Why Are Medicare Advantage Plans Popular?

Medicare Advantage plans seem to be popular. But why? What is the appeal? What is so attractive about these managed care plans? Are they really free? GA Medicare expert Bob Vineyard explains.

medicare advantage popular
Why are Medicare Advantage plans popular?

Why are GA Medicare Advantage Plans Popular

Are you turning 65 and confused about the Medicare process? Why is it so difficult? Why do my friends, and many agents as well, want to push me in the direction of an Advantage plan? Low premiums are attractive. So is “free”. Is there really such a thing as a free lunch?

Medicare Advantage plans are like the Hotel California. You can check in but you may never leave.

Some people turn to Advantage plans when they first go on Medicare at age 65. Low premiums, many are $0. Extra benefits like dental, vision and some have gym memberships. Drug plans are often included in the plan. “One stop shopping”.

What’s not to love?

Why do sick people leave Medicare Advantage plans?

Georgia Advantage Plan Traps

Have you ever bought something and later realized you had no idea how it works? Maybe the sales person forgot to mention key details that might have changed your decision.

If something is too good to be true it probably is.

There is nothing inherently wrong with GA Medicare Advantage plans. You just need to understand what you have signed on for. Here are a few questions you need to ask.

Preferably BEFORE you enroll.

  • Is the plan a PPO or HMO?
  • Do I need a referral to see a specialist?
  • Will my doctor take my Medicare Advantage plan?
  • Are there any out of network penalties?
  • Can I change plans at any time?
  • Can I return to original Medicare and a supplement plan if I want?
  • Does the out of pocket limit include prescription medication?
  • What will my health care really cost if I use an out-of-network doctor?
  • Will my claims be paid if I use a non-par provider?

If you ask the right questions and are satisfied with the responses, the Medicare Advantage plan could be just what you need.

When you enroll in a managed care Advantage plan, the insurance carrier, not Medicare, provides your benefits then reviews, adjudicates and pays your claims.

“No premium” plans are not free. You still have to pay for health care and prescription drugs.

There is no free lunch.

Health care is not free. SOMEBODY pays the bill. Either you or the insurance carrier.

But you knew that all along, didn’t you?

This Doesn’t Look Like Kansas Anymore

Managed care plans often have small provider networks. Fewer doctors. Fewer hospitals. The question is, how much smaller?

A Kaiser Foundation survey found that on average “Medicare Advantage plan networks included 46% of all physicians in a county.” Some plans had fewer than 5 thoracic surgeons, fewer than 5 neurosurgeons and fewer than 5 radiation oncologists.

This isn’t JUST about dollars. It is also about access to health CARE.

Each calendar year brings a new list of approved providers. Will your doctors be included or will they disappear into a dark hole?

Are you willing to change doctors to save money or pay more to keep your doctor?

Are claims submitted by non-par providers covered by your plan?

A recent government report says seniors are more likely to LEAVE managed care plans when they get sicker.

Managed care is great when you enjoy good health. But how much will your plan cost when your health changes dramatically? Can you really afford to be sick?

Medicare Advantage Final Exam

Many who enroll in a managed care plan never really understood how the plans work . . . until they had large claims. Don’t be one of them!

Do you like your current doctor(s)? Would you like to keep him or her?

Can my doctor refuse to treat me if I have a Medicare Advantage plan?

Do you want to direct your own health care, pick your own doctors and hospitals, or would you rather let an insurance carrier do that for you?

Is it easier for you to budget $120 per month to cover almost all of your health care costs or are you OK paying for your health care only as needed?

Could you budget $6,000 per year or more for your health care (not including drugs) if you had to?

How long could you afford to pay that much? One year? Two years? Longer?

Would you trade places with Marsha’s husband?

You can change your Advantage plan every year. Same is true for your drug plan. You can also enroll in original Medicare any time you want without answering health questions.

But if you want to change to a Medicare supplement plan you may need to prove you are healthy. Your best shot at getting a Medicare supplement plan is when you first enroll in Medicare Part B. If you wait until you NEED a Medigap plan you may not be able to get one. That is Catch-22.

Many will only have one chance to enroll in a Medigap plan. Will you be one of them?

Shop GA Medicare rates.

Medicare.

You have questions.

We have answers.

