Helping Seniors Navigate the Medicare Maze!

More individuals than ever before are turning 65 and becoming eligible for Medicare.  By 2030, 80 million people in the United States will turn 65 years old.  If you are approaching 65, you are probably being inundated with calls and mail, which can make it difficult to figure out which path to take.  Finding an agent who can help you navigate the Medicare maze should be a priority. 

I am about to provide you with some valuable advice.  You may even want to save it for future reference.  

If you are coming off a group plan and transitioning to Original Medicare, there is a possibility you will be eligible for Guaranteed Issue Medicare Rights (Medigap protections).  If you would like more information, please click here.

Navigating the Medicare maze

Discussing Part A, B, C or D, Medigap, Medicare Supplements, initial enrollment period, or Original Medicare can be confusing.  At MWG Senior Services, helping seniors navigate the Medicare maze is our specialty.  So, let’s get started.

Original Medicare is health insurance coverage managed by the federal government.  The two main parts are Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance).  Part A covers care in a skilled nursing facility, inpatient hospital stays, hospice care, and some home health care.  A rather large number of US citizens will not be required to pay for their Part A monthly premium.

Premium-free qualifications for Part A at 65 years of age:

  1. If you or your spouse has worked 40 or more quarters paying Medicare taxes.
  2. If you receive retirement benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board.
  3. If you are eligible to get Social Security or Railroad benefits, but haven’t filed for them yet.

If you OR your spouse had Medicare-covered government employment.

Premium-free qualifications for Part A if you are UNDER 65 years of age:

  1. If you received Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits for 24 months.
  2. If you have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) and meet certain requirements.

Part A Premiums

According to Medicare.gov, if you paid Medicare taxes for less than 30 quarters (7 ½ years), the standard Part A premium is $413 in 2017. If you paid Medicare taxes for 30-39 quarters, the standard Part A premium is $227.  But in most cases, if you choose to buy Part A, you must also purchase Medicare Part B (Medicare Insurance).  You will be required to pay monthly premiums for both.

Part B Premiums

Historically, Part B premiums have increased every year.  In 2017, the Part B premium is $134 (or higher depending on your income).  If you are currently receiving Social Security benefits, you could have a decreased Part B premium. 

In Original Medicare, Part B will cover certain doctor services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services. 

Two types of services Part B can cover:

  1. Medically necessary:  Services or supplies needed to diagnose or treat your medical condition which meet accepted standards of medical practice.
  2. Preventive:  Services which provide healthcare to prevent illness (like the flu), or detect it at an early stage when treatment is most likely to work best. You pay nothing for most preventive services if you get the services from a healthcare provider who accepts assignment.

What Original Medicare (Part A & Part B) doesn’t cover

It’s no secret that Original Medicare doesn’t cover everything, nor does it pay in full.  You could be stuck paying out-of-pocket for the portion not covered by Medicare, unless you have other insurance (Medicare Supplement or Medigap policy), or you’re in a Medicare health plan (like Medicare Advantage Plans).  With Original Medicare, you could be responsible for your deductible, coinsurance, or copay.  Purchasing a Medicare supplement or Medigap policy can help pay some of the healthcare costs that Original Medicare doesn’t cover.

Also, when you purchase a Medicare Supplement, such as a Medigap policy, it could cover up to 20%.  This could help you have less out-of-pocket expenses when your personal health isn’t at its best.  For instance, a Plan F Medicare Supplement would insure maximum coverage. 

You can purchase a Medicare Supplement at any time during the year, unlike Medicare Advantage plans (Part C).  All Medicare Supplements are standardized, so a Plan F with one carrier has the same coverage as a Plan F with any other carrier. 

Plan G is also very popular because the only difference between a Plan F and a Plan G is the Medicare Part B deductible cost.  With Plan F, you pay nothing, but with Plan G, you pay a one-time cost of $183 (current cost as of 2017) for Part B services.  This deductible typically changes and starts over on January 1st of each year. 

These plans are considered portable because you can use your insurance in any state in the US, as long as the doctor accepts Medicare.  Medicare Supplements typically don’t cover long-term care, vision, dental, hearing aids, eyeglasses, private-duty nursing, or Prescription Drug Plans (Part D).  You can purchase these as stand-alone policies if it fits your needs.

