What is Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap)?

Medicare also known as Medigap is a federal health insurance program which pays for a several of health care expenditures. It’s controlled by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), a division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).

Medicare is also an entitlement program. Many U.S. citizens have the right to enroll in Medicare by working and paying their taxes for a minimum required period of time.  Medicare beneficiaries are normally senior citizens that are aged between 65 and older. Adults with a particular approved medical and also qualifying permanent disabilities may also be entitled to Medicare benefits.

Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap) plans are provided by private insurance companies and can assist in covering out-of-pocket costs that is not covered by the Original Medicare, such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles, With Original Medicare there are no limit to what you may have to spend. A Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap) plan can protect you from having big medical bills (many Medicare copayments or coinsurance amounts) whenever you need extensive medical care. In 47 states, there are up to ten standard Medicare Supplement plans with lettered names (Plans A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N) but not all of the  plans are available in all areas.

Who can get a Medicare Supplement plan?

In order to enroll in a Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap) plan, you must have Medicare parts which are Part A and Part B. You are also supposed to be age 65 or even older. While Medicare Part A and Part B may be available to those under the age of 65 with Social Security disability assistances and also a certain health conditions, the federal government does not necessitate that private insurance companies sell Medicare Supplement policies to people under the age of 65. Although, some states requires private insurance companies to sell Medicare Supplement to people under the age of 65 years.

What does Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap) cover?

The 10 standardized lettered Medicare Supplement which available in most states are listed below:

Coinsurance or copayments benefit with different percentage.

  • All Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap) plans mostly and generally cover 100% of Medicare Part A coinsurance and hospital costs up to additional 365 days after Medicare benefits are been used up.
  • All Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap) plans covers Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayments 50%.
  • Plan K covers coinsurance or copayments benefit at 50%
  • Plan L covers coinsurance or copayments at75%.
  • The rest of the plans may cover coinsurance or copayments at 100%.


Pints of blood in a medical process at different percentage.

  • All Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap) plans covers the first three pints of blood in a medical process at least 50%.
  • Plan K cover this benefit at 50%.
  • Plan L may cover it at 75%. The rest of the plans typically cover it at 100%.


Hospice care coinsurance or copayment.

  • All Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap) plans may covers:
  • Medicare Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment at least 50%.
  • Plan K covers hospice care coinsurance or copayment at 50%.
  • Plan L covers hospice care coinsurance or copayment at 75%.
  • The remaining plans cover hospice care coinsurance or copayment at 100%.


Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance.

  • Eight of the ten plans cover skilled nursing facility care coinsurance at least 50%. Plans A and B does cover skilled nursing facility care coinsurance at all.
  • Plan K covers skilled nursing facility care coinsurance at 50%.
  • Plan L covers skilled nursing facility care coinsurance at 75%.
  • The rest of the plans skilled nursing facility care coinsurance at 100%.



  • All Medicare Supplement plans expects plan A to cover the Medicare Part A deductible at least 50%.
  • Plan K and Plan M cover deductible at 50%.
  • Plan L covers deductible at 75%.
  • Plans B, C, D, F, G, and N cover deductible at 100%.
  • Plans C and F cover the Part B deductible at 100%.
  • No other plans cover the Part B deductible.


Excess charges

  • Plans F and G cover Part B excess charges.
  • No other plans cover Part B excess charges.


Foreign travel emergencies

  • Six plans (C, D, F, G, M and N) cover foreign travel emergencies at 80%, up to plan limits.


What Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap) does not cover?

Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap) plans usually do not cover:


  • Routine dental care
  • Routine vision care
  • Private-duty nursing
  • Prescription drugs
  • Nursing home care


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 open enrollment begins Oct. 15

The 2017 Medicare open enrollment period begins Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7. This is the time of year when you can change your Medicare coverage.

You can do this by joining a new Medicare Advantage Plan or by joining a new stand-alone prescription drug plan (PDP). You can also switch to Original Medicare with or without a stand-alone Part D plan from a Medicare Advantage Plan during this time. Be sure you’re ready for any changes you want to make by scheduling a free annual Health Insurance Check-Up.

