Saturday, September 20, 2014

5 Common Medigap Insurance Myths Every Retiree Should Know



By Bill Loughead

There are a lot of Myths about Medigap Insurance Plans that get discussed every year with new clients and we thought we would share some important ones.  After all, it is a lot to remember.  Who can keep track of all the parts and plans such as Medicare Part  A & B and Plans A, B, C, D, G, F and J just to name a few.  It is enough to give anyone a headache.  If that isn't enough there are different names that mean the same thing like Medigap Plans and Medicare Supplement Plans.  They are just two names that describe exactly the same thing.
Medigap Insurance Myths


Myth #1- I need to make sure I pick a plan that has a strong network in my area that includes my doctor.


Fact:  Medigap Plans (or Medicare Supplement Plans) do not have a network.  You can go to any doctor or hospital in any state you want.  If they take Medicare they will take the plan regardless of who the carrier is.  That never changes.  Anytime you hear of someone’s doctor not being in network it is because that person has a Medicare Advantage plan.


Myth #2- I can only switch my Medigap Plan (Medicare Supplement) during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP).


Fact:  You can switch your Medigap Plan any time of the year that it benefits you.  You do not need to wait for a certain time.  The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is only for people who have a Medicare Advantage Plan or for your Part D Prescription Drug Plan.  Most people don’t realize this because there is so much advertising done in the last half of the year by insurance carriers for AEP so it has led everyone to believe it.


Myth #3- All insurance companies price Medigap Plans the same so I don’t need an independent agent.


Fact:  Prices can vary greatly for exactly the same plan from one insurance carrier to the next.  For example, one insurance carrier can charge $150 per month for Plan F while another well-known carrier may charge $220 per month for the same plan.  Benefits are identical but the price isn’t.  In addition, there are 11 different Medigap Plans with varying degrees of benefits.  An independent agent can help you sort through it all.


Myth #4- My insurance won't be as good as my employer’s group plan.


Fact:  Medicare along with a good Medigap Plan is great health insurance.  Most Medigap Plan’s do not have coinsurance and high deductible like many employer group plans.  Often time’s people who get a Medigap Plan get more comprehensive coverage for less than what they were paying with their employer.


Myth #5- It will cost more if I use an independent insurance agent or broker.


Fact:  The services of an independent agent are free to you.  You will get exactly the same premium if you go directly to the insurance carrier or if you use an independent agent.  The difference is you save money because the independent agent will show you all the plans from all the major carriers and help you pick a plan that fits your needs.  A good agent will also help you save money down the road when carriers come out with different plans and rates.  You pay exactly the same but get unbiased advice from the independent agent. The insurance company pays the agent for getting you a policy.  The insurance company saves money because they do not pay the agents office space, staff salaries, marketing or other expenses.  Similar to when you buy a house using a buyer’s agent, the seller pays your realtor’s commission, not you.



Summit Medigap is an independent insurance agency that specializes in Medicare supplement insurance (Medigap Plans). We make Medicare seem easy™. For more information about Medicare supplement insurance visit http://www.SummitMedigap.com/ or call us at 1-888-40-Summit (888-407-8664). We have helped many people in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Colorado and Michigan.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Will My Medicare Part B Premium Be Higher Because of Income?

How much does Medicare Part B cost?
 

People who are age 65 and over get Medicare Part A and Part B.  Medicare Part B charges a premium and will charge you more based on how much you make.  For most people, the premium for Part B will be $104.90 per month.  However, if your modified adjusted gross income from 2 years ago is above a certain amount, you may pay an increased premium.  The amount you pay can change each year based on your
Medicare Part B Premium
income.  

Medicare Part A & B covers around 80% of your healthcare needs.  Many people get a Medicare Supplement (also referred to as Medigap) to cover the rest.  Medicare along with a supplement is great health insurance.  Part A covers the hospital and Medicare Part B covers the doctors and tests.




Part B premiums by income

If your yearly income in 2012 (for what you pay in 2014) was You pay (in 2014)
File individual tax return File joint tax return File married & separate tax return
$85,000 or less $170,000 or less $85,000 or less $104.90
above $85,000 up to $107,000 above $170,000 up to $214,000 Not applicable $146.90
above $107,000 up to $160,000 above $214,000 up to $320,000 Not applicable $209.80
above $160,000 up to $214,000 above $320,000 up to $428,000 above $85,000 and up to $129,000 $272.70
above $214,000 above $428,000 above $129,000 $335.70
*Source: Medicare.gov




Summit Medigap is an independent insurance agency that specializes in Medicare supplement insurance. We make Medicare seem easy™. For more information about Medicare supplement insurance visit http://www.SummitMedigap.com/ or call us at 1-888-40-Summit (888-407-8664). We have helped many people in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Colorado and Michigan to name a few.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Summit Insurance Solutions Receives 2013 Best of Ponte Vedra Beach Award



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Summit Insurance Solutions Receives 2013 Best of Ponte Vedra Beach Award

Ponte Vedra Beach Award Program Honors the Achievement

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA January 15, 2014 -- Summit Insurance Solutions (SummitMedigap.com) has been selected for the 2013 Best of Ponte Vedra Beach Award in the Health Insurance category by the Ponte Vedra Beach Award Program.

Each year, the Ponte Vedra Beach Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Ponte Vedra Beach area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2013 Ponte Vedra Beach Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Ponte Vedra Beach Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Ponte Vedra Beach Award Program

The Ponte Vedra Beach Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Ponte Vedra Beach area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Ponte Vedra Beach Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community's contributions to the U.S. economy.

