Enroll for Medicare during The General Enrollment Period – January 1st to March 31st

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General Enrollment Period

Enroll for Medicare during The General Enrollment Period – January 1st to March 31st

 

Did you miss your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period?

You have another chance to enroll in Medicare Coverage if you missed your Initial Enrollment Period or your Special Enrollment Period!

Typically, Medicare Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is when you first qualify for Medicare (three months before your 65th birthday, your birthday month, and three months after yours 65th birthday.) During the IEP, this is an important time to make sure you get the Medicare coverage you need when you turn 65.

There are times when one is unaware or misses opportunities like these. From January 1 – March 31 of each year, or the General Enrollment Period, seniors who missed their Initial Enrollment Period can enroll in Medicare during this time!

 

Medicare Part A During General Enrollment Period

For most Medicare beneficiaries, if you or your spouse worked at least 10 years while paying Medicare taxes, you qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A. If you do not qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A and enroll during the General Enrollment Period, you typically have to pay a late-enrollment penalty (typically 10% of the premium). The length of your delay determines how long you will be paying the penalty on your monthly premium.

 

Medicare Part B During General Enrollment Period

Initial Enrollment Period for Medicare Part B is the same as Part A. General Enrollment Period for Part B is the same as Part A as well. There is a late-enrollment penalty for Medicare Part B if you enroll during the General Enrollment Period but with some differences. The penalty (10% of your premium) is added in your monthly premium but unfortunately, there is no end to your late-enrollment penalty. The costs will carry as long as you have Part B.

It’s very important to enroll into Medicare Parts A and B during your Initial Enrollment Period to avoid any additional costs such as a higher premium.

You may be able to delay enrollment in Medicare Part A and B without being subject to a late-enrollment penalty if you have group health coverage through your or your spouse’s employer or union.

 

If you enroll in Medicare during the General Enrollment Period, coverage will begin in July! Help fill in the gaps that Medicare Parts A and B do not cover by getting Medigap coverage! July is earliest you can have a Medicare Supplement. Give Plan Medigap a call at (800) 750-2407 or visit our quote page. We can find competitive rates and plans from multiple carriers in your area!

Disenroll from Medicare Advantage and Enroll into a Medicare Supplement!

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Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period

Every year, many Medicare beneficiaries enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during the Annual Election Period with the thought of having a lower premium and additional “benefits” of the plan. During the annual election period, many overlook parts of the Medicare Advantage Plan and find out that they no longer want it due to the restrictions of drug formularies and physician networks. Also, many who do enroll in the Advantage Plan do not verify with their current physician if they participate in the network or if their current medications are covered.

Fortunately, Congress created a Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (January 1-February 14) where those who no longer want to be on a Medicare Advantage plan, have the option to switch back to Original Medicare (Parts A and B). With that, they can also add-on a Part D drug plan and a Medicare Supplement policy.

(If it was your first year on an Advantage Plan and you have been on the plan for less than 12 months, you can return to Original Medicare and to your prior Medicare Supplement with no additional underwriting!)

Going back to Original Medicare and also adding a Medicare Supplement plan can help you save more in long run. With a Medicare Supplement, you are not limited to a network of doctors and possibly lower out-of-pocket health costs! If your current physician takes Medicare, they should also take your Medicare Supplement Policy!

Plan Medigap can help answer questions regarding switching back to Original Medicare and getting a Medicare Supplement. Call us at 800-750-2407 to speak to one of our licensed professionals or visit our quote page.

Medicare Supplement Plan F or Plan G?

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Plan F or Plan G?

If you’re of “Medicare Age” then you’ve probably heard the debate or maybe even participated in it.  Which Medicare Supplement is better?  Plan F or Plan G?  For years, the answer has been easy, but we’re starting to see a shift.  Let’s start by looking at the differences between these two plans.

Differences between “F” and “G”

  • Medicare Part B Deductible ($183 in 2017)
    • Plan F – The plan pays the deductible
    • Plan G – You pay the deductible

That’s it!

Conventional wisdom would suggest that because Plan F is the more comprehensive plan that it would be “better”, but “better” is certainly relative.  Let’s take a closer look.

For example, John is 66 and wants to enroll in a Medicare Supplement.  He is interested in F and G only – which should be buy?

  • Plan F = $135 a month (no deductible)
  • Plan G = 105 a month ($183 deductible)

Plan G would save him $30 a month or $360 a year!  Once John accounts for the deductible, he has true savings of $177 a year (or about $15 a month).  By enrolling in G, John gets the “best bang for his buck” and doesn’t sacrifice on coverage.

