Insurance Library

Have you heard about Insurance Library, the great new consumer resource? Did you know you can find answers from a database of more than 3,000 questions submitted by people just like you?   insurance library

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Gerber Medicare Supplement Plans

Looking for quotes for Gerber Medicare supplement plans? So glad you asked. You can compare Gerber Medigap plans and rates with other carriers including Blue Cross, Humana, Mutual of Omaha and others by following THIS LINK.

Gerber is a fine company with strong financials and outstanding customer service. Surprisingly, most folks don’t realize they can buy a Gerber Medicare supplement plan since they did not know they were in the Medigap business.

In a way it is not surprising. Gerber has not done a lot of advertising of their Medigap products in Georgia and agents haven’t done a good job of promoting them. Gerber Medicare supplement rates increased 12% as of January, 2013. This is the first rate increase in 14 months, so that isn’t bad.

But since all Medigap plans, including those from Gerber, are identical in every way, can you save money by switching plans?

The answer is . . . probably so.

Will you lose benefits by switching from a Gerber Medicare supplement plan to another carrier?

No, all plans with the same letter (plan F, plan G, etc) are identical in every way. But sometimes it makes good financial sense to change Medigap carriers AND change your plan. Switching from Medigap plan F to plan G almsot always is a smart swap.

Will your doctor accept a different Medigap plan other than Gerber?

Any doctor that accepts Medicare assignment will also take ANY Medigap plan you have.

You have nothing to lose and a lot to possibly SAVE by making a switch.

How easy (or difficult) is it to switch Medicare supplement plans?

Keep in mind, you can change your Medigap plan at ANY TIME.

If you have a qualifying event, you may be able to change your Gerber Medicare supplement plan without submitting to medical underwriting by a new carrier. Everyone else should be in good health if they want to change plans.

How will you know if you can qualify for a new plan and save money?

That is easy to answer and can be evaluated in less than 2 minutes on the phone. A few simple answers will let you know if you can qualify for a new plan.

How much can you save by switching your Gerber Medicare supplement plan? Get instant Medigap quotes now courtesy of Georgia Medicare Plans.

 

Universal Medicare Advantage Halts New Sales

Universal Medicare Advantage plans are no longer marketed in ANY service area. The Georgia Dept. of Insurance issued a cease and desist order against Universal Medicare Advantage plans in November, 2011, so this was not unexpected.

Financially struggling Universal Health Care, once among the fastest-growing companies in St. Petersburg, warned agents that it has stopped marketing its Medicare services in all areas effective immediately.

The notice, which did not include a reason, could threaten the survival of the managed care company. Universal has already been losing members after being billed as a “consistent poor performer” by the federal government, which suggested in a letter to Medicare recipients in the fall that they consider shopping around for other options.

Tampa Bay Times

Universal Medicare Advantage plans have been popular in Georgia and other states due to the low premiums . . . perhaps a bit too low.

Scrutiny over Universal’s finances has been building. Regulators in two states (including GA) have already cracked down. And in December, the company laid off at least 100 employees at its downtown St. Petersburg offices in part because of disappointing sales during the fall open enrollment period for Medicare.

Rumors were spreading which possibly impacted new sales.

Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, who signed the consent order in November, cited the company’s net loss of more than $27 million in 2011 and its loss of $22.1 million in the first six months of 2012 as the trigger. Potentially, Universal faced $45 million in annual losses if one extrapolates the first half results, he said at the time.

On Dec. 18, the Ohio Department of Insurance followed suit. The company was found in violation of state laws in reporting a net loss greater than 20 percent of its $41 million surplus for the 12 months ended Sept. 30.

Georgia seniors with Medigap plans don’t have to worry. Any doctor that accepts Medicare assignment will also accept your Medicare supplement plan, regardless of the carrier.

There are many safeguards built in to Medicare products. If your Medicare Advantage carrier terminates coverage due to financial reasons you have a guaranteed right to purchase a Medigap policy without subjecting to medical underwriting.

Georgia Medicare Plans has the lowest Medigap rates in the state. Get a Medigap quote today.

