Do All Doctors Take Medicare

Do all doctors take Medicare? The answer may surprise you. Which Medicare plans are widely accepted by Georgia doctors? Can my doctor refuse to take my Medicare plan? What happens then? How do I find physicians that take Medicare?

Do all Georgia Doctors take Medicare?

The short answer is no. A better answer is, most doctors DO accept Medicare patients. But some Georgia medical practices are not currently taking new Medicare patients or may have a waiting list for new patients.

This is especially true if you have a Medicare ADVANTAGE plan.

Do all doctors take Medicare

Finding a Medicare Doctor

Your challenge is even more diverse when you break it down by:

  • Doctors that take Medicare patients
  • Physicians that accept Medicare assignment
  • Doctors that do not participate in Medicare
  • Medical practices that participate in Medicare but not Medicare Advantage

The good news is, most doctors participate in Medicare and do treat Medicare patients. About 96% of physicians that do take Medicare also accept assignment of benefits. Doctors that may opt out of Medicare are usually in the mental health field and some chiropractic doctors.

Most Accept Original Medicare Patients

In Georgia about half the physicians accept Medicare Advantage patients and most of them will only participate in a few plans but not all. The number dwindles down further when you have an Advantage HMO plan.

Doctors can refuse to accept your Medicare Advantage plan if they are not in network. If that happens they are still required to file with original Medicare and then wait on Medicare to pay you. In these situations they are allowed to bill excess charges.

When you have an Advantage plan make sure you understand the rules and how your liability is determined.

Can My Doctor Refuse to Treat Medicare Patients

Medicare participation

Finding physicians that participate in Medicare is relatively easy. If you Google “doctors that take Medicare” you will find an array of choices including other search engines and referral services. My advice is to go direct to the source, Medicare.gov.

The Medicare physician finder is a useful tool for finding doctors, hospitals, DME suppliers and other medical facilities in your area that participate in original Medicare.

When you just use Google you will find doctors that

  • advertise locally on Google
  • are registered with referral services
  • are listed on Medicare plan sites
  • may be reviewed by Yelp or Angies List

While some of those sites may be useful the Medicare physician finder tool has been the most helpful for my clients.

Is Medicare Supplement Expensive?

Medicare supplement plans can be quite affordable and do not require network participation.

We NEVER Sell Your Information

https://www.gamedigaprates.com/

 

New to Georgia

Jean moved from California to Georgia a few months before turning 65. She had Kaiser in California but her plan offered only limited coverage in Georgia where she was considered a “visitor”. Jean had some medical conditions that required a specialist and she wanted freedom of choice when it comes to finding a doctor.

This meant saying no to Medicare Advantage plans with their limited doctor choice, high out of pocket and yearly changes in benefits.

Jean is living on a fixed income and needs a way to budget for her care. Original Medicare and a Medicare supplement plan was exactly what she needed.

No Selling Please

How do you find answers to your Medicare questions WITHOUT getting a SALES PITCH?

Everyone wants to talk. No one wants to listen and answer . . . until you BUY SOMETHING.

Something you don’t want, don’t need and can’t afford.

When Jean contact me she was living with local relatives and didn’t want a bunch of insurance sales people coming to see her. At Georgia Medicare Plans we believe in personal consultation in the privacy of your home. We know that many people do not feel comfortable having strangers in their home and several do not want to travel to see us. I employ a client centered focus and believe in respecting your “space”. That is why all of our clients receive information and advice by phone and email. There is never any pressure to make a decision and you move forward based on your time frame once you are comfortable you understand the Medicare system and can afford the coverage you want.

Find a Medicare Plan Accepted by GA Doctors

I spent several hours on the phone discussing her needs and looking at options. Then I emailed Jean information based on the benefits she needed and plans that fit her budget. I also provided her with details on Medicare Extra Help, a service that can reduce her out of pocket expenses for medication.

After reviewing all her options Jean selected Medicare supplement plan N from a carrier with a long history in covering Medicare clients. While most agents that talked with Jean pushed Medigap plan F she knew that plan was not going to fit her budget.

Blue Cross wanted $176 for plan F and United Health Care (AARP) even more at $180. Plan F with Continental (Aetna) had the lowest premium at $141. But that was still too much.

We talked about the differences in plan F, G and N and how each plan was more affordable due to cost sharing. Plan N coverer her Medicare Part A expenses at 100% but does require her to pay the Part B annual deductible + a $20 copay for doctor visits.

