How Do I Enroll in a Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plan?

Medicare doesn’t cover everything, which is why many seniors look to Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plans to get more from their insurance policy. Medicare is health insurance for those who are 65 years and older. As the largest health insurance program in the U.S., it covers more than 40 million people. There are four parts to Medicare – A, B, C and D.

Medicare part A is hospital insurance and covers any inpatient hospital care.  Medicare Part B is medical insurance, covering services like doctors, outpatient care, home care and medical equipment.  Medicare Advantage, Part C is a health care plan that covers similar aspects of Original Medicare along with prescription drug coverage, dental and hearing for an extra premium. Medicare Supplemental Plan D is considered Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage, covering the cost of prescription drugs.

Medigap insurance covers the gap that Original Medicare Part A and Part B don’t cover.  If you’re interested in supplemental insurance like Medigap, the best time to purchase this insurance is during the 6-month Medigap enrollment period that starts the month a person turns 65.  Participants must also be enrolled in both parts of Original Medicare, Part A and Part B. After this enrollment period, you can’t purchase a policy without undergoing medical assessments and paying higher priced premiums.

If you purchase during Medigap enrollment, insurance companies can’t use underwriting to decide if they should accept you or not and how much they’ll charge you. And if you have any health problems, you’ll be able to purchase the same coverage at the same price as those in good health.  If you wait until after this period of time you may be required to undergo the underwriting policy.

To find Medicare supplemental insurance plans, do some research on providers near you. That way you can compare plans to see what’s best for you and your health needs, discuss any questions you might have with a representative and get professional insights from a licensed insurance agent.  This will allow you to compare policies and premiums before you sign up for Medigap insurance.

Learn more about Medicare Supplemental Insurance plans, rates and more at http://www.emedicare-supplemental-insurance.com.  Medicare Supplemental Insurance brokers will help you compare Medicare Supplemental Insurance rates and plans.  To talk to an expert in Medicare coverage toll free 877-202-9248 today!

12 Things You Must Do as Soon as You Turn 65

Your 65th birthday is considered a milestone for several reasons. Not only was it once considered standard retirement age (alas, those days are no more), but it’s the year you can start cashing in on all those senior discounts.

Turning 65 isn’t entirely pleasant — there are definitely some medical conditions and things happening to your body you’ll want to be aware of. But as long as you prepare properly, you’ll be able to handle whatever comes your way. These are 12 of the things you need to do as soon as you turn 65 years young.

 1. Familiarize yourself with Medicare …

An elderly couple looking at the paper work

It can take a bit of reading and researching, but Medicare is an important part of life after 65. | JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images

For most people, turning 65 means you’re eligible for Original Medicare, Part A and Part B. You can also choose to enroll in Medicare Part C, or Medicare Advantage. If you aren’t retiring, you’ll need to visit the Social Security website and manually sign up for it yourself.

Next: Medicare can be complicated. 

… and don’t be afraid to ask for help 

Female Helping Senior Woman

You may need to ask for help, and that’s OK! | Highwaystarz-Photography/iStock/Getty Images

Being new to Medicare can be a bit overwhelming, especially when you learn you could see a gap in medical coverage or face a fine. The Medicare website offers some helpful information, but if you’re still confused, talk to your current insurance agent or employer to help you find someone that can better assist you.

Next: Is retirement in the cards?

2. Decide if you’ll retire or keep working

Senior Couple Laughing

This is a big decision and marks a shift in lifestyle. | Bowdenimages/iStock/Getty Images

You probably know the answer to this long before your 65th birthday. Still, if you’re still working when you turn 65, you need to go over all your financial information and assets and figure out where you stand. After all, just because you’re eligible for retirement doesn’t mean you’re truly ready — you should determine if you can live a comfortable life. Also, you might be in great shape and still genuinely enjoy your job.

Next: If you are returning, you’ll want to take this next step.

3. Learn the term ‘Medigap’

Rosemary Petty, a Publix Supermarket pharmacy technician, counts out a prescription of antibiotic pills

Those medications may start getting expensive. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images 

Medigap supplemental insurance policies are sold by private insurance companies to fill some of the gaps in expenses that standard Medicare won’t cover. If you’ll no longer have employee-sponsored healthcare, you’ll definitely want to look into getting one.

Next: The insurance information seems never-ending.

4. Consider getting a long-term care insurance policy

nursing home

If you ever need assisted care support, this will help. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

A private long-term care insurance policy will help you pay for any assisted living care needs you’ll require in the future. They can be expensive, and admittedly, they’re a gamble — but age 65 is usually the last time you can get a policy for a somewhat affordable rate.

Next: It’s time to claim those Social Security benefits.

5. Plan your social security benefits claim

retirees dancing

Make smart choices when pulling retirement benefits. | RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images

Age 66 is now considered Social Security’s “full retirement age,” meaning the age when you can claim your full retirement benefits without penalty. Some start to claim reduced benefits at age 62, while others wait until after full retirement age (up to age 70) to claim higher benefits.

Next: Start planning for the future now.