One of the Office for the Aging’s trained volunteer counselors with the Health Insurance Information, Counseling and Assistance Program (HIICAP) can meet with you and go over your options. Appointments will be available throughout the open enrollment period, and we’ve started taking appointments this month. Our calendar fills up quickly, and remember: After Dec. 7, it’s too late to change your Medicare coverage, so call for your appointment today.

SENIOR NEWS: Deadline nears for Senior Prom

The Office for the Aging also schedules Medicare 101 (orientation) and Navigating Medicare classes every month. This fall, we have scheduled Medicare 101 classes on the following Wednesdays at the Poughkeepsie Galleria Community Room from 10 a.m. until noon: Sept. 20, Oct. 18, Nov. 15 and Dec. 20.

Additionally, there will be 90-minute Medicare 101 sessions at the Center for Healthy Aging at Northern Dutchess Hospital in Rhinebeck at 4 p.m. on the following Mondays: Oct. 2, Oct. 23 and Nov. 27.

There also will be one Medicare 101 session Nov. 14, at 6:30 p.m. at the Pawling Library (11 Broad St.).

A little bit of computer knowledge can go a long way when it comes to navigating the national Medicare website, www.medicare.gov. Our HIICAP volunteers can teach you how to learn about Medicare and other associated programs to help you make informed choices. Join them at the Adriance Library (93 Market St., Poughkeepsie) at 9:30 a.m. on the following Wednesdays: Sept. 27, Oct. 25, Nov. 22 and Dec. 27.

Original Source: http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/life/2017/09/14/medicare-open-enrollment/659844001/

Original Date: September 14 2017

Original Author: Todd Tancredi

Healthy Eating Tips for Senior Citizens

When we get older our bodies have different dietary demands. You can’t eat like your 30’s or even 40’s anymore and a lot of people know this but never change their eating habits. Eating healthy can be a challenge, but our bodies count on us to nourish them. Over the past decade food has also changed. With unknown additives and sugar alternatives, some seniors don’t know that these additives can be dangerous. Here are a few tips that not only work well for senior citizens but for a majority of people.

Healthy Eating

Eat Local Organic Produce.

A bonus to going out to your local farmers market allows you to meet new people and get a little exercise. The main thing is to buy locally grown, organic produce. Farmer markets are usually cheaper and better quality produce then big brick and mortar stores. Another thing about buying from the market is it allows you to ask questions about the produce that you couldn’t from a retailer.

Don’t have an aptitude?

If you are having issues eating, or don’t like certain foods any more a great way to overcome this is to dine with friends or family. See what your friends or family wants to eat and try new things. You could even have them cook for you on certain days. If you are concerned about losing weight or can’t eat very well, it might be time to talk to your physician or doctor. Let someone know if you have issues eating.

Need Help Grocery Shopping?

If you can’t seem to get to the grocery store, ask a family member for help! If that is not possible, you can ask the grocery store for help, or maybe people from church. Church’s have volunteers that will be happy to assist you! Just remember to give them a list of grocery’s you need and keep it healthy.

At eMedigap-plans.com we want you to be healthy. When you eat healthy, you feel better about yourself and in return your body rewards you with energy! Use this energy to be active and have fun.

What is Medicare Supplemental Insurance in Texas

Medicare supplemental insurance is provided by the government for seniors (65 years of age or older) or for people who are eligible due to a disability. Eligible candidates for Medigap all get the same level of coverage and benefits. This program has helped a number of individuals with the health care that they need at affordable prices.

Finding the right Medicare supplement insurance in Texas can be quite overwhelming, especially if they are already sick. It is advised to figure insurance issues out when you are healthy because resolving insurance issues can be a bit stressful when you are worried about your health.

Medicare supplement insurance is purchased to close the gaps in Medicare coverage. Medicare does not simply cover every aspect of healthcare but it was meant to provide an economical means to get the most benefits of health care. Note: It wasn’t intended to fully replace traditional health insurance.

Medigap supplemental insurance in Texas provides added benefits such as dental care, hearing care, and vision care that are offered under different plans. Seniors can benefit a lot from the added coverage provided by this insurance. Many people are reluctant to spend money on additional insurance policy rather they depend solely on Medicare. This can be troublesome in the event that Medicare coverage reaches its limit.