Jean’s premium for plan N was $86 from New Era insurance company. Even with the cost sharing she still cut her premium in half vs. most of the plan F plans.

Finding a Medicare physician

As mentioned above, the Medicare physician finder is the most reliable tool in your arsenal for finding doctors in your area. Once you find some doctors that fit your needs, make some phone calls.

Here is what you need to know.

  • Does the doctor participate in Medicare?
  • Are they taking new patients?
  • If you have an Advantage plan, are they CURRENTLY participating in that plans network?
  • Do they accept Medicare assignment?
  • Does the doctor require up front payment for Medicare patients?

Most doctors DO participate in Medicare and most take assignment. A medical practice that accepts Medicare assignment means

  • you never have to pay up front for Medicare covered services
  • you never have to file claim forms with Medicare
  • Medicare and your supplement plan will pay your doctor direct, not you
  • your doctor can never bill you for excess charges

Doctors that take Medicare is easy. But finding an affordable Medigap plan that meets your needs and budget can be difficult. In some parts of Georgia you may only have half a dozen Advantage plan choices and many of them may not include your doctor or hospital in their network.

However there are more than 170 Medicare supplement plans statewide. Finding a plan with our help is as simple as getting a personalized Medigap quote in the privacy of your home, picking up the phone or sending us an email.

Let us know how we can help.

#DoAllDoctorsTakeMedicare  #GeorgiaMedicareDoctors  #GAMedigapQuotes

My Medicare Rates Are High!

My Medicare rates are high! Do Medigap rates increase as I get older? Can I change my plan during Open Enrollment? Where can I find Medicare supplement rate increase history?

The plan was competitive when I bought it but now it is almost double. I don’t know how much longer I can afford it.

Why are my Medicare rates so high?

There is a good explanation for high Medigap renewal rates. You probably don’t want to hear it, and you probably don’t care why.

But you would like some relief.

Help is on the way. As long as you are healthy . . .

Why are my Medicare Rates so High?

Where Can I Find Medicare Rate History?

What you want is not easy to find. Even when you do find it you will discover the rate information is useless.

Most likely, your Medicare rates are high because your carrier left the market. It is rare for a Medigap carrier to stay in the same market for more than 3 or 4 years.

Once they leave a new carrier comes in to replace them. The new carrier has lower rates. The departing carrier is now free to raise renewal rates with impunity.

Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement Plans

Since 2010 Omaha has introduced 4 Medigap carriers to Georgia and retired three of them. Each time a carrier is shelved the rates start to climb.

In that same time frame Aetna has also had at least 4 subsidiaries leave the market. They introduced a 5th new carrier earlier in 2019.

If your Medicare rates are high it is most likely because the issuing carrier is no longer writing new business in your state.

Maybe You Picked the Wrong Plan

Medicare supplement plan F has been heavily marketed as the “go to” plan for many years. Carriers and agents love the high premiums because it means more money for them.

If your Medicare rates are high you should have bought the G plan. But it is not too late to switch.

Unless you are unhealthy.

Then you are screwed.

Renewal Rates Higher Than Current Rates

When you get your renewal and start to look around you might discover that your Medicare rates are higher than new business rates from the same carrier.

I see that quite often but especially for carriers with closed blocks of business.

OLD business is charged a higher rate which subsidizes lower rates for new policyholders.

I call this the cable TV syndrome.

Last year you signed on as a new customer. You got 150 channels for $39 per month.

This month you get your renewal bill and now you are expected to pay $109 for those same channels.

But your cable company is still offering 150 channels for $39.

What gives???

So you call your cable company to complain. You are told the $39 rate is only for NEW CUSTOMERS.

Medicare insurance carries pull the same tricks.

How Do I Find Affordable Medigap Rates?

Great question.

There are no easy answers. Here are a few tips.

  • Look for carriers that have been active in GA for 5 or more years
  • Don’t buy from someone that has been here less than 2 years
  • Don’t chase the low rate
  • Ask friends and relatives for an AGENT referral

Bob Vineyard is a GA Medicare expert with more than 45 years experience. Bob is also on Medicare.

Are your Medicare rates high?

Here is my offer. Give me 10 minutes on the phone. Call and ask ANY Medicare questions. If you don’t like my answer we part as friends. After all, it isn’t personal, just business.

But if you do like what you hear we move forward on your timetable. Allow me an opportunity to EARN your business.

I call this an “offer you can’t refuse”.

Full Medicare supplement rate reports for any plan. Just ask.

How easy is that?

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. 

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