$GAMedicareExpert #MedicareAdvantagePlans #FreeMedicarePlans  #MedicareHMO  #MedicarePPO

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 Open Enrollment 2019

Medicare 2019 Open Enrollment starts on October 15th and ends on December the 7th. Who is affected? How do you decide what to keep and what to change? Where can you get answers to your questions?Medicare Open Enrollment 2018

Don’t get distracted by the hype.

During this open enrollment many will want to offer advice but how do you know their opinions are useful? Can you really get solid, unbiased advice or are you at the mercy of scoundrels?

Let’s set the record straight and give you some guidelines about what you need to know and how to sort out good advice from bad.

Five Medicare Open Enrollment Tips You MUST Know

Medicare Open Enrollment 2019 – A Journey with a Purpose

Let’s start with the basics of Medicare 2019 open enrollment. One area that creates more confusion than anything else is changing Medicare supplement plans.

You can change your Medigap plan any time of the year. The annual enrollment period does not include Medicare supplement plans. Only Medicare Advantage and Part D drug plans are included in open enrollment.

There is generally only one time when you can buy a Medigap plan without answering health questions. For most folks that is when they turn 65 and enroll in Medicare for the first time. Once you have been enrolled in Medicare Part B for 6 months you can change plans as long as you pass through underwriting.

If you have questions about your ability to change plans, give us a call. In less than 5 minutes you can learn if you are healthy enough to be approved or not. We will also be glad to quote Medicare supplement rates over the phone and email you a Medigap rate report like this one.

If you can change your supplement plan at any time of the year, what do I need to know about Medicare Open Enrollment 2018?

Medicare open enrollment allows you to change your Part D prescription drug plan, or your Medicare Advantage plan. Neither require medical underwriting with one exception. If you are currently in renal failure you cannot change Advantage plans.

At Georgia Medicare Plans our focus is strictly on finding the best Medigap coverage that fits your needs and budget. We also offer detailed advice on Part D and will guide you through the enrollment process.

We do not offer Medicare Advantage plans but we will refer you to an associate if you are convinced Advantage plans are right for you.

 

Medicare Drug Plans are Confusing

The most difficult part of my work is helping clients find the right drug plan that delivers the best value. Let’s look at how I handled a review for a new client.

Bill currently takes two different medications to control his cholesterol, Ezetimibe and Xarelto. While was covered under a group health insurance plan his Xarelto copay was $0. That goes away once he is covered by Part D.

Bill likes to take charge of things and his own review of drug plans led him to believe his best option was a plan with a monthly premium of $55.

I felt he could do better.

Both of these drugs are expensive. Ezetimibe has a retail price of $300 for a 30 day supply; Xarelto is $400.

2019 update – Ezetimibe is currently $12 with a GoodRx discount. 

 

Avoiding the Donut Hole

My analisys indicates he will enter the donut hole by the 4th month and his out of pocket drug costs will exceed $350 per month.

My suggestion was to drop Ezetimibe from his drug plan evaluation and purchase outside of Part D using GoodRx. His copay would be about the same as his drug plan but by removing the drug from the formulary calculation he is able to delay entering the donut hole to month 7 vs. the 4th month.

Can he avoid the donut hole completely?

As it turns out he can.

He can buy Ezetimibe through Blue Sky and lower his costs even more than using GoodRx. Before he enters the donut hole his Xarelto copay is $46. Once in the donut hole his copay more than triples. Copay’s for all drugs, not just the expensive ones, increases while in the donut hole. He can avoid the donut hole completely by purchasing his meds (except Ezetimibe) through the drug plan and then buying Xarelto from Blue Sky right before entering the donut hole.

Combining these suggestions he can choose a drug plan with a $22 monthly premium vs the $55 plan he would have picked on his own. Bill saves over $500 in prescription drug costs.

 

Medicare Drug Plans – Who is Advising You?

Where can you go for help and advice for drug plans during Medicare open enrollment 2018? Let’s run down the list.

  • You can do it on your own
  • You can call 1-800-MEDICARE
  • Ask a friend what they have
  • Choose the same plan you spouse has
  • Talk to a volunteer at Georgia Cares
  • Search online
  • Ask an insurance agent
  • Talk with your hair stylist

Obviously there are many choices but whatever route you take during Medicare open enrollment 2018 make sure you consider all of the following.