Seniors who are now running on a low budget due to rapidly growing inflation and several other factors that have led in adjusting their cost of living are now forced to find every means of saving possible. The Medicare supplement insurance in Texas may be just the area to save.

As stated above, Medicare was never intended to eliminate traditional health insurance. Many people have come to discover that upon resigning the health insurance that was offered was not enough to spend an extended period of time in a hospital.  If an individual requires health care for a long term or an extended period of time they will realize that over 60% of their final bill will be from their pockets. However, this can be avoided it such individual purchases Blue Cross of Texas Medicare supplement insurance.

The benefits of Medigap have turned out to be valuable, particularly for those living on a fixed income. To enjoy the numerous benefits of Texas Medicare Supplement insurance, you’ll have to pick a policy that best fits your individual situation. Questions like: what kind of prescription drug care do I really need or what does Plan A cover? If you find these questions difficult to answer, you may find help from someone in Texas who is experienced in all the Medicare supplement insurance and how each plan work. Once you have decided on a policy, focus on the application process, and start paying the premiums. Surely, you’ll be compensated with significant benefits.

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

Medicare Supplemental Insurance in New York

People who have sought Medicare for their family would be aware of its potential prospects and its benefits. They would be taking adequate steps in making sure that they go for Medicare as soon as possible in their lives since this is one effective way to save money on healthcare expenses. There are two Plans of Medicare- Plan A and Plan B and both have undeniably important roles to play.

Still, there may be clauses that Medicare might not be covered in these two plans, and this is why today there is a plethora of Medicare supplemental insurance in New York. These policies are available locally in each state, and their clauses and premiums would vary too. Yet, these supplemental insurance policies are in great demand by those who are nearing sixties or in their mid-sixties. We shall now check on the areas that Medicare cover and the ones that require Medicare supplemental insurance.

What are the areas that Medicare plans usually cover?

Medicare Plan A would cover hospitalization, nursing and even home health care services cost. This you would get automatically if you have Medicare Plan A. Plan B is for covering doctor bills, and for purchasing regular medical supplies. Plan A would work without your monthly premium while Plan B would require you to pay the monthly premium. There is no necessity for you to select both the plans compulsorily at all. Many organizations, public and private encourage their staff to go for these but there are certain areas, which do not cover under these two plans. That is why today Medigap plans or Medicare supplemental insurance in New York has come up to fill in the void.

What are the areas that Medicare plans do not cover?

From custodial long-term care to eye related, dental related examinations and cosmetic surgeries, acupuncture, hearing aids and even foot related ailments do not fall under any of the two plans. Medigap or Medicare Supplemental plans come in here offering 10 standardized plans. These plans are lettered as A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M and N. People, who have crossed the age of 65, and eligible for Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits, are also qualified for these Medigap plans.

Further, those who are at the end stage of the renal disease also are eligible to get the Medigap plans. However, from Medicare itself, you would be able to get an information booklet where all the details and further FAQ’s would be there to answer even other queries.

Selecting the right Medicare Supplement Plans

From the Medicare’s official website itself, one can get the names of the popular Medicare supplemental insurance in New York and they can pick the right one from here. While a few people might take time and read through individually all the policies, many others might simply prefer to compare the plans and then opt. Yes, right under the heading of “Supplements and Other Insurance” one would be capable to get “How to Compare Medigap Policies”. This would be able to offer detailed comparisons between all the policies in your state.

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

How Do I Buy Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plans In Michigan

The cost of Medicare Supplement plans in Michigan may vary depending on a number of factors like the provider and the area in which you reside. However, Medicare benefits are consistent between planned letter types, regardless of where you live. It is left for you to discover what Medicare policies are available for you, and decide on which plan type is the most appropriate for your budget and health needs.

Medicare plans in Michigan are designed to help Medigap beneficiaries pay for the cost associated with traditional health care, Part A and Part B, including deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments. Medicare Part C is also known as the Medicare Advantage and these plans can’t cater for it. There are 10 standardized Medicare Supplement plans available Michigan, and each plan is distinguished by one of 10 letters (A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N), with plans of the same letter offering the same benefits.