To compare prices of different Medicare Supplement plans and carriers located in your area, click here.MWGSSMedicareMazeVideo2

 

Part D (Prescription Drug Plans)
Prescription Drug Plans are important and you will need to make sure the plan you choose is considered creditableprescriptiondrug coverage.  If you don’t have creditable prescription drug coverage, you could pay a late enrollment penalty.  This means, you will be required to pay a higher monthly premium and that penalty continues each year.   We suggest, if you are currently not taking any drugs, you will still need a low-cost premium plan to prevent having to pay high or late enrollment penalties later in life.   Medicare multiplies 1% of the national base beneficiary premium by the number of full, uncovered months you didn’t have Part D or creditable coverage.  That amount is added to every monthly premium for the remainder of the service. This can be an issue for those on a strict budget, therefore, we want to help prevent you from being penalized.

Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans administer Original Medicare (Part A & B).  Most Medicare Advantage plans offer prescription drug coverage.  With Part C plans, you must have a primary care physician and you may have to be referred before you can see a specialist.  You must also choose a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), Private Fee-for-Service Plan, Special Needs Plan, and Medicare Medical Savings Account Plan.  These plans are not typically considered portable because of the network stipulations and regulations.  

Initial Enrollment Period

If you are new to Medicare, turning 65, and ready to hop on the Medicare bandwagon, you can sign up for a Medicare Advantage or Part D (Prescription Drug Plan) during your Initial Enrollment Period.  Your Initial Enrollment Period begins 3 months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65.  

Open Enrollment Period

Medicare Supplement (Medigap policy) plans have a different time period that you can sign up with no health questions.  When you first enroll in Part B, you can enroll in a Medicare Supplement with no medical underwriting starting 6 months before your Part B effective date until 6 months after your Part B effective date.

There are definitely different ways you can obtain creditable coverage and navigate the Medicare maze.  Everyone’s situation is different and there isn’t one option made to fit all.  We advise you to look at a several different avenues to see which option best fits your needs. I hope the information you take from our blog will leave you more knowledgeable and happy!  Life is too short to worry about which road to take when navigating the Medicare maze.  Give us a call at (877) 759-5760 or send us an email at seniorservices@morganwhite.com.  Be sure to mention that you heard about us through our blog.  Have a great day!

Source:  Medicare.gov

2016 Medicare Open Enrollment Period

2016 Medicare Open Enrollment Period

Well, we are 11 days into the Medicare Open Enrollment Period for the 2016 plan year.  We have received many phone calls already and we are so happy to have the honor to help seniors through this fast paced enrollment window.  Remember, the last day of the 2016 Medicare Open Enrollment Period is Monday, December 7th.

What are my options?

If you found this blog by searching the internet and you have any Medicare questions during this time, please give us a call!  We want to be your #1 Medicare resource.  Our number is 1-877-759-5760.  That number will reach everyone in our division, so whoever picks up can get you in contact with the right person to answer your Medicare questions during this Medicare Open Enrollment period.  If you’d rather email us your questions, that is fine too!  Our team email address is seniorservices@morganwhite.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the frequently asked questions we are hearing.

  1. Which drug plan is right for me?
  2. My rate has increased.  What are the current Medicare Supplement rates in my area?
  3. My doctor prescribed a new medication for me.  Is it covered on my plan?
  4. I recently moved.  Does my plan still work in my new location?

There are too many questions to list!  But those are just a few that we hear often.  Maybe you have a different question – we’d like to hear from you.  Challenge us with your questions!  If we don’t know the answer, we will research it and find out.

Medicare Supplement Quotes

We have an online Medicare Supplement Quote Engine that can provide you with current rates in your area as well. To view rates in your area, please click HERE.  One of our authorized advisors will contact you to go over your options.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Senior Services Expo

Medicare Supplement Rate Decrease

Everybody Likes a Medicare Supplement Rate Decrease!

Over the last couple of months, American Continental & Continental Life, companies of Aetna, decreased their Medicare Supplement rates for Plan G!  The decrease ranges from 4 – 22% across several states.  This is exciting news for Medicare eligible individuals!

The states that have recently reduced their Medicare Supplement rates are Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming.

Quotes and Questions?

If you would like to review the rates available in your area, please click HERE.  We are always happy to answer any questions, so give us a call.  We can be reached at 1-800-800-1397 ext. 1397 by phone or you can email us at seniordivision@morganwhite.com.

 

Texas Medigap Plans – Mutual of Omaha

As of April 2013, Texas Medigap Plans offered by Omaha Insurance Company have been available.  These are offered under the Mutual of Omaha group name and provide different benefits that many purchasers find attractive.