6. Get your legal documents in order …

Judge Holding Documents

Ensure you’re ready for the next phase of life. | AndreyPopov/iStock/Getty Images

While most 65-year-olds have many years left to live, an illness or an accident could make decision-making more difficult. Get your wishes in order regarding healthcare, ongoing finances, and your estate. The first step is to think about your choices and get all of your medical and personal files organized.

Next: Assemble your legal team.

7. … and get a will and a power of attorney if you don’t have them already

A legal will paper

Take time to iron out the details. | djedzura/Getty Images

Having a legal will will ensure your final wishes are met and protect your assets. A power of attorney is helpful for finances, and a living will — also called an advance medical directive — will legally enforce your healthcare choices.

Next: Don’t forget about your HSA.

8. Make HSA changes

hand singing a paper

This change may happen right as you turn 65. | Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

If you have a high-deductible health insurance policy, you’ll need to stop making HSA contributions when you enroll in Medicare. On the first day of the month you turn 65 and enroll in Medicare, you lose your eligibility to contribute to an HSA. You can keep contributing to an HSA after 65 if you don’t enroll in Medicare Part A or Part B.

Next: This is an important step to take if you’re still working.

9. Maximize your catch-up contributions

advisor on the phone

Talk to your accountant, investor, or someone you trust. | Chris Ryan/iStock/Getty Images

If you’re over the age of 50, you can contribute an extra annual $1,000 to IRAs and an extra $6,000 to 401(k)s, according to Kiplinger. If you’re still working, this is a good thing to do for an extra cushion when you do retire.

Next: Take stock of your health.

10. Get a complete physical

older at doctor

This step is important, especially to your family. | AlexRaths/iStock/Getty Images

Regardless of age, most people don’t get complete physical examinations as often as they should. Visit your doctor and make sure you’re caught up on routine screenings and exams so you can enjoy life for years to come.

Next: This isn’t pleasant, but it’s necessary.

11. Have a conversation with your loved ones about your end of life wishe

family members talking with each other

As difficult as this can be, it needs to happen. | Image Source/Getty Images

As we’ve mentioned, turning 65 is far from a death sentence — in fact, our human life span is longer than ever. But talking to your spouse and children about your end of life and funeral wishes now could save them a lot of extra heartache later. Have the difficult conversation and move on.

Next: This is the fun part of turning 65.

12. Cash in on all those perks

Man and woman on airplane having airline food

Enjoy the finer side of life. | David De Lossy/Getty Images

Here’s one thing to be very excited about: 65 is the age of the senior discount. From cheaper restaurant entrees to travel deals, you’ll be amazed by what companies offer in order to earn your business. If you don’t see anything listed, ask.

Next: Don’t be afraid to dream big. 

Extra credit: Dust off that bucket list

Two senior couples looking at photographs around garden table, smiling

Share your dreams with your partner and friends. | Liz Gregg/Getty Images

Whether you’re still working full-time or not, turning 65 will force you to slow down in some ways simply because your body and mind are changing. This is a great time to make a bucket list and think about what you want the next decade or two of your life to look like.

Next: This is good financial advice.

If at all possible, hold off on social security for a few years

man holding social security card in his hand

Unless you need it, waiting is the smartest choice you can make. | KenTannenbaum/iStock/Getty Images

Most Americans start collecting social security as soon as they can. And while this is fine if you don’t have a choice, if you can, holding off for a few years will allow you a bigger payout later. If you have other sources of income and can wait, you should.

Next: Once the legalities have all been handled, all that’s left to do is enjoy life.

Enjoy every moment

Mature couple dancing on beach

Take the time to enjoy life! | Christopher Robbins/Getty Images

Having a milestone birthday like 65 comes with a hefty checklist, but it’s also a great time to slow down and enjoy every moment, especially when you retire. Reflect on your accomplishments and make it a point to live to the fullest, whatever that means for you.

Original Source: https://www.cheatsheet.com/health-fitness/things-you-must-do-as-soon-as-you-turn-65.html/?a=viewall

Original Author: Jessica Wick

Original Date: April 22 2018

Medigap Plan F and Plan C To Be Closed For Enrollment After 2020

There are a number of questions surrounding Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plans.  One thing that we do know is that the federal government has decided that in the year 2020, Medigap Plan F and Plan C will no longer be available to new participants.  Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan enrollees that are currently enrolled in either Plan F or Plan C will be allowed continue coverage under these two plans.

With these changes fast approaching it is critical that seniors turning 65 and enrolling in Medicare or if they are looking to switch Medigap plans within the next few years they must diligently scrutinize all insurance possibilities before two options are no longer available.

It has never been easy to choose a Medigap plan.  With ten different options to cover the gaps found in Original Medicare, which consists of Medicare Plan and Plan B, there is a lot to consider.  Many participants have leaned towards Medigap Plan F, as it covers the most medical costs but without this option in 2020 participants will have more to consider.  Medigap Plan F does not pay dental, vision, or medicine however with premiums paid monthly, participants shouldn’t have to put any money out of pocket for doctors, tests, or hospitals.  Even medical coverage overseas is partially covered with Medigap Plan F.

