Friday, May 31, 2013

4 Facts Regarding Medicare Supplement Insurance

By B. Loughead
 
Although Medicare supplement insurance has become an extremely popular topic of discussion, there are certain misconceptions about it that everyone needs to be aware of. There are 4 facts about this insurance that need to be taken into consideration before you sign up for any particular plan.

Fact #1: Medicare supplement insurance costs will vary from one carrier to the next - despite the fact that these plans are identical, regardless of who you purchase them from, the cost of your premium will vary from one insurance carrier to another. So be sure that you shop several companies before committing to buy. No insurance carrier is required to offer all 12 plans so one insurance company may try and talk you into the plans they sell when another plan may be what you actually need.

Fact #2: No matter who you purchase Medicare supplement insurance from, it is the same coverage - this insurance covers the gaps found in Medicare. There are different levels of benefits provided by this comprehensive 12-plan program labeled as Part A through Part L and many private insurance carriers may provide one or more of them. However, no matter who you purchase these plans from, the coverage will be identical. So if a company tells you that their plans offer certain unique benefits over other companies, don't believe them.

Fact #3: Only one Medicare supplement insurance plan is needed - according to the law, you only need one supplement insurance plan. You can easily cover the gaps in your Medicare coverage by purchasing Medigap insurance. So if Plan D covers your specific needs, you will not need to purchase any other supplemental plans. As it currently stands, trying to sell you additional plans is illegal according to the Federal Government.

Fact #4: You are the only person who can be covered by a Medicare insurance policy - your Medicare policy covers you and no one else, unlike traditional insurance policies that oftentimes include coverage for your husband or wife. Married couples have to purchase individual policies should they want Medicare coverage. So if a private insurance carrier tries to tell you that you can purchase a Medicare insurance policy that covers both of you, they are not on the level and you should keep shopping other providers.

In closing, remember that up to 80% of some hospitalizations, equipment, and treatments will be covered by Medicare. The exact amount will be determined by whether you have Part A only or Part B as well. Choosing the right medicare supplement insurance policy will determine if you are covered 100%.

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, Michigan, Texas and Colorado to name a few.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Definitions Of The Most Common Medicare Terms

By B. Loughead

There are a number of Medicare terms that everyone should know if they are policy holders or are about to be. We have listed the more common ones below.


Appeal - a formal complaint that an individual files if certain drugs and services are not covered by their particular Medicare plan when they feel that they should be.

Co-pay - the portion of any medical services and/or prescription medications that you are responsible for paying.

Deductible - the amount of money that must be paid by the insured for medical care before Medicare covers any such expenses.

Doughnut hole - the coverage gap found in some Medicare drug plans (scheduled to close in 2020).

Dual eligibility - refers to being eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare.

Enrollment period - the limited time period that an individual can enroll in a health care plan or switch to a different one.

Grievance - a formal complaint made to Medicare when your health care plan or the person administering medical treatment to you has treated you improperly or poorly.

Home health care - short-term care provided while you are recovering at home from an illness or injury. Occasional part-time skilled care as well as some medical equipment, services, and supplies are included in a home health care plan.

Hospice care - care administered to those individuals with a terminal illness or medical condition (covered in Part A). Counseling and physical care are included.

Long-term care - Medicare does not cover ongoing health or personal care that an assisted living facility or a nursing home would provide.

Medicaid - federal and state programs that are separate from Medicare. This assists those individuals with limited assets and low incomes to pay for their medical expenses.

Medicare Advantage - alternative health care for Parts A and B that are provided by a private insurance carrier.

Medicare Part A - pays for hospice care, hospital stays, and some home health care.

Medicare Part B - pays for lab tests, medical equipment, physician visits, and some medical services.

Medicare Part D - coverage that is provided for some brand name and generic medications.

Medigap - private insurance that covers the gaps in Part A and Part B coverages. It is also sometimes referred to as Medicare Supplement Insurance.

Out-of-pocket expenses - those expenses that you are responsible for and are not covered by Medicare insurance.

Premiums - payments for health care coverage that is usually made on a monthly basis.
Skilled nursing care - medical care provided by licensed LPN's (Licensed Practical Nurses) or RN's (Registered Nurses).

For more information, the entire Medicare glossary is available online at the US Government Site for Medicare or you can click Medicare supplement information.

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.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Deadline Approaching For People Who Had Universal Healthcare To Sign Up For A New Medicare Plan

Deadline Approaching For People Who Had Universal Healthcare To Sign Up For A New Medicare Plan

By B. Loughead
  
The time is now for people who had Universal Healthcare to sign up for new Medicare Supplement Insurance or Medicare Advantage Plan. The Special Election Period (SEP) is almost over. This past February (2013), Florida state regulators chose to put two subsidiaries of Universal Health Care Group Inc. into receivership as it was announced that the financially troubled company had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The future of the St. Petersburg-based health care corporation is clouded and uncertain due to continued financial struggles and state regulatory commission challenges. The shutdown will affect both employees and members alike in the state of Florida, but there is some speculation regarding those individuals in the states of Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, and Texas as well.

As it currently stands, there are approximately 100,000 members (40,000 Medicare and 60,000 Medicaid) while there are roughly 37,500 Medicare policy holders covered by the Universal Health Care Insurance Company. Although the states of North Carolina and Texas both have HMO facilities, it is speculated that the receivership orders in Florida will not affect them. However, there is still a great deal of concern for members as some 900 seniors in the St. Pete area alone will be affected and will need to find another health care provider as a result of the bankruptcy filing.

In addition to the thousands of Universal Health Care members that will be impacted by the shutdown, hundreds of employees will also be out of a job and add to the current economic woes of the country. Interestingly enough, and despite this "doom and gloom" scenario, those members who are impacted by the Universal Health Care shutdown now have the opportunity to be covered by Medicare supplement insurance. Current Universal members are enrolled in Medicaid or Medicare as it is. However, they were assigned to original Medicare Part A & Part B if they had not chosen a new plan as of the April 1st deadline.

As it currently stands, the company is continuing to operate while negotiations with lenders continue and the proposed reorganization under Chapter 11. For now, this protects them from any lawsuits and/or collection efforts. Additionally, Universal Health Care has agreed to a merger with America's 1st Choice for the Florida, Nevada, and Texas HMO's as well as part of their Universal Health Care Insurance Company. According to several news articles, Universal will seek the bankruptcy court's permission to continue with the sale of the company and have not yet consented to receivership. What is important is the fact that those members who feared the worst do have other options to consider.

CMS has granted these beneficiaries, along with other impacted Universal Health Care Inc. (HMO) and Universal Health Care Insurance Company Inc. (PFFS ) plan members a Special Election Period (SEP), to enroll into another plan of their choice. Valid effective dates for this SEP are March 1 - May 31, 2013. It is important that people impacted by this contact an independent agent quickly to make the deadline.

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 or to compare plans visit http://www.SummitMedigap.com/ or call us at 1-888-40-Summit (888-407-8664). We have helped many clients in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Michigan, Colorado and Texas to name a few.

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