Why Do I Need a Medicare Insurance Agent?

Medicare insurance agent. Who needs them? Medicare is simple. Pick the lowest rate. Why use and insurance agent? Cut out the broker. Go direct to the carrier. Save the commission.

You Don’t Need an Agent

Medicare expert? Truth is, you don’t need an agent to SELL you a Medicare plan. You can use Medicare.gov, go direct to a carrier or even use one of those online “FREE” quote services. But how will you know if you picked the right plan or paid too much?

Ask a Medicare expert.

Will you save money by eliminating the middleman?

No. This video explains.

Does an Insurance Agent Offer Real Value?

Experience.

About 70% of those who turn 65 and are enrolling in Medicare for the first time have never bought health insurance before. Most people will need to get it right the first time. For many there are no Mulligans. No do-overs. This may be your only chance to buy a Medicare supplement plan.

Medicare supplement rates change every year. Old carriers are retired. New carriers enter Georgia with low initial rates.

You can change Medigap plans anytime you want . . . as long as you are healthy. Medicare expert and insurance agent Bob Vineyard will help you find the right plan that fits your needs and budget.

Those Pesky Drug Plans

Medicare Part D drug plans are complicated. Deductibles, formularies, copay’s, preferred pharmacy’s change every year.

Too many people pay too much for their Medicare drug plan.

Could be they bought the same plan their friends have. Wrong.

Maybe they bought from the carrier that issued their Medigap plan. Wrong.

Sometimes seniors will shop on their own and pick the plan with the lowest premium. Not always correct. Not always wrong. But the criteria is definitely wrong.

Many times they buy a plan suggested by an insurance agent that really doesn’t understand Medicare Part D. This happens way too often.

Check out my YouTube Channel and review drug plan videos.

Learning the Language

Welcome to the world of Medicare where almost everything is a TLE and has an acronym. Here is a friendly introduction.

TLE = Three Letter Entity

CMS = Center for Medicare (and Medicaid) Services

MSN = Medicare Summary Notice

PDP = Prescription Drug Plan

ABN = Advance Beneficiary Notification

Having fun so far. You can’t tell the players without a scorecard.

Confused?

You have questions. We have answers. Call or email.

Do You Need a Medicare Expert?

Nope.

You can DIY. (Do It Yourself).

But if you mess up who can you blame?

You can spend hours online researching. Attend seminars. Invite strangers (insurance agents) into your home.

But they don’t leave until you buy something or call the cops.

You could also sort through the mountain of information that comes in the mail. Ask your hair stylist or members of your bridge club. Does anyone still have bridge clubs?

Buy direct from a name you trust. Here is a tip. Medicare carriers with familiar names often overcharge, sometimes by hundreds or thousands of dollars per year.

Why?

Because they can.

They know you are buying on name recognition and have not researched. You trust them to treat you right.

They will take advantage of that trust and profit from your lack of understanding.

Give Me 10 Minutes

That’s all I ask.

Look over my website. Watch my videos. Call or email.

Yes, I am an insurance agent. But also an expert with over 40 years experience.

And just like you, I am enrolled in Medicare.

If you don’t feel comfortable with my advice, move on. No hard feelings. I don’t chase. I don’t beg.

Either you want my help and advice or you don’t.

Not only will I save you a lot of time and keep you from chasing rabbits, but you will also learn how to maximize your Medicare dollars.

And isn’t that what this is all about? Finding real value in the advice offered by a Medicare insurance expert.

#GeorgiaMedicareExpert #GeorgiaMedicarePlans

Do You Want Fries With That?

Would you like fries with your Medicare plan? What do you know about those who offer advice about Medicare?

Picking a Medicare Plan is as Easy as Ordering Lunch

Picking a Medicare plan while blindfolded is what happens too often. Almost no one understands Advantage plans. Medicare drug plan deductibles? Who can explain that? Much easier to pick a plan without a deductible. You can’t go wrong there.

Medicare supplement plans are easy. All plans with the same letter are identical. Just go with the plan with the lowest premium. Right?

Maybe you will appreciate my Shop Like a Boss video, explaining how to search for Medicare information.

No need to ask an insurance agent. They cost too much.

Questions You Really Should Ask

How long has the agent or carrier rep worked the Medicare market? Maybe feel more comfortable talking with someone at Medicare.gov or a volunteer and a not-for-profit organization.

Surely they will be impartial?

Or will they?

Turning 65 Medicare Options

How does Medicare work?

Bob Vineyard explains in this Georgia Medicare Minute video

If you are turning 65 and enrolling in Medicare, this may be your only chance to purchase a Medigap plan. Here is your guide to understanding GA Medicare.

You don’t have to receive Social Security to enroll in Medicare insurance. CMS is the agency that oversees Medicare.

