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.

 

Maximizing Social Security

Getting the most out of your Social Security? Maybe not. New ways to maximize your SS benefit.social security ponzi scheme 2

Social Security is one of the most complex government run benefit programs that touches every U.S. citizen in one way or another. Often referred to as a Ponzi scheme (and justifiably so), if you expect to win at this game you need to get in early and stay as long as you can.

Hardly anything in OASDI (Old Age Survivors and Disability Income) program is more confusing than spousal and survivor benefits. Two new books and a website can help you get answers to questions you didn’t even know you had.

 

Get the most out of your Social Security

Most advisers today say wait as long as you can to start your benefits. That means waiting until age 70 to begin drawing your check.

You can start as early as age 62 but baby boomers like myself must wait until age 66 before we have reached what Social Security terms our “normal retirement age”.

sleepless nightsThe Wall Street Journal advises, “getting smart about Social Security can put tens of thousands of extra dollars in your pocket”. They recommend two books, one new, one updated, to bring you up to speed on getting what is rightly yours.

The Social Security Handbook has 2,728 rules for determining your benefits.  If that isn’t enough there is POMS (Program Operating Manual System) to explain how to implement the rules.

Or you can get Laurence Kotlikoff’s book “Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security” and buzz through 300 pages. In there you will pick up gem’s like this in the section “25 Bad-News Gotchas That Can Reduce Your Benefits Forever.”

“If you get divorced just one day shy of 10 years, neither you nor your spouse will collect a dime in spousal or survivor benefits.” – WSJ

That’s going to leave a mark.

Assuming you even thought about this question, you could find it easily with Google. Here’s the answer.

If you have a surviving divorced spouse, he or she could get the same benefits as your widow or widower provided that your marriage lasted 10 years or more. – SSA

But in the midst of divorce, and even if you have thought about your (soon to be ex) dying, SS benefits are probably the furthest thing from your mind.

The benefit of books like this is, it prompts you to think about questions and solutions you never considered before.

If you don’t want to read 300 pages you can pick up the 2nd book mentioned in the WSJ by Jim Blankenship, “Social Security Owners Manual”.

Georgia Medigap plans & Prices

Georgia Medigap plans & Prices

 

Why not ask the folks at Social Security?

Did you really ask that?

When have you ever called any government office (or private industry) twice, posed the same question twice, and received the same answer?baby boomers collect SS

For many people, SS benefits comprise a large part of their retirement financial plan. Doesn’t it make sense to do it right from the start?

If you are not a reader and want to pass on “Get What’s Yours”, you should consider a comprehensive website by the same author.

Maximize My Social Security is available to consumers for a $40 annual fee. That is a small price to pay when it comes to analyzing and predicting your retirement income possibilities.

Plug in your information and in seconds the software analyzes numerous combinations of retirement scenarios. Here is a summation of what you get with your license.

Maximize My Social Security ask for the right inputs—all the right inputs and then, under its hood, its advanced algorithms consider thousands and often tens of thousands of alternative claiming strategies in suggesting the best strategy—the one that delivers the highest lifetime benefits. In the case of married couples, the program suggests joint claiming strategies since what one spouse does will affect what the other can do and vice versa. For widowed and divorced widowed households, the program suggests the best order in which to take widow(er) and retirement benefits. For divorced workers, the program considers when to take spousal and retirement benefits. And for households with children who qualify for benefits, the program incorporates if and when the parents should collect spousal with child in care as well as mother’s and father’s benefits.

The program goes far beyond any calculations that Social Security itself can make. For privacy and other reasons, Social Security’s calculators are not set up to jointly optimize over the claiming decisions of your or any household.

Impressive.

 

Maximizing your retirement health care dollars

Along with maximizing your Social Security benefts, retirees need to learn how to maximize their retirement health care dollars.

best medicare supplement plan FMost of us just took what our employers offered, grumbled that it wasn’t good enough and cost too much and then went on. When you turn 65 you finally get to pick your own plan. One that meets your needs and budget.

Sadly, too many make poor choices and don’t realize it until it is too late.

