Saturday, March 30, 2013

How To Compare The Different Medicare Supplement Plans

By B. Loughead
As it currently stands, there are 7 additional Medicare Supplement plans to choose from (F through N) in addition to plans A, B, C, and D. Each plan's benefits differ in one way or another with one exception and that is the fact that basic benefits coverage is required of all of them. In
1990, Medicare standardized their different plans in order to decrease the amount of confusion that consumers were experiencing as they compared different coverages offered by the different healthcare insurance providers.

As a result of this standardization, it is easier for the consumer to understand the comparison of these different benefits and the associated cost comparisons between healthcare insurance providers. As a result, the terms "MediGap plans" and "Medicare supplement" basically mean the same thing and are commonly used interchangeably. As a result of having so many Medicare plans to choose from, it is important to research each one in order to decide which will be best for your personal needs and situation.

One of the first things to be aware of when searching for supplement plans and comparing the ones you find is that many websites who advertise these are only there for one reason and that is to collect your personal information. In many cases, insurance providers will purchase leads or develop lead generators to accomplish this instead of actually doing what they advertise. Basically, these companies don't know the proper ways of developing new business so they resort to these somewhat underhanded methods.

Many of these companies make it appear as though they actually sell the different Medicare supplement plans but the reality is that they will collect your personal information and sell it to numerous insurance agents. Here are two ways that you can tell if they are legitimate healthcare insurance and Medicare supplement plan providers. First of all, there will be a toll-free number to call and secondly, there will be a statement promising that they will never sell your personal information to anyone else.

Do price comparisons of these different Medicare plans when searching through the different companies that offer them. The better insurance brokers will be able to provide you with these comparisons from those insurance providers operating in your local area. In most cases the prices will differ despite the fact that the supplement plans they offer are identical. Remember, it is better to do plenty of research in order to make a well-informed decision when purchasing the Medicare supplement plan that is right for you.

Summit Medigap is an independent insurance agency that specializes in Medicare supplement insurance and we will never sell your personal information to anyone. We make Medicare seem easy™. For more information about Medicare supplement insurance visit or call us at 1-888-40-Summit (888-407-8664).

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Basic Guide To Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C)

By B. Loughead
The coverages of Medicare Parts A and B as well as additional benefits are combined under Medicare Advantage plans (Part C). Most of these plans will also include prescription drug coverage or Medicare Part D. If you want to enroll in one of the Advantage plans that are available through private companies, you can do so provided that you already have or can qualify for regular Medicare coverage. You won't need all three of these coverages nor will you have the need for any type of Medigap coverage if you enroll in Plan C.

The Differences Between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage Plans

Although everything that Medicare usually covers is covered by a Medicare Advantage plan, there are some differences between them to be aware of. Most of the time, the difference is in the amount you pay for health care out-of-pocket. Some of those differences include:

• co-insurance or paying a different percentage share of your medical bills
• co-pays
• deductibles
• Network of providers available
• In Network vs. Out of Network

Additionally, emergency medical and urgent care is included in Medicare Advantage plans (Part C). In some instances, routine dental, routine vision, and/or wellness programs may also be covered by some plans. Most will include Part D coverage. However, Part C coverage does not include any hospice care, even with a Medicare Advantage plan, as it is still covered under Medicare.

The Different Types Of Medicare Advantage Part C Plans

In order to determine which type of Part C plan will facilitate your needs, you need to review the different types of plans that are currently available. There are several different plans including the following:

HMO - Health Maintenance Organization Plan
MSA - Medical Savings Account Plan
PFFS - Private Fee-for-Service Plan
POS - Point of Service Plan
PPO - Preferred Provider Organization Plan
SNP - Special Needs Plans

Information regarding these six different types of plan is available online simply by using the abbreviation or what it stands for as the keywords for your Google search.

Part C Enrollment

In closing, the enrollment process for Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) will differ based on which private insurance carrier you select. However, enrollment periods are identical regardless. Enrollment is allowed once you are eligible for Medicare, but there is a 7-month waiting period that begins 90 days prior to your 65th birthday and continues for 120 days afterwards. Finally, if you are less than 65 years of age and are receiving SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance), you will qualify once you have been receiving SSDI for 2 years and 1 month.

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 or call us at 1-888-40-Summit (888-407-8664).

Saturday, March 9, 2013

What Is Medicare Supplement Plan G? Is It Right For Me?

By B. Loughead
Medicare Supplement Plan G Protects You Against High Out-Of-Pocket Expenses

What is Medicare Supplement Plan G?