The federal government has decided to close out enrollment to popular Medigap Plan F and Plan C to help reduce spending on Medicare.  This decision was made in 2015 by Congress.  Even though Medigap plans are purchased through private insurance companies they are regulated by the federal government and Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, are provided through the federal government.  Congress estimates that shutting down enrollment into Medigap Plans F and Plan C will reduce Medicare spending by about four hundred million dollars between 2020 and 2025.

Even though Medicare enrollees previously enrolled in Medigap Plan F and Plan C will still be allowed to continue coverage in these plans speculation is that the premiums for these plans will rise.  An alternative to Medigap Plan F is Medigap Plan G. Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plan G offers comprehensive coverage equivalent to Medigap Plan F but requires participants to pay an annual deductible for Medicare.

It is important before committing to or switching to a different Medigap plan that you truly look into the options available.  Even if you are enrolled in Plan F and you switch out of it, you will no longer be able to enroll in this coverage after it is shut down to new enrollment in 2020.

Learn more about Medicare Supplemental Insurance plans, rates and more at http://www.emedicare-supplemental-insurance.com.  Medicare Supplemental Insurance brokers will help you compare Medicare Supplemental Insurance rates and plans.  To talk to an expert in Medicare coverage toll free 877-202-9248 today!

 

8 Frequently Asked Medicare Questions

More than half of Americans worry a great deal about the availability and affordability of healthcare, and 23% of them worry a “fair amount” about it, per a recent Gallup survey. That’s not surprising, given the steep cost of care and the rate at which it has been increasing over the years.

The same survey found about half of respondents agreeing that it’s the government’s responsibility to ensure healthcare coverage. We might not yet have a country where the government ensures coverage for all, but at least we have Medicare, which does a good job for tens of millions of Americans aged 65 and older.

Five people holding up signs with question marks on them in front of their faces.

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Five people holding up signs with question marks on them in front of their faces.

Image source: Getty Images.

Medicare is likely to be extremely important to you, either now or in the future, so be sure you understand how it works and what it does. Here are answers to a bunch of frequently asked questions about Medicare.

1. What do Part A, Part B, Part D, and so on refer to?

There used to be just one kind of Medicare, but enrollees now have two main choices: “original” Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan. Original Medicare includes Part A (hospital coverage) and Part B (physician/medical insurance). Part D is optional, and provides prescription drug coverage, including insulin supplies. In addition, many enrollees opt to add on a private “Medicare Supplement Insurance” plan, commonly referred to as Medigap, to pay for more of what Medicare doesn’t pay.

You might wonder if there’s a Part C. Well, there is — Medicare Advantage plans, sometimes referred to as Part C. They’re plans that are offered by private insurers but are regulated by the U.S. government. They must offer at least as much coverage as original Medicare, but many go well beyond that, typically including prescription drug coverage and sometimes vision, dental, and/or hearing coverage, too.

2. Is Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan better?

There’s no single plan that’s best for everyone, so take some time to read up on all the options available in your region and make your decision thoughtfully. Original Medicare is standard nationwide, but different Medicare Advantage plans are offered in different regions by different insurance companies.

Don’t just compare premiums, either, because Medicare Advantage plans may offer different co-payments, deductibles, and so on. Compare total expected out-of-pocket costs, and consider other pros and cons, too. For example, Medicare Advantage plans are typically rooted in your local area, limiting you to a certain network of providers (though some networks can be rather large). If you plan to travel a lot, original Medicare may be preferable as it’s honored by providers nationwide. On the other hand, some Medicare Advantage plans offer limited coverage abroad, which original Medicare does not do. The Medicare website’s Plan Finder can help you compare plans and choose.

Medicare Advantage plans can sometimes be your best bet, as they may cost less and generally provide more coverage — remember that they are required to offer at least as much as you’d get with Part A and Part B. Among the more than 58 million folks in Medicare, more than 18 million are estimated to be in Medicare Advantage plans as of 2017.

A three-way signpost, pointing to good, better, and best.

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A three-way signpost, pointing to good, better, and best.

Image source: Getty Images.

3. How can I find the best plans and facilities?

As you narrow down the contenders, be sure to check out each one’s star rating. Medicare has a five-star rating system for services and facilities such as hospitals, dialysis centers, Medicare Advantage plans, nursing homes, and more. A five-star rating is the best you can get, but as of December, when nearly 4,000 hospitals were rated, only 337 earned all five stars. Among the 384 Medicare Advantage contracts evaluated in 2018, only 23 (not 23%) were awarded five stars, but 44% of the ones that also offered Part D prescription drug coverage earned four or five stars, which is pretty good.

The rating system for hospitals takes into account measures such as the rate of post-surgical infections and emergency room wait times. Medicare Advantage plans are evaluated on measures such as how well they’re keeping their members healthy (via screenings, checkups, and more), how well they’re managing members’ chronic conditions, and how good their customer service is. You’ll find the star ratings of plans available to you by using the Medicare Plan Finder at the Medicare website.