Senior healthcare insurance is commonly used to describe Medicare.

How to enroll in Medicare? You may sign up for Medicare 3 months before your 65th birthday, the month you turn 65, and 3 months following your 65th birthday. You may enroll online (highly recommended), by mail or by visiting a Social Security office.

Original Medicare has 4 parts.

Medicare Part A covers hospital inpatient charges and has a per admission deductible

Medicare Part B is for outpatient health care treatment. Doctor visits, labs, X-rays, MRI, CT scan (CAT scan), ambulance, ER, outpatient clinics, etc. Essentially any Medicare approved health care received outside the hospital setting. Treatment considered medically necessary under Medicare guidelines. Medicare Part B has a calendar year deductible. Once satisfied, Medicare pays 80% of the approved charge, you are responsible for the remaining 20%.

Most seniors worry about hospital stays, but your major expenses will more than likely fall under Medicare Part B outpatient expenses. Original Medicare stand alone has no cap on your out of pocket expenses.

You pay until you run out of money, get well or die.

Medicare Part C is now referred to as Medicare Advantage. More on that later.

Medicare Part D covers outpatient prescription drugs. Some Advantage plans have drug coverage built into the plan.

Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage?

Medigap and Advantage plans cover the same things, but what you pay out of pocket for your care, and where you receive your care, is very different.

Original Medicare does not have networks. You can use any doctor or hospital anywhere in the US. Another plus is the ABN form which is only used with Original Medicare.

Advantage plans are managed care plans. Some are PPO, some are HMO. In 2018 about half the plans are HMO with the balance being PPO.

If you receive non-emergency out of network care under a PPO you may have higher copay’s and deductibles. Your max OOP may also be higher. Some plans do not cap out of network charges.

Non-emergency out of network care charges may be denied if you have an HMO.

Medicare Questions – FAQ

How Much Does Medicare Cost?

In 2018 most Advantage plans issued in Georgia limit your out of pocket for approved in network health care expenses to $6700.

The American Cancer Society tells us that more than half the 1.4 million new cancer diagnoses occur in people age 65 and older. Roughly 20% of retiree deaths are a result of cancer. Medicare pays for almost half of the $74 billion spent on cancer treatment. The elderly account for 70% of cancer deaths each year.

Some cancer centers, such as Mayo Clinic, Sloan Kettering and MD Anderson may not participate in certain Medicare Advantage plans.

Medicare and Cancer

Not all cancer responds to chemotherapy, but 80% of cancers are treated with chemo. Those treatments occur in an outpatient setting and are covered under Medicare Part B.

Chemotherapy drugs administered in a doctor’s office or clinic normally fall under Part B. Medication from a retail pharmacy or by mail fall under your PDP.

This is why most of us chose a Medicare supplement plan in 2018. Bob Vineyard, independent Medicare insurance broker in Georgia, can explain your Georgia Medicare insurance options and will allow you to decide.

We represent several carriers including Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross, Humana and more.

According to the Mayo clinic, “new cancer treatments are routinely priced at over $100,000 per year of treatment.”

A study from the Medicare Rights discovered the number one reason for disenrolling from a Medicare Advantage plan was “provider access problems”. Number 4 on the list was “cost sharing too high”.

Who is giving you Medicare advice? An experienced agent who is enrolled in Medicare or someone that works in a fast food restaurant?

#GeorgiaMedicarePlans #GAMedigapQuotes #Turning65 https://youtu.be/uMROeyRxqEI

Medicare Drug Plan Finder

Using the Medicare Drug Plan Finder can be challenging. You can do it yourself, ask an agent, ask the Medicare drug plan carrier or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

We will show you

  • step by step how to navigate the Medicare Plan Finder site
  • how to compare drug plan results side by side
  • eliminate plans with deductibles
  • choose plans where all your drugs on on the formulary
  • find pharmacy’s with the lowest drug costs
  • where to find the estimated drug copay’s
  • how and where to enroll in a Medicare drug plan
  • compare prices using a discount drug card
  • finding prices at Canadian pharmacy’s

The entire process is more frightening than filling out your taxes but with a little practice you will figure it out. By the time you do it again during the next open enrollment you will have forgotten everything you learned.

So bookmark this page when it is time to renew your plan and you can fly through the process like a pro.

 

We are happy to run reports for our existing Medicare supplement clients.

  • We collect your drug information
  • Run reports for you based on all 24 plans in Georgia
  • Send the reports to you by email complete with a recommendation for the lowest combination of drug plan and pharmacy

Or you can call Medicare.

OK, this may not be as fun as talking with Jake from State Farm but it can still save you money.

jake-from-state-farm

Medicare Drug Plan Finder 2018 Update

As challenging as this process was for 2017, it is even more difficult for 2018 plans.

