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.

Vaccinations that are Covered by Medicare

With flu season right around the corner, we should be thinking of the best ways to protect ourselves from illnesses such as the flu and pneumonia.  Did you know that Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) typically covers one flu shot per flu season and the pneumonia vaccination?  Also, there are other vaccinations that you could get free of charge, like the Hepatitis B, Shingles, and the Tdap Vaccinations.

Flu Vaccination:

In recent studies, between 71 – 85% of deaths associated with the flu have occurred in people over the age of 65.  This goes to show that the flu is a huge threat for people 65 and older, but getting vaccinated can help drop the risk of contracting the flu and maybe even save your life.  It is better to get vaccinated as soon as possible.  Early fall is best because it can take about two weeks after you have been vaccinated for the antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu.

The flu vaccination is covered by your Medicare Part B, but always check with your doctor to make sure they accept the assignment. 

Pneumonia Vaccination: 

According to the CDC, adults 65 years and older are at the greatest risk of serious pneumococcal infections that could possibly lead to death.  There are two different pneumonia shots available in the United States which can protect you and your loved ones:  Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV13 or Prevnar 13) and Pneumococcal polysaccharide (PPSV23 or Pneumovax 23).  The good news is that both pneumococcal vaccines are covered by your Medicare Part B when they are administered at least 12 months apart.  Make sure to check with your doctor to see if they accept the assignment before you decide where to receive the vaccinations. 

Hepatitis B Vaccination: 

If you are suffering from a condition that has lowered your resistance to infection and you are at high or medium risk for contracting Hepatitis B, Medicare Part B will cover this vaccination.  Check with your doctor to see if you are eligible and ask them if they accept the assignment.  If they do, it is in your best interested to take advantage and get vaccinated right away. 

Shingles Vaccination: 

Even though Medicare Part A and Part B does NOT cover the shingles vaccination, it might be covered by your Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D).  Check with your Medicare prescription drug plan carrier to see if it is covered.  Getting vaccinated from shingles could protect you from months and maybe even years of pain and suffering. 

Tdap Vaccination:

Tdap stands for Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (whooping cough).  This vaccination isn’t covered by Medicare Part A or Part B, but it is typically covered by your Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D).  The CDC recommends that individuals get the vaccination if they have close contact with babies younger than 12 months and/or after you have experienced a severe cut or burn. 

Protecting yourself from these serious and possibly life threating diseases is always a plus! When it comes to taking steps to ensure you are a healthier you, I have a saying I like to use; “carpe diem”.  So today, make a positive step forward in protecting yourself from potential preventative illnesses and Seize the Day!  I hope after reading the MWG Senior Services blog, you call your doctor right away to schedule your vaccinations or check with your local pharmacist to see if they can administer the immunizations.  For more Medicare tips and education please visit our blog again soon!  MWG Senior Services is here to help you navigate the Medicare maze!  Please give us a call at 877-759-5760 or feel free to email us at seniorservices@morganwhite.com. 

Carpe Diem! 

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

 

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!

 

Drug Supply – Prescription Drug Plans

Recently we had a client call us to let us know that the co-pay originally quoted with the Humana Part D plan was twice as high as originally projected.  A little surprised and hoping we did not mess up when researching the drug supply, I asked him for the name of the prescription and the drug dosage.

Drug Supply Example

After looking the prescription up on the Humana Insurance and Medicare websites I noticed that the drug supply was accurate with what I originally told our client the co-pay would be (20% of the drug cost with a cost of $290 at his pharmacy).  After he read me his drug information I started realizing what the problem was.  The prescription was a 43 day supply – which meant the pharmacy was charging him in a  2 month supply.

All of a student his $290 (retail cost) drug with a 20% co-pay was being doubled because it was equivalent to getting a 60 day supply. We still needed to call the insurance company to verify this information, but this taught all of us an important lesson.

Part D Recommendation

  1. The first recommendation is review your Prescription Drug Plan every year.  These plans change and a good analysis is very important.
  2. The next thing is to make sure you get the full 30 day supply or 90 day supply.  Do not get a 35 day supply or you will be charged for a 60 day supply and this will cause you to be closer to the donut hole.
  3. Contact Medicare Insurance Finders for a free analysis of your Part D plan.  We give this review every year during the Annual Election Period to our Medicare Supplement clients.

Medicare Insurance Finders is based out of Jackson, MS but services the entire United States.  We have policy holders in just about every state and represent over 25 insurance companies to help you find the right plan.  Give us a call at 1-877-936-2991.

Drug Supply - Prescription Drug Plans

Providing advice on Medicare Supplements for individuals with health issues

Prevent Medicare Part D Mistakes

With over 30 million drug plans written during the Annual Election Period there are going to be a few mistakes.  Today, we will review some of the ways that you can prevent the Medicare Part D mistakes or issues that arise after submitting an application.

Medicare Insurance Finders has seen numerous problems arise over the years, but the number one reason why Medicare Part D mistakes take place is that people choose the Social Security deduction for their payment option.  Do not choose the Medicare Part D Social Security Deduction unless you want several months of incorrect premium deductions.

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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 Formulary – What to know?

When choosing a drug plan there are several things that you want to be confident in.  The first one is that your prescriptions are covered under your Medicare Part D formulary.  If your drug plan does not cover your prescriptions, it does not make the premium very beneficial.  However if your drugs are covered these Medicare plans can save you a lot of money and be very beneficial throughout the year. 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)

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