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.

Turning 65?

Are you turning 65 soon? Are you looking for some answers on what you need to do first to take full advantage of your Medicare options?   We have outlined some simple steps to help you navigate the Medicare maze.  Let’s take a look at what path you might want to take.  Please remember, if you have any questions at all we are just a phone call away. 

We hear this question a lot, “How early should I start looking at my Medicare options?”  We always tell our clients that it is never too early to start educating yourself about Medicare.  You will be bombarded with calls and mail about 6 months before your 65th birthday, which can be pretty overwhelming.  We would recommend finding a knowledgeable advisor at least 4-6 months in advance so you can get the conversation started.  If you are looking for someone to help you navigate the Medicare maze, give us a call at (877) 759-5760 or email us at seniorservices@morganwhite.com.  We would love to help with any questions that you might have. 

Once you are eligible for Medicare, you will need to sign up and drop your Marketplace Health Insurance so that it stops when your Medicare coverage starts.  Most of the time, it is more beneficial for you to sign up for Medicare during the first 3 months of your Initial Enrollment Period.  Doing so could help you avoid late penalties.  Keep in mind, you will not be eligible for premium tax credits or other savings for your Marketplace plan once your Medicare Part A coverage starts.  If you received tax credits to subsidize your Marketplace plan premium, and/or you received these tax credits after your Medicare Part A coverage started, you might have to repay the credits or savings you received when you file your taxes.  

Enroll in Part A of Medicare.  If a person isn’t automatically enrolled in Medicare they can sign up for Part A once their Initial Enrollment Period begins.  This starts 3 months back from the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65.

Decide whether you would like to sign up or delay Part B.  If you do not have creditable coverage through your employer, you would need to enroll in Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period.  If you have creditable coverage through your employer, you can delay Part B.  If your coverage is not considered creditable or you do not have any other coverage, if you don’t sign up for Part B when you are first eligible, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Part B.  If you have retiree coverage, you will likely need to be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B to receive full benefits. 

Compare your Medigap options available in your area.  To compare prices of over 19 different Medicare Supplements located in your area, click here.   You will be able to view rates specific to you! 

Let us help you take the guessing game out of what to do to prepare for turning 65 and becoming eligible for Medicare!  We are more than happy to set up a free consultation with one of our Senior Market Advisors that are licensed Insurance agents ready to answer any questions you might have.  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

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

Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period

When can I disenroll from my Medicare Advantage plan?

Are you unhappy with your Medicare Advantage plan?  Did you know that the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MAPD) is January 1st – February 14th every year?  If you are unhappy with your plan, you can disenroll during this time and return to Original Medicare (you cannot switch to another Medicare Advantage plan at this time, but you can enroll in a Part D stand-alone drug plan).  If you miss this period, your next opportunity to change your plan is during the Annual Enrollment Period which is October 15th – December 7th of each year.

But before you disenroll, we recommend that you speak with someone to see if a Medicare Supplement is right for you.  Keep in mind that most people will have to answer health questions, but there are some that may qualify for a Guaranteed Issue period which would eliminate the underwriting process.

We want to help you make an informed decision!

If you would like additional information, please give us a call at 1-800-800-1397 ext. 1397 and mention that you read our article on the Medicare Insurance Finders blog.  We will take care of you just as we would our own family.  We look forward to speaking with you soon!

 

Group Insurance or Medicare

With over 25 years in the insurance industry our company has received all types of questions from clients and business owners pertaining to their insurance.  However, there is one that is popping up more and more now that people are working longer and that is “do in need group insurance or Medicare now that I am 65″. Unfortunately, we can not give a one size fits all answer to this question.  There are different factors that come into play like: high income penalties, group insurance rates (your portion), how many employees does your company have, and several other factors that must be considered if you want to make sure that you do the best thing for your coverage.

Compare Group Insurance or Medicare

Group insurance is coverage that is provided by your employer.  Medicare is a federal health insurance program that is broken up into four parts (A, B, C, D).  Part A is funded by payroll tax and Part B is partly government subsidized and partly insured paid.  The question we are covering is which coverage is better for you when you reach age 65, group insurance or Medicare.

The first thing you need to do before you do anything is ask yourself when you are going to retire.  If you are retiring at age 65 – it doesn’t matter which is better because when you quit working your group insurance goes away!  If you are going to continue working then you will need to do the following steps:

  1. Tally up your costs.  Find out what your group health insurance is costing you.  Is it subsidized 100% or do you have to pay 50% of the cost.
  2. Income.  What is your income and do you fall under the high income thresholds of Medicare?  A single individual reaches the high income level at $85,000 per year in 2013.  Depending on your income level it may not be cost efficient to enroll in Medicare Part B.
  3. Company Size.  Medicare is primary for under 20 employees and secondary coverage for groups over 20 lives.  There are different options like a group retiree medical plan that can be offered for those groups with less than 20 employees which can save the employer and employee a lot of money.  It is group insurance or Medicare – you might be wondering?  It is a supplemental insurance built for a group.  Click Here to find out more about this plan.

There are other factors that are a little more complicated than I would like to present in an article but just know that when you are comparing group insurance or Medicare you need someone who knows what they are talking about.  Not just a regular health insurance agent, but someone who specializes in Medicare.   Call 1-877-936-2991.

Group Insurance or Medicare Example

I had a business owner call a few months ago and he was a high income earner ($500k+).  Due to the penalty with Medicare and his low premiums for his group health plan.  It was not cost efficient for him to leave the group plan.  It was going to be $400 more per month or $5,000 roughly per year.

