Do you truly understand Medicare and all its different parts and plans? For most individuals, the answer is no. When turning 65 or aging into Medicare, the initial shock of all the different options can be very overwhelming. Even for individuals already on Medicare, it seem that they almost become complacent with the coverage they have and really do not take the time to understand all of there options.
Over the past couple of weeks I have shared some great videos from Medicare Made Clear, that in my opinion are very well put together. Maybe it is just because I am a more visual person, but anytime I can watch a short video on something I am trying to learn it just seems to stick a little better in my noggin.
The video below is great for knowing what your options are when dealing with Medicare as a whole. 10 key things to make sure you know before you make a decision on your Medicare insurance options.
Medicare Parts A & B.
Medicare Part D.
Medigap – Medicare Supplement Insurance.
Medicare Advantage Plans.
Where you live and how it affects cost and choice.
Group or Retirement Insurance.
Enrollment into Medicare.
Changing coverage and when to.
Asking for help.
All of these are great points to know and have an idea of when aging into Medicare and searching for what will be the best Medicare insurance options available for your situation, but knowing usually is not enough. This is where having an agent on your side can really help.
If you are a resident of Texas and find yourself becoming eligible for Medicare or already on Medicare and looking to review you insurance coverage options, give us a call. Here at Medigap Select of Texas we can walk you through all the ins and outs of Medicare and help you decide which insurance coverage options will work best for you. No matter if you are looking for the best rates on Medicare supplement plans in Texas or trying to find what Medicare Advantage Plans are available in your county, we can point you in the right direction. So, give an agent a call today at 1-866-849-5465 for your free, no-obligation Texas Medicare Insurance Review, and let us help protect you with the right Medicare Insurance Plan in Texas.
So, you are turning 65 or new to Medicare and you’re not sure which route to take when covering the gaps left by just having Medicare alone. When becoming eligible for Medicare and having to find your own health insurance, due to not having group or retirement coverage, you really only have two options to choose from. Here in Texas you can choose a Medigap Insurance Plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan. Well, with only two options, which one is the best?
I wish that question was as easy to answer as it is to ask. The answer to this question is completely up to you. Knowing the differences between the two insurance options is the first place to start; complete knowledge of the risks and rewards of each will help protect you in the long run from cost you were not expecting. Now, if you were to ask me that question, as an insurance professional, I would have to ask you a question right back; “How much of a gambler are you?” The reason for that statement is insurance is a gamble no matter how you look at it. You can pay for coverage month after month for twenty years and never use it or you can go without because of how healthy you think you are and the next thing you know you are looking at a $250,000 hospital bill.
The cushion to the gamble of insurance when you are Medicare eligible is Original Medicare. Medicare Part A covers most of your hospital services and you pay for that with the taxes you pay in over the years that you work. Medicare Part B, even though you have to pay for it, helps pick up 80% of Medicare’s approved charges for medical services. The problem is most seniors are on a fixed income, and the out of pockets risks left by just having Medicare alone could really hurt that income coming in. This is why there are options to help protect that income.
In my professional opinion, I would suggest to anyone that they choose a Texas Medicare supplement insurance plans over a Medicare Advantage plan, if it fit their budget. The reason for this is these plans are designed to fill in the gaps left by just having Medicare alone, hence the name Medigap. You are also not restricted to seeing certain doctors or hospitals, as long as you do not choose a Medicare Select Plan. More importantly you know exactly what your risk or gamble is, depending on which plan you pick.
On the flip side, there are numerous options of Medicare Advantage Plans to choose from, but make sure you fully understand the rules of the plan before signing up for one. Even though I think that there always should be the option of both plans to choose from, I just would not recommend a plan that restricts you doctor and hospital choices, offers lower premiums (sometimes $0) but leaves you with the chance to be out of pocket more if you have to use them, but the number one reason why I would suggest a Medigap Insurance Plan in Texas over a Medicare Advantage Plan is the uncertainty of their future. The point being is this, we all know that the government passed the Health Care Reform Law, well in this bill there is over $500 Billion dollars in cuts to Medicare. Out of the $500 Billion, $130 Billion are aimed directly at Medicare Advantage Plans. Even though these cuts do not kick in until 2012, here in Texas I saw 4 PFFS Plans pull out of the state and sent letters to their customers stating they would not have benefits come January 1, 2011.
