Blue Cross Medicare Supplement Plans 2017

Georgia Blue Cross Medicare supplement plans from Anthem. What’s new for 2018? SILVER SNEAKERS. How do their Medigap rates look? If you are turning 65 is a Medicare supplement plan right for you? Should you switch from my current supplement plan to Blue Cross? Do I have to wait until open enrollment or can I change plans now? How difficult is it to swap my current Medicare supplement plan for one with BCBSGA/Anthem?

Anthem Blue Cross introduced new Medicare supplement rates for 2018. Some rates went up. Others went down. Anthem is offering Medigap plans A, F, G and N. You must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B to purchase a Medicare supplement plan.

Should you switch plans or keep what you have? Questions? Just give us a call. You will never hear Press 1 for English.

 

2017 Blue Cross Medicare Supplement Surprises

Bob Dylan said “The times are a-changin'” and that is true for the Georgia Blue Medigap plans. Here are some of the things you can expect.

  • Silver Sneakers now available on all BCBSGA Medicare supplement plans
  • There are NO networks. Use any provider in the state or nationwide
  • NO medical underwriting if applying within your initial enrollment period
  • Medicare supplement plan G has returned
  • Rate discounts may apply if other household members are insured by Blue
  • New rate guarantee

How does this differ from the “old” Blue Cross plans? What is unique about BCBS supplement plans vs. what I can get from other carriers? What do I need to know that you aren’t telling me?

New and Improved or Just a New Look?

Don’t you hate it when products come in a new package and the bold print says “NEW LOWER PRICE!“? Looking closer you find the price is lower but you are also getting less. Has Blue Cross reinvented the Medicare supplement plan or is it the same as before, and just like everyone else?

The take away.

  • Silver Sneakers has always been available on BCBSGA Medigap plans
  • All Medicare supplement plans allow you do use any doctor or hospital. There are NEVER any networks
  • Every Medigap carrier must issue a policy to anyone who applies during their initial enrollment period. No one can be turned down.
  • Blue offered plan G for many years, then dropped it (along with Hi F) in 2015
  • Household discounts are available from most supplement carriers
  • The initial rate guarantee is only new to Blue Cross. Almost every other carrier has been doing this for years.

As the song goes, “Everything old is new again”.

 

The Take Away

Should you buy a Medicare supplement plan from Blue or not? How about changing from the plan you have now?

As with all other decisions about Medicare, the answer is “it depends”.

No one can tell you which plan is best for you. Only you can decide on the path and coverage that fits your needs and budget.

Here is all you need to know about the 2018 Anthem Blue Cross Medicare supplement plans.

  • They have the same plans other carriers have, just fewer choices
  • All supplement plans with the same assigned letter are identical in every way except the premium.
  • Don’t believe me? Look it up in the 2017 Medicare and You handbook. Page 81 under Medigap Policies Are Standardized.
  • Any doctor that accepts Medicare will also take your Medigap plan, regardless of the issuing carrier. Blue Cross hasn’t cornered the market on doctors.
  • After your initial 12 months Blue Cross can change your rates at any time with 60 days notice
  • Your renewal premium may increase because of increases on all BCBSGA plans plus higher rates due to age change
  • Most other GA carriers have offered plan G for years. This is the first time in 2 years that Blue has made plan G available. Will they continue to offer it or will it go away again?
  • What happens when a plan is discontinued? Most of the time the rates increase at a higher rate than plans that are still offered

Enroll Direct Today

If you want to compare 2018 Blue Cross Medicare supplement plans and rates direct with Blue you can. Review BCBSGA Medigap plans and rates and apply direct. Here you will see Anthem Blue Cross plans A, F, G and N.

You can also see how Blue compares to other GA Medigap carriers. Follow this link to shop and compare GA Medigap plans side by side. At this site you will see about a half a dozen plans from roughly eight carriers. Far less than the 240+ different options available with a detailed report from Georgia Medicare Plans.

Feel free to call and discuss and questions you may have about Medicare. We will quote rates right over the phone and email a report showing all carriers that offer that plan in your area.

 

#AnthemBlueCrossGeorgiaMedicareSupplement  #GeorgiaMedicareSupplementRates #SilverSneakers

Why Are Georgia Medigap Rates So High?

