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

Does Medicare Cover My Cancer Treatment?

Does Medicare Part B cover my cancer screening and treatment? How about chemotherapy and radiation therapy? How much will I have to pay for my cancer treatment? Does Medicare cover the rest? How can I get help paying my medical bills?

From a purely financial perspective, most people with original Medicare and a supplement (Medigap) plan will not have to worry about how they will pay for the cost of cancer treatment. Most Medigap plans cover 100% of your hospital inpatient (Medicare Part A) expenses and the bulk of your Part B outpatient care.

That’s not the case with Medicare Advantage.

Medicare Cover Cancer Treatment?

Your out of pocket costs for cancer treatment with an Advantage plan can run several hundred or even thousands of dollars each year. If your treatment includes chemotherapy, you are generally responsible for 20% of the cost. Your plan picks up the balance.

If you are turning 65 and going on Medicare, this may be your only chance to pick a Medigap plan. Choose wisely.

Medicare shop and compare

Your information is NEVER sold. We are happy to discuss options by phone and will give you an

instant quote for the absolute lowest Medigap rate in your area. There is never any pressure to buy.

Post summary.

  • How common is cancer?
  • Will Medicare pay for treatment from ANY doctor?
  • How much will I pay for chemo?
  • Is cancer screening covered by Medicare?
  • Medicare Advantage or original Medicare and a supplement plan? Which is better?

Medicare Coverage for Cancer Treatment

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.cancer treatment

Original Medicare covers about 80% of your cost of care. Most Medigap plans will pick up the remainder. You can pick your own doctor(s), hospital and treatment center and a referral is never required.

Not all cancers require or even respond to chemotherapy, but there are some things you should know about the cost of chemo.

Cancer Medication

Medicare does not pay for most prescription drugs but it does cover chemotherapy. Roughly 80% of cancer patients receive chemotherapy in their doctors office or other outpatient setting. You can easily end up in the Medicare Part D donut hole if you are not careful.

Original Medicare pays for 80% of the cost of chemotherapy. Medigap plans F, G and N pick up the remaining 20%.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan you pay the 20% out of pocket.

The average price of cancer drugs for a year is estimated to exceed $100,000.

Even if you have health insurance, your out-of-pocket expenses may be as much as $25,000 to $30,000 a year – Mayo Clinic

Your share of these expensive medications is reduced to almost nothing with original Medicare and a supplement plan.

The American Cancer Society estimates the average out of pocket cost for cancer treatment ranges from $3500 to $4800, depending on the type of cancer you have.

Medicare and Cancer Screening

Medicare does cover many routine screenings for cancer. “Free” cancer screenings with Medicare include:

  • Cervical and vaginal cancers
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Prostate cancer

Other types of cancer screening are covered under Medicare Part B and may require a small charge or copay depending on the type of plan you have.

Notes from the American Cancer Society

Medicare coverage for breast cancer screening

One screening mammogram every 12 months is fully covered for all women with Medicare age 40 and older. You can get one baseline mammogram between ages 35 and 39, too. Medicare also covers newer digital mammograms.

cancer screeningOriginal Medicare coverage for cervical cancer testing

Medicare covers one Pap test and pelvic exam every 24 months if you are at average risk for cervical cancer. If you’re at high risk for cervical or vaginal cancer or are of childbearing age and have had an abnormal Pap test in the last 3 years, the tests are covered every 12 months.

You pay nothing for the Pap lab test or for collecting the Pap test and the pelvic exam, as long as your doctor accepts assignment from Medicare. As part of the pelvic exam, Medicare covers a clinical breast exam to check for breast cancer.

Medicare coverage for colorectal cancer testing

Medicare covers colorectal screening tests in people 50 and older to help find colon or rectal cancer and/or pre-cancerous polyps (growths in the colon) so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Coverage for these tests depends on the person’s risk for colorectal cancer, when they had their last test, and whether something is found that needs to be removed during the test.

Medicare coverage for prostate cancer testing

For men over age 50 with Medicare, one digital rectal exam (DRE) and one prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test are covered every 12 months. This coverage starts the day after your 50th birthday.

Medicare coverage for lung cancer testing

Medicare covers lung cancer screening with a low dose CT scan once per year if you have Medicare, are 55-77 years old, have a tobacco smoking history of at least 30 pack years*, and you either continue to smoke or you have quit smoking within the last 15 years.

Need Help Paying Medical Bills?

There are several resources that can help cover the gaps when it comes to paying medical bills.

This list is by no means complete. If you know of a resource that should be added, please let us know.

Cancer Treatment, the Final Word

I enrolled in Medicare in September, 2015. Cancer is a word I know too well. My mothers twin sister and older sister died of cancer. My wife’s father and mother died because of cancer. All 5 of my father-in-laws siblings died of cancer. Two of my mother-in-laws siblings died of cancer.

I have seen what cancer can do to the human body and the misery that accompanies this dread illness. If you are diagnosed with cancer, the last thing on your mind should not be “How will I pay for my treatment?”

Currently my health is good. That has been true for most of my life. No chronic illness, not even high blood pressure or cholesterol.

But having spent the last 40 years in the health insurance business I know how quickly things can change. When my health changes I want to control the direction of my care. Insurance carriers are not going to give me a list of doctors and tell me this year I can only use these, and next year the list may change.

Beware of Excess Chargescancer

I am in original Medicare plus Medigap plan N.

You may not know it, but the Mayo Clinic does not participate in MOST Medicare Advantage plans.

M D Anderson is another cancer treatment facility that does not accept MOST Medicare Advantage plans.

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”.

You may never receive a cancer diagnosis. I hope you don’t. But one thing I can tell you with certainty is this. Original Medicare and a supplement plan provides assurance the funds will be there to pay for almost all of your care.

We have rates on over 240 different Medigap plans in Georgia. We will quote you a rate over the phone and tell you who has the lowest rate.

More than that, there is no charge for our advice. No pressure. No “up-selling”.

You can also shop and compare online Medigap quotes instantly.

Medicare shop and compare

One other thing.

You don’t need a separate cancer insurance plan or a hospital plan. You can sleep well at night knowing the cost of your cancer treatment is covered in full.

Also see:

How Much Does it Cost to Treat Cancer

Cancer Treatment Resources

The Secret Life of Medicare Advantage Plans

#Medicare #CancerTreatment #Chemotherapy #MedicareAdvantage #MedicareSupplement