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 Help Center

Medicare Help Center. Medicare insurance complaints. Should I be concerned? Complaints can fall into many areas, including:

  • Why is my renewal premium so high?
  • Will my doctor accept this insurance?
  • Why doesn’t Medicare.gov list this company on their website?
  • How do I know the Medicare supplement insurance will pay my claims?
  • Can I change Medigap plans during open enrollment?
  • Can I change Medicare insurance plans at any time?
  • Where can I find BBB ratings?
  • Where do I find the rate increase history for (AARP, Mutual of Omaha, Blue Cross . . .)

You have questions. We have answers.

Medicare Insurance Complaints

We speak with over 1,000 people each year. We take the time to answer, and sometimes research, solutions for their problems. Every phone conversation is followed up with an email that summarizes our discussion and provides links to documentation.

All we ask in return is that they allow us to offer a Medicare supplement rate quote. Some buy a plan from us, some don’t. Never any pressure. People love to buy but hate to be sold.

Why is my Medicare insurance renewal premium so high? In most cases you bought the wrong plan from the wrong carrier. Medigap plan F is overpriced and oversold. Also, many insurance carriers think they are a cable company. Give you a low first year rate then raise them considerably the next year. While you are paying a high rate they offer the same plan to new applicants at rates that may be 25% lower.

Will my doctor accept this insurance? Any doctor, lab or hospital that accepts Medicare assignment will also take your Medigap plan. When you have original Medicare and a supplement plan there are no networks and no penalties.

Verifying Medicare Information

Why doesn’t Medicare.gov list this company on their website? Medicare does not approve or directly regulate Medicare insurance supplement plans. Medigap plans are approved at the state level. Any Medicare plan offered by an agent licensed in the state of Georgia is also approved by the state.

How do I know the Medicare supplement insurance will pay my claims? Claims submitted by your doctor or other medical provider go direct to Medicare for review and approval. Once adjudicated and approved by Medicare, the claim goes directly to your Medigap carrier. Medicare supplement claims are normally paid in 3 – 5 business days from receipt. Medigap carriers are not allowed to deny claims approved by Medicare.

Changing Medicare Plans

Can I change Medigap plans during open enrollment? Medigap plans only have ONE open enrollment. When your initial Medicare Part B coverage begins you may apply for or change Medicare supplement plans at any time during the first 6 months. Drug plans (Part D) and Advantage plans can be changed during the annual enrollment period.

Can I change Medicare insurance plans at any time? You can change your Medicare supplement insurance plan at any time. However, if you have been enrolled in Medicare Part B longer than 6 months you will need to prove you are insurable.

Where can I find BBB ratings? The Better Business Bureau does not evaluate and rate Medicare insurance carriers.

Where do I find the rate increase history for (AARP, Mutual of Omaha, Blue Cross . . .). The easiest way is to call and ask. We have new business and renewal rate histories for many of the Georgia Medigap carriers. We will also quote current Medicare supplement rates by phone and tell you which plan and carrier I used when I went on Medicare in 2015.

georgia medicare supplement rates

Questions About Medicare Supplement Rates?

Why make your decision after seeing rates from only a few carriers. Most of the people we talk to bought the wrong plan and are paying too much. They allowed a salesman to talk them into buying something they don’t need and can no longer afford.

We do things differently.

We prepare a customized Medigap rate quote for those who are interested. The report shows rates and plans for not just a few, but ALL carriers based on your age, gender and zip code. These are rates you will not see anywhere else. Other brokers are not willing to be transparent but would rather show you one or two plans and say pick one.

We show you 30 or more and answer your questions. How simple is that?

Related Questions about Medicare Insurance Complaints

Consumer sights are often notoriously unreliable as a resource. There is little or no fact checking. Carriers are rarely (if ever) offered a chance for rebuttal. And there is this.

When did you ever find a consumer site where anyone had something GOOD to say about an insurance carrier?

Most of the complaints about insurance in general revolve around insurance claim denials. But those complaints do not address Medigap insurance.

Just an FYI, Medicare supplement insurance carriers cannot deny ANY claim approved by Medicare. There is one exception. If your coverage lapsed due to non-payment of your premium they are allowed to deny claims incurred while your policy was in a lapsed state.

Are Online Consumer Complaints Valid?

Consumers sometimes will read comments about one line of coverage offered by a carrier and assume that applies to all lines. I ran into this recently when a carrier I had suggested “got bad reviews” according to my prospective client. I was trying to save him money over a plan suggested by another agent. That agent showed this gentleman these reviews.

I had told the salesman up front that I could not purchase the insurance until after the first of the year. He pursued until we agreed to get the minimum of the policies he offered and told us about the free look guarantee. 

The Pushy Agent

The problem here is the pushy agent and has nothing to do with the carrier. I never “force” a sale. In fact, I don’t “sell” anything but I do inform and let the consumer decide if they want to buy, what they want and when they are ready to proceed.