Buying Medicare Supplemental Insurance in Michigan

Before buying Medicare insurance in Michigan, it is best if you understand the different types of plans available and what they offer.

Part A

Part A coverage doesn’t start until you have met a deductible of $1, 132 during a period of time known as a “benefit period”. That period starts on the day you enter the hospital or a nursing facility and runs until you have not received hospital care for 60 consecutive days.

Part B

Part B caters for home health care, outpatient care, lab test, doctor care, and other services from non-hospital providers. An annual deductible of $162 is incurred, after which it pays for 80% of a pre-approved rate for services from health care providers while you are responsible for the remaining 20%. You will also be responsible for the excess if your doctor charges more than Medicare’s rate.


  • Part A coinsurance, plus 1 year coverage after Medicare benefits end
  • Hospice coinsurance
  • First 3 pints of blood each year
  • Part B coinsurance


  • Part A coinsurance, plus 1 year coverage after Medicare benefits end
  • Part A inpatient hospital deductible
  • Part B coinsurance
  • Part B deductible
  • First 3 pints of blood each year
  • Skilled nursing facility coinsurance
  • Hospice coinsurance
  • Emergency care in a foreign country: 80% of the cost of emergency care during the first 60 days of each outing, after which you pay a deductible of $250, subject to a $50,000 lifetime validity, if such care would have been covered by Medicare if provided in the U.S.


  • Part A coinsurance, plus 1 year coverage after Medicare benefits end
  • Part A impatient hospital deductible
  • Part B deductible
  • Part B coinsurance
  • Hospice coinsurance
  • Emergency care in a foreign country: 80% of the cost of emergency care during the first 60 days of each outing, after which you pay a deductible of $250, subject to a $50,000 lifetime validity, if such care would have been covered by Medicare if provided in the U.S.
  • Part B excess: 100% of the excess charge above Medicare’s usual charge if medical provider does not accept Medicare assignment, subject to Federal/State mandated limit.

It is recommended that you carefully evaluate these plans when you shop for your own coverage.

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

Considering Medicare Supplemental Insurance in Arizona?

Researching Supplemental Insurance for Medicare can almost be a part time job or a chore. We are here to help guide you along the path of choosing the right plan for your medical needs. Those of you that have a Medicare plan in Arizona know that it is not perfect and could use some improving. That is why private insurance companies like us offer supplemental insurance or also known as Medigap plans.

These plans are designed to help cover your medical expensive; as we know Medical bills in Arizona can be expensive. However, with 10 different plans to choice from, it is no easy task. In 2017 you have a number of different research options.

You can find a lot of information online about supplemental insurance; this blog for example has a lot of information. You can also visit government regulated sites (https://www.medicare.gov/) that you can trust. Please be aware that not all information you read online is accurate.

Friends and family are another good source of information, especially if they live in Arizona or currently have Medicare. You might have some friends or family friends that are 65 or older that have Medicare Supplemental Insurance. So they have some knowledge on the topic.

Social media like facebook is another option that you can find information on Medigap. You can join groups where people get on and talk about Medicare.

Cost is a big concern while researching Medicare Supplemental Insurance

When customers call our office usually the main question is how much is this going to cost? When in reality the main question should be “what is the right plan for me, that fit’s my budget”. We can answer these questions in greater detail but we need some information from you. If you are looking for pricing on Medicare Supplemental Insurance in Arizona it is best to call us at 877-202-9248. We also have a free quote tool that you can find here.

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

New Medicare cards, scams

Starting in April 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will begin mailing new Medicare cards to those on Medicare. These cards will have a new Medicare Number—a number unique to each individual.

The new cards will help protect the identities of people with Medicare. The new card will not change your Medicare benefits.

“We’re taking this step to protect our seniors from fraudulent use of their Social Security numbers which can lead to identity theft and illegal use of Medicare benefits,” said CMS Administrator Seema Varma.