4. Can I change my mind after choosing a plan?

Yes. There’s an annual election period that goes from October 15 to December 7 each year, and during that period you can switch to a different Medicare plan if you’d like — including switching into or out of a Medicare Advantage plan. There’s also a special enrollment option, letting you switch into a five-star Medicare Advantage plan at any other time of the year, if one is available to you. Plan offerings change from year to year, so it’s smart to review all your options and their costs each year.

5. When should I sign up for Medicare?

This is a more important question than you might expect, because if you’re late signing up to be a Medicare enrollee, it can cost you a lot. The regular eligibility age for Medicare is 65. You can sign up anytime within the three months leading up to your 65th birthday, during the month of your birthday, or within the three months that follow. That’s your seven-month-long “Initial Enrollment Period” (IEP). Miss it and your part B premiums (which cover medical services, but not hospital services) can rise by 10% for each year that you were eligible for Medicare but didn’t enroll.

If you are late, you can still enroll during the “general enrollment period,” which is from Jan. 1 through March 31 of each year — though that coverage won’t begin until July and the late penalty might apply.

There are a few loopholes, though. If you’re already receiving Social Security benefits as you approach 65, you’ll likely be enrolled in Medicare automatically. (You’ll know this has happened because you’ll receive your Medicare card in the mail three months before your 65th birthday.) Most people start collecting Social Security before age 65 (the earliest one can start is 62), so the penalty won’t affect as many people as you might think.

A blue stethoscope atop hundred dollar bills.

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A blue stethoscope atop hundred dollar bills.

Image source: Getty Images.

6. What does Medicare cost — is it free?

Medicare can be very inexpensive for some people, but it isn’t free. Original Medicare’s Part A is free for most people, but it carries a deductible ($1,340 for 2018) — and it’s not a simple annual deductible, either. Instead, it applies per “benefit period,” with a benefit period beginning when you are admitted to a hospital or a skilled nursing facility and ending once you’ve not received inpatient care for 60 consecutive days. Thus, if you are in and out of hospitals frequently, you may have to pay that deductible several times in a single year.

Part B, meanwhile, charges monthly premiums — which are $134 for most folks in 2018 — and features an annual $183 deductible. After you pay the deductible, you’ll generally be paying 20% of the Medicare-approved cost of various products and services. Premiums and costs for Parts C (Medicare Advantage plans) and D (prescription drug plans) vary widely. Some Medicare Advantage plans charge no premium at all, and all of them cap your in-network out-of-pocket spending at $6,700 for 2018.

It’s worth noting that while you might be paying 20% of this or that expense, there are some services that Medicare offers at no extra cost to you. For example, you’ll pay nothing out of pocket for an annual wellness visit with your doctor, as well as for certain screenings, such as mammograms, colonoscopies, diabetes screenings, and many more.

7. What care is covered by Medicare, and what isn’t covered?

Part A covers hospital inpatient care, skilled nursing facility care, and some home healthcare and hospice care. Part B covers physicians’ services, service from other healthcare providers, certain therapies, lab tests, home healthcare, durable medical equipment (such as blood sugar monitors, wheelchairs, or crutches), and some preventive services such as screenings and vaccines. Lots of other items or treatments are covered (some only under certain conditions), such as artificial limbs, ambulance services, hospice care, mental healthcare, and transplants.

There are plenty of common (and sometimes costly) issues and expenses that Medicare doesn’t cover, though. For example, it generally doesn’t cover vision, hearing, or dental expenses, as well as basic home health help, such as assistance with bathing or toileting — unless you’re also receiving skilled nursing care. Alternative medicines or treatments (such as acupuncture, acupressure, homeopathy, or chiropractic care) are generally not covered. Care you receive while outside the U.S. is not covered, either, with original Medicare.

When it comes to Part D, lots of prescription drugs are covered, but not all. Weight-loss pills, erectile dysfunction treatments, fertility drugs, and over-the-counter medicines are among those not covered.

8. How should I best use my Medicare plan?

To get the most bang for your Medicare bucks — and perhaps to live longer, too — proactively use your coverage instead of just waiting to get sick.

Screenings and preventive care (again, often available at no extra cost to you) can help identify problems early, before they grow worse and more costly. These include mammograms, colonoscopies, diabetes screenings, flu shots, and even smoking and tobacco-use cessation counseling. Here’s how powerful regular care can be: According to a 2014 study from the Insured Retirement Institute, “A 65-year-old male in excellent health can expect to live to age 87, while the same male in poor health (e.g. high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and tobacco use) has a life expectancy at age 65 of approximately 81 years.” For women, excellent health offers a life expectancy of 89 and poor health only 84 years. That’s five or six extra years of life!

Don’t ignore wellness benefits, either. You’re entitled to one wellness visit with your doctor annually, at no extra charge, in order to review your health. Don’t skip this, as it gives your doctor a chance to discuss ways to get you healthier instead of just addressing the illness or injury you walked in with. You may have access to other benefits, too, such as discounts on gym memberships. Find out what your plan offers. When you’re shopping for a Medicare plan, review available wellness perks, too, to see which would serve you best.

