Annual Enrollment Period

The Annual Enrollment Period is quickly approaching! Do you need help with your Prescription Drug Plan?

The Annual Enrollment Period:

Mid October through the first part of December is often referred to as “Open Enrollment Period” or “Annual Enrollment Period”. They go hand in hand, and here’s why.  During this time, you can not only make changes to your stand-alone drug plan, but you can also make changes to your Medicare Advantage plan (depending on which one you have).  We recommend having someone like us in your corner to assist you through these changes.  Our only requirement for this annual assistance is that you sign up with a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage plan through our advisors.  If you do not currently have one of those plans through us, give us a call today and one of our advisors will be glad to help.  They can be reached at (877) 759-5760, option 1.    

The Annual Enrollment Period comes every year at the same time, beginning October 15th and ending December 7th.  Some clients are under the impression that the Annual Enrollment period is the only time you can change or get a Medicare Supplement.  This is not true. The good thing about Medicare Supplements is that you can change them anytime throughout the year.  This Annual Enrollment Period is only for making changes in a stand-alone prescription drug plan or a Medicare Advantage plan.

Part D Late Enrollment Penalty:

One very important thing to remember is, if you do not obtain a drug plan when you are first eligible, you could receive a late enrollment penalty which is assessed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The penalty is 1% for each month you go without drug coverage and will always be added to any drug plan or Medicare Advantage plan when you enroll. If you have employer coverage and are on Medicare, I encourage you to check with your employer’s human resource department to ensure the coverage that you have is considered creditable drug coverage.

How can our services benefit you?

The drug plans change every year, so you will need to review your plan annually to see what changes are approaching.  That’s where MWG Senior Services can help!  We offer a FREE service to all our Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage clients each year by helping to review your drug coverage to see what changes are being made for the upcoming year. The drug plans are so highly regulated and have so much information to take in, it is hard to know which way to go. We do all the work for you! Already have a supplement with someone else?  No problem!  Any of our advisors can help you look at supplemental options that could help you save some money!

Have questions or need help with your Medicare supplemental options Call MWG Senior Services at 877-759-5760 or email us at seniorservices@morganwhite.com.

Top 10 Medicare Supplement Companies

Do you ever wonder which Medicare Supplements are available in your area and how they work? First, it is important to know, you must have Medicare Part A and Part B to receive a Medicare Supplement.  All Medicare supplements are standardized and any plan is guaranteed renewable, even if you have health issues. The carrier cannot cancel your plan as long as you are paying the monthly premium.  Although every carrier offers the same plans, the rates are different based on age, gender, tobacco usage, location and sometimes health conditions.

Each carrier does implement rate increases each year for every plan. You will receive a letter from the carrier annually, 30 days prior to let you know you are receiving an increase. The average annual rate increase is roughly between 6-10%.

Each carrier has several different plans, such as A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, N.  All plans offer the same benefits, but in some cases, additional benefits are offered.  You have the flexibility to choose which plan best meets your needs. 

MWG Senior Services selects the Top 10 Medicare Supplement companies based on their rating and their annual historical rate increases.   

Top 10 Medicare Supplement Companies:

1.            American Continental
2.            American Retirement
3.            Philadelphia American
4.            New Era
5.            Combined
6.            Mutual of Omaha
7.            Central States
8.            Aetna
9.            Gerber life
10.         American National

 

MWG Senior Services represents all of the Top 10 Medicare Supplement companies listed above and more. To see how their rates rank in your area, click here.  Please keep in mind that Medicare Supplements does NOT cover long-term care, vision or dental care, hearing aids, eyeglasses, or private- duty nursing.  However, Medicare Supplements will cover the 20% that original Medicare doesn’t cover.

Some Medicare Supplement policies also offer coverage for services that Original Medicare doesn’t cover, like medical care you may need when you travel outside of the U.S. Please keep in mind that Medicare Supplement plans are DIFFERENT from a Medicare Advantage plan. 

If you have any questions, please call MWG Senior Services at (877) 759-5760 or email us at seniorservices@morganwhite.com.  Our knowledgeable and experienced representatives are ready to help guide you through the Medicare maze.

When can I buy a Medigap policy?

Are you turning 65 soon?  You might find out that looking through Medicare options is like trying to put together a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle.  Fortunately, in this and upcoming blogs, we have selected some frequently asked questions to talk about in more detail.  

We hear this question all the time; “When can I buy a Medigap policy?”  The good news is you can buy Medigap (Medicare Supplement) at any time throughout the year and you don’t have to wait until October 15 – December 7.  The stipulation is, you might have to go through underwriting to qualify for a different Medigap policy. 

In this blog, we will outline:

(1) When you can purchase a Medigap policy without having to go through underwriting.

(2) What is underwriting?

(3) When you can change your Medigap policy if you aren’t happy with it. 