If you are leaving the group plan make sure to get a Medicare Supplement.  Most people want a plan that covers the gaps and allows you to go to any Medicare doctor.  Medicare Advantage plans change each year and it is not a plan that you can hang your hat on.  We hope you enjoyed this article and please don’t hesitate to share.

 

Group Insurance or Medicare

Offering Supplemental Medicare plans – Medigap and Dental Insurance

Medicare Supplement

Medicare Supplement Insurance is secondary insurance to Original Medicare. These plans are sold by private insurance companies to fill in the gaps of Original Medicare that you are required to pay.  These plans are regulated federally but can also have state regulations that govern how insurance companies can sell the plan in their state. An example would be the state of Texas not allowing Texas Medicare Supplement Insurance to price their plans by “Gender”.  This means a male and female pay the same rate.

Medicare Supplement Insurance Benefits

  1. Guaranteed Renewable – the insurance companies can not drop your policy.  These plans will be there as long as you pay your premium.
  2. Standardized – benefits are the same between companies so it makes Medicare Supplement comparison much easier than a traditional health insurance policy.
  3. Electronic Claims – you do not have to file claims, they are filed electronically.
  4. Open Enrollment Period – the open enrollment period for Medigap plans allows you to join a policy with no health questions for 6 months.  This is a huge benefit for someone with health problems.

Medicare Supplement Rates

If you have realized that Medicare Supplement plans are standardized you probably realize that they only difference between plans is their rate and financial stability!  Comparing rates is important because there is no need to pay more than necessary for the policy.

In Mississippi, the lowest plan F is about $105 per month and the highest plan F is about $180 per month.  There is no difference in benefits yet there is a $75 per month or $900 per year difference.  Make sure you compare plans before signing up.  To compare plans online go to out MEDICARE QUOTE ENGINE!  To speak with someone on the phone call 1-877-936-2991!

Medicare Supplement Outline of Coverage

Medicare Supplement Outline of Coverage

For more information on Medicare Supplement insurance contact our accredited advisors at 1-877-936-2991.

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!

 

Insurance Plans for Personality Types

I recently listened to several friends discuss different insurance plans and why they did or did not need the coverage. While both of them had points for their decisions I realized that their decisions were biased and stemmed from their beliefs and attitudes towards personal finance.  This made me realize that insurance decisions are no different from someone walking into the grocery store and choosing to buy the frozen chicken over the fresh chicken.  We have a process of analyzing things in our mind and financial risk/reward is the main thing we consider with insurance plans.

“Wait so you are saying that the insurance plans we purchase are based on our personality type or respect for money?”

After some research and analysis of the consumer’s purchase decision process, we have decided that this process applies to insurance plans as well.  Problem recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision and the post purchase behavior are all parts of the buying process. Continue reading

Health Insurance Tax – 2014

Most everybody across the country knows that the Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly referred to as Obamacare was passed in 2010.  There was debate that went to the Supreme Court over whether the law was legal.  The Supreme Court ruled that the United States government is basically imposing a tax not a “penalty” so it was declared lawful. Many people referred to this as a health insurance tax and not a health insurance program.  It turns out that they may have been more accurate than we thought.

Starting in 2014, there will be a health insurance tax that is imposed on the fully insured market (Self-Funded Plans are Exempt).   Currently most groups are on a fully insured plan and probably 90% of companies across the United States with under 50 employees are self-insured.  Now that people have had time to read the bill, this health insurance tax will greatly hinder small business production.

2014 Health Insurance Tax

How much is this health insurance tax that takes place in 2014?

  • PPACA will assess each health insurance company based on their “net premiums written” to know how much the tax will be to each insurance company.
  • The insurance companies will pass this along to the business on a fully insured group plan or individual plan.
  • The average family should see an increase of roughly $500 a year.
  • The insurer fee in 2014 will be 8 billion dollars.
  • The health insurance tax increases to 14.3 billion in 2018
Health Insurance Tax

2014 Health Insurance Tax – Obamacare

Basically this law just created a lot of extra taxes on our health insurance that will ultimately make our premiums increases.  The loss ratios haven’t even started for these plans and we know just on this one portion that there is an extra 8 billion dollars in expenses.  Now throw in  No Insured Maximums, No Health Questions, and 1,400 pages of new laws to comply with and you get yourself a nice little rate increase.

What does this tax pay for and what products are affected?

This tax is built to pay for the subsidies of individuals between 100% and 400% of poverty level.  Which some people may benefit greatly from this tax because they will receive their insurance at a much lower premium.

Products affected by this tax will include group health plans, individual plans, Medicare Advantage Plans and supposedly Part D plans.  In the law Medicare Supplement Insurance is exempt from this tax.  Medigap plans are also not under the same guidelines of no health questions.

MWG SENIOR SERVICES – 800-800-1397 option 6

 

 

Medicare Insurance

If you are coming up on retirement or the big 65 you probably have questions about Medicare Insurance. In this article and throughout our website we explain the basics of Medicare and what you need/want to know about the coverage and premiums associated with this health insurance.

If you read this article and visit our website and still have specific questions about Medicare insurance give us a call or reply to the post in which you have questions.  We will do our best to give you the information.  If you are  just in need of Medicare Supplement insurance click here for a free quote in under 2 minutes with over 25 Medigap Insurance Companies. Continue reading