The more you know about Medicare, the better decisions you can make — which can improve your health while keeping more dollars in your pocket.

Original Source: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/8-frequently-asked-medicare-questions-120200966.html

Original Author: Selena Maranjian, The Motley Fool

Original Date: April 14 2018

Compare 2018 Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plans

All Medicare Supplemental Insurance plans are regulated by the US government. This means that your choice of insurance provider has no impact on the benefits you’ll get from the coverage. The benefits are the same across the board.  There are only three states that regulate their Medigap plans and these are Minnesota, Massachusetts and Wisconsin.

In 2018, there are ten Medigap plans which start with letter A and end with letter N. Each Medicare supplemental insurance plan has varying degrees of benefits and cost implication. All Medicare Part A and Part B beneficiaries have a chance to purchase Medicare Supplemental Insurance plans out of pocket to provide coverage that fills in the gaps left open by original Medicare.

In this article, we will look at the top three Medicare supplemental insurance plans and compare the benefits that come with each.

Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan N

This plan is one of the most chosen options in 2018. The premiums are lower than other plans and you get lots of benefits such as 100% copayment of any coinsurance for out of pocket expenses that are covered in Part B of Medicare. In addition, if you require a skilled nurse, the plan coverage is 100% of the expense from day 21 of getting services from a skilled nurse. The first 20 days are paid for by Part A of your Medicare cover.  Should you fall ill or get into an accident while traveling outside the USA, this Medicare Supplemental Insurance coverage will cater for your foreign emergency care within your plan’s limit.

2018 Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plan G

This plan is second favorite to many. It has the same benefits and Plan N but unlike Plan N, it does not necessitate copayments for visits to emergency rooms and doctor’s office.  Just like plan N, it provides full cover for a skilled nurse and upkeep facility coinsurance. You also get your Part A Medicare deductible and foreign emergency coverage if travelling outside the U.S.

2018 Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plan F

Third on the list is the Supplement Plan F. It encompasses all the benefits of Medicare supplement insurance plan G but also provides greater benefits. These include covering your deducible for Medicare Part B. The premiums you pay for this supplemental cover are higher but the value you get from the coverage is the best out there. To make it more affordable to as many people as possible, there exists a high deductible version of this coverage where premiums are significantly lower but benefits equally astounding.

Learn more about Medicare Supplemental Insurance plans, rates and more at http://www.emedicare-supplemental-insurance.com.  Medicare Supplemental Insurance brokers will help you compare Medicare Supplemental Insurance rates and plans.  To talk to an expert in Medicare coverage toll free 877-202-9248 today!

 

 

How to Avoid Medicare “Gaps”

Medicare helps to pay for a wide variety of health services, from flu shots to hospital stays, and from preventive health screenings to hospice care.

But it doesn’t cover everything. And it doesn’t cover all your out-of-pocket costs. Many services covered by Medicare require co-payments, coinsurance, and deductibles. You can purchase supplemental insurance to cover these “gaps” in Medicare. Such coverage is called Medicare Supplement Insurance, or Medigap.

If you have Medicare and you buy a Medigap policy, Medicare will pay its share of the Medicare-approved amount for covered health services. Then your Medigap policy pays its share.

You have to pay for Medigap yourself, and it’s sold through private insurance companies. You can buy it only if you have Original Medicare, not Medicare Advantage, which is managed care provided by private insurers.

Every Medigap policy has to follow federal and state laws designed to protect you. Medigap insurance companies can sell you only a “standardized” Medigap policy identified in most states by the letters A through N. Each standardized policy must offer the same basic benefits, no matter which company sells it.

So beware when you’re shopping for a Medigap policy: Cost is usually the only difference between Medigap policies with the same letter sold by different companies. And there can be significant differences in how much various insurers charge for exactly the same coverage.

Here are some of the costs that Medigap policies often cover:

Medicare Part A (hospital) coinsurance and hospital costs for up to 365 days after Medicare benefits run out;

Medicare Part B (medical) coinsurance or co-pays;

Blood (first three pints);

Part A hospice care coinsurance or co-pays;

Skilled nursing facility coinsurance;

Part A and Part B deductibles.

Medigap policies generally don’t cover long-term care (like care in a nursing home), vision or dental, hearing aids, eyeglasses, and private‑duty nursing.

The best time to buy a Medigap policy is during your six-month Medigap open enrollment period, because you can buy any Medigap policy sold in your state, even if you have health problems, for the same price as people with good health. Medigap open enrollment period starts in the first month that you’re enrolled in Medicare Part B and you’re 65 or older.

Once this period is over, you can’t get it again. If you apply for Medigap coverage after your open enrollment period, there’s no guarantee that an insurance company will sell you a Medigap policy if you don’t meet the medical underwriting requirements.