I have spent 40 years designing health insurance plans for corporations and individuals and I believe I understand what it’s all about. But a few years ago when I was looking toward turning 65 it was time for me to learn about Medicare, not just for myself, but my clients. Many of them would be turning 65 and going on Medicare and I knew they would turn to me for advice.

The first time I read through the Medicare manual I thought I must have had a brain freeze. Hardly any of it made sense. It took about 3 weeks of reading and re-reading the material plus talking to some very wise brokers in the Medicare market before the light bulb came on.

I am not dumb, but if it took me that long to understand the basics of Medicare, how much more difficult is it for those who haven’t studied health insurance for 40 years?

Georgia Medicare Plans specializes in Medigap and Medicare Part D coverage. We ask each potential client about their medical history, prescription drug history and doctors before ever making a recommendation. If you are turning 65 your decisions are even more crucial because you get only ONE initial enrollment period. After that you can change supplement plans at any time as long as you are in good health.

As a baby boomer going on Medicare in September, 2015 I have a unique perspective over most other agents that contact you. I have no problem telling you which plan and carrier I will pick and why it may or may not be right for you.

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

We can help. Others talk, we listen.

Instant GA Medigap quotes online.

We NEVER sell your information!

 

 

#SocialSecurity  #Medicare #TurningAge65  #GeorgiaMedicarePlans #GAMedigapQuotes

 

 

 

 

Identity Theft Prevention Act

The Identity Theft and Tax Fraud Prevention Act of 2015 is proposed tax formslegislation whose time has come. Retirees are easy targets and carrying a Medicare card with your Social Security number on it is an open invitation to thieves. Medical identity theft is a so-called “victim-less” crime that often goes unnoticed until thousands of dollars in fraudulent claims have been filed.

 

Identity Theft and Tax Fraud Prevention Act of 2015

Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio has introduced legislation aimed at curbing identity theft by offering more consumer protections for your Social Security number.

The Identity Theft and Tax Fraud Prevention Act of 2015, among other things, would:

  • Allow the IRS to prohibit employers from displaying a worker’s full Social Security number on W-2 forms.

  • Phase out “unnecessary storage and display of Social Security numbers by Medicare and private health care providers.” Brown said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has been asked for years about removing Social Security numbers from Medicare cards but claims it needs congressional approval to do so.

  • Give victims the ability to pursue civil action against people who’ve committed fraud against them. – Cleveland

Georgia Medicare Plans supports this move to protect citizens from identity theft.

 

Protecting your Medicare card

In the past we have suggested carrying a copy of your Medicare card that has blacked out all but the last four numbers of your Medicare claim number which is also (usually) your Social Security number. This was not our original idea. We got it from Money Magazine.

But we have been taken to the woodshed by a MOM (Medical Office Manager) in this revealing post by a fellow blogger.

I was a bit perplexed when not once, but twice in the past few months, I had patients who presented a photocopy of their Medicare Card with their billing number (which is their social security number) blacked out. Each time I gave the “card” back to the patient and said I could not accept a photo copy, I needed the original card with all the information visible. You see, the only way I can get my doctor paid is to bill Medicare for your service and I need that number to bill. – InsureBlog

As Kelley goes on to say …….

because of identity theft and the ability to change insurances during the open enrollment each year (and sometimes more often), the physician has to confirm each time you visit that you do, in fact, have insurance, and that insurance is, in fact, yours. This is done by confirming your Insurance Number and Name with outside entities that assure your doctor that, yes, the insurance is active and you are you.

Thanks, Kelley, for pointing this out and helping us understand these issues from a doctor’s office perspective.

 

Medigap may offer more protection

In the battle against medical identity theft, a Medigap plan may offer you more protection than a Medicare Advantage plan.

As the Cleveland article pointed out, many insurance carriers use your SSN as part of your member ID number. Most retirees will review and often change Advantage plans on an annual basis. Each time you change that is more exposure to potential identity theft.

Contrast that with having a Medicare supplement plan that most will keep for years without making a change. We have clients who have had the same Medigap plan with the same carrier for 5 years or longer.

Contrast that with Advantage plans that are changed every 2 – 3 years.

