What did you miss by not seeing ALL the rates?

There are only TWO or THREE Medicare supplement carriers with competitive rates that have 5 or more years in the Medigap business. If you didn’t buy from them you probably are, or will eventually be, paying too much.

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

Let me know how I can help. Call (404) 252-5859 to speak with Bob Vineyard. 

Medigap Plans and Rates Georgia

Medigap plans in Georgia.

Georgia Medigap plans. Stop throwing money away!

Shop and compare up to 40 Medigap plans in 60 seconds. Free, no obligation quote. Save $350 – $600 per year or more vs. Blue Cross, Humana, Mutual of Omaha and most others.

Click for Instant GA Medigap Quote

GA Medigap Quotes

With over a dozen carriers offering Medigap plans, Georgia seniors have plenty of options to save money by making wise choices and finding the lowest Medigap rate.

With more than 240 different Medigap plans in Georgia, you need our FREE report.

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

Compare Georgia Medigap Plans and Rates

There are 11 different Medigap plans available in Georgia. None of the carriers offer all plans, but most offer Medigap plans A, D and plan F. Medigap rates vary considerably for the same plan. Georgia Medigap carriers include:

 

Anthem Blue Cross and More

Blue Cross, United of Omaha and United Health Care are the dominant Medicare supplement carriers in Georgia but they also have some of the highest Medigap rates.

Most GA seniors buy Medicare supplement plan F simply because that is the one that is sold to them. Many times Medigap plan F is presented as the only option or as the “best” option.

Truth is, Medicare supplement plan F is usually the most expensive plan and delivers no additional value for the high rates.

All Medigap plans with the same letter have identical coverage. A plan F from Blue Cross is no better or worse than plan F from United Health Care (AARP).

The only difference is the price you pay. Medigap rates can vary as much as 200% for the same plan.

An age 65 female in Atlanta can pay anywhere from $139 per month to $296 for plan F. The difference in the highest premium to the lowest premium is over $3000 per year!

That  $3000  is money down the drain.

That same female can purchase a Medicare supplement plan G for as little as $110 per month, saving an extra $250 per year in premiums vs. the lowest rate for Medigap plan F.

When you pay more for GA Medigap plans you don’t get more, you simply paid too much. Compare plans and Medigap plans and rates online or ask for a personalized proposal.

 

#MedicareSupplementRatesGeorgia  #MedigapRatesGeorgia #BobVineyard

(Edit)

Apply Now for Low Medigap Rates

Wednesday, 4/29, last day to apply for low Medigap rates with Manhattan Life. Shop and compare now. Instant GA Medigap quotes. 

Juanita, age 65, 30157, just purchased plan F for $115 per month.