Some other points to keep in mind: You must have Medicare Part A and Part B to buy a Medigap policy; a Medigap policy only covers one person. If you and your spouse both want Medigap coverage, you must each buy a separate policy; you pay the private insurer a monthly premium for your Medigap policy, in addition to the monthly Part B premium that you pay to Medicare; any standardized Medigap policy is guaranteed renewable even if you have health problems. This means the insurance company can’t cancel your Medigap policy as long as you pay the premium.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan (like an HMO or PPO) but are planning to return to Original Medicare, you can apply for a Medigap policy before your coverage ends. The Medigap insurer can sell it to you as long as you’re leaving the Advantage plan. Ask that the new Medigap policy start when your Medicare Advantage plan enrollment ends, so you’ll have continuous coverage.

Original Source: http://www.wmicentral.com/business/how-to-avoid-medicare-gaps/article_c38a8590-25b1-5bf2-b6af-f0b458da21e1.html

Orignal Author: Greg Dill

Original Date: March 16 2018

5 Steps to Take When Comparing Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plans

Medicare supplemental insurance plans are also known as ‘Medigap’. It is a procedural setup devised to benefit patients with waved off expenditures including coinsurance, copayments, and deductibles. These insurance plans are formulated and offered by private companies. Other Medicare supplemental insurance plans also sometimes apply to patients traveling outside their country.

A difference between a Medigap policy and a Medicare Advantage Plan needs to be made clear is that the latter is directed towards gaining medical benefits. On the other hand, the prior is attributed and functions primarily on increasing the already existing Original Medicare benefits.

To choose the right Medicare supplemental insurance plan takes a certain amount of assessments, comparisons, and trials. For your convenience here are five important steps to keep in mind when choosing a Medigap insurance plan:

Devise your HealthCare Costs

First and foremost, you should calculate the amount of money you spend on your healthcare products yearly or monthly. In doing so, you should also keep in mind the costs of services provided and covered by Medigap plans. Once you’ve gone through the Medigap plans and chosen your fix i.e. the one that fulfills your criteria of benefits required then move onto the next step.

Choice of Insurance Company

Once you’ve chosen your Medicare supplemental insurance plan, then you need to decide and scrutinize which insurance company offers your preferred choice of the Medigap plan. The vast range of companies should not overwhelm you, rather you should take ample time to decide which one you want to proceed with.

Comparing the costs of Medigap plans

Comparing the required premium costs, the insurance company would charge you on your choice of Medigap plan will help you exclude those companies that exceed your range for a premium charge. Also, some companies have ranging methods that might increase from what you paid in the beginning.

Premium Charges

Furthermore, some companies automatically file your Medicare supplemental insurance plans. If they do it, it saves a lot of your time and headspace for a little extra charge of course. After comparison investigate how stable the insurance being offered by the company is in the long run. Seek assistance from Medicare Supplemental Insurance brokers to help compare prices between carriers.

One Person Policy

Keep in mind that one Medicare supplemental insurance plan is only applicable for a single person to whom it is initially made for. Your spouse or any other family member will require a separate insurance made for them. On that note, it is also illegal to sell your Medigap policy to someone else.

As previously mentioned, Medicare Advantage Plans are not Medigap plans. In a similar way, Veterans’ benefits, Medicare Prescription drug plans, Medicaid, Long-Term Care insurance policies aren’t either. The Medicare supplemental insurance plans take a lot of reading into and rightfully so. To have a better grip at the medical, procedural and legality jargons, one must take ample time to digest every piece of information and then devise. The idea is to choose the best offering available that helps and doesn’t exceed your premium charge limit.

Learn more about Medicare Supplemental Insurance plans, rates and more at http://www.emedicare-supplemental-insurance.com.  Medicare Supplemental Insurance brokers will help you compare Medicare Supplemental Insurance rates and plans.  To talk to an expert in Medicare coverage toll free 877-202-9248 today!

Medicare Glossary: a Guide to Terminology

Medicare Advantage Plan? Annual notice of change? Here’s what it all means.

There’s a lot to know about Medicare, including many terms associated with the insurance program that you’ll need to understand when signing up for and using your Medicare benefits. Here, a glossary of some of Medicare’s most common terms.

Medicare

Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people ages 65 and older. It also covers people younger than 65 who have disabilities, plus those with end-stage renal disease, requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Original Medicare

Original Medicare is the insurance program managed by the federal government. This type of coverage generally includes Medicare Part A and Part B. Under Original Medicare, the government pays hospitals and doctors directly.

Medicare Part A

Medicare Part A is essentially hospital insurance. It covers different types of inpatient care, including inpatient hospital stays, care received in skilled nursing facilities, hospice care and some home health care.

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance)

Medicare Part B covers services that are delivered on an outpatient basis, including doctors’ visits, laboratory and imaging tests, medical supplies and preventive services.

Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C)

Medicare Advantage plans, also called Medicare Part C, include coverage for both Medicare Parts A and B through a private health insurer that’s been approved by Medicare. These plans cover hospitalization, outpatient care and often prescription-drug coverage under one policy.


Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage

Should you opt for Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage (Part C)?


Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D)

Part D plans are private insurance policies that add prescription drug coverage to Original Medicare, some Medicare Cost Plans, Medicare Private-Fee-for-Service Plans and Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans.