Personal identity theft affects a large number of seniors and this number is growing. People age 65 or older are increasingly the victims of identity theft crimes. This is why CMS is readying a fraud prevention initiative that removes Social Security numbers from Medicare cards.

CMS will begin mailing new Medicare cards in April 2018-and all Medicare cards will be replaced by April 2019. Mailing Medicare beneficiaries new cards will take time. Be aware that your card might arrive at a different time than your friend’s or neighbor’s.

“Medicare will mail your new card to the address the Social Security Administration has on file for you, so now is the time to make sure Social Security has your correct mailing address,” said Karen Mayse, Leader of Medicare Benefits Counseling at North Central Flint Hills Area Agency on Aging.

If you need to correct your address, you may update it on the Social Security website at www.ssa.gov using the MyAccount link. You may also call 800-772-1213. TTY users can call 800-325-0778.

People who receive their new Medicare card are advised to destroy their old Medicare cards and start using the new card right away. Medical providers will need the new card in order to bill Medicare for medical services and equipment.

Scammers and fraudsters are usually active whenever Medicare is in the news. Please be wary of anyone who contacts you by phone or e-mail about your Medicare card.

— Remember: Neither Social Security nor Medicare will ever ask you to give personal or private information to get your new Medicare number or new card.

— Protect yourself! Hang up if someone calls you and asks for your Social Security number, your Medicare number or your credit card information!

— If you have questions about the legitimacy of someone contacting you about your Medicare, call your local Council on Aging at 620-241-4383 or Area Agency on Aging at 800-362-0264 and ask to speak to a SHICK counselor.

The McPherson County Council on Aging is located at 926 N. Main St., Suite B, in McPherson.

Original Source: http://www.gctelegram.com/news/20170906/new-medicare-cards-scams

Original Author:

Original Date: Sept 6 2017

Trending Information About Medicare in Texas

In Texas, eligibility for Medicare supplemental plans varies with age – there are rules for each of the plans. However, before we plunge into the rules, you should know that when you first activate Part B, there is a window for open enrollment for a Medigap plan without having to go through any form of health underwriting. As long as you are a Part B holder, you’ll be guaranteed access to any plan for six months beyond the effective date of their Plan B. Everyone is granted this special application window, regardless of when they first obtain Medicare.  The eligibility rules determine which plans each of the two groups can access. There is, however, a limit for the plans offered to those below 65.

How Eligibility Rules Work

For age 65 or older who are on Medicare in Texas, have access to all 10 supplement plans – Plan A through Plan N. Plan F being the most popular is the highest-deductible option available because it includes all deductibles and co-insurance you would have paid. Nonetheless, membership for Plans G and N is on the rise as they are offering a relatively low premium for a little cost-sharing with beneficiaries.

For folks under age 65, there is a clause. A great number of these people have access to just Plan A, and the reason for this is because each insurance company can decide on the supplement plans they want to offer to the public. The only supplement plan they are required by law to offer to all is plan A.

These insurance companies are aware that those under 65 must have got Medicare due to some form of major health issues, so they anticipate these people to use benefits more frequently, and this will cost more money to the company. Thus, since Plan A has fewer benefits and more cost-sharing on the part of the policyholder, most insurance carriers decide to offer just Plan A to individual below 65.

Well, you should also know that Plan A supplement still has many benefits. Just that it doesn’t cover deductibles or skilled nursing co-insurance, but it’s still great as it covers a very important gap – 20% co-insurance for Part B outpatient care that you would have paid. It is really great because Part B covers items such as radiation, chemotherapy, and dialysis and not just doctor regular visits. Without Plan A coverage, thousands of dollars would be spent on a major health condition.

This plan A is still very suitable for those who are uncomfortable with network-based advantage coverage, probably want access to more than one doctor and hospital considering that a standard supplement plan allows the beneficiary to see any doctor that accepts the original Medicare. However, due to the increasing rate of all supplement plans, it may be inconvenient for a younger Medicare beneficiary to keep up with the increasing rate of their Plan A for many years, and their health condition in most cases prevent them from getting access to a lower-priced company because they are unable to pass through health underwriting.