Clients often ask us if this is the case in every state and we say that generally, Plan G is going to be a better buy than Plan F.  If the savings are less than $15 from F to G, then you can make a stronger case for Plan F.

That’s not all, we have even more reasons to recommend Medicare supplement Plan G over Plan F.  Rate increases on Plan F are more aggressive.  Why? It’s simple, really.  There are significantly more claims which always translate to higher rate increases.  Policy holders have better behavior on Plan G because they are thinking about the deductible and how it interacts with their budget.  If you have Plan F, why wouldn’t you use it?  There is no reason not to, and that’s the attitude of most Plan F policyholders.

One more reason to buy Plan G: For the reasons cited above, Plan F will be discontinued as of January 1, 2020 as part of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization.  If you’ve already purchased Plan F, you’ll have the option to keep your plan, but we believe rate increases on Plan F will be even more aggressive as no new 65 year olds are paying in to the system.

So what does this mean for you?  If you’re aging into Medicare, take a close look at Plan G and see if it makes financial sense in your market.  You’re likely to save some money.  If you’re already on Plan F, give us a call and let us talk about the process to get you switched over.  There are very few hurdles, and it can be done anytime.

At Plan Medigap, we specialize in the Medicare Supplement and we’ve helped thousands of seniors find the right coverage at the lowest price.  Give us a call or pay us a visit and “Let’s Plan Together”.  Receive a free quote here: http://www.planmedigap.com/medicare-supplement-quote/

 

 

Medicare Supplement Rate Increase?

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Medicare Supplement Rate Increase?

You’re healthy. You exercise. You watch your diet. You don’t even visit the doctor all that often – “So why the rate increase?“. Death and Taxes? How about Death, Taxes, and Rate Increases?!

Loss Ratio – Predicting Increase

Every company will raise their rates at some point.  They will not be able to stay in business if they don’t.  When companies set their rates, they do so with a specific “loss ratio”. What this means is they try to predict what their claims will be for a given geographical area.  If you live in a state that has many Metropolitan areas, there will be more claims, thus higher rate increases for that specific state. As your agent, we do our best to anticipate companies that are struggling with losses outside of the norm and to steer our clients away from those companies.  We are a direct reflection of that insurance company and if they are raising rate aggressively, then that will affect a large portion of our clients across the country.

What’s an average rate increase?

Our clients often ask us, “What’s an average rate increase?“. This can be difficult to answer because your age has a lot to do with it, but we typically see anywhere from 4% to 10% year over year. This can be an emotional topic for any Medicare Supplement policy holder so it’s important to remember that regardless of what company you have, your rate will rise at some point.  Keep in mind that this is the best coverage on the market for seniors and rarely does a rate increase warrant a cancellation of the entire Medicare Supplement product.

What are my options?

This is where we come in! If your rate increase has you concerned, give our office a call and we’ll see what other companies are offering rates in your area that might be able to save you money. We’ll take care of all the legwork and handle the underwriting.  All we need is 30 minutes of your time and your signature.  That’s it.  We’ll make sure there is no interruption in your current coverage and no duplication of premiums.  In many cases, your rate will still be competitive and a move will not be necessary.

Give us a call anytime at 800-750-2407 or click here.  We have agents that will take a one-on-one approach and give you the level of service you deserve.

We value your business and hope to serve you for many years to come.

Medicare Advantage or Disadvantage?

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Top Misconceptions about Medicare Advantage Plans

 

“I’m still on Medicare.”

If you are on an Medicare Advantage Plan, you are not covered by Medicare A and B.

How we can help:  Medicare Supplement plans work in tandem with original Medicare, meaning your medical expenses can be covered at 100%.

“My medical needs are covered.”

Under Medicare Advantage plans, claims for medical services, surgical procedures, primary care visits, specialist visits, home health care, physical therapy, mental health services, and perscription drugs are frequently denied.

How we can help: Any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare will accept your Supplement plan, and any procedure, service, or therapy your doctor recommends will be covered by Medicare. Compare Medicare Plans now for more information

“My coverage is clearly outlined.”

Without clear criteria, insurers have wide discretion in determining coverage. Medicare Advantage customers express frequent concerns about coverage gaps and hidden costs. Coverage information is not readily available or easily explained, leading to customer confusion and denied claims.