Medigap Policy

Medigap is supplemental insurance sold by private insurance companies to fill “gaps” in Original Medicare coverage. These policies help pay for copayments, deductibles and health care when traveling outside the U.S. that Original Medicare does not.

Medigap Open Enrollment Period

The open enrollment period for Medigap plans is a six-month window that starts the first month you become age 65 (or are older) and are covered by Medicare Part B. Coverage is guaranteed during this period. In addition, you cannot be charged more for coverage because of current or past health problems.


ADDITIONAL TERMS TO KNOW

Advance Coverage Decision

A notice you get from a Medicare Advantage Plan letting you know in advance whether it will cover a particular service.

Annual Enrollment Period

Each year between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7, you can change your Medicare Advantage or Part D prescription drug plans for the following year. You can also switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage or from Medicare Advantage back to Original Medicare.

Annual Notice of Change

A notice your Medicare plan sends each fall to alert you to any changes in coverage, costs or service area your plan is making that will take effect in January.

Benefit period

A benefit period is the way Original Medicare measures your use of hospital and skilled nursing facility, or SNF, services. A benefit period starts the day you’re admitted as an inpatient in a hospital or SNF. It ends after 60 consecutive days without receiving care. Medicare’s inpatient hospital deductible is paid at the start of each benefit period. A new benefit period begins when you are admitted to a hospital or SNF after one benefit period has ended. There is no limit to the number of benefit periods.


Coinsurance

The portion of covered medical services you are responsible for after meeting deductibles, usually paid as a percentage of the total cost.

Coordination of benefits

A way to determine which health plan pays a medical claim first when you’re covered by more than one insurance policy.

Copayment

A set dollar amount you’re required to pay for medical services or supplies, such as $10 for a prescription or doctor’s visit.

Coverage gap

Most Medicare Prescription Drug plans have a gap in coverage, which is also called the “donut hole.” It’s a temporary limit on what your drug plan will cover that begins after you and your plan have spent a certain amount on covered drugs. Once you reach the coverage gap, you qualify for savings on both brand-name and generic drugs.

Creditable prescription drug coverage

A health plan with prescription drug coverage that is likely to pay at least as much as Medicare’s standard prescription drug coverage is considered creditable. To avoid paying a penalty for signing up late for a Part D drug plan, you must have alternate insurance that is considered creditable when you become eligible for Medicare.

Deductible

The amount you must pay for health care services before your Medicare plan begins to pay and help cover your costs.

Extra Help

A Medicare program to help people with limited income and resources pay for the premiums, deductibles and coinsurance associated with their Medicare prescription drug plan.

Formulary

A list of prescription medications covered by your Part D prescription drug plan or another insurance policy with drug benefits, like Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan.

General Enrollment Period

People who don’t sign up for Medicare Part A and/or Part B when they are first eligible can do so during the General Enrollment Period. GEP runs each year between Jan. 1 and March 31.



Medicare Savings Program

A program that helps people with limited income and assets pay some or all of their Medicare premiums, deductibles and coinsurance.

Medicare Summary Notice

MSNs are notices you receive after your doctor or medical supply vendor submits a claim to Medicare for services you received. The Medicare Summary Notice explains what your health care provider or supplier billed Medicare, the Medicare-approved amount, how much Medicare paid and what you must pay.

Network Pharmacies

Medicare drug plans contract with pharmacies that agree to provide members with services and supplies at a discounted price. Some Medicare plans will not cover your medicines unless you get them filled at a participating network pharmacy.

Preferred pharmacy

Preferred pharmacies are part of a Medicare drug plan’s network. Your out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs may be lower if you get them filled at a preferred pharmacy.

Mail-order programs

Some prescription drug plans and Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans offer mail-order programs that allow you to fill a 90-day supply of your covered medications and have them delivered to your home.

Late Enrollment Penalty

An amount added to your monthly premium for Part B or Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D) if you don’t join when you’re first eligible. With few exceptions, you pay this higher amount as long as you have Medicare.

Prior authorization

Medicare prescription drug plans require that you get approval before you fill your prescription for certain prescription drugs in order for them to be covered by the plan.

State Health Insurance Assistance Program

These state programs offer free local health insurance counseling for people with Medicare coverage and their families or caregivers. You can find your SHIP at shiptacenter.org or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.

 

Medicare Supplemental Insurance Coverage: Is It for You?

Medicare was not established to be a one size fits all type of insurance plan.  It was never intended to cover all medical expenses for all enrollees.  This is one of the many reasons that Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plans were created; to cover the gaps in medical expenses and Medicare coverage.  There are currently twelve different Medicare Supplemental plans of coverage to choose from which are effectively managed by the federal government.  Management by the government ensures that they have a parallel coverage regardless of the insurance agency from which you acquire it.

Choosing the Perfect Medicare Supplemental Insurance Coverage

Before choosing a Medicare Supplemental Plan it is important to understand the coverage that you need.  Evaluate where Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B are lacking in medical coverage for your specific needs and compare supplemental insurance plans to determine which one addresses the best combination of medical needs for you at a budget that is affordable.  It is crucial to understand that no matter where you choose to purchase insurance from the plans will remain the same.  Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plan G through Blue Cross Blue Shield is the same as Plan G through United Health Care. The only difference being the service you receive and the premiums you pay.