Also, it is unclear what type of insurance is involved. It could be Medigap or something else. Regardless, this is an AGENT complaint and that person should be reported to the carrier.

I recently submitted a claim including death certificate on a policy that has been in effect since 2008. I am the policy owner and all my documents were intact. Because this death was police involved (meaning the decedent was shot by the police), they sent my claim to outside investigator to be certain that I was not involved.

This complaint was probably about a life insurance policy or accident policy. It is not a Medigap policy. The only time a Medigap carrier will ask for a death certificate is when the policy is being cancelled by someone other than the insured and the reason given is the death of the insured.

The carrier was right to have an investigation. If a beneficiary of a death benefit was involved in or contributed to the death the carrier has a legal right to pay someone other than the named beneficiary.

Other complaints about this carrier on this same site have nothing to do with Medicare supplement insurance.

What if You Still Have Questions?

Ask the agent.

If the agent appears evasive, or does not understand your concern, you might need a new agent.

Georgia Medicare Plans has no problem addressing your questions or concerns. If we don’t know the answer we know where to find it. And we always confirm your question and our answer by email. That way neither one of us has to rely on memory.

#MedicareInsuranceComplaints #MedigapInsurance #MedicareSupplementInsurance

Medicare Drug Plan Fail

Medicare drug plans fail when you least expect it. I remember it well. It was sunny and warm. After leaving my dermatologist and stopping by the drug store to pick up my new prescription my Medicare drug plan failed me.

Right there in the pharmacy. I was betrayed by my Humana drug plan.

It was humiliating. Medicare drug plan fail

Trusting my Medicare drug card was a costly mistake. It had never let me down before but today was different.

I felt cheated.

I followed all the rules. Used generic medications to save money vs. brand names. Every year during Medicare open enrollment I faithfully checked to see if I had the best Medicare Part D. The one with the lowest drug out of pocket cost.

This was a new prescription for a medication I use only when needed. It is only filled once a year or so. In the past the medication never cost more than $20, but today it was $92.

I had the money, but I knew something was wrong. Had my drug card gone over to the dark side? Was I being ripped off?

I walked out without my prescription.

 

When Your Medicare Drug Plan Fails You

Prior to 2006 Medicare beneficiaries usually had to pay full price for their prescription drugs. Then things changed.

For some people, Medicare Part D was a godsend. For others it was the work of the devil.  These are times when your Medicare drug plan can fail you.

  • Many PAP’s (Patient Assistance Programs) are not available if you have a Medicare drug plan
  • You take a brand name drug and a generic is available, your drug plan probably won’t help
  • Your doctor prescribes a new drug in the middle of the year, you may be paying too much for your new medication
  • You fill a prescription that you only take once in a while
  • You assume all pharmacy’s charge the same price
  • You buy an OTC medication with a prescription
  • When you are not aware of the best price available
  • You assume your Medicare drug plan is giving you the best price every time

Too often retirees automatically use their Part D card and never consider they might be paying too much. They don’t know where to look or don’t bother to research. They assume they are always getting the best price.

Some drugs are covered by Medicare Part B. If you have original Medicare and a good Medigap plan your out of pocket cost could be $0 instead of hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year.

Most people we talk to are paying too much for their Medicare supplement plan. With over 240 different Medigap plans you probably didn’t see the best pricing.

Georgia Medigap Rates - Instant Quotes

Regardless of the excuse, they are wrong and are spending money that could have been kept in their pocket.

 

Medicare Drug Price Transparency

Unlike most other health care, prescription drugs have almost 100% transparency.

If you know where to look.

Here are some general tips for controlling medication costs.

  • Run a free Medicare drug report every year when you receive your ANOC (annual notice of change)
  • Consider using a different pharmacy and if possible, use only preferred pharmacy’s
  • Learn how to manage your drug costs and avoid the donut hole
  • Ask if you qualify for Medicare Extra Help
  • Consider using a discount drug card
  • Save money by using mail order, especially from Canadian pharmacy’s
  • Never fill a new prescription without first checking prices

Medicare Part D is the most complex and confusing aspect of Medicare. If you don’t understand your plan, and how to use it, you will definitely pay too much.

 

How I Saved Over $60 on One Medication

I run reports for my Medigap clients all the time. Almost every time we find ways to save hundreds, or even thousands of dollars over the course of a year.

Some clients have been taking OTC medications for years but paying a pharmacist to fill their prescription. On more than one occasion clients are paying over $100 per month for a cholesterol medication that could be bought off the shelf or online. A years supply of this drug is available from Amazon for less than $30. Compare that to paying over $1500 per year for the exact same medication.

Others will needlessly go into the donut hole. Had they managed where and when they bought their prescription the donut hole could have been avoided completely.

In my case the $92 fill at CVS was available across the street for $27.

When will your Medicare prescription drug plan fail you?

 

#MedicarePartD #DrugDiscountCards #CanadianPharmacy

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