 

Medigap on the Chopping Block

Medigap cuts. Georgia seniors on Medicare may see their Medigap insurance policies cover less and less if Washington get’s their way. Many are on a fixed income and are just barely making it, but Washington believe Georgia Medicare supplement plans are bad for Medicare.

Kaiser Health News reports:

As debt limit talks drag on, lawmakers are eying possible changes in Medicare supplemental plans – moves that could increase seniors’ out-of-pocket costs.

Traditional Medicare, the federal health program for the elderly and disabled, requires beneficiaries to pay hospital deductibles and a portion of the cost of tests and doctor visits.  To protect themselves from those out-of-pocket costs, about 17 percent of beneficiaries buy Medigap plans.   Another 34 percent get such coverage through a former employer.

But some health policy experts say such “first-dollar protection” drives up demand for Medicare services, costing the government money for what may be unnecessary care. One proposal would bar supplemental insurance from completely eliminating out-of-pocket costs – or charge enrollees a $530 a year extra if they want to keep such protection. That change could save up to $53 billion over 10 years, according to a chart used during the bipartisan talks led by Vice President Joe Biden.

What is Medigap and why do people buy it?

Unlike most job-based health insurance, traditional Medicare does not include “catastrophic” coverage, an annual maximum upper limit on the amount beneficiaries could pay. So enrollees can be liable for thousands of dollars each year, including: $1,132 per-episode deductible for hospital admissions; hundreds of dollars in daily charges for hospital stays of longer than 60 days; a $162-a-year deductible for doctor care, plus 20 percent of charges for office visits or equipment like wheelchairs.

Ten standardized types of Medicare supplement plans offered by private insurers – including AARP’s UnitedHealthcare policies  – cover all or most of such deductibles and copayments.  Some employers also pay all or part of such costs for their retirees.

What changes are under consideration?

It is not clear exactly what’s on the table in the negotiations between congressional leaders and the White House.  But the charts  released show that one such proposal under consideration would bar insurers from offering supplemental policies unless the policies came with an annual deductible. People who didn’t want a deductible could pay $530 a year in additional premium to ensure that they won’t be hit with costs before their coverage kicks in.

Is this a new idea?

No.  It is a subset of a larger discussion about spending on Medicare and other entitlements. In recent years, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (The Bowles-Simpson Commission), the Debt Reduction Task Force, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission and lawmakers, including Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, and Sen. Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, have all suggested changing traditional Medicare.

Most of the ideas would create a single annual deductible – generally around $550 – after which beneficiaries would pay about 20 percent of medical costs up to a maximum annual cap, ranging from around $5,000 to more than $7,500.

Would changing supplemental coverage save money?

Some economists and policy experts say that supplemental coverage insulates beneficiaries from medical costs, driving up demand for unnecessary care. A study done for MedPAC in 2009 found that beneficiaries with supplemental insurance used more care and cost the program more money. The increased spending wasn’t for emergency hospitalizations, but for other services such as elective hospital admissions, preventive care, doctor office visits and some types of tests.

Supporters of the insurance say it shields seniors from unpredictable costs and reduces big-ticket expenses by encouraging them to seek help for medical problems before they become severe.

What else do people say about the idea?

Advocacy groups like the Medicare Rights Center oppose restricting Medigap plans, saying it would simply shift more costs from the government to elderly and low-income people who can least afford it. “Some in government feel people in Medicare don’t have enough ‘skin in the game,’” says Ilene Stein, federal policy director for the center. In fact, she says, people on Medicare already pay 15 percent of their incomes for health care, well above the level paid by non-Medicare households. While the proposals would cap maximum annual spending per enrollee to $5,500 or $7,500, “that’s a lot of money for someone making $22,000,” the median household income for those on Medicare, she says.

Still, Joe Antos of the conservative American Enterprise Institute says many of those people already pay large premiums for Medigap coverage – and would likely see those premiums decline if “first-dollar” protections are barred. Antos and Jonathan Gruber, an economist at MIT and consultant to Democrats, both think that if Congress were to change supplemental coverage – or the traditional program itself – that lawmakers would create exemptions for lower-income beneficiaries.

How would the proposal affect a Medigap policy I already own?

Congress would have to decide whether to impose restrictions only on new policies or include existing coverage.