How we can help: Each Medicare Supplement plan has clearly defined benefits.  Our customers easily review the costs and benefits of each plan before selecting the plan best suited to their needs.

“I can choose my doctor.”

Medicare Advantage covers a limited network of doctors, hospitals, and nursing facilities. Your approved list of providers will change year to year, potentially leaving you with fragmented care. Finding care while traveling may be difficult, too.

How we can help: Supplement plans cover any provider who accepts Medicare.  Your coverage goes where you go, giving you freedom to travel.  Some Supplement plans even provide limited medically necessary emergency care outside the country.

“I’ll save money with Medicare Advantage.”

While most Advantage plans have low premiums, out-of-pocket maximums range from $4,000-$9,000. Patient costs of Medicare Advantage plans can easliy climb higher than those of combined Medicare and Medigap coverage.

How we can help:  Medicare Supplement’s low monthly premiums allow customers to plan financially.  Without hidden costs, our customers enjoy peace-of-mind, knowing exactly how much their care will cost when health issues inevitably arise.

“My health may change, but my coverage won’t.”

“The insurer might want to keep you enrolled only as long as you’re relatively healthy.” Read more from Wendell Potter outlining the danger of staying with an Advantage plan once health needs change.

How we can help: Medigap coverage is guaranteed renewable. Your plan will stay with you regardless of changes in your health. Any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare will accept your Supplement and any procedure, service, or therapy your doctor recommends will be covered by Medicare.

“I’m covered in an emergency.”

Medicare Advantage beneficiaries commonly complain about denied benefits during emergency or urgent care.  On top of a health crisis, customers are hit with enormous out-of-pocket costs.

How we can help: A Medicare Supplement plan ensures coverage wherever medicare is accepted, including emergency facilities.

“The ‘Affordable Care Act’ won’t affect me.”

As a result of changing health care laws, Medicare Advantage plans have been de-funded. Premiums are  increasing, benefits are decreasing, and doctors are leaving networks. Changing benefits leave Medicare Advantage patients with less coverage while they scramble to find new providers.

How we can help: Medicare Supplements are not annual contracts.  The government has standardized each plan for simplicity, guaranteeing the exact same benefits year after year.

“I can switch to a Medicare Supplement whenever I need to.”

If your health deteriorates while you are a Medicare Advantage customer, you risk becoming ineligible for  the comprehensive coverage of a Medicare Supplement plan when it is needed most.  Medicare Supplement plans require the insured to pass medical underwriting. Don’t wait until it’s too late!

How we can help: Plan Medigap contracts with over sixteen major insurance carriers, each with different eligibility requirements.  Let us help you find a plan to meet your needs, regardless of your current health.

Marines and Medicare

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Plan Medigap Welcomes Marine Veteran Sgt. Tim Bergeron!

http://www.planmedigap.com/news/release

For Immediate Release:

Texas Small Business Growing with Key Leadership from Marine Veteran

“I married my wife six weeks before my second deployment to Iraq,” recalls Marine Sgt. Tim Bergeron.  She was only 19 and I was 21.  We met in our church youth group several years earlier, and after “dating” through my first deployment, we just knew we needed to get married before I left for Iraq again.  Leaving my young wife that day… that was probably the hardest day of my life.”

Sgt Bergeron spent both deployments on the front lines, right in the thick of conflict and violence.  “Those years were tough.  I lost some very good buddies. Then, in the course of a few months, I went from conducting peace-keeping efforts and border security in Al Qaim, Iraq, to working algebra equations in a college classroom in North Texas. Adjusting to my “normal” life again took a while.  It was a bit surreal.”

In 2009, Tim graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in Finance. “I immediately went to work in the finance department of a large retailer.  I spent four years there, learned a lot, loved the people I worked with, but didn’t feel fulfilled by the work day-to-day. My wife and I began praying about what God might have ahead of us.”

“When the opportunity arose for me to join the Plan Medigap team, it was so apparent to us that God had lead us to this place.  Plan Medigap is a small company that is investing in our community. Plan Medigap’s core values (Integrity, Humility, Insight, Generosity) align with the values that were so important to me during my military career. Individuals and families often hold to these values, but it is a rare, neat thing to see a business set such high standards.”

Tim joined Plan Medigap as the Director of Operations in early 2014. “I’m excited about helping lead Plan Medigap towards a bright future. The mission is well-defined. There are big things ahead, and I thank God for the opportunity to be a part of this team.”