  1. Competitive Texas Medigap Plans – the Plan G’s rates are extremely competitive.  To view Plan G Rates visit our Medigap Quote Engine.
  2. Texas Medigap Plans provided anniversary rating.  This means that only one rate adjustment per year can be made.
Texas Medigap Plans - Anniversary Rating

Anniversary Rating on Texas Medicare Supplements

  1. Future Rate adjustments must be kept with market trend.
  2. Omaha Insurance Company offers household discounts which apply when two people living in the same household both have a Medicare Supplement policy with Mutual of Omaha.

Texas Medigap Plans

A few other things good not just with Omaha Insurance Company but any company in the state of Texas are:

  • There are no gender rates.  This means that male and females pay the same rate.
  • There are no rate ups on Texas Medigap Plans. In a nutshell, some carriers give rate-ups for different things such as high Body Mass Measurement Indexes (not being evenly proportioned).  This is not allowed in the state of Texas.
  • Guaranteed Issue Rights for Medicaid

What to know when comparing Medicare Supplements?

You will find us pretty consistent with this throughout our website but in a nutshell there are several things that you must do before purchasing a Medicare Supplement policy:

  1. Compare rates – Medicare Insurance Finders provides a great Medicare Supplement Quote Engine that can help you compare these plans.
  2. View the company’s financial credibility – make sure it is a secure rated company with AM BEST.
  3. Make sure to use an agent/financial advisor who understands the Medicare Supplement market and offers more than one insurance company.  Rates will increase – that is a fact.  If your agent has other companies he can help to make sure you are not overpaying for your policy.   If not you may get stuck with a plan that is overpriced!

Contact Medicare Insurance Finders today for a free Medicare analysis – Medicare Supplement and Medicare Part D! 1-877-936-2991!

 

American Continental and Continental Life Rate Decrease

Aetna Health and Life, American Continental and Continental Life Rates will be discounted for household rates effective July 15, 2013. The discount applies to both new business and existing policy holders. Policies that have an effective prior to June 1, 2010 are not eligible for the discount.

American Continental and Continental Life Rates – State that are Eligible

The American Continental and Continental Life rate decrease will be based upon the applicant’s state of residence. The eligible states are Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska and Texas.

American Continental and Continental Life Rates

Aetna has now become a large player in the Medicare market and is expected to see much growth in the coming years.

The American Continental and Continental Life rate decrease discount of 5% will apply when two Medicare Supplement applicants reside in the same household and both policies are issued in the same state by the same underwriting company.

Eligibility guidelines for applicants who apply for the American Continental and Continental Life rate decrease must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Married
  • Domestic partners(civil union or partnership)*state guidelines*
  • Individuals who reside at the same residence for the last twelve months and must be a continuous 12 months

If the spouse becomes Medicare eligible at a later date, the American Continental and Continental Life rate decrease discount will apply on the effective date of the newly issued policy and on future premiums of the existing policy holder.

  • One discount per household.
  • No additional discounts if there is a third policy holder in the household.
  • Both policies must remain in force for the 30-day free look period. The discount will remain if one policyholder expires or terminates coverage after the free look period.

The application must include the existing policy holder’s information. The new application form has been revised as a dual application, which allows two eligible household members to apply for coverage and the discount on the same form.

The new sales material will be available for download on July 15, 2013. You can begin using the new dual applications immediately. If an application is submitted on an old application on or after August 15, 2013 it will be returned to the agent unprocessed.

Existing policyholders can apply for the American Continental and Continental Life rate decrease by completing the Household Eligibility Discount Request Form.

Call 1-877-936-2991 or visit our Medicare Quote Engine for instant Medicare Supplement Rates.

Seniors Choice High Deductible Plan F

The Seniors Choice High Deductible “Modified Plan F” is coming in 2014 through Benefits Association.  This plan will be like any other High Deductible Plan F across the country.  In this article we will explain the differences of this plan, explain how to enroll in this plan and will inform insurance agents where to go for contracting purposes.

Seniors Choice High Deductible Plan F

The difference between this “Modified Plan F” and the Traditional High Deductible Plan F are laid out below:

  • This plan has one rate guide that works for 48 states; most plans have to have different rate guides per state.
  • This Seniors Choice Plan has an online application for consumers; most plans do not have applications that are direct to consumer.
  • This “Modified High Deductible Plan F” offered by Benefits Association will have a deductible of $2,000; the 2013 high deductible is $2,110.
  • Like a traditional Medicare Supplement you are allowed to see any doctor that accepts Medicare.
  • There are NO HEALTH QUESTIONS for this plan; most plans have health questions.
  • Average Rate Increase over the last 4 years of less than 3%; Traditional Medicare Supplements average 9% or higher.
Seniors Choice Modified Plan F

High Deductible Plan F

How do i learn more about this seniors choice plan?