I do not mind a little gambling, but if I only had two choices to pick from and one was uncertain with more out of pocket risk while the other was designed to cover specific areas that were not and offered freedom of choice, I believe my choice would be easy. Now, that is just my opinion and it is mainly pointed to the 65 year and older crowd. Here in Texas if you are on Medicare Disability, your options for Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans go from 10 Plan choices to 1. This is why I enjoy my job; I help people understand this gamble in life. As for the decision they make, I will always be unbiased in passing on my knowledge and hope that I will give them informed information to make an informed one. If I can answer any questions or concerns you may have feel free to contact me directly.
How much longer will Medicare be around? Can it sustain the influx of Baby Boomers that are becoming Medicare eligible at a rapid daily rate? What options will be available for me? I could go on for about two more pages of the questions that arise when talking about Medicare and its future. The truth is something is going to have to happen to keep Medicare alive; the problem is no one has the right answer. Or do they?
With only having two options to cover the gaps left with Original Medicare, if you are not covered by a group retirement plan, cost of the options continue to go up and with one option benefits continue to go down. The main problem, I believe, is that both Republican and Democrats cannot agree on what option is the best for individuals. So, depending on which party controls the vote, the other insurance option seems to fade away.
Here in Texas I can help explain your options and even suggest to you which coverage would be the best fit for your needs. Texas Medigap insurance plans are designed to cover most, if not all of the gaps left by Medicare. The monthly cost of the insurance could be more than the other option, but depending on what plan you choose; overall medical costs could be quite lower. The other option an individual can look at is a Medicare Advantage plans in Texas. With this coverage it is possible to have a lower monthly cost for your insurance, but you take more of a financial risk with most plans if you have to use your insurance.
The Republicans favor the options of both Medicare supplements and Medicare Advantage plans, but with the recent health care reform signed into law Democrats seem to believe that Medicare Advantage is overall to costly. Who’s right? I wish I could give you the answer, but I am an insurance professional not a politician. As it is my job, I try to keep as up to date as possible with everything going on and found an article that really intrigued me. Could this be where Medicare is going? I do not know, but I felt like I should share it with everyone so that you could gage your own options.
This time a year can be very hectic and overwhelming for individuals dealing with all their Medicare insurance options. Trying to understand which coverage is the best for your individual needs is a challenging task. This year has made efforts even more challenging with the release of the New Modernized Medicare Supplements, some Medicare Advantage Plans discontinuing coverage, and the release of new Prescription Part D Plans. With all the options available and changes that have been made, how does someone know where to begin?
This time of year is known as the Annual Election Period, and for 2010 it runs from November 15th – December 31st. If you are looking to change either your Medicare Advantage Plan or your Prescription Part D Plan, this is the time that the Federal Government and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service has set aside for individuals to complete these changes and have an effective date of the new coverage on January 1, 2011. It is strongly recommended that if you have either one of these plans, that you spend this time of the year and review all of your options. This will not only insure that you have the most updated information, but should also confirm that you have the right coverage for the following year.
As for Medicare supplements or Medigap insurance plans, individuals are not required to wait until a specific time of year to change. There is a lot of misconception in regards to this, but with Medicare supplements you are allowed to switch anytime in the year. Changing from one Medicare supplement insurance plan to another may require approval through underwriting, so do not cancel your existing coverage until you have been accepted from the new insurance company.
Even though you may have more time in a year to make changes to your Medicare supplement coverage, we strongly recommend that if you have not been updated on the recent changes to Medicare supplement insurance plans, that you take the time to understand the changes and compare premium rates to make sure you are not paying too much for your coverage. Always keep in mind that all Medicare supplement insurance plans are “standardized” and identified by letters A through N. Each standardized Medicare supplement insurance plan must offer the same basic benefits, no matter which insurance company sells it. Cost is usually the only difference between Medicare supplement plans with the same letter sold by different insurance companies.
Even after reading this, there still may be confusion in regards to where to start. Having a licensed, independent agent on your side to help walk you through all the ins and outs and make sure that you are covered with the right plan is a good place to start. If you currently have a Texas Medicare Supplement or a Texas Medicare Advantage Plan, you have come to the right place. Here at Medigap Select of Texas, all of our consultative services are free of charge and there is never an obligation to purchase coverage from us. We will provide you with side by side comparison of Medicare Supplements in Texas, answer any questions you may have on Medicare Advantage Plans, and help you find the best overall cost for your prescription drug coverage. Give us a call today at 1-866-849-5465 or fill out our safe and secure Texas Medicare Supplement Quote Form for more information.