Why are Georgia Medigap rates so high? Which Medicare supplement carrier raises rates the most? Why are (this carriers) Medigap rates going up so much? Which carrier raises rates more? UPDATE 2017 – Wild times ahead! Many carrier rates are increasing by 10% to 15% and some even higher.

georgia medigap ratesThe most popular search term at Georgia Medicare Plans is for Georgia Medigap rates. One large well known carrier in particular dominates the searches more than any other Medicare supplement carrier.

That same carrier has handed out more rate increases since 2012 than any other Medicare supplement carrier. They increased rates ELEVEN TIMES since 2012!

Why is this? What is the answer?

The simple answer is, do your homework before buying.

  • Never buy on carrier name recognition alone
  • Don’t buy a plan based on rate UNLESS you also know the rate history for that carrier
  • Listen to your friends, but don’t buy a plan based solely on their recommendation
  • Never buy under sales pressure

When you make the right choice you can keep that plan for years and never have any regrets. When you turn 65 and enroll in Medicare, that may be your only opportunity to purchase a Medigap plan. There is only ONE open enrollment for Medicare supplement plans.

Why look at only a handful of Medicare supplement plans when you have the opportunity to compare over 170 different plans? Check out GA Medigap Quotes for instant, side by side comparisons of the most popular plans.

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If you don’t know where you are going you will never get there.

 

What’s up with Georgia Medigap rates?

Good question. The answer is not simple but I will do my best to explain. But first, here is a sample of queries that drove searchers to my site over the last few weeks.ga medigap rate increase

How often does Mutual of Omaha raise their Medicare supplement rates? What are Mutual of Omaha Medigap rates? Why are Mutual of Omaha Medicare supplement rates going up so much? Rate increases for United of Omaha? Which carrier has raised rates most often, Mutual of Omaha or Aetna?

Everyone our age remembers Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. Tune in Sunday evening to watch Marlon Perkins track a mother lion and then close the show by saying “Just like the mother lion protects her cubs, Mutual of Omaha will protect you”.

Corny, but effective.

When asking about Medigap rate increases you need to understand there are 4 different carriers that trade on the Omaha name, not just Mutual of Omaha. Tracking rate history can be challenging at best and impossible for most consumers.

 

Georgia Medigap rate changes

Since 2012 Omaha carriers have increased rates no less than 11 times. Some rate increases applied only to legacy (in force) policyholders, some for new applicants, and some increase applied to both. Below is a summary of  changes in Georgia Medigap rates.

  • September 2012 – increase for United of Omaha modernized plans, new and in force
  • December 2012 – increase for United of Omaha standardized plans issued prior to June, 2010
  • July 2013 – increase for Mutual of Omaha standardized plans
  • August 2013 – increase for United World standardized plans issued prior to June, 2010
  • September 2013 – increase for new United of Omaha applications
  • October 2013 – increase for legacy (in force) United of Omaha modernized plan policyholders
  • October 2013 – increase for United of Omaha legacy plan N policy holders
  • December 2013 – increase for United of Omaha standardized plan policyholders
  • October 2014 – increase for United of Omaha plan N policyholders
  • August 2015 – increase for new and legacy Omaha Insurance Company modernized plan policyholders
  • October 2015 – increase for United of Omaha legacy modernized plan policyholders

That’s a lot of rate increases spread over 4 issuing carriers in less than 4 years.

And consider this. New applicants will eventually fall into the legacy class within a short while.

The carriers I recommend have had only 4 rate increases  (each) since 2012. Legacy policyholders receive the same rate adjustment as new policyholders. In other words, legacy policyholders are not burdened with frequent or higher rate increases so new applicants can enjoy lower rates for a while.

Legacy policyholders with carriers I suggest do not pay higher rates than those applying for new coverage.

 

 

Buying a Medigap plan when turning 65

When you first turn 65 you can purchase any Medigap plan you want, no questions asked. During your initial open enrollment it doesn’t matter if you medigap rate peacecan run marathons or if you have one foot in the grave.