The great news is that when a beneficiary gets to age 65, they will receive another enrollment window which will give them the opportunity to switch to any other supplement plans they wish to obtain. Knowing the eligibility rules of the supplements is almost impossible for the average individual, so it would save much of your time if you consult an independent insurance agent for help in understanding your qualifications and eligibility for the next open enrollment window.

Learn more about Texas Medicare Supplemental Insurance rates, plans, and more at http://www.emedicare-supplemental-insurance.com/medicare-supplement-plans-texas.  Our Texas Medicare Supplemental Insurance brokers will help you compare Medicare Supplemental Insurance rates and plans in Texas.  To talk to an expert in Texas Medicare coverage toll free 888.404.5049 today!


Big changes expected in many 2018 Medicare Advantage plans

As if there isn’t enough to worry about when it comes to finding health insurance, add this item to the list: Medicare Advantage.

Changes in plan structures and a dearth of insurers in rural areas may leave consumers with fewer choices and more confusion in the upcoming Medicare open enrollment period, which begins October 15.

Medicare Advantage plans, offered by private insurers, provide traditional Medicare coverage and often offer additional benefits such as dental, vision and Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. Premiums, deductibles and co-pays vary significantly from plan to plan, so comparing costs and coverage each year — even if you are already enrolled — is critical.

Medicare Advantage is different from Medigap, which is designed to help fill the gaps in traditional Medicare coverage.

In the recent past, some Medicare Advantage plan members have been struggling to find the care they need, especially those who have acute or chronic illnesses. About one-third of people eligible for Medicare enroll in Advantage plans.  A recent Government Accountability Office report found that a large number of Medicare Advantage enrollees, especially those in poor health, drop out of the plans because they have trouble getting access to the care they need. Of the 126 Medicare Advantage plans studied, the GAO found 35 of them had disproportionately high numbers of sick people dropping out.

If you are part of a Medicare Advantage plan or considering Medicare Advantage in the upcoming sign up period, or if you are taking care of a loved one with MA coverage, here’s a preliminary glimpse at what you need to watch out for in the year ahead.

Look for changes in your existing plan. If you’re already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, your insurer will likely send you information soon regarding 2018 plan details. Read this carefully. “Just because a plan works for you this year doesn’t mean it will necessarily work for you next year.” warned David Lipschutz, an attorney at the Center for Medicare Advocacy. Many insurers change their cost-sharing, premiums and prescription drug formularies (the list of drugs covered by the plan) each year, Lipschutz explained. Look closely at any changes your plan is implementing and compare that to other plans available in your area. Existing Medicare enrollees and first-time shoppers can compare Medicare Advantage plans and traditional Medicare on Medicare.gov.

Check your health network. Like all health insurance plans, Medicare Advantage insurers negotiate with hospitals, doctors and other health care providers to find the lowest cost providers each year. Those networks — both health maintenance organizations and preferred provider organizations — are subject to change every year. In recent years, these provider networks have become smaller, with fewer specialists. These changes were among the main reasons Medicare Advantage enrollees dropped out of their plans, according to the GAO report. Always check to make sure the network on your plan or the plans you are considering include the providers you need to stay healthy. And check to see if more of the providers you need are available to you through traditional Medicare.

Rural consumers may be out of luck. Much has been said about rural counties left with only one or no insurance options on the Obamacare exchanges. State insurance commissioners, insurers and others have been working hard to successfully fill those gaps. In the meantime, the real dearth of coverage may exist among Medicare Advantage insurers. According to a recent report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 147 counties, across 14 states have no Medicare Advantage insurer this year.

If you live in an area with no Medicare Advantage insurer you’ll need to take the time to thoroughly understand traditional Medicare coverage and decide if a Medigap policy is right for you.

Get help while you still can. Your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) can help you sort through your Medicare options and compare Medicare Advantage plans. SHIPs are funded through the federal government and provide free health care counseling for Medicare recipients. The Trump Administration’s budget proposal would cut funding for SHIPs entirely, Lipschutz said. He suggested starting your health plan search now while this resource is still available.

Original Source: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/medicare-advantage-plans-2018-finding-health-insurance/

Original Date: Aug 28 2017

Original Author: Walecia Konrad