  • Start with the Medicare plan finder even if you are going to ask for advice
  • Next, record your Drug List ID number and Password Date for future reference
  • Be sure to consider lower cost generics where possible
  • Make sure you are including the lowest cost participating pharmacy’s*
  • Check generic pricing using GoodRx
  • Also check pricing at a Canadian pharmacy such as Blue Sky
  • Include star ratings in your evaluation
  • Don’t just assume the plan that worked well this year is your best choice for 2018
  • If you use an agent, make sure they are looking at ALL available plans, not just the one that compensates them
  • If you use 1-800-MEDICARE ask if they have suggestions on ways to save by purchasing drugs outside of Part D
  • Sometimes free advice is worth what you paid for it

*In 2017 Walgreen’s often has the lowest prices for medications. If your evaluations for this year did not include Walgeen’s as an option you probably never saw the lowest priced drug plans. Low price pharmacy’s change every year. Make sure you don’t make the same mistake for 2018.

 

Look for Medicare Supplement Premium Savings

At Georgia Medicare Plans we do things other agents fail to do. If an agent fails to offer you a free Medigap rate report are they showing you the best options for you or only the plans that pay them the most money?

Every prospective client receives this report for the plan(s) they are considering. Just ask. It’s that simple. We email your report  for review. Take time to study the report and form your questions. We are happy to help.

You have entered the “No Selling Zone”. Most of all, there is no pressure to buy but we do hope to earn your business. Call or email with questions, when you turn 65 or during the Medicare Open Enrollment 2019 dates.

 

#MedicareOpenEnrollment #MedicarePartD #GeorgiaMedicareSupplementRates #Turning65

Does Medicare Pay For Glucose Monitors?

Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGM’s) are life savers for many insulin dependent diabetics. Medicare does cover diabetic supplies and medications but it is the way those items are covered that can be confusing. Not all diabetics need a pump. Not all diabetics that need a pump need a CGM. Some are able to manage their disease with either oral medication or by injection.

CGM Continuous Glucose Monitor CGM

If your doctor certifies to Medicare that you meet their criteria for an insulin pump then maybe Medicare will cover the device.

Or maybe they won’t.

And Medicare might pay for some glucose monitor’s but not for others.

Confused?

Read on.

 

CGM’s and Medicare

A CGM can be an insulin pump but not all insulin pumps are CGM’s.

In insulin pump is an implantable device used to administer insulin rather than using a syringe and needle. Pumps can be programmed to release small doses of insulin in much the same way as your pancreas does. By delivering “mini” doses of medicine the need for long acting insulin is eliminated.

A Continuous Glucose Monitor continuously measures your glucose levels but not your blood glucose levels.

Medicare covers therapeutic CGM’s but not adjunctive CGM’s.

 

Medicare Part B and Part D

Insulin is covered under Medicare Part D (drug plans) unless it is covered by Part B.

Screening for diabetes is covered by Medicare Part B . . . unless you need more than two screenings per year.

Medicare Part B pays for glucose monitors, lancet’s, test strips and most other Durable Medical Equipment (DME) but they do limit the quantity and how often you can get these supplies.

If you use insulin Medicare covers up to 300 test strips and lancets every 3 months. But if you do not use insulin Medicare covers up to 100 test strips and lancets every 3 months.

Apparently Medicare believes you do not need to test your blood sugar as often if you are not insulin dependent.

Medicare Part D covers insulin unless it is covered by Part B.

Medicare may pay for Continuous Glucose Monitor sensor’s but only if your monitor is a specific brand. Sensors are devices planted under the skin to monitor and relay information about your glucose levels.

Medicare has approved the Dexcom G5 CGM but only if you use the receiver that comes with your device but not if you use a smart phone app.

Do you really think Medicare will track everyone who has a Dexcom G5 to see if they are checking their glucose on their smart phone? And why should Medicare care if you use your smart phone or not?

Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan in many cases your plan will pay 80% of the cost of your pump or CGM and you will pay the remaining 20%. Monitors run anywhere from $1000 to $1400 plus another $300 or so each month for sensors. And you will need a battery that is changed about once a year or so. They run around $500.

With an Advantage plan your out of pocket costs can get expensive over the course of a year.

Medicare Advantage plans are purposely designed to maximize your out of pocket expense while minimizing the carriers out of pocket.

For those with original Medicare and a supplement plan your out of pocket cost for a pump and approved continuous glucose monitor can be $0 if you have Medigap plan F.

And let’s not forget insulin.

Many Advantage plans run your insulin through the drug plan portion of your coverage.

Unless your Advantage plan does not cover prescription drugs. Then your insulin may still be allocated to Part D. Insulin under Part D can run $300 – $500 monthly depending on the type of insulin and dosage. It also varies by where you are in regard to the donut hole.