 Summit Insurance Solutions is an independent insurance agency that specializes in Medicare supplement insurance, Life and Long Term Care. For more information about Medicare supplement insurance visit http://www.SummitMedigap.com/ or call at 1-888-40-Summit (888-407-8664). They have helped many people in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Colorado and Michigan to name a few.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Medicare Advantage Changes For 2014




2014 is a time of major upheaval for Medicare Advantage. Many people who’ve been fairly satisfied on their programs for years, many of whom would prefer to stay loyal to their plans, are finding that 2014 will bring about a year of disappointing changes. This is because some of their most beloved programs, such as exercise programs, for instance, are being cut. This will lead to higher out of pocket expenses for those who still want to attend these beneficial health classes. Additionally, several other cutbacks have lead carriers such as AARP Medicare Advantage to drop doctors from their coverage networks as well.
Medicare Advantage Changes for 2014

This pattern of frustrating and disappointing cuts and network changes is likely to continue from 2014 onward, and has caused many people to look into MedicareSupplement Plans (Medigap) as a more beneficial alternative. This is due to the fact that once a cost-benefit analysis has been performed comparing Medicare Advantage versus the Medigap options available through private insurers, often times Medigap plans end up being more affordable, while offering more comprehensive benefits.

Medicare Supplement Plans (Medigap) offer their beneficiaries many attractive benefits:

Medigap Is Not Network-Dependent.
Medigap users have a wider choice in healthcare providers due to lack of restricted network. This means that users can see any doctor and visit any hospital they want, and can suit their choices with the hospital’s’ specialties. It also takes away the fear of high fees for visiting out-of-network facilities and physicians.

Medigap Users Do Not Need Referrals To See Specialists.
Users with Medicare Advantage Plans usually have to get a referral to see specialists such as endocrinologists, cardiologists, and dermatologists. However, Medigap users are not limited by this requirement; they have the freedom to see specialists for health concerns and prevention as they see fit.

Benefits Can’t Change From Year To Year.
Due to the nature of their funding, Medicare Advantage plans are vulnerable to governmental changes, which means their prices and benefits may change with little to no notice to the consumer. Medigap users can feel confident in their prices and benefits, as they’re less susceptible to these changes.


In this time of drastic cuts and skyrocketing prices, many people who initially anticipated long term adherence to their Medicare Advantage plans are coming to the conclusion that Medigap plans are simply a better fit. While some may appear to be more expensive upfront, they’re actually very useful, both for those insured with medical conditions, and for those who simply greater freedom of choice within their plan. These options can actually help save money in the long run.

Summit Medigap is an independent insurance agency that specializes in Medigap supplement insurance. We make Medicare seem easy™. For more information about Medigap supplement insurance visit http://www.SummitMedigap.com/ or call us at 1-888-40-Summit (888-407-8664). We have helped many people in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Colorado and Michigan to name a few.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

What is the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period?



Difference Between The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period & The Annual Enrollment Period


While there are two periods during each year that beneficiaries may make changes to their Medicare and Prescription drug coverage, the two periods are distinctly different in terms of what changes can be made when.

When Is The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP)?

The MADP runs from the 1st of January to the 14th of February. Those with a Medicare Advantage Plan are able to use this brief window to switch to traditional or basic Medicare coverage, which starts the first of the following month after the changes have been made.  Many people just signed up for a Medicare Advantage plan effective January 1st and may be having second thoughts.  For some, the max of pocket expenses are too high on Medicare Advantage Plans and for others they realize the size of the network of the doctors available has changed.  The solution is to take advantage of this dis-enrollment period, go back to original Medicare and get a Medicare Supplement Plan.
When is the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period?

The drawback to this is that if you choose to dis-enroll from your private Medicare Plan, you may no longer be eligible to buy Medigap supplemental insurance, which requires Medicare Part B. To find out if your state still allows you to enroll after making this change, you need to consult an insurance specialist in your state, or your State Health Insurance Assistance Program for more details.

While beneficiaries are able to make plan changes at this time, they may not switch to an alternate Medicare Advantage Plan. This can only be done during the Annual Enrollment Period.

When Is Medicare Fall Open Enrollment, AKA the Annual Election Period (or AEP)?

The AEP period if between October 15th and December 7th. It is during this time that people can make changes to their overall health plan, as well as their prescription drug coverage plan. Your chosen changes will take effect on the first day of the following year, at the start of your new coverage period.

Financially, it’s a smart idea to stay on top of the latest available options for Medicare Prescription Drug coverage, compared with sticking to the same plan year after year. While many people remain loyal to their Medicare plans over the long term, many beneficiaries find that when they research new plans prior to open enrollment, the updated options available to them offer better drug coverage options at a lower price, so be sure to stay open to new options to get the best value.

Also, Insurance experts recommend, for the sake of convenience, that anyone looking to change their prescription drug plan during Fall Open Enrollment do so closer to the beginning and middle of the months of October and November to allow sufficient processing time in preparation for the start of the New Year.

Summit Medigap is an independent insurance agency that specializes in Medigap supplement insurance. We make Medicare seem easy™. For more information about Medigap supplement insurance visit http://www.SummitMedigap.com/ or call us at 1-888-40-Summit (888-407-8664). We have helped many people in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Colorado and Michigan to name a few.


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