Marines and Medigap

 

Healthy Mind and Body

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Healthy Mind & Body

Do these statistics surprise you?

How do you spend your free time? While 55% of seniors reportedly spend their leisure time watching TV, only 3% of Americans over 65 exercise regularly. Staying fit requires time and energy, and though there’s no harm in catching a summer blockbuster or watching a game, nothing is more important than your health! This summer, commit to a healthy mind and body by getting out in the sun and participating in some of these cheap (or free!) activities:

Get involved – Help with the July 4th parade and fireworks at your local town center.
Find a farm – Pick your own fruit at berry patches and produce stands.
Enjoy a fair – Nothing says “summer” and “old-fashioned fun” quite like carnival games and people-watching at the state fair.
Visit a state park – Find a National State park near you.
Get Dirty – Plant a small garden and have fresh, healthy veggies all summer.
Walk-a-thon – Get in shape and support a good cause in a local walk for charity.

What is sweeter than chocolate?

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valentines day header

Saving 30% On Medicare Supplemental Insurance!

The benefits that come with upgrading your Medicare Advantage Plan to a Medicare Supplement! The February 14th dis-enrollment deadline is quickly approaching, so consider these factors:

Protection – Lower Advantage Plan premiums may seem romantic, but one trip to the hospital can leave you with hefty medical bills – up to $8,000!  A Supplement Plan means little to no out-of-pocket expenses when health issues inevitably arise.

Flexibility – While Advantage Plans offer a limited number of “in-network” care providers, Supplement Plans cover any provider who accepts Medicare, giving you more options whether you are at home or on the road.

Consistency – Since Medicare’s 1965 inception, Medicare Advantage Plans have changed every year, leaving patients with fewer benefits while they scramble to find new providers.  Supplement plans guarantee the exact same benefits year after year.

Remember, you must dis-enroll from your Advantage Plan by February 14th before you can enjoy the protection, flexibility, and consistency a Supplement Plan offers.

I am eager to ensure you have the coverage you need at the best possible rate.  Call 800-750-2407  for a free phone consultation, or reply to this e-mail to schedule a time that works for you.  If you have friends or family members who could benefit from a consultation, please pass this information along to them.

How Will Future Healthcare Changes Affect You?

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Healthcare Changes can affect many people. “Under current law, anyone over 65 who fails to buy private catastrophic insurance coverage is taking a huge risk.”

In a recent article entitled: Obama’s Medicare Plan: Seniors Will Pay More, the facts speak for themselves. Without private supplemental health insurance, seniors will find increased bills & out of pocket expenses. There is no reason to place this financial burden on yourself or those you love.

The role of a Medicare Supplement is to fill in the “gaps” for you where Medicare stops. Now more than ever as Medicare is increasingly trimmed, seniors are in need of coverage that will transfer the risk off of them & onto the insurance company.

At Plan Medigap our job is to offer you the BEST rates in your zip code & allow you to choose the insurance company YOU want to be insured with.

Our services are completely free to you. Keep these facts in mind when choosing a Medicare Supplement:

1. Insurance rates are contracted with each company. For you this means that if you go directly through an insurance company, or you work with a broker, your premium is the SAME! However, a broker will always be in your best interest. We work for YOU, not an insurance company.arrow
2. The benefits of having a broker work for you and compare rates for you in undeniable. You will have personal service with our company & a direct line to our agents that you cannot get through a large insurance company.
3. We offer annual reviews to our clients. This allows you to compare you options in the years to come when your rates go up, the ensure you are with the company that offers you the BEST RATE IN THE MARKET.

If you already have a Medicare Supplement, we can help save you up to 30% by comparing your rates. We have saved clients up to $500/year on their Medicare Supplement premiums.

We would love to serve you as well! If you are new to Medicare or are looking to lower a rate, we will get you the best rate on the market. Give us a call & see why we are the best in the industry!

How do insurance companies set prices for Medigap policies?

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For your protection Medigap plans are standardized by Federal & state laws.  So then why such price differences?   This is where PlanMedigap becomes a valuable partner in guiding you and your loved ones to the most coverage for the investment. 

Each insurance company determines how it will set the price, or premium, for its Medigap policies. It’s important to ask how an insurance company prices its policies. The way they set the price affects how much you pay now and in the future.

There are other factors involved such as geographical rating, medical underwriting, and discounts that can also affect the amount of your premiums.  Your Plan Medigap Specialist can explain further details of the pricing regulations. Compare Medigap Plans with us for total peace of mind.