 

Medigap and Your Diabetes

Under original Medicare, if you have a pump, with or without a CGM, your insulin is covered by Part B. That means your out of pocket cost could be $0 for the year if you have a Medigap plan.

The BEST time to purchase a Medicare supplement plan is when your Part B goes into effect and you are turning 65 or older.

Georgia Medicare Plans specializes in helping seniors find Medicare supplement plans with the lowest premiums in their area. Our exclusive report shows you every Medigap plan in your area based on your age and gender. No need to waste time searching for the best rates. We shop, you compare. Call or email.

You can also run your own Medigap quotes from the comfort of your home.

CGM Monitors - Georgia Medicare Supplement Rates

You have questions. We have answers. Never any selling.

 

#CGM #ContinuousGlucoseMonitor #DexcomG5#InsulinPump #MedicareDiabetes #MedicareDiabeticCoverage #GeorgiaMedicareSupplementRates

 

Turning 65?

Are you turning 65? Will you continue to work and go on Medicare? Or will Medicare be your only health care insurance? Have you learned everything you need to know or do you still have questions? Did you take advice from friends on Medicare? Do you really understand how those Medicare Advantage plans work? Are all Medigap plans really the same?

 

Even if you have already bought a plan, take 3 minutes to read this. It might just save you a lot of time, money and grief.

You are about to go on Medicare. Here are some things you need to know about your journey.

 

Turning 65 – You are not alone

Roughly 80% of retirees turning 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.

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.

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.

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 turning 65 you have ONLY ONE Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). During that time you can enroll in 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 63 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.

 

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 Mutual of Omaha have sucker punched retirees in the past.

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.

Mutual of Omaha, United World, United of Omaha and Omaha Insurance Company have common parentage but the comparison stops there. The 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.

Aetna Health and Life, Manhattan, Omaha Insurance Company, Companion Life …….. all have “hot” rates in Georgia right now. But none of them have more than 3 years in the Medigap business an at least two have already had a 9% rate increase.

 

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.

I didn’t buy a plan from any carrier with less than 5 years in the Medigap business.

I didn’t buy 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. Any agent that pushes those policies is more interested making as much money as possible off you than they are in serving YOUR needs.

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  makd and why I made them.

If you want to know what I bought and why, just ask.

There are more than 170 different Medigap plans in Georgia. You probably looked at half a dozen or less.

There are only 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.

Georgia Medicare Supplement Rates

You are turning 65 and need to make a decision before going on Medicare. Better to review your decision now rather than later.

Let me know how I can help.

 

#Turning65 #GeorgiaMedicarePlans #GeorgiaMedicareSupplementRates

Get Medicare When Turning 65

Do I automatically get Medicare when turning 65? How do I enroll in Medicare? When should I sign up for Medicare? Do I need Medicare if I am covered by a group health insurance plan? How much does Medicare cost?

  • Medicare is not automatic at age 65
  • Enroll in Medicare in 10 minutes or less
  • Sign up for Medicare Part A at least 90 days in advance of your 65th birthday
  • You may not need Part B if covered by employer group health plan
  • Medicare supplement plans (Medigap) is priced according to your age, gender, tobacco use and zip code

Shop and compare GA Medigap plans. With more than 170 different Medicare supplement plans in Georgia, how do you find the one that is right for you?

GA Medigap rates

Compare plans side by side plus receive a FREE report showing all Medigap plans and rates in your area. Valid email address required.

 

How Do I Get Medicare at Age 65?

Most people assume Medicare is automatic when they turn 65. If you are receiving Social Security benefits you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare when you turn 65. Everyone else will have to apply.best medicare supplement plan F

Many people will receive Medicare Part A at no charge. If you (or your spouse) have at least 40 quarters of substantial wages in the Social Security system by the time you reach age 65 you have prepaid your Part A premiums.

If you refuse Part A you may be denied a Social Security benefit. Deferred enrollment in Medicare Part A is possible if covered by a group health plan. Otherwise late enrollment penalties may apply.

Medicare Part B is optional and carries a monthly premium.

You do not have to be employed in order to get Medicare at age 65. Some who have never worked in the Social Security system can still qualify based on the earnings record of their spouse. The same applies to widows and divorcees of a working spouse.

 

How Do I Get Medicare?

Signing up for Medicare is easy. I signed up in May, 2015 ahead of my September, 2015 65th birthday. You can do the same by following this link to Social Security and selecting the appropriate option.medicare turning 65

You can track the status of your application at MySSA.gov.