When was the last time you reviewed your Medigap plan? Most of the people we talk to are paying too much for their plan by an average of $450 per year. We show them even more savings by swapping their expensive plan F for plan G or N.

With more than 170 different Medigap plans in Georgia, how do you find the best plan for you?

Shop and compare GA Medigap quotes

Instant online rates

Your information is NEVER sold.

 

#IdentityTheft #TaxFraud #MedicareCard #SocialSecurity #GAMedigapQuotes

Prescription Drug Interactions

Prescription drug interactions kill an estimated 6,000 people per year and most of these could have been prevented. Doctors often fail to check state prescription drug databases before prescribing. Even if your doctor checks the state database you should use a drug checker for the safety of your own health. CDC finds over 100,000 over age 65 end up in the Emergency Room due to drug interactions and accidental overdose.

Retirees on Medicare Part D need to keep a list of all their medications on their smartphone by using iBlueButton.

 

Prescription drug interactions can be killers.

Roughly 6,000 people die each year as a result of adverse drug interactions.

An estimated 100,000 retirees over age 65 end up in the Emergency Room for something that could have been avoided.

Seniors are more at risk due to a number of factors including, taking multiple medications, mixing prescription medications with over the counter supplements, memory lapses that can lead to missed doses or even over-dosing.

Doctors and pharmacies need access to a prescription drug monitoring database. Georgia has a monitoring program but it only tracks prescriptions for controlled substances such as prescription pain killers.

If a patient is concerned about possible adverse reactions to their medications they need to be proactive and cross-check their med’s against a database.

 

Opioids and doctor shopping

Many people, including retirees, will seek out unconventional ways to counteract pain. If the medications they are on are not enough to control the pain some will resort to doctor shopping.

medicare doctorSadly, most doctors fail to check the database before prescribing controlled substances.

In a survey of 420 primary care physicians published in the March issue of the journal Health Affairs, the researchers found that 72 percent indicated they were aware of their state’s program, and 53 percent reported they’d used their state’s program. Another 22 percent indicated they had no knowledge of their state’s program.

The databases allow prescribing physicians to identify “doctor shoppers” — people who obtain prescriptions from multiple physicians, either to use or to sell or both — and other potentially illicit or abusive behaviors. Every state but Missouri has a prescription drug-monitoring program in place. – Johns Hopkins

The Georgia database has been available since 2013. At first, only pharmacists were able to register but now doctors can access the database as well.

One pharmacist checked the database for several of his patients who he thought were only using his pharmacy to get their hydrocodone and alprazolam prescriptions filled. To his surprise, he found that all of the patients he checked had been going to multiple other pharmacies, getting the same type prescriptions filled and going to multiple physicians. He decided to stop filling prescriptions for those customers. Another pharmacist checked the database for patients she suspected were doctor shopping. But to her relief, none of those patients were getting prescriptions filled at any other pharmacy than hers. – GPhA

Don’t try and game the system. You will be caught.

Doctor shopping is dangerous. Medicare shopping is simple and fast. With more than 170 different Medicare plans in Georgia, how do you find the right one?

Instant online GA Medigap quotes

Your information is never sold.

 

 

Prescription drug checker

All patients should use a prescription drug checker to verify there are no potential adverse reactions among their medications.

Drug interactions occurs when the effect of a particular drug is altered when it is taken with another drug, or with food.

The Drug Interaction Checker explains the mechanism of each drug interaction, the level of significance of the interaction (major, moderate or minor), and in certain cases, can provide the recommended course of action to manage the interaction. The Drug Interaction Checker will also display any interactions between your chosen drug(s) and food. – Drugs

Follow this link to check your medications now.

Other sites also have prescription drug checkers which may be more comprehensive. Here are a few more for consideration.

WebMD interaction checker – precription drugs, OTC and herbal remedies

Rx List interactions checker – crosscheck generic, brand and OTC medications

Medscape – check prescription drugs, OTC medications and herbal supplements

Dangers of opioid pain management medication

Certainly abuse and addiction is at the forefront of concerns regarding prescription pain medication but that is not the only concern.pharmacy

Roughly 70% of those taking prescription pain medication are also taking one or more additional prescription medications.