In the future you can change plans any time you want, but only if you are healthy. There are no annual enrollment periods for Medicare supplement plans. The plan you buy when you turn 65 may be a plan you have to keep for the rest of your life.

If the premium is no longer affordable you option is to switch to a Medicare Advantage plan (lower premiums, higher out of pocket, no choice of doctors) or have original Medicare as your only coverage.

We help you find the right plan that meets your needs and budget so you can have peace of mind now and in the future.

 

Why limit yourself to one Medigap carrier?

Georgia Medicare Plans is appointed to represent over a dozen Medicare supplement carriers. In almost every situation we can offer you the absolute lowest rate for the plan you want.

But sometimes you might want to pay a few dollars more for long term rate stability.

Or you can just buy based on brand name and hope for the best.

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#GeorgiaMedigapRates  #MedicareSupplementRateIncreases  #GAMedigapRates #2017MedicareSupplementRates

Medicare Part B Premiums Rise In 2016

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Your 2016 Medicare Part B premiums are going up. A lot. So are deductibles. Oh, and Medigap plan F will be retired in 2020. The same year the Part D donut hole closes and you pay more in premiums, copay’s and out of pocket.Medicare Part B premium 2016

What does this mean to you? How will this impact you? What will happen to Medicare supplement plans? If you bought plan F plan your exit strategy.

Shop and compare Medigap rates.

Instant online quote.

Your information is never sold.

Medicare shop and compare

Post summary

  • Part B deductible to rise in 2016
  • Part B premiums rise for 2016
  • Changes to deductibles and premiums not finalized yet
  • No Social Security COLA for 2016
  • Medicare supplement plan F to be retired
  • Instant online Medigap quotes

Medicare Part B Changes in 2016

Hold on to your wallet. Next year is going to be costly for many Georgia retirees on Medicare.

Medicare Part B premiums will rise 52% in 2016 from $104.90 to $159.30. If you are receiving Social Security your check will be lower.

soup naziThink the increase will be offset by your COLA increase?

Nope.

COLA increases are not in the cards for next year.

No COLA for you.

 

Medicare Trustee Report

For those who want to go straight to the source, here is a link to the Trustee Report.

The summary from Kaiser Health News distills it down to something mere mortals can understand. Kind of.

The report warned that several million Medicare beneficiaries could see their Medicare Part B monthly premiums skyrocket by 52 percent in January — from $104.90 to $159.30. Medicare Part B, which is paid for by a combination of federal funds and beneficiary premiums, generally covers physician and outpatient costs.

The huge rate hike is predicted because of a confluence of two factors: Medicare Part B costs increased more than expected last year, and Social Security is not expected to have a cost of living increase next year. By law, the cost of higher Medicare Part B premiums can’t be passed on to most Medicare beneficiaries when they don’t get a Social Security raise. As a result, the higher Medicare costs have to be covered by just 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries. This includes the 2.8 million Medicare enrollees new to the program next year, 3.1 million Medicare beneficiaries with incomes higher than $85,000 a year and 1.6 million Medicare beneficiaries who pay their premium directly instead of having it deducted from Social Security. – Kaiser Health News

But wait, there’s more.

 

Medicare Part B Deductibles Increase in 2016

If you manage to escape the Part B premium increase you will still participate in the Part B deductible increase in 2016. One way or another, you will pay more.higher health care costs

The expected Part B deductible should be $223 in 2016

That is up from $147 in 2015.

If you have straight Medicare, you will pay more in out of pocket.

If you have a Medicare supplement plan F that pays your Part B deductible for you, expect to pay more. Plan F premiums will increase by $100 per year at a minimum.

Probably more in the order of $130 – $150+.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan you will pay more. Higher premiums, higher copay’s, higher deductibles in any combination.

The only way to avoid paying more is to stay healthy and not incur any outpatient (Medicare Part B) charges.

Lock in lower premiums for plan G now. Shop and compare rates. We have access to over 170 different Medicare supplement plans in Georgia. One is right for you.

Georgia Medigap plans & Prices

Georgia Medigap plans & Prices

 

What Happens in 2020?