Track your earnings record, review estimated Social Security benefit amount, see when your next benefit will be deposited and more.

Once you enroll in Medicare you will receive your welcome letter about a week later followed by your Medicare card in another few weeks.

 

Covered by a Group Health Insurance Plan?

If you are covered under a group health plan as an active employee or spouse of an active employee you may only need Medicare Part A. If you or your spouse work for a large employer (defined as 20 or more employees) your group plan may be primary and Medicare a secondary payer. In that case you may only need Medicare Part B.

Most plan participants with a smaller employer will find that Medicare is the primary payer. In that case you need Part B. Your group health plan will be a secondary payer.

In that situation it may be to your advantage to drop the group health plan and pick up a Medicare supplement plan and Part D drug plan. Ask us for details and pricing.

You can also generate your own quote using this link.

click for instant medigap quote

 

How Much Does Medicare Cost?

Georgia Medigap plans are priced according to your age, gender, tobacco use and zip code. Many plans are priced under $100 per month and offer much richer benefits than you have experienced with your current health insurance plan.

Medicare supplement plans are standardized (all plans with same letter are identical) making it relatively easy to compare plans and rates. More than 40 different F plan rates and 30 different G plans may seem confusing.

Buying on low initial price alone may come back to haunt you later. Some carriers have a history of showcasing a low initial buy-in rate only to raise rates substantially later. One well known mutual carrier has raised rates 11 times since 2012.

Let us help you find the plan that best suits your needs and budget.

GA Medigap rates

Shop and compare. Free comprehensive Medigap report provided with valid email.

 

#GetMedicareAge65 #Turning65 #HowMuchDoesMedicareCost #GeorgiaMedicareSupplementRates #WhenEnrollMedicare

Welcome to Medicare – What’s Covered?

Welcome to Medicare. What’s covered, what isn’t?  In the exam room I notice a sign. “Lab work is not covered by Medicare“. You owe $289. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

Welcome to Medicare physical exam? Covered. Lab work? Not covered.  Really? You turned 65 and signed up for Medicare. What happens next?

Here is a short introduction to Medicare. What’s covered, what isn’t,  and what to expect

  • Medicare’s definition of preventive care has surprises
  • Lab work may not be covered
  • Medical necessity is the rule
  • Free exams aren’t always free

Whether you have original Medicare and a supplement or you enrolled in an Advantage plan, the underlying rules of what is covered and what isn’t are the same. The difference is in how you pay for it.

You might want to view our Medicare Exam video on YouTube

Turning 65 – Welcome to Medicare 2018 – What’s Covered?

dr kildareBy the time you reach 65 and enroll in Medicare, most people have a doctor (or doctors) they like and trust. They want to continue that relationship and are not interested in picking a doctor from a list provided by an insurance company.

Georgia Medicare Plans specialize in helping you keep your doctor(s) and finding a Medicare supplement plan that fits your needs and budget. We have rates and information on more than 230 different Medigap plans and will provide a FREE REPORT on all plans based on your age, gender and zip.

You can start your research by comparing rates and benefits for roughly 30 plans by getting an INSTANT GA Medigap quote.

shopCompareBig_new2

I understand your confusion. Most people want information so they can understand what lies ahead. They want the time to read, make notes and ask questions.

Most of the insurance agents you will talk to are not old enough to enroll in Medicare and have not experienced it first hand. Bob Vineyard turned 65 in September, 2015 and enrolled in Medicare. In spite of 40 years in the health insurance business and over 400 Medicare clients, I am still learning things every day about how Medicare works.

Ask me anything. Others talk, we listen.

 

Welcome to Medicare Surprises

When I turned 65 and signed up for Medicare, one of the first things I did was schedule my Welcome to Medicare physical.

Because I chose original Medicare and a supplement plan, I was able to keep my doctor. My group insurance plan required me to have an annual exam and wellness interview so there should not have been any surprises with my Welcome to Medicare exam.

That was the wrong assumption.

While waiting in the exam room I saw a notice on the bulletin board.

Lab work is not covered by Medicare

Seriously? What’s that all about?

Preventive screenings are covered by Medicare in the following situations

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm scan – Men only, if you smoked 100 cigarettes in your lifetime
  • Bone density – Mostly women, if you are estrogen deficient or have osteoporosis
  • Lab tests – Only if considered medically necessary by Medicare

What is considered medically necessary?