If you purchase your Medigap policy when you are first eligible for Medicare, you can purchase any policy sold in your state without having to go through underwriting.  This means if you have any health problems, you can purchase a Medigap policy at the same rate as a healthy person, if you purchase it within your open enrollment period.  Each person’s open enrollment period will start the first day their Medicare Part B is effective and it will last for 6 months. 

If you decide to change your Medigap policy outside of your open enrollment period, typically you will go through underwriting.  This means, if you have some health problems, the insurance companies could either deny coverage or charge you more due to certain health conditions.  Keep in mind, even though Medigap policies are standardized, the health questions are not.  So, just because you may not qualify for one carrier doesn’t mean that you will be turned down for another carrier.  Check with our advisors to see if there is an option that fits your needs. 

If you are about to lose your group health coverage, you might be eligible for Guaranteed Issue, which is another way you can purchase a Medigap policy without having to go through underwriting.  There are many different qualifications for a Guaranteed Issue period.  Please click here to learn more about your Medicare rights.

To compare prices of different Medigap policies and carriers available in your state, click here.

Now that you know you don’t have to wait until October 15 – December 7 to make changes to your Medigap policy, and you know a little more about changing your Medigap (Medicare Supplement), please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (877) 759-5760 or send us an email at seniorservices@morganwhite.com with any questions you may have pertaining to your specific situation.  Be sure to mention you heard about us through our blog!  Have a great day! 

Source:  Medicare.gov

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.

Omaha Insurance Company Medicare Supplement

Omaha Insurance Company Medicare Supplement plans are one of the most sought after Medigap policies in the country right now.  Many people like them because they are part of Mutual of Omaha, who is known for their customer service and expertise in the Medicare market.  You can compare their Medicare Supplement Rates through our Medicare Quote Engine.

Omaha Insurance Company Medicare Supplements

Omaha Insurance Company is a part of Mutual of Omaha.

Omaha Insurance Company Medicare Supplement Plans

Like all companies in the Medicare market, plans are standardized so benefits can not vary from one company to another.  However, rates can vary greatly.  As mentioned above it is important to compare rates before choosing a policy because even Omaha Insurance Company Medicare Supplements are not competitive in every zip code.

When you compare plans they will be automatically sorted by the most popular Medicare supplement plan “The Plan F”.   However, you can choose the drop down on the right side to see if there are any other plans that you are searching for.

How To Compare Plans

There are several things to know when comparing Omaha Insurance Company Medicare Supplement Plans or any other company for that matter.  Below they are laid out in a simple numerical format:

  1. Rates – the rates are the most important factor because you are comparing apples to apples. 
  2. Insurance Company Financial Stability – choose an insurance company that has a positive rating with AM Best.
  3. Consider the Plan G – the plan G has lower rate increases across the country on average.  Primarily because it is not a “Guaranteed Issue Plan” which means in most situations people do have to answer health questions to choose this plan.  This creates a healthier group of individuals on the plan which means lower rate increases.

If you need help finding the right Omaha Insurance Company Medicare Supplement contact us at 1-877-936-2991.

Philadelphia American Medicare Supplement Rates

Philadelphia American Medicare Supplement Rates seem to have remained stable longer than any other insurance company in the market.  There are some companies that have stable rates but they are not competitive – Philadelphia American is competitive.  There are a few companies like United Healthcare/AARP that have products that remain competitive while offering low premiums, but Philadelphia American has maintained stable rates for several years.

Philadelphia American Medicare Supplement Rates are expected to receive only a 6% rate increase in the state of Mississippi, that will take effect September 1, 2013.  This is extremely low given that they have been in the market three years and other companies like Mutual of Omaha are usually giving rate increases of approximately 15% to their policy holders.  The 6% rate increase is on both Plans F and Plan G.

Philadelphia American Medicare Supplement Rates

Why are Philadelphia American Medicare Supplement Rates so much more competitive than other insurance companies in the market.

  1. They are stricter on Medicare Supplement health questions.
  2. They pay lower commissions
  3. They came into the Medicare market with the idea of hanging around and not just writing business and raising the premium.
  4. They owner of the company runs it like it is his personal business and not for the stock holders.
Philadelphia American Medicare Supplement Rates

Philadelphia American Insurance Company

Where can I compare Medicare Supplement rates?

You can compare Philadelphia American Medicare Supplement Rates at our Medicare Quote Engine.   Here we provide you with free online quotes for Medicare Supplement Plans in a matter of minutes.  We built a program for our users that allows you to price out plans with over 30 companies without the hassle of waiting for different insurance companies to get back with you on their premium amount.

Call our office at 1-877-936-2991 for instant rates on Philadelphia American Medicare Supplement Plans!  We look forward to helping you with your insurance needs.

Genworth Long Term Care

NEWS: GENWORTH LONG TERM CARE INSURANCE DELAYED IN THE CALIFORNIA MARKET!!!

Genworth a long term leader in the long-term care insurance market has announced a delay in the California market due to lingering customer service issues they are experiencing.  Unlike most companies, Genworth has taken the time to address these issues prior to launching a push for their LTC products.