A drug interaction occurs when two or more substances (drugs, supplements, or even some foods) affect each other in such a way that the metabolism, elimination, effectiveness, and/or toxicity of one or more of the drugs is changed. Simply put, a drug interaction causes one or more of the medications you’re taking not to work as they should. This can have dangerous, even deadly, results. – Health Central

Make sure your doctor is aware of all prescription drug medications and supplements you are taking.

Georgia Medigap plans & Prices

Georgia Medigap plans & Prices

#PrescriptionDrugInteractions #AdverseDrugReaction #GAMedigapQuotes

GA Medigap Rates March 2015

GA Medigap rates are increasing for some carriers in the next few months. Lock in lower rates now. Prepare for increases on grumpy old personrenewal. Continental Life closing their block. Aetna introducing new, lower rates. New Era Medigap rates increasing slightly. Manhattan Life rates jump.

Click to shop and compare GA Medigap rates now.

GA Medigap rates

 

Aetna GA Medigap rates

History teaches us that when a carrier closes out a line of coverage, or stops issuing new plans, the rates increase. In some cases rate adjustments are slight at first but pick up steam over the next few years.

In 2010 Mutual of Omaha introduced Medigap plan N for the first time. Less than a year later they pulled the plan off the market and began increasing rates at a steady clip. In some years plan N rates increased by double digits. If you bought a Mutual of Omaha plan N in 2010 you probably can no longer afford it.

In 2011 Aetna offered Medicare supplement plans using a Continental Life as a subsidiary issuing carrier. An age 65 female in Macon, Georgia would be expected to pay a non-tobacco rate of $145.

Today that same plan through Continental would be $175.

Aetna Health and Life is currently offering that same Medigap plan F for $126.

GA Medigap rates

 

 

New Era Medigap quotes

New Era is one of those carriers you don’t hear much about. About 40 years old with 10+ years in the Medicare supplement market (including 5 in Georgia), you won’t find their rates on most instant quote engines.

Medicare supplement plan F ratesMost Medicare shoppers looking for instant rates believe they should limit themselves to the “brand name” carriers like Blue Cross, Mutual of Omaha and United Healthcare (co-branded with AARP).

The 2015 edition of Choosing a Medigap Policy tells you on page 9.

All Medigap policies must follow federal and state laws designed
to protect you, and policies must be clearly identified as “Medicare
Supplement Insurance.” Medigap insurance companies in most
states can only sell you a “standardized” Medigap policy identified by
letters A through N. 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.

That’s pretty simple and easy to understand. In other words, what CMS is saying is this.

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

We have been using New Era consistently for  years and will gladly share their rates with prospective clients. The recent 3% increase in GA Medigap rates is the lowest we have seen for any carrier in the last 5 years.

Georgia Medigap plans & Prices

Georgia Medigap plans & Prices

 

Manhattan Life Medicare supplement rates

Manhattan Life is a 100+ year old company with a storied past but they are new to the Medigap business. They entered the GA market a little over a year ago and took off like a bandit. Their plan F rates were among the lowest in the state at younger ages and in certain zip codes.

Our 65 year old female in Macon could buy Medigap plan F from Manhattan for as little as $115 when household discounts are applied.

In May of this year Manhattan Life Medigap rates for plan F will increase by 9%. In some situations those rates are still competitive but you need to take into account we have not seen that kind of rate increase from anyone (other than Continental) in almost 2 years.

 

GA Medigap rates, last 5 years

The last few years have been interesting times.

Aetna bought Continental, dropped their rates significantly, and suddenly started writing new business.affordable medigap plans

The Duck (AFLAC) entered the Medigap market for the second or third time in 2012 and then disappeared in 2013. If you bought an AFLAC policy then and didn’t change to another carrier when you could you are probably paying too much now.

In the early part of 2010 Mutual of Omaha was issuing Medigap plans in Georgia under the United World umbrella. That came to an end in the summer of 2010 when they introduced United of Omaha with “new lower rates” (but only for new applicants). In October of 2013 Omaha Insurance Company was rolled out with “new lower rates”.