Medicare defines medically necessary as tests or treatment needed to diagnose or treat an illness, injury, condition, disease or symptoms that meet accepted standards of care.

Preventive lab work may not be covered by Medicare.

 

Congratulations! You are healthy. Your test is not covered!

I take no medications. For the last few years my doctor has run routine lab work to make sure my body is doing what it is supposed to. As much as it galls me to say, my Obamacare plan covered routine tests like CBC, Lipid Panel, CMP, etc. at no charge to me.not covered

These tests were not free. The labs and technicians do not volunteer their time. The costs associated with the lab tests were absorbed by the health insurance carrier and baked into the premiums.

Not so with Medicare.

Those under age 65 pay nothing.

If you are 65 and older, there is no more free lunch.

When I asked about the sign on the wall. The one that said “Lab work is not covered by Medicare” her response took me aback.

Medicare generally doesn’t cover those tests if you are healthy. But if you were sick, they would pay for them.

Sign this ABN form. If Medicare denies the claim you will have to pay the cost of your lab work. You will owe $289.

So much for my “free” Welcome to Medicare exam.

 

Medicare physical exam.

Is it covered? Is it free? How much will I have to pay?

Original Medicare is quite good in most respects. No more doctor networks. Forget about balance billing (when you use Medicare providers that accept assignment).  Huge bills for health care are a thing of the past.

So exactly what is covered, and what isn’t? Check out this free Guide to Medicare Preventive Services. And yes, it really is free. Click to download.

 

More ways to save money.

Most of the retirees we talk to are paying too much for their Medicare supplement plan. Many are facing rate increases. One large Mutual company has increased rates 10 times since 2012!

Medigap plan F will be retired in 2020. Switch now if you can. Plan G is popular with over 90% of our clients. Some have not had a rate increase in two years.

Get a free GA Medigap quote.  FREE report listing rates for all plans based on your age, gender and zip code  sent by email once we confirm your information.

 

GA Medigap quote

You need to be informed. The more you know and understand the better it will be for your bank account.

 

#MedicareLab #WelcometoMedicare

Find the Best Medicare Supplement Rate

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How do you find the best Medicare supplement rate? You can search Georgia Medigap rates online, attend seminars, invite a parade of strangers into your home and let them try to sell you something. The Medicare.gov site is another option as is calling carriers direct.

The best rate is the one that fits your needs and budget. What your friend Mary or Bill bought was (hopefully) right for them. But that does not make it right for you.

Mary wears a size 6. You wear a size 4. That’s close but just not a good fit.

Bill has health problems you may not be aware of, while you are in almost perfect health.

Picking the right plan for you requires a basic understanding of what is available, and realizing your decision today may be the last time you get to make a change in coverage.

This is especially true if you are turning 65 and going on Medicare for the first time.

You are about to enter the no bull zone.

best medicare supplement rate

 

Finding The Best Medicare Supplement Rate

Some people just go with a carrier they know, such as Blue Cross, Cigna, Humana, etc. simply because they had health insurance with them in the past and they never had a problem. Others will buy through an association such as AARP,  AMAC, ASA, AGA, CAP or others.

Each of these groups have a political, social or religious agenda that may or may not appeal to buyers.

Still others will ask their friends what they bought and work on the assumption it was good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.

There are pluses and minuses to each of these approaches. All that really matters is making sure you understand what you bought and being sure it will fit your needs for as long as you both shall live.best medicare supplement rate

Yes, as long as you both shall live. Just like marriage, except this is a different kind of contract.

 

The Medicare supplement policy you buy today may be the last one you ever own.

For many, the only time they will be able to purchase a Medicare supplement plan is when they turn 65. Others will qualify medically and can change plans in the future. The older you get the more health problems that can arise. That can complicate your attempt to secure a Medigap plan in the future.

Advantage plans have minimal underwriting and annual enrollment periods. In most cases you can move from one plan to another during this time.

 

Medigap plans do not participate in the annual enrollment period.

You can change plans (at any time, not just annual enrollment) but you have to prove you are healthy.

You would be surprised how many people don’t know that. Even people who have been on Medicare for years believe they can change their Medicare supplement plan during open enrollment.

They can, but it is not automatic.

Finding the best Medicare supplement rate is really pretty easy. Just ask.

 

Buy a Name Brand

Many people think if they buy from a name brand carrier they will be fine.

That is a false sense of security.