The good news is, the Medicare Part D drug plan donut hole will go away. About 93% of Medicare beneficiaries never hit the donut hole but in 2020 no one will find themselves there.

medicare shockThe bad news is, between now and 2020 your Part D premiums will rise as will your copay’s and deductibles. In other words, funding the closure of the donut hole means EVERYONE pays more, including those that would have otherwise hit the donut hole at one point during the year.

There is no free lunch.

The donut hole was included in the plan design to keep costs affordable. Eliminating the donut hole, billed as a benefit of Obamacare, makes your Part D premiums and out of pocket less affordable.

Also, the folks in Congress believe retirees go to the doctor too much and are encouraging them to stop going so much by retiring plan F.

In the interim plan F premiums will skyrocket.

There are two types of people that buy plan F.

Those that just want to budget for premiums and not have to pay Medicare Part B deductibles and coinsurance. For them, it is easier to pre-pay those expenses  by paying a higher premium for plan F.

Then there are retirees that have never been told about anything other than plan F. The salesman or the carrier pushed plan F on them without showing them how they could save $300 per year or more with plan G.  Why did they push plan F?

Because the higher premium means the agent and the carrier make more money.

But you won’t have to worry about that much longer. In 2020 Medigap plan F will be retired.

As a result of legislation just passed by Congress, starting in 2020 Medigap plans will no longer be allowed to offer coverage of the Medicare Part B deductible, which is currently $147 (in 2015). However, current Medigap policyholders and those buying policies before 2020 will still be eligible for the deductible coverage after that date. – Elder Law Answers

If you have plan F now, you can keep it.

But understand that plan F premiums that are already overpriced will become even more so when the plan is no longer an option for new entrants.

Lock in lower premiums for plan G now. Shop and compare rates. We have access to over 170 different Medicare supplement plans in Georgia. One is right for you.

Georgia Medigap plans & Prices

Georgia Medigap plans & Prices

You can read more about changes in Medicare at California Health Advocates along with links to the law.

 

Why are Medigap Premiums Increasing?

Medicare supplement plan F has never been a good buy. Look how much premium difference there is today for an age 65 female living in Clayton, Georgia.

AARP (United Healthcare) plan F premium is $166.

Best rate for plan G with a carrier that has been in the Medicare market for 18 years, $97.

What are you getting for that extra $828 per year?

A bigger hole in your bank account. Next year when the Medicare Part B deductible increases that gap could be $1,000 or more.

Do you really think it is wise to pay a Medicare supplement carrier $1000 to cover your (2016) Part B deductible of $223?

Every time Congress raises your Medicare deductible, plans (like F) that pay the deductible for you will increase premiums accordingly.

Most of my clients have been purchasing plan G for years.

My job is not to convince you of anything. Life doesn’t work that way.

What I will do is educate you on your options and show you Medigap carriers with a proven track record of 5+ years in the Medicare market.

That 5 year threshold eliminates

  • Omaha Insurance Company (less than 2 years in the Medigap market) and does not have an A M Best rating
  • Aetna Health and Life (less than 3 years in the Medigap market)
  • Manhattan Life (less than a year in the market)
  • Catholic Greek Union, CSI Life, Companion Life, CIGNA

And if you want plan G don’t go looking for it with

  • AARP (United Healthcare)
  • Blue Cross (BCBSGA)
  • Humana

They don’t offer plan G.

You have questions. We have answers. We also have the best rates, guaranteed.

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Additional links:

Your Medicare Premiums Could Soar Next Year

COLA Wars in Medicare Part B Premiums

Medicare Trustees Report Projects Large Increase to Part B Deductibles

 

 

#MedicarePartBPremium #MedicarePartBDeductible #MedicareSupplementPlanF #DonutHole

 

Medicare Changes Cost Retirees

Proposed Medicare changes in the way doctors are paid could mean YOU pay more for your health care. While Congress mad at congresstries to contain the cost of Medicare it is obvious they are not thinking of you. Wealthy lawmakers with fat retirement plans are clueless about asking retirees to pay extra when they have outpatient (Medicare Part B) expenditures.

Congressional members, both Republican and Democrat, are proposing $200 billion in cuts to Medicare. This is on top of the $735 billion in cuts to fund Obamacare subsidies for people under age 65.

If passed this will impact Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans alike.