At the end of 2012 Blue Cross of Georgia withdrew plans G and Hi F. In January, 2014 they changed their rating structure and started charging more for males vs. females  and added a higher rate for tobacco users. It didn’t help since they are still not competitive.

If you bought one of these Medicare supplement plans and can qualify for new coverage, you probably should check your rates. We just save Ted in Clermont, GA over $100 per month by switching him off his old, old Mutual of Omaha plan F.

Shop and compare GA Medigap rates now.

Your information is never sold

 

#GAMedigapQuotes #AetnaMedicareSupplementRates #NewEraMedigap #ManhattanLifeMedigap

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

 

Health Care At Your Fingertips

Health care. Now there’s an app for that.  At Georgia Medicare Plans we believe in open access to health care information. When patients, consumers and their medical providers have access to relevant information the level of health care goes up and the cost of health care comes down.

OK, the video is a bit corny but it get’s the point across.

Something that isn’t corny is saving money on your Medigap plans. One carrier lowered rates while others are raising rates. Maybe your Medicare supplement carrier is increasing rates. Shop and compare GA Medigap quotes now. 

Your data is never sold.

 

Health care and iBlueButton

It is surprising how many retirees on Medicare are not aware they can view their health care records online by logging in to MyMedicare.gov. If you have not already created a user account, do it now. Optimized-iBlueButton

You will also need to install iBlueButton on your mobile device or Chrome enabled computer.

Once you have installed iBlueButton you can download your medical data from MyMedicare directly to your smartphone or tablet.

It’s that simple!

 

Medical Identity Theft

Anthem made headlines recently when they disclosed that their computers had been hacked and 80 million current and former policyholders personal information had been compromised.

ibulebuttonvideoMost of the headlines and news reports have focused on traditional identity theft. Things like using your name and Social Security number to create a “new you” so someone in Bangladesh can buy a Ford.

No doubt someone can pretend to be you and establish a new line of credit but the bigger threat is medical identity theft. Georgia Medicare Plans has posted on this before and you might want to review our earlier posts.

We also found this online WSJ article to contain very useful information.

Medical records typically sell on the black market for about $50 each, says Mr. Pascual. The thieves, often hackers from overseas, are rarely caught, and medical clinics and hospitals compound the problem by having poor record security and holding personal data for long periods.

This widespread problem of medical-record theft, which often targets children and the elderly, shows no signs of slowing.

The theft (of your medical records) can mean canceled insurance plans, damaged credit, misdiagnosed illnesses and unwarranted medical charges that can take over a year to fix. – Wall Street Journal

Unfortunately too many view medical identity fraud as a victim-less crime since, in most cases, the money loss comes from insurance carriers or Medicare. But theft always comes back in the form of higher prices, higher premiums and higher taxes.

 

Improving your health care

As we age we often go from one or two doctor visits a year to several. Our little black book usually has more names that end in M.D.

And as our medication list expands we may purchase prescriptions by mail as well as retail. Your doctor(s) need to know which medications you are taking before prescribing something new or even evaluating your current list of complaints.

When was the last time you had your Medicare prescription drug coverage reviewed? Over the last few years we have saved our clients anywhere from a few hundred dollars per year in out of pocket prescription costs to several thousand. Just last year we saved one client over $7,000 per year by showing them a Part D plan with a lower premium but more importantly, significantly lower drug costs.

We also find that most retirees do not have a Medicare plan that meets their needs and budget. Many are overpaying for Medicare supplement plan F. They bought plan F because that’s what their friends have. Almost without exception you can save anywhere from $300 per year to over $1,000 by making a switch.

Georgia Medicare Plans has access to over 170 different Medigap plans. Somewhere in that mix is a plan that is right for you and will save you a lot of money. When you pay more you don’t get more, you simply paid too much.

Shop and compare now. Instant online quotes.

Georgia Medigap plans & Prices

Georgia Medigap plans & Prices

 

With iBlueButton you can take charge of your health care and have access to all your medical records at the touch of a button.

 

#iBlueButton  #Medicare  #IdentityTheft #GAMedigapQuotes