What about people who don’t have a Medigap plan?

Only about 10 percent of seniors don’t have some sort of supplemental coverage. Some people have military/VA benefits, others are in Medicaid, and some have coverage through Medicare Advantage plans, which are insurance policies offered by private insurers as an alternative to traditional Medicare.

What are the chances that these ideas will be adopted by lawmakers?

Because making any change that could be seen as a cut in Medicare benefits carries huge political risk, previous calls for changing the traditional Medicare program or limiting first-dollar coverage through supplemental insurance have not picked up support. But now, when failure to lift the debt ceiling could result in widespread economic problems, a middle-of-the night compromise between warring factions in Congress could put it back on the table.

“Normally, this would be dead on arrival. But this is such a dicey environment that these guys are going to cut some kind of deal at midnight either before or after Aug. 2 in such a hurry that they won’t be worried about the kinds of things people normally worry about when they cut senior benefits,” says Robert Laszewski, an Alexandria-Virginia-based consultant to the health care industry.

Antos is less sure. He says the potential savings of $53 billion over 10 years would be just a tiny slice of any deficit-reduction deal and might not be worth the political hit Congress would take from seniors.

“You can’t sugar coat it,” says Antos. “It would be much easier to do what lawmakers have always done in Medicare, which is lower payment rates (to doctors and hospitals) or restrict services in ways that are subtle and complicated. But to do something that looks like changing benefits, I don’t see it this time.”

Affordable Medigap Plans

Tell Washington to keep their mitts off your Medicare supplement insurance plans!

Georgia Medicare Plans offers plans to save you money and minimize your out of pocket expenses. Compare Georgia Medicare supplement insurance plans and rates online now.

Medigap Rates Online – Georgia

Medigap rates online for Georgia seniors. Instant Medicare supplement rates. Should you use an insurance agent or go direct to the carrier? Will you get lower Medigap rates by purchasing direct from the Medicare supplement company?

Compare Medigap rates in your Georgia zip code. Online rates from BCBSGA, Humana, Mutual of Omaha and more plus LOWER Medigap rates offline by request.

 


Things you need to know about Medicare supplement plans and Medigap rates.

  • All Georgia Medicare supplement plans are standardized. The only difference are the Medigap rates
  • Medicare gap plans are assigned a letter to distinguish each plan from A through N.
  • Medigap rates vary widely by carrier
  • All Medigap carriers are REQUIRED TO PAY THEIR CONTRACTUAL PORTION of your claim once Medicare approves the benefit.
  • If Medicare approves your benefit, your gap carrier CANNOT REFUSE TO PAY THEIR PORTION.
  • If your doctor accepts Medicare assignment, they will also accept your Medigap plan.
  • Your doctor files claims directly with Medicare, not with your Medigap carrier.
  • Once Medicare approves your benefit, they send the claim on to your Medigap carrier for the supplemental payment.
  • Higher Medigap rates for the same Medigap plan does not mean you have better coverage . . . it simply means you have paid too much.

 

Why do seniors pay too much for Medigap plans?

Because they do not know there are better values, and more affordable plans available with lower Medigap rates.

Instant Medigap rates are fine but are not always accurate. Even information on plans and Medigap rates through government sites (like Medicare.gov) are rarely accurate and do not include all plans in your area.

The BEST MEDIGAP RATES ARE USUALLY FOUND BY SPEAKING WITH AN EXPERIENCED INDEPENDENT AGENT.

Agents have the SAME Medigap rates and plans that you get direct from the Medicare supplement carriers. There is no “middle man mark up”.

When you call a Medicare supplement carrier direct, or deal with an agent that only offers one company, you are not getting the full picture and may end up paying more than is necessary.

Dealing direct with an insurance company means working with whoever answers the phone that day. You never talk to the same person twice. You never know if you are getting good advice or not.

Roughly 90% of the time I find lower Medigap rates and value for clients vs. what they picked out for themselves.

If you are not asking us for advice you are probably throwing money out the window.

Who can afford to do that?

Buying a “name brand” or picking a Medicare supplement plan endorsed by a senior organization will result in you PAYING higher Medigap rates than is necessary.

Don’t buy anything until you have competitive Medigap rates from us.