Drugs on Medicare may show as not on the formulary. Call the carrier and get a different response.

To maximize savings you may need to change pharmacy’s. One client will save almost $4,000 in 2018 by using a different pharmacy!

MAJOR discrepancies in results on Medicare.gov and carrier sites. Calling the carrier can be more confusing. Each time you call you get a different answer.

Good luck!

 

Medicare Drug Plan Finder for the Do It Yourself Person

For those who like to do it themselves here is a step by step guide to using the Medicare Drug Plan Finder.

Click this link to go to the plan finder.

https://www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/questions/home.aspx

You can also click the General Search image below.

Enter your zip in the box Search. Click Find Plan.

Medicare Drug Plan Finder

 

Select how you get your Medicare coverage.

Most people will select Original Medicare and I Don’t Get Any Extra Help.

medicare-plan-finder-2

Click Continue to Plan Results.

Now the fun starts.

Have all your medicine bottles lined up before moving to the next section.

Medicare drug plan finder

 

Prescription Drugs You Take

Enter the name(s) of each medication, click Find My Drug.

Choose the drug name and dosage you take. Also check off how often filled, quantity and whether you get your drugs at retail or mail order.

Repeat the process for each drug.

Note you can change the dose, add or remove the drug from your list using the buttons.

Make a note of your Drug List ID and Password Date. You will refer back to this in the future.

Then click My Drug List Is Complete.

medicare-plan-finder-3

 

Choose your pharmacy(s).

If you want to compare prices by pharmacy, pick any two.

medicare-plan-finder-4

 

Click Continue to Plan Results

medicare-plan-finder-5

 

Check off Prescription Drug Plans with Original Medicare

Click Continue to Plan Results

The next page should look like this. If it doesn’t you have done something wrong. Go back.

Make sure the results (below) are for the correct year. The image below was taken in October, 2016 so the default is to illustrate the 2017 plans. If you need to view the current year, click that button.

You will notice your Drug List ID and Password Date follow you through the process.

 

medicare-plan-finder-6

 

When you get to the Medicare drug plan page (above), scroll down until you see the options (below)

Select two or three plans that appeal to you, the click Compare Plans

medicare-plan-finder-7

 

The plans you want to compare will appear side by side.

You should use your browser setting to print this page. If you know how to print and save as a PDF you should do so and save it on your computer where you can find it again.

medicare-plan-finder-8

Notice I chose the plan with the lowest drug cost (Envision). The Envision plan has a deductible, so I picked the next lowest cost plan (Silver Script) that does not have a deductible.

Some (but not all) plans do not apply the deductible to tier 1 and tier 2 medications when using a preferred pharmacy. Be sure you know the difference.

Often, but not always, plans that have a deductible will have lower copay’s than plans that do not have a deductible.

 

View Monthly Drug Plan Costs

Scroll down until you see the Estimated Monthly Drug Costs

medicare-plan-finder-9

 

The monthly costs include your premium plus the estimated cost of your drugs. If you go into the donut hole that will appear in the monthly printout (above).

If you want to see the estimated copay for each of your medications, click the View monthly drug cost details by selected drugs link.

medicare-plan-finder-10

 

Note the drug copay’s are estimated and do not reflect higher costs due to deductibles or increased costs when you are in the donut hole.

 

Dig Deeper

If you want to really take this drug plan report for a test drive, check out some other neat things you can do.

Go back to the browser frame where the monthly drug costs are shown side by side. Scroll down until you see this section (below).

medicare-plan-finder-11

 

Note the tier level for each of your drugs. It won’t always be the same from carrier to carrier.

Click Print My Drug List.

Click Print Comparison Report.

The Drug List shows all the drugs you have entered by name, dosage, etc.

The Comparison Report can be customized to show only information that is relevant to your situation.

 

Finding the Lowest Drug Prices

Sometimes you have to work a bit to find the absolute lowest drug costs. There are times when you want to purchase 30 or 90 day supplies at retail. Maintenance drugs may (or may not) be cheaper by mail.

 

Current clients of Georgia Medicare Plans can stop right now.

If you purchased a Medigap plan through us do this.

Email me your Drug List ID and Password Date. Give your current zip code and county of residence. I will run your report (based on your Drug List ID and Password Date) then search for ways to cut your drug costs using mail order and discount cards.

Not a current client? Shameless plug here. Let us help you find the best Medigap plan that fits your needs and budget.

GA Medigap Rates

For next year plans I will only do this from October 1 through November 7. After that date I may not have time to perform this service, so no guarantees.

If you are not a current client, proceed as follows.

 

Your Medicare Drug Plan Finder will show you which plans save money when you order by mail.