UPDATE: Even more proposals under considerations HERE.

Medicare Money Grab – Part 2

 

Medicare changes hurt retirees

Under the guise of “bi-partisan” support Committee members are considering the following as a way to save Medicare.

Some of the cost would be offset with $35 billion worth of Medicare savings from beneficiaries over 10 years. Another $35 billion over a decade would come from reducing or delaying higher payments to hospitals and other Medicare service providers over time, the aides said. – Bloomberg

elderly womanJust what are these $35 billion in savings FROM beneficiaries?

You pay more for your health care. Medicare pays less.

Borrow from Peter to pay Paul.

The other Medicare changes are just as sinister.

Slow pay doctors and hospitals.

Not only does Congress want to pay doctors and hospitals less but they want to drag out payment for services rendered.

Yeah, that will work.

 

Georgia Medigap plans & Prices

Georgia Medigap plans & Prices

Changes to Medigap plans

That part where Congress wants YOU to pay more so they can spend less on your care?arm and a leg

They are drawing a bullseye on Medigap plans, in particular, Medicare supplement plan F.

The $35 billion worth of Medicare beneficiary savings would be achieved in two ways. Private insurance companies that offer so-called Medigap policies that supplement Medicare’s basic coverage would be required to start paying benefits only after recipients pay $250 in out-of-pocket expenses for doctor visits, aides said.

This is over and above the Medicare Part B deductible that is paid under Medigap plan F.

If you have plan G or N that would mean you are expected to pay the Part B deductible + an additional $250.

Other than the obvious, how does this save Medicare dollars?

Such a requirement would give Medicare recipients an incentive to make fewer doctor visits, thereby saving some costs to the government program.

If you have to pay more to see a doctor you might not go as often.

The folks in Congress must think we LIKE to go to the doctor.

Of course if their plan works, the less we go to the doctor the more likely we are to get sicker. The sicker we are the more it will cost to get us well.

Tell me again how these Medicare changes will save money?

 

What can we do?

Write and call our members of Congress. If you are a member of a senior lobbying group like AARP, AMAC, ASA or 60 Plus, contact them and tell them to stop this movement in its’ tracks.

We have paid into Social Security and Medicare all our working life. Congress has mismanaged both programs and now they expect us to pay for their sins.

One other thing you can do.

Even if we can’t stop this attempt to take money from retirees I can show you how to save at least $250 per year, and probably a lot more, by switching Medigap plans.

We have access to the lowest rates for popular plans F, G and N. Even if you bought coverage in the last 2 years many of those carriers are increasing rates.

Continental Life of TN is increasing rates on plan F by 9.5%.

Manhattan Life is increasing rates on ALL plans for those under the age of 68 by 9%.

If you own a Medicare supplement plan with either carrier now would be a good time to consider changing plans.

With over 170 different Medigap plans in Georgia you can most likely save money by changing.

Shop and compare GA Medigap quotes.

Your information is NEVER sold!

 

 

#MedicareDocFix  #MedicarePartB #MedigapPlanF  #GaMedigapQuotes #GeorgiaMedicarePlans

 

 

 

 


Do I Need an Insurance Agent?

Do I need an insurance agent to buy a Medicare supplement plan? How much extra will I pay to buy through a broker? Do insurance agents offer the same plans that I can get direct from a carrier? Don’t most insurance agents push the plans that pay them the highest commission? confused senior medicare

It doesn’t matter if you are turning 65 and going on Medicare for the first time or you have been in the Medicare system for a few years. Most people still don’t really understand how Medicare works and how it applies to them.

You have questions. We have answers.

Shopping for Medicare coverage? With more than 230 different Medicare supplement plans in Georgia, how do you find the one that is right for you? Click and compare rates and plans from GA Medigap quotes

Have you ever seen a Medigap rate report like this?

Everyone I talk to will get a report that is customized to reflect the plan or plans where they have an interest.

If the agent that is trying to SELL you on buying from him or her isn’t offering information like this, what else are they keeping from you?

 

Should I use an insurance agent when buying a Medicare supplement plan?

This question comes up from time to time but I suspect it is often considered but rarely asked. When it happens to me it usually comes in the form of “How much do you charge for your advice?”.