Plan G (and Plan F) are the only supplemental insurance plans that will cover medical and related expenses known as Medicare Part B "excess charges." Excess charges refers to the difference between what Medicare will pay for and what you are charged by your physician or health care provider. Basically, Plan G protects you against excessive out-of-pocket expenses resulting from treatments that exceed what Medicare approves.

Benefits And Coverage Of Medicare Supplement Plan G

There are certain basic Medicare benefits and coverage provided by Plan G which are broken down as follows. The basic benefits include:

• first 3 pints of blood per year
• Part A co-insurance for hospice services
• Part A co-insurance for hospitalization plus an additional 365 days of coverage once Medicare benefits have ended
• Part B medical co-insurance and hospital out-patient co-payments (usually 20% percent of expenses that are Medicare-approved)

Along with these benefits, Medicare Plan G also provides you with coverage for the following:

• 100% of excess charges incurred under Part B
• care in a skilled nursing facility
• emergency medical help when traveling internationally
• hospitalization deductible (Part A)

Additional Considerations Regarding Medicare Supplement Plan G

Where coverage of those bigger expenses is concerned, Plan G is the popular choice for handling what isn't covered by Medicare. These larger expenses could be substantial and cause financial hardships for those individuals who do not have supplemental coverage. Here is a scenario of what you could be up against when staying in the hospital and not having Plan G coverage.
First of all, any hospital stay will have a deductible in excess of $1,000. For stays of 60 days or longer, co-insurance payments are extremely expensive. More importantly, once you exceed 150 days in the hospital there is no coverage at all. Charges not covered by Medicare include any doctor's services, laboratory tests, and procedures done on an out-patient basis. Your first three pints of blood will even have to be paid out-of-pocket.

On a closing note, taking the time to review your coverage is definitely in your best interest. Today, there are a number of healthcare insurance providers who offer Medicare supplement Plan G coverage. So if you do not have additional coverage to handle the expenses listed above, now might be a good time to consider getting some should you need that type of coverage later on.

Summit Medigap is an independent insurance agency that specializes in Medicare supplement insurance. We make Medicare seem easy™. For more information about Medicare supplement Plan G or to compare plans online visit or call us at 1-888-40-Summit (888-407-8664). Review plans from all the top "A" rated carriers instantly from our website. Your one-stop-shop for Medicare Supplement Insurance.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Brief Overview of Medicare Part A And B

Medicare came into being in 1965 when then US President Lyndon Johnson signed Title XVIII, an
amendment to the Social Security Act into law in order to provide individuals aged 65 or older with health insurance. Additionally, younger individuals with disabilities or those suffering with end stage renal disease were also covered. Originally, the program was Medicare Part A and B with "A" being hospitalization coverage and "B" covering medical expenses (i.e. doctor's visits) and required medical equipment.

Medicare Part A - Hospital Insurance

Covers hospitalization which includes staying overnight on an in-patient basis. It includes being in a semi-private room, your food, and any tests that have to be administered. It also covers staying in a skilled nursing facility to recuperate from injuries or surgeries provided the individual has met specific criteria (the breakdown of those criteria is available at the Medicare website). Part A also has a deductible of $1,184 (as of 2013) and it's important to remember this is a "per benefit period" deductible rather than an annual deductible.

Part A covers up to 100 days maximum when staying in a skilled nursing facility while the maximum stay is 90 days for in-patient hospital stays. Additionally, individuals requiring hospice care and are suffering with a terminal disease and who have 6 months or less to live are also covered under Medicare A. Covered treatment includes medications, pain relief, and symptom control.

Medicare Part B - Medical Insurance

Some medical products and services that are not covered under Part A will be covered under Part B usually for out-patient purposes. Part B is a deferrable option provided the beneficiary or their spouse is still employed and is receiving employer-provided healthcare coverage. Part B coverage goes into effect once the person has paid their $147 deductible (as of 2013). From that point on, Medicare covers 80% of approved expenses while the individual is responsible for the remaining 20%. Many people look for a Medicare Supplement Plan to cover what Part A & B does not cover.

How Medicare Part A And B Differ

Aside from the aforementioned general breakdown of Medicare Part A and B, there are other differences between the two. In addition to hospitalization and the coverages above, Part A includes blood transfusions and home health services. Part B covers other aspects that Part A does not. Occupational and physical therapy as well as out-patient care are usually covered under Medicare Part B.

Medicare Part A and B will have certain benefits that may apply to your circumstances, depending on the health coverage you need. For more information regarding Medicare Part A and B, you are welcome to visit the official Medicare website.

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 or call us at 1-888-40-Summit (888-407-8664).

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