But wait, there’s more.

Consider ordering drugs from Canada. We have personally used and recommended Blue Sky for years.

You can also save money by using a drug discount coupon from GoodRx. You have the option of going online and printing out a coupon, downloading an app for your smartphone, or requesting an ID card you can carry in your wallet.

 

Decide How You Want to Purchase Your Drugs

Get a piece of paper.

  • Make 4 columns
  • Write down each drug in column one
  • Enter the cost of the drug using your drug plan – See call the carrier (below)
  • Repeat this process for each drug from Canada and again using GoodRx
  • Go back to your Medicare Drug Plan report and remove the drugs purchased from Canada or using GoodRx
  • Run the report again

If you use insulin, most Canadian pharmacy’s will not ship it to you. Insulin prices in the US, even with a Medicare drug plan or discount card are crazy expensive. We have found one Canadian pharmacy that stocks and ships insulin direct to you.

https://rxcanada4less.com/

Check insulin pricing before enrolling in a Medicare Part D plan.

Now you are ready to sign up for a drug plan.

Almost.

Before you enroll in a plan, call the carrier you think you want to use.

  • Give them a list of all your drugs including dosage
  • Ask them for their preferred pharmacy’s – Compare that to your Medicare report
  • Which drugs (if any) are subject to the deductible (if the plan has a deductible)
  • Ask for the initial coverage copay for each drug
  • If a deductible applies, ask for the cost with and without the deductible
  • Ask for your cost if/when you are in the donut hole
  • Write all this down
  • Do NOT enroll yet – You are still not done

Now that you have the copay for each drug from the carrier you think you want to use, go back to your piece of paper with the drug prices.

 

Enroll in a Medicare Drug Plan

Now that you have all your information it is time to enroll in a drug plan.

  • You can enroll direct with the carrier by clicking the Enroll button on the Medicare site
  • Better suggestion is to call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227)
  • 800 MEDICARE is open 24/7 except federal holidays – You can even call at 3AM
  • You can also enroll direct with a carrier by phone or on their site

I have been advising clients to enroll via 1-800-MEDICARE for years and have had no complaints. When you follow my step by step instructions you can be enrolled in a drug plan in less than 15 minutes.

No hassle. No sales pitches.

 

Finding a Medicare Drug Plan

It will probably take you longer to read this post than it will to use the plan finder. With over 400 clients spread all over the state of Georgia, I don’t have the time to help everyone the way I would like to. By asking you, my client, to do the front end work I can still help others find a Medigap plan that fits their needs and budget without totally abandoning my existing clients.

Here are the steps you need to take to use the Medicare Drug Plan Finder

  • Go to the plan finder
  • Enter your zip and check off how you get your Medicare benefits
  • Input your current medications
  • Choose a pharmacy
  • Review the results

If you take fewer than 5 medications it will take you about 15 minutes to get results. More than 5 will take a bit longer.

If you find this helpful, share this link with your friends. Thanks, and have a great day!

 

#MedicareDrugPlanFinder #GoodRx  #MedicareOpenEnrollment #DrugsFromCanada #GeorgiaMedicarePlans #GAMedigapRates 

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)

Best Georgia Medigap Plans

Looking for the best Georgia Medigap plans? Don’t follow the sheep!

  • The best Medigap plan is the one that meets your needs and budget
  • All Medigap plans assigned the same letter are identical in every way. Medicare says it. Look it up. Page 81, Medicare and You 2017 under the heading Medigap Policies Are Standardized
  • Every way except the premium you pay.
  • Over half the seniors that have a Medigap plan choose plan F. . .  but maybe they could have made a better choice
  • Almost 3 out of 4 Georgia seniors buy their coverage from Blue Cross, AARP (United Healthcare) or the “Mutual” company.
  • Did they get the best Georgia Medigap plans?
  • No, they simply followed the crowd.
  • My mother used to say “If Greg jumped off a cliff would you want to also?”.
  • Just because your friends bought plan F from a “big name” carrier doesn’t mean it is the right choice for you.

 

Four things  you need to know about Medigap plans

  • Medicare supplement plan F is the most expensive Medigap plan available in Georgia.
  • Plans offered by the top 3 Medigap carriers in Georgia are some of the most expensive plans.
  • The more you pay for your plan the more money the carrier and the agent make
  • When you pay more you don’t get more, you simply paid too much.

 

How do you shop for the best Georgia Medigap plan?

It depends.

Do you want rates fast or faster?

The quickest way is to run you own rates online.

But you can always call if you want. We want to help.

Best Georgia Medicare Supplement Rates

 

 

#BestGeorgiaMedigapPlans #BlueCrossMedicareSupplementPlans #GAMedigapRates