Long-Term Care insurance helps cover custodial care that is not covered by Medicare insurance.    Medicare and Medigap plans only cover medically necessary coverage where Genworth Long Term Care Insurance covers care such as cleaning, bathing, etc. that is needed when you experience loss in your daily activities of living.   An example of this would be needing someone to help take you to the grocery store or the bathroom if you were not able to accomplish this on your own.  Continue reading

Underwriting Medicare Supplement Plans

Before jumping into the Medicare Supplement market, companies must figure out the different risks and rewards to being in the business. There are a lot of factors to consider when looking at underwriting Medicare supplement plans.  There are actuarial tables for rates, underwriting health questions to determine eligibility, state laws to comply with, federal regulated benefits to adhere to, and many other factors that go into underwriting Medicare supplement plans.  This article should help people realize some of the risk factors that have to be considered.

Underwriting Medicare Supplement Plans

Medicare Supplement Insurance Premiums by Medicare Insurance Finders

Underwriting Medicare Supplement Plans – Actuarial Tables

This is probably the easiest of things for an insurance company to complete since they typically will pay an outside actuarial company to handle rate tables.  However, prior to  the actuarial figures there are many things that are needed:

  • What states will the company be issuing policies?
  • What are the underwriting requirements in those states?

Premium Rates & Rate Increase Strategy

What is commonly seen in the Medigap world is a company that comes out with a super low rate and everyone flocks to that plan (healthy and unhealthy). Once this plan becomes loaded up and the premium is on the books, claims start to hit the books.   Then as claims begin to come in the low rate increases take place – sometimes these rate increases occur even when loss ratios are low to help prevent large increases the following year.

However, all you need is a few cancer patients or individuals with ESRD to have some high claims come in and raise the premiums for everyone on the group.  INSURANCE COMPANIES CAN NOT RAISE THE RATES FOR AN INDIVIDUAL!! THEY MUST RAISE RATES FOR THE WHOLE GROUP. 

Introduce Different Medigap Plans

One strategy that was common several years ago which has not been seen recently was introducing plans A-G and then introducing alternative plans several years later after the Plan F & G had received high rate increases.  This hit a high right before the 2010 Medicare Modernization Act, when the Plan J was popular; however, no company to my recollection has done this with the Plan N.

The purpose of this was for an insurance company to be able to stay in the state while being able to raise their rates on plans that needed rate increases.  Certain plans are not Guaranteed Issue plans which helps prevent high risk individuals from coming onto these plans.

State Laws to Consider

Each state has different laws that must be followed when underwriting Medicare Supplement plans.  You can view an article on our Medicare Insurance Finders website to see different MEDIGAP LAWS and how they vary state to state.  These laws make it complicated for an insurance company to have a universal application that works in each state as well as having underwriters trained on general questions.  Instead, they have to know and understand state specific laws.

An Example would be Tennessee asking their tobacco question in their health questions section of the application.  This means that individuals in Open Enrollment who use tobacco get non-tobacco rates.  An insurance company has to account for how many tobacco users are on non-tobacco rates because of when they signed up for their health plan.

To learn more about Medicare Supplement Insurance contact us at 1-877-936-2991.

Stonebridge Life Medicare Supplement

Are you looking for a Stonebridge Life Medicare Supplement Plan?  These Medigap plans are available through Medicare Insurance Finders, but before we explain which states their premiums are competitive in there are some basics you should know about the company.

Stonebridge Life Company Overview

Stonebridge LIfe is an AEGON company.  They employ roughly 29,500 people and have over 40 million customers across the globe.  Stonebridge Life Insurance Company is licensed in all 50 states minus New York, and services 3.7 million people in the US through life, health, accident and dental insurance plans.  They are an A+ rated insurance company through AM Best.

Recently they decided to offer a Stonebridge Life Medicare Supplement.  Since these plans are standardized across the country their benefits will not be reviewed in this article, but it is good to know that they will have competitive rates in certain states.  They also decided to issue an E-app which is available for telelphonic enrollment.  If you need to enroll in a Stonebridge Life Medicare Supplement call 1-877-936-2991.

Stonebridge Life Medicare Supplement

Stonebridge Life Insurance Company

Stonebridge Life Medicare Supplement Rates

Two states in which Stonebridge Life Medicare Supplement Rates will be extremely competitive are Michigan and Florida.  In the state of Florida, their Medicare Supplement Rates are roughly 10% cheaper than United Healthcare and in some cases $100 cheaper or more per month than Mutual of Omaha.

Compare Medigap Plans

The important thing to remember when comparing Medigap plans is that these plans are standardized, so premiums play a very important factor.  Also make sure to choose a carrier that is secure rated with AM Best and has some credibility in the insurance market.

To Compare Stonebridge Medigap Plans go to the Medicare Quote Engine for instant online rates with over 25 insurance companies across the country in less than 2 minutes.  If you would like to speak with someone over the phone call 1-877-936-2991, a senior market advisor can advise you on the different plans available.