You can contact Medicare Insurance Finders at 1-877-936-2991 to learn more about this Modified High Deductible Plan F.  It is not a standardized plan which allows the benefits to be different as well as the application process that can be difficult with some carriers.

Do the benefits differ in any other way?

Yes, there is a $10 co-pay for doctors office visits and a $20 co-pay for outpatient procedures.  However, if you have 2 doctors appointments per month it is only $20 out of pocket plus your premium.  Odds are this plan can save you a lot of money over the course of a year.

At Medicare Insurance Finders (1-877-936-2991) we specialize in helping seniors save money on their insurance premiums.  We have testimonials to prove it!

 

 

 

Aetna purchases Coventry Healthcare

This week Aetna one of the countries largest insurance companies purchased Coventry Health Care for approximately 8.7 billion.  Aetna has pushed for more strength in the senior insurance market over the last several years with the purchase of American Continental,  Continental Life, and now Coventry.  This allows the insurance company to continue stretching out its growth in the Medicare market through its different filings in all 50 states.

Aetna is one of the largest insurance companies in the world and over the past few years has decided to make a hard push in the Medicare market.  With over 10,000 people turning 65 each day for the next 20 years it is hard to blame them or think that it is a bad move.  Continue reading

Insurance Customer Service

Medicare Insurance Finders and MWG Senior Services work very hard to provide excellent customer service.  We realize that dealing with insurance customer service is not usually considered a joyous thing, but we try to take your request to the next level and answer your questions in one phone call.

Insurance Customer Service – Excellent Customer Service

The first step to providing exceptional customer service is to listening to our clients needs.  Most of the time people assume or think they know what is best for others.  However, if we will just listen, people will tell us what they want.  Listening to the clients needs helps the insurance advisor know which insurance plans the individual is interested in

The second step to providing excellent customer service is to  “answer phone calls!”  Answering phone calls is very important in providing Medicare Insurance Customer Service.

“Waiting on hold or going straight to voice mail is the last thing a client wants to do.  Medicare Insurance Finders has implemented a phone system to where it rings everyone in the division in case an advisor is on the other line” – Ryan Eaton, Certified Senior Advisor

Most insurance products spend the majority of their “service time” dealing with insurance claims.  However, Medicare Supplement Plans have less claims issues than any other product in the health insurance industry since just about everything is covered (Plan F and Plan G after Part B Deductible).   This makes claims customer service simplified.

Another step to insurance customer service is do not make promises you can not keep.  It is very important to explain the benefits of an insurance policy, but it is completely unacceptable to lie about your plan’s benefits.

Morgan-White Group implemented a training facility on campus a few years ago to make sure that we were training everyone on the products and services we offer.  This training facility has provided employees with thousands of hours of class room training on our products, systems, and telephone manners that are invaluable.

Call MWG Senior Services today if you are interested in Medicare Insurance products – 1-877-936-2991.

 

Insurance Customer Service

Providing advice on Medicare Supplements for individuals with health issues

Insurance Quotes

There are websites all over the internet that say they offer “Free Insurance Quotes“.  However, if you have tried to do any comparison you will discover that usually they will provide you an insurance quote but 10 agents will be calling you for over a month trying to sell you one of their plans.

Websites that provide insurance quotes

There are three websites that provide actual insurance rates online without having to speak to anyone:

  1. Medicare Insurance Finders – offers Medicare Supplement Insurance Rates.  These quotes are available in 47 states and provide updated rates every month for individuals 65 or older.
  2. Life Insurance Rates – this website will allow you to compare life insurance rates with over 25 big name insurance companies.  Term life insurance rate are pretty easy to compare against other plans because a 20 year term is pretty basic – it covers you for 20 years.
  3. Dental for Everyone - is a company that offers a lot of dental plans.  They promote dental insurance plans in every state with the largest dental insurance companies like Delta Dental, Standard Life, Madison Dental and other carriers that are well known.  Continue reading

Low Cost Health Insurance Rates

Most Americans want low cost health insurance and have problems affording health insurance costs of $10,000 plus a year for a family.  Also individuals on Medicare and a fixed income are doing everything they possibly can to lower their premiums with Medigap Insurance or Medicare Advantage Plans.

Whatever stage of life you are in it is easy to understand that you want and need low cost health insurance.  Health insurance is a must these days with most doctors requiring insurance to get an appointment.  Seniors are now facing doctors offices that do not accept the Medicare Advantage Plan they enrolled in.  Others are learning that doctors are not taking any new patients.  So the question is what can I do to find health insurance rates that are affordable for my budget? Continue reading