Obesity and Medicare

December 1, 2011

For our clients and seniors out there stuggling with obesity, Medicare has decided it's important to address obesity and the health costs that result from it. Medicare will now begin paying doctors to counsel seniors on weight loss and weight control. For more information, please see these articles:

Obesity and Medicare NPR

More extensive article on Obesity and Medicare

Many medicare supplement companies rate based on height and weight, therefore being obese can result in a higher premium. For those turning 65, your initial open enrollment period allows you to sign up without answering health questions. For those over 65 and want to change their plan, underwriting questions can become an obstacle that is too high to climb. There are some plans that do not have a weight rating, if you would like to learn more feel free to contact us.

If your current medicare supplement premium has become too high, give us a call and we can see if we can help you find a lower premium plan with all the benefits you have now. You can call us at 888-729-6493, visit www.mymedigapconsultant.com, or email us at heather@mymedigapconsultant.com.

Medicare Annual Enrollment Period ends December 7, 2012

November 30, 2011

Just a quick reminder from My Medigap Consultant, Medicare Annual Enrollment Period ends December 7, 2012.  This is early this year due to recent changes in the health care laws. 

This date will be the last date you can make changes to your medicare advantage plans (Part C) or your medicare Part D drug plans.  Once this date passes, you will be locked in to the current plan you have for the rest of 2012. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please give us a call or visit us on our medicare supplement contact page.

Are Medicare Advantage plans pulling out of your county?

November 16, 2011

There are several counties in NC that are losing medicare advantage plans for 2012.  If you look at what was available to Craven county in 2011, there were 7 carriers with 20 plans total for Craven county residence.  For 2012, there are only 2 carriers with 4 plans.  That's quite a change in options and it's leaving many residents scrambling for coverage. 

For seniors in this situation (Medicare Advantage plans leaving your county), Medicare allows you a special enrollment option.  This allows you to enroll in a Medicare supplement plan without underwriting. 

So if you find yourself in this situation, give us a call or send us an email.  As a medicare supplement brokerage, we can help you find the best plan for your premium dollar.  Call us at 1-888-729-9364 or email me at heather@mymedigapconsultant.com

How does a NC Medicare policy work?

November 13, 2011

Before we can understand how the NC Medicare policy works, we need to know what it is first. NC Medicare supplement policy is a health insurance sold by private insurance companies that supplements services or benefits that are not covered by the Original Medicare Plan. It literally fills-in the "gaps" left by the main health insurance plan. The NC Medicare plan will pay for certain benefits and services that the Medicare Plan doesn't cover; it also shares in the over-all, covered health care costs and expenses. Generally speaking, a NC Medicare Plan is identified as a Medicare Supplement Insurance. Several NC Medicare plans are available to cater to different needs.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has standardized NC Medicare plans to 12 different packets and labelled them A up to N. These plans are sold by private Insurance Companies, at different rates depending on the coverage and combined benefits. Since a NC Medicare plan is a private insurance, and not sponsored by the government, the policies, terms and conditions vary from state to state. Some States, such as Wisconsin, Minnesota and Massachusetts require additional coverage from the set standards. Drug coverage may or may not be included with NC Medicare Plans because of the Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage.

To be an eligible Medicare plan beneficiary, the individual is required to be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B. In most cases, medical screening is not required, but if deemed necessary the Insurance Company may ask for a Physician's certificate and medical screening. A Medicare plan is not compatible with private Medicare coverage like the Medicare advantage plan.

It is very important to note that a NC Medicare policy doesn't cover long-term health care including care in a nursing home, vision care and eyeglasses, hearing-aids, dental care and private-duty nursing. For costs and payments, NC Medicare beneficiaries pay a separate monthly premium depending on the plan to the private insurance company on top of the Medicare Part B monthly premium. Each NC Medicare policy only covers one person, for married couples, each spouse must purchase a separate NC Medicare policy. A beneficiary can opt to cancel or renew his policy depending on certain conditions. As a standard rule, a NC Medicare policy cannot be cancelled or revoked by the insurance company for as long as the beneficiary is still paying the monthly premium

North Carolina Medicare Supplement Plans and Underwriting – What’s in it for you?

November 4, 2011

One of the most common question we get from Seniors is "why are the medicare supplement plans premiums so different if all the coverage is the same?"  This is part of the confusion we like to call the Medicare Alphabet Soup!  Let's clear up some of this for you now. 

Many plans have different underwriting guidelines.  These guidelines are the rules by which an applicant is accepted or declined for coverage.  These guidelines determine acceptance based on height, weight, health issues, medications, lifestyle habits, among other areas.  Each insurance company weighs these factors differently.  Some companies have tighter underwriting guidelines, which account for generally lower premiums year over year.  While other plans may have "looser" guidelines.  Since we work with many companies and are constantly using their underwriting guidelines to insure; we select the best plan based on our client's situation.  Sometimes we find one company is better for the wife, while another company offers better premiums for the husband. 

We look at what life style choices our clients have (smoker/non smoker), physical attributes (height/weight), discounts available, and other factors to narrow the choices for our clients.  We know some carriers are more competitive for smokers, some carriers do not charge more for height and weight, while others may be more competitive for seniors over 75.  We also take the time to explain why the list of companies we show are best for you.  This is why your best friend's plan may not be the best rate available to you.   Some times different plans are considered.  Plan F may not be the best plan available ("is plan F the best plan?")

We want you to understand why we recommend this company over another.  If you have been bombarded with info or what to see if you are getting the best rate, give us a call or visit our north carolina medicare supplement quote form.  We would be happy to help.

Medicare 2012 changes and how it affects you

November 1, 2011

Recently CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) announced the changes to Medicare for 2012.  The one change that stands out the most is the change to the Part B deductible.  Generally, Part A deals with hospital charges and Part B handles physician charges.  The deductible for Part B actually decreased for 2012.  In 2011, Part B deductible was $162/year.  In 2012, that deductible decreases to $140/year. 

Well, you might ask, what does this all mean?  It's great to have a decrease, but my Plan F covers my Part B deductible.  Yes, this is true.  However, for many of our clients who signed up with Plan G, they are saving even more money each year.  Let's explain.  Plan F, which is commonly sold as "it covers everything that Medicare approves" is still correct.  However, our clients know we dig a little deeper.  Plan G is a better option for those who are not going to the doctor very often.  Plan G is the same as Plan F except is does not cover the Part B deductible.  Moreover, the premium difference in Plan G versus Plan F is often less than your Part B deductible.   So you may have to pay $162 in 2011 at the beginning of the year, but you save more than the $162 in premiums during the year.  We often find this difference even larger for some of our over 75 clients.  For those over 75, we have seen a saving of $160/year.  Their Part B deductible was $162, but their savings from Plan F to Plan G was $300+/year.  For an 2011 example, please see "is medicare supplement Plan F the best plan? "

If you are not sure you are getting the attention you need to make the best decision for your medicare premium dollars, feel free to contact us at 888-729-9364 or complete our NC Medicare supplement contact form.  We would be happy to talk with you to see if we can help.

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