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.

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.  Today’s article is about buying a Medigap policy.  

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

Medicare Supplement Plan F

Medicare Supplement Plan F – Is it really the best choice?

When people think of Medicare Supplements, usually the first plan that you will hear them talk about is a Medicare Supplement Plan F.  Why?  This plan offers first dollar coverage and there is no out of pocket cost as long as Medicare picks up its 80%.  But did you know that there are significant savings with plans outside of the popular Medicare Supplement Plan F?  Let’s take a look at some current facts.

Medicare Supplement Plan F Facts

  1. There are no co-pays for Parts A & B.
  2. There are no deductibles.
  3. There are no networks.
  4. Rate increases are sometimes higher than other plans.

Now let’s take a look at Plan G facts…

  1. There are no co-pays for Parts A & B.
  2. The only deductible is the annual Part B deductible ($166 for 2016).
  3. No deductible for Part A, which is your hospital insurance.
  4. There are no networks.
  5. Rate increases are generally lower than Medicare Supplement Plan F.

Okay, from the facts above, you can see that Plan G has some cost sharing over the Medicare Supplement Plan F.  But what about the difference in premium?  Is there a cost savings there?  Absolutely.  Now let’s see if the difference in premium is greater than the out of pocket cost (Part B deductible).

I’m going to look up some Medicare Supplement Plan F & G rates on our quoter, which can be accessed by clicking HERE.  We’ll look at some rate comparisons in 5 different areas.  Since the rates are based on zip code, we will pull zip codes from the largest cities of the states below.  Rates are also based on gender, age, and whether or not you use tobacco.  For this illustration, we are going to pull female, age 65, and non-tobacco.

Location Plan F Plan G Annual Savings
Jackson, Mississippi (392XX) $116.65 $89.63 $324.24
Houston, Texas (770XX) $146.81 $111.79 $420.24
Detroit, Michigan (482XX) $141.15 $118.87 $267.36
Nashville, Tennessee (372XX) $134.95 $95.80 $469.80
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (190XX) $158.52 $123.45 $420.84

Wow.  Look at those savings going from a Medicare Supplement Plan F to a Plan G!  Like I mentioned before, the only out of pocket cost with Plan G is the Part B deductible which is $166 this year.  Why would you pay $469.80 in TN, for example, for a $166 benefit?  I know I wouldn’t.

If you’d like to speak to one of our advisors, call us at (877) 759-5760 or send us an e-mail to seniorservices@morganwhite.com.  We can answer your questions and see if there’s an opportunity for us to work together.  If not, that’s okay!  Let’s get this conversation going.