AFLAC is a name brand. Big, well known name. Entered the Medigap market in 2012. Exited in 2013. Those who bought AFLAC and were in good health moved to a different carrier.

The unhealthy ones stayed around.

Premiums had to support a smaller block that is getting older and sicker by the day.

What about Mutual of Omaha? Isn’t that a wise choice.

 

Which Mutual of Omaha are you buying?

Mutual of Omaha, United World, United of Omaha or Omaha Insurance Company?

It makes a difference. Each Omaha carrier has different rate structures. When a new Omaha carrier is introduced in your area the new applicants are usually offered rates that are often 25% less than you are paying.

Relying on a brand name to help you find the best Medicare supplement rate may not be your best decision.

 

Buy From a Carrier You Know

You will be surprised how many people that are retiring from a job will simply sign up with the carrier that has their group health plan. Somehow they believe they are getting a better deal.

Your Aetna group health plan is not the same company that writes under the Aetna name for Medigap coverage. Same is true for Cigna group vs. Cigna Medicare supplement.

Two different companies.

If you are going on Medicare for the first time your new Medigap carrier is not allowed to ask any health questions. So the Cigna that offers you a Medicare supplement plan is not allowed to view your medical history with the Cigna that has your group plan.

No harm, no foul.

But that won’t guarantee you the best Medicare supplement rate.

Sometimes the carrier that never could pay your group health claim properly (at least in your eyes) will pay all your Medigap claims on time and without a hitch.

Buy from someone you know does not guarantee you will get the best Medicare supplement rate.

 

Medigap Rate Transparency

When you get an instant FREE Medigap quote from Georgia Medicare Plans you will also receive a report like this one. We will show you rates from carriers that offer coverage in your area. The report is tailored to your age, gender and zip.

This is part of our Medigap rate transparency approach.

We don’t know of another agent that freely volunteers this information. Also, we will answer your questions by phone or email. You have entered the no bull zone.

No tricks.

No games.

No bull.

Other agents may refuse to give you a rate by phone or email.

Not us.

Our glass pockets approach means you will have many plans and carriers to pick from rather than just a few.

 

Most of the people we talk to eventually become clients

because they know they can rely on us to show them the best Medicare supplement rates and help them find a plan that fits their needs and budget.

They also like the fact the will get straight answers to their questions. When you call you get me or my voice mail. Leave a message during the week and you will get a call back usually within 24 hours and often the same day.

We want you to have the best Medigap plan possible and will help you find it with the least hassle.best medicare supplement rate

Email inquiries are often answered within 2 hours or less. I do make exceptions for those that come in at 2 AM. Don’t expect me to get up every two hours during the night to answer your questions.

It won’t happen.

Not only do you get the best Medicare supplement rate, but you can tap into my 40 years of experience at no charge.

Or you can go online to sites that capture your information and sell it multiple times to agents. You can call every carrier that writes Medigap and listen to their sales pitch. You could also invite a parade of agents to come to your home and vow not to leave until you buy or call the police.

We have clients all over the state of Georgia. Everything is handled by phone and email. You don’t come to see me. I don’t go see you.

Most people prefer it that way.

You can start your search for the best Medicare supplement rate here by getting a free, instant Medigap quote. Your information is never sold  and you will get a report just like this as soon as I have a few minutes to review your information.

How easy is that?

 

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#BestMedicareSupplementRate #FreeInstantMedigapQuote #GeorgiaMedicarePlans #BobVineyard

Can You Afford Medicare Supplement Insurance?

Can you afford Medicare supplement insurance? Can you afford to NOT have it? How much does it cost? (Less than you think). Which plan is best? How do I find the lowest rate? Should I buy Medigap plan F like all my friends or something different?

Shop and compare GA Medigap plans. Instant rate quote. No hassle. Your information is never sold.

Medicare shop and compare

 

Medicare open enrollment is just around the corner. Others are just now turning 65 and will soon be navigating the Medicare maze.

You can get rates anywhere, but what most people want is information and solid advice without the hype and pressure. You get the benefit of my 40 years experience at no extra cost.

Post summary.

  • How much does Medicare pay for serious illness?
  • Is Medicare Advantage, with the lower premiums, better?
  • $0 premium or $0 copay and $0 deductible?
  • Finding the plan with the best rates and overall value
  • Why avoid Medigap plan F?

 

Can you afford Medicare supplement insurance?

Here are the facts. You decide.