Because there are only a dozen plans to choose from this process is a lot simpler than searching for local insurance coverage.  There is no difference between the plans regardless of the private insurance organization you choose to purchase it from.

Facts You Should Know About Medicare Supplemental Insurance Coverage

Price Variability

Even though these plans are identical, the cost of acquiring Medicare Supplemental Insurance Coverage may vary from carrier to another. This is due to the additional services and premium features attached to it. Therefore, try to shop many companies and compare their packages before you buy. Single insurance carriers offer a different selection of plans. Hence, each insurance company will try to introduce you to the plans they sell which may be different from another.

Same Package Coverage

Regardless of who you buy your Medicare Supplemental Insurance Coverage from, the package is still the same as the gaps found in Medicare. There are several levels of benefits offered by this comprehensive 12-plan package, ranging from Plan A to plan L. More so, there are many private companies out there that offer one or more of them. However, regardless of where you buy these plans from, the coverage is the same and identical. Therefore, if a company should tell you their plan is different from others with some unique benefits, don’t believe them.

Only One Plan is Needed

According to the law, only one Medicare supplement insurance plan is needed. However, you easily cover the gap in your Medicare coverage by purchasing the Medigap insurance. What this implies is that if a plan covers your need, you don’t need any other supplemental plan. If otherwise, you can go for a Medigap insurance plan. Generally, buying more than one pan is considered “illegal” by the Federal Government.

Only You

You are the only one that can be covered by a Medicare insurance plan. Unlike the traditional insurance plans that oftentimes cover your family and loved ones, Medicare only covers you and no one else. Hence, married couples must purchase different plans for themselves. More so, if a private insurance company should tell you their insurance policy covers you and other people, they are not genuine, and you should rather consider other companies.

Bottom Line

Generally, it is a wise option to enroll in a Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plan. Likewise, it is essential to understand the basics before proceeding to purchase one. If you are yet to purchase one, there is still time for you to do so. Follow the above tips and facts for choosing a Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plan and be assured of the best choice.

Learn more about Medicare Supplemental Insurance plans, rates and more at http://www.emedicare-supplemental-insurance.com.  Medicare Supplemental Insurance brokers will help you compare Medicare Supplemental Insurance rates and plans.  To talk to an expert in Medicare coverage toll free 877-202-9248 today!

Fully Utilizing Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans

Medicare is meant to provide medical insurance to the seniors of this country. However, with all the added reliefs in the programs offered by Medicare, there are certain additional coverages that the government allow individuals like you to obtain from private insurance companies. These are summed up in a collective term known as Medigap. Before you could enroll in a Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plan, it is important for you to think deeply about your present health condition, family health history, and future prospects. This is because choosing a Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plan depends upon the factors mentioned. There’s no one-plan-fits-for-all.

When can you choose Medigap?

If you want to fully utilize the benefits of these supplement insurance policies, then you need to avail them in the time span of 6 months after you turn 65. However, it is important for every senior to have a Medicare Part A and Part B before enrolling in the Medigap.

Also, it is worth noting that those who have Medicare Advantage plan can also enroll in the program. But for that to happen, you would have to leave the plan.

How should you choose them?

It all depends on the factors mentioned above. Furthermore, every state in the U.S has a different set of rules and regulations regarding Medigap. Therefore, before you go on selecting the policies from A through N, you need to know about the criteria in your particular area. The coverage of the individual plans also depends on the private insurance provider. It can vary greatly from company to company. Although, there are certain plans such as Medigap Plan C that offer the same set of benefits throughout the market; however, certain additions and omissions might be experienced in the other plans.

What is the role of the monthly premium?

You wouldn’t be able to enjoy the benefits of Medigap plans if you do not pay the monthly premium set by the company. Therefore, to fully utilize them, you need to pay them dully on time. That way, you could stand eligible for renewing them without any major hassle.

Medigap plans can be beneficial in providing deductibles for Medicare Part A and Part B. However, with all that, it should be kept in mind that there are some things that the supplement plans cannot cover. For example, according to the website of Medicare, the supplement plans do not cover any dental and vision care, hearing aids, eyeglasses, any long-term care, or private nursing. These are all out-of-the-pocket costs. What else it doesn’t cover are the drug costs. You’d have to buy the Medicare Part D for that. Combined with Medigap plans, the Medicare Part D would serve the purpose, but it should be noted that you’d have to pay the monthly premium for this part separately. It wouldn’t be included in the Medigap premium.

Choosing a Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plan requires attention on your part. After all, enrolling in an unnecessary plan could only result in a waste of time and money. Therefore, enroll in a Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plan only when you know it’s best for you. Only then, you can fully utilize its benefits.

Learn more about Medicare Supplemental Insurance plans, rates and more at http://www.emedicare-supplemental-insurance.com.  Medicare Supplemental Insurance brokers will help you compare Medicare Supplemental Insurance rates and plans.  To talk to an expert in Medicare coverage toll free 877-202-9248 today!