2014 Annual Election Period

Its that time of the year again the time when you pull out your prescriptions and write down the names, dosages, and quantities so that you can compare Prescription Drug Plans in the best manner possible.  That’s right its the 2014 Annual Election Period! This is the time of the year which you can compare and change prescription drug plans (Part D) or Medicare Advantage plans (Part C).

2014 Annual Election Period Basics

There are several key components of the 2014 Annual Election Period: time frame, eligibility, comparing options, and understanding limitations.

Annual Election Period Time Frame & Eligibility

Basically the annual election period which is commonly referred to as the “Open Enrollment Period” is from October 15th – December 7th of each year.  This is the only time frame you can enroll, change or drop a Part C or D plan unless there is a Special Election Period which you meet.  This would be moving out of the plan’s service area, losing Medicaid benefits, or something along these lines.

If you do not make a decision during the 2014 Annual Election Period you are choosing to stay in the same plan you currently have.  However, if you decide to change then your plan will go into effect January 1, 2014.

To enroll in a prescription drug plan you must be enrolled in Medicare Part A.  To enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan you must be enrolled or entitled to Part A and enrolled in Medicare Part B.  Remember that Part D just covers prescription drug benefits, while Medicare Part C is a health plan which may or may not cover your prescriptions.

Comparing Options and Understanding Limitations

We recommend our clients to compare their options each year during the AEP.  MWG Senior Services suggests this because plan benefits change each year!  This means that your $20 per month Part D plan with no deductible could be $50 with a $310 deductible in 2014!  If you do not evaluate your options you could be stuck with major changes in your plan.

What is the best way to compare plans during the 2014 Annual Election Period?  The best way is to write down your prescriptions and have someone who has completed AHIP training walk you through the Medicare.gov website.  These plans can be difficult to evaluate and if you do not have a qualified advisor you may miss a key component of the plan.  Ex: your plan may show you that all the prescriptions are covered, but you did not realize that it was pulling generics as a search options and most of your brand name drugs are not covered.

If you have more questions or need help comparing prescription drug plans feel free to call MWG Senior Services at 1-877-936-2991.

2014 Annual Election Period

2014 Medicare Annual Election Period

 

Health Insurance – What it doesn’t cover?

Lets start by being pretty straight forward – we should have commons sense to understand that some things will not be covered by our health insurance plans.  For instance cosmetic surgery that is not due to an injury or accident will not be covered by an insurance policy.  First of all it is not medically necessary and second insurance premiums would be through the roof if it covered procedures that were just whenever someone wanted to use it.

Health Insurance – What’s Not Covered?

Below are list of things that are not covered by a health insurance policy.  Some policies may have riders (additional coverage) that provide protection; however, the basic policy does not cover these items.

  1. Long-Term Care – this is custodial care and is not deemed skilled care by Medicare or other insurance policies.
  2. Cosmetic Surgery – cosmetic surgery will usually be covered if a major accident or injury occurs that causes damage; however, basic cosmetic surgery is not covered.
  3. Erectile Dysfunction – this is not covered by Medicare Part D.  Many times during the Annual Election Period senior men are surprised to find this is not covered, because unlike Medicare they see this as medically necessary.
  4. Dental and Vision Coverage – this will be covered under a separate policy.  If you are in need of dental/vision coverage I would recommend going to Dental4Everyone to compare plans in your zip code.
  5. Weight Loss Surgery – most of the time this procedure will not be covered.  A recent article by Insurance News states that 90% of health insurance policies do not cover this.
Health Insurance Specialists

Medicare Insurance Finders helping you with your insurance needs.

If you are looking for supplemental health insurance contact MWG SENIOR SERVICES at 800-800-1397 option 6!  We have tools available that will allow us to find plans available in 47 states in less than 2 minutes.  Your health insurance is in safe hands with MWG.

Guaranteed Issue Med Supp

Recently we initiated contact with a group that has a “Guaranteed Issue Med Supp”.  It is not a standardized Medicare Supplement, but it is a plan that supplements Medicare and is almost like a Plan F and Plan N hybrid plan.

It is guaranteed issue in the sense that there are no health questions, not even “Do you have end-stage renal disease?”.  So for the individuals that can not get a Medicare Advantage Plan due to this health questions, you not have an option!  This plan is offered through Benefits Association, Inc. a MS Non-Profit corporation.  The plan has a one page application online that you can sign up for from any state across the country besides New York and Florida.

Guaranteed Issue Med Supp

Why would you choose this plan over any other Medicare Supplement in the market?

  1. Guaranteed Issue – since there are no health questions a previous surgery will not make you wait two years before seeing what other options are available (5 years for some Medicare Supplement Plans like Philadelphia American). 
  2. Low Rate Increases – they have an average rate increase of less than 3% per year.  That is 5% less than the average Medigap policy in force in 2013.
  3. Online Application – right now finding an insurance company that offers an online application is virtually impossible.  There are a few in California but most states do not have a direct to consumer online application.
  4. Rates are age banded – a 69 year old will pay the same as a 66 year old.  This policy puts rates in a age band.  Ex: 66-69 =$XYZ, 70-74 = $XYZ.
  5. Guaranteed Renewable - these plans are guaranteed renewable.  This is different from being a “Guaranteed Issue Med Supp or a Guaranteed Issue Supplement to Medicare”.  Guaranteed Renewable means that the plans are guaranteed to renew each year, you can not be cancelled.

This plan is not the most cost effective plan for everyone; however, for people who have received rate increases and are unable to switch due to a health issue you should definately check out the rates to see if it is more beneficial.

Call 1-877-936-2991 if you are interested in the supplement to Medicare plan!

Guaranteed Issue Med Supp

Benefits Association – Group Retiree Medical Plan