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.  

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 Suggestions During the AEP

Get ready for the most unique Medicare suggestions you can implement during the Annual Election Period.  These are going to be 3 unique tips that can save you thousands on your 2014 Medicare Insurance plans.  Hopefully you are listening now because we are providing great advice that can really help you with your Medicare options!

Tip #1 – Compare Medicare Supplement Rates

The first tip that can save you hundreds a year on average ($500 for individuals and $1,000 for couples) is to compare Medicare Supplement Rates every two or three years!  So you are probably thinking how do I compare these plans?

  1. Go to Medicare Insurance Finders and get quotes in less than 2 minutes
  2. Call your insurance agent.  The problem here is they may not offer many plans.  Alot of agents only have several companies that they offer.  You need to be comparing with at least 10 different insurance companies to make sure you have a competitive quote.
  3. Call 1-877-936-2991 and ask to speak with Amber Douglas or Nicole Cunningham.  The are licensed agents who can compare rates in 47 states across the country.

Tip #2 – Compare you Medicare Part D Plan (Prescription Drug Plan)

I have seen people save thousands by comparing their Prescription Drug Plans.  Normally those on more prescriptions have a greater need to compare because different plans  cover prescriptions at different levels.   We compared a plan yesterday where there was a $4,000 gap between the most cost effective plan and the least cost effective plan for an individual that came into the office.

An example would be AARP covering ABC drug as a generic prescription, but Humana covers it as a preferred drug.  So with AARP you would probably be paying around $5 for the prescription; however, with Humana you would be paying roughly $25 – $30.  This is just an example not a real example. 

Medicare Suggestions

 Medicare Suggestions – #3

Get a qualified advisor that can help explain when you should compare Medicare plans. There have been a lot of negative reports over the last few years of advisors who are not really looking out for their Medicare Supplement clients.  In my opinion this has made alot of seniors a little nervous about who they can talk with for Medicare Suggestions.

If you don’t know who to call please feel free to call us at 1-877-936-2991 for help with your Medicare Insurance Plans!

 

The Annual Election Period is Here

Well the annual election period is here and it is time for Medicare beneficiaries to start comparing their Part C and Part D plans. This is the only time during the year in which an applicant can make changes to their plan after their initial enrollment or special election periods.

The Importance of Part D Evaluations

As mentioned on our website, Part D plans change each year which make it extremely important to compare plans during the AEP.

I like my current plan why is important to compare other options?

We have a lot of clients that are happy with their current plan; however, premiums, co-pays, and formularies change each year.   An example is a client who choose the AARP Saver Plan in 2013 with a premium of roughly $15 was getting a slight increases to $22 per month.

Even though this is a high percentage it is a low premium overall.  What the consumer would not know without comparison would be the that now their $290 per month prescription is no longer covered by this plan.  That means the consumer would be responsible for $290 each time she filled that prescription.

Through Medicare.gov’s Part D tool we found other options and found a plan for $28 premium that had that prescription at a $6 co-pay during the initial coverage period.   That $6 in premium difference was nothing compared to the $284 difference in prescription co-pay.

Annual Election Period

The annual election period is between October 15th and December 7th each year.  Trying to enroll on December 8th is too late, you will be unable to enroll for a new plan effective for 2014 if you do not enroll prior to December 7th.

For help with your supplemental Medicare plans please contact MWG Senior Services at 877-936-2991.  We look forward to being your guide and help with Medicare Part D analysis.

Annual Election Period

2014 Medicare Annual Election Period

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

 

Oops.. the Part D annual election period is already over?

So what happens if you missed the Part D annual election period?  Some people still are under the impression that the annual election period is between November 15th and December 31st.  However, this changed a few years ago and now the Part C and Part D annual election period ends December 7.

If you missed this time frame you will be automatically enrolled for the following year in the same plan you are currently in.  So if you are enrolled in a Humana Part D Drug Plan that will be your prescription drug coverage for the following year as well. Continue reading

Annual Election Period Ending

The end of the Annual Election Period (October 15th – December 7th) is coming soon.  The annual election period is the time of year where Medicare Part D plans and Medicare Advantage Plans can be changed, dropped or switched to other coverage.  You can always tell when this time of the year is upon us due to all the TV ads and mailouts that large companies like Humana, AARP, and others participate in.

Just because the annual election period is ending does not mean that your Medigap Insurance can not be changed.  These policies can be reviewed anytime during the year and have no restrictions on when you can make changes.  In fact, it is advised that you compare Medicare Supplement Rates every 3 years to make sure you are not paying too much for your coverage.  To compare Medicare Supplement Rates click here. Continue reading

Medicare Part D – 2013 Annual Election Period

The Annual Election Period for Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage Plans starts today.  This time period allows seniors to make changes to their Part D or MA plans for the upcoming year.  An example would be a client wanting to change from a Humana Part D drug plan to a Silverscript Part D drug plan.  This change can be made during this time period and will take place January 1st of the following year.

Top 5 Medicare Part D Carriers (Medicare Insurance Finders Opinion on a National Scale)

Continue reading

Medicare Part D – Prescription Drug Plan Pharmacies

An article was released in Fox News on October 10, 2012, stating that Walgreens is jumping on the Prescription Drug Plan ban wagon.  Humana and Walmart started this partnership in 2010 when they created a Humana-Walmart Preferred Plan.  Several years before this Walmart was one of their main providers but when the two companies sponsored a joint plan, Humana  saw enrollments increase. Continue reading

Part D Donut Hole Coverage

Recently we had a client who had an Aetna Part D plan through our organization. It was May and Aetna only had received January’s premium, so they sent our client a letter stating that his Part D Drug Plan was going to be cancelling. Ended up he was sending his premium to the wrong company and none of his checks were being cashed. Continue reading