Original Medicare covers about 80% of your medical costs and none of your prescription drug costs. Your remaining 20% share (after Medicare pays their portion) can run into the hundreds in an average year and thousands in a bad year. The 20% you pay is not capped. Your treatment continues until you run out of money.medicare bad news

Many Medicare Advantage plans have $0 premiums. Advantage plans have moving parts, doctor and hospital networks (most are HMO’s), deductibles, coinsurance and copay’s. The plan you buy this year probably won’t be offered next year and you will have to switch plans …… and possibly doctors as well.

Next year you will start this process over again, and then again the year after that. At least the Advantage plans have a cap on your out of pocket costs. Most of them limit your share to $6700 for the year. Then next year you start all over again.

If you are turning 65 and live in Georgia, you can buy our most popular Medicare supplement insurance plan for around $100 per month. About $3 per day.

The one I bought is $104 per month. Beyond the monthly premium my out of pocket cost is limited to the Part B deductible ($147 in 2015) and after that a $20 doctor visit copay.

If I had to go to the hospital my out of pocket cost would be $0.

Sure, I would rather have a $0 premium plan. Who wouldn’t? But I would also rather have to come up with $147 and an occasional $20 than dig into my savings to fork over $6700.

But that is just me.

You may feel differently.

 

Which Medicare supplement plan is best?

That’s simple.

The best plan is the one that fits your needs and budget.

If you are in good health, and don’t care which doctor you use, those $0 premium Advantage plans might be just the ticket. But when your health changes you won’t like them very much. And by then you won’t qualify for a Medicare supplement plan.

If you are turning 65, this may be your one and only chance to buy a Medicare supplement plan.

So is the Medigap plan a better option?

If you can afford $100 per month and find it easier to budget for a fixed premium vs. several hundred or thousand for out of pocket medical expenses, then the Medicare supplement might be what the doctor ordered.

Choose wisely.

Whatever you decide today might have to last you the rest of your life.

 

How do I find the lowest Medigap rate?

That part is easy. Just ask.

Sure, you can go online and shop. Plenty of places to compare rates, including my site. But you will only see a dozen or so plans, even on my site.

telephone oldAnd some of the rate comparison sites are just a come on. They take your information and sell it to a bunch of agents who will call and pester you until you stop answering the phone or buy.

That won’t happen here.

I never sell your information. You will get one call from me and that’s it. After that it is up to you if you want more information or not.

Including the lowest rates in your area.

There are over 170 Medigap plans in Georgia but you will never see more than a dozen or so. The rest are available offline. Heck one of my competitors only shows you plan F from 4 different carriers. What good is that?

Most people want more than just a rate. They want information. They want to know that the decision they make will be the right one,  just in case they have to keep their plan for the rest of their life.

But go ahead and shop now. It won’t hurt and your phone won’t ring off the hook. Because I will only call you once.

Medicare shop and compare

When we talk I will ask a few questions and give you a straight answer to your questions. If you just want the lowest rate I will give you that by phone and follow up with an email.

But if you want to really learn how Medicare works, I will give you all the time you need to feel comfortable with whatever decision you make.

It really is that simple.

 

Should I buy Medicare supplement plan F?

Probably not.

Your friends that bought plan F didn’t talk to me. If they talked to an agent at all they probably don’t even know plans other than F existed.

And the probably paid too much for that plan.bob on fb

If they bought from AARP (United Healthcare), Blue Cross or Mutual of Omaha I can almost guarantee they overpaid.

You see, all the Medigap plans with the same letter are identical in every way …….. except the price.

So it doesn’t matter if they pay United Healthcare $166 per month, or Blue Cross $191 monthly or Colonial Penn $277 per month, they get the same coverage.

When you pay more you don’t get more, you simply paid too much.

That’s me on the right. My daughter took that picture at the Chop House. We went to a Braves game a few years ago and she wanted a picture.

Current plan F rates are expected to increase at least $20 per month in 2016, and probably even more.

By 2020 when plan F is discontinued anyone with plan F can keep it but the premiums will rise at a faster clip than now.

Which sounds better to you?

Buying Medicare supplement plan F that is being yanked off the market in a few years or saving $800 per year (and more) by enrolling in a plan you can keep as long as you live?

Shop and compare now. When I call, give me 10 minutes to educate you and then decide if my advice is worthwhile or not.

Medicare shop and compare

 

 

 

#MedicareSupplementInsurance #MedicareSupplementPlanF  #MedicareOpenEnrollment #MedigapRates