Perhaps I should consider it an affront, but I don’t. I do wonder if they ask their home and auto insurance agent same question. Similarly, when people go online do they ask them how much more they have to pay for buying a plan from an 800 number agent?

My response is always the same.

bob on fbMedicare supplement plans you buy through me are the exact same plan at the same rate as those you would buy direct from the carrier. The only difference is, when you buy from me you get the advantage of my 40 years of experience at no additional charge. When you have a question you can call or email.

When you call you get me or my voice mail. You will never hear “Press 1 for English”. You won’t be routed through a bunch of prompts. I return calls within 2 business days and often the same day. If I can’t answer your question I will tell you so and will get back to you within 24 hours with the answer you need.

Call a carrier and you talk to whoever answers the phone that day, if you get a live person. More often than not you get voice mail. You have no idea who will call you back or when. You don’t know if they have worked for the carrier for years or just started last week.

Did I mention you pay the same premium for the same plan when you buy from an insurance agent?

 

Where can I see all the Medigap plans?

You can’t.

Some of is because most agents don’t have a quote engine on their site where you can see Medicare rates instantly. Something like this.

Georgia Medigap plans & Prices

Georgia Medigap plans & Prices

 

Even if you find a quote engine you will probably only see a few plans. That’s the way it is on my site. The people who designed and maintain the quote engine only have permission from a few carriers to illustrate their rates.

If you found a site with 230+ Medigap plans and up to 50 different carriers it would probably overwhelm you.

Insurance agents act as filters, showing you the good and bad and providing insight into not only current rates but carrier history.

 

Bill and Brenda went Medicare shopping

Last year Brenda visited my site a few times, reviewed available plans and rates, but was not available when I called. I left a message but never heard back.

I only call once. If I get voice mail, I leave a message. That’s it. I don’t bug people to death. I don’t chase them down.

Meanwhile Bill and Brenda received several automated emails from me. Each one had information about Medicare in general as well as specific information on Medigap, Medicare Advantage and Part D.happy couple

After a few weeks had gone by Bill emailed me. They were both turning 65 and going on Medicare in a few months and they wanted me to come to their home one evening to discuss options.

Only one problem.

I don’t make house calls and I rarely conduct business after normal office hours, but I did agree to call them at a designated time and day.

 

How Much Can You Really Save?

We talked for perhaps 40 minutes or so. I walked them through the Medicare process and answered all their questions. I agreed to send them information by email so they could study their options in their time frame.

Brenda had already discussed Medicare with her friends and was convinced they needed to buy plan F from AARP/United Healthcare. If they needed plan F they could save $500 per year with a different carrier but the real savings would come by switching to plan G and save over $1000 per year.

The savings didn’t stop there.

Brenda was taking a “prescription” dose of Niacin as part of her cholesterol medication regiment. When I ran their drug report it turns out she was prescribed an OTC version. Her pharmacist was pulling the medication off the shelf, slapping a label on it and charging over $100 per fill for a 30 day supply. She was paying over $1200 per year on her high deductible plan.

I looked on Amazon for the same strength, slow release Niacin.

$17 for 175 tablets.

She could get a years supply for around $35 vs. $1200 from her druggist.

I suggested she ask her doc about the OTC version from Amazon. She did and he blessed the change.

She changed drug stores shortly after that. Probably should have changed docs too but that was up to her.

The point of this is, a few phone calls and emails with an insurance agent (that would be me) resulted in a savings of over $2,000 per year by using an agent. Had she followed the advice of her friends that decision would have cost her a lot of money over the next few years.

 

Do you need an insurance agent?

Not really.

Anyone can do this but very few insurance agents take the time to educate their clients the way I do.

In September of this year I will be going on Medicare and I am pretty sure I will take my own advice. The same advice I give others.

You need adequate coverage to protect you against the cost of health CARE.

You don’t need to spend all your money on insurance.

You don’t need as much coverage as you think you do and can certainly do better than buying what your friends have. Unless they bought it through Georgia Medicare Plans.

Shop and compare now.

Your information is NEVER sold.

 

 

#MedicareSupplementInsurance #InsuranceAgent #GAMedigapQuotes