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Friday, May 20 2011
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.
 
  1. Medicare Parts A & B.
  2. Medicare Part D.
  3. Medicare Costs.
  4. Medigap – Medicare Supplement Insurance.
  5. Medicare Advantage Plans.
  6. Where you live and how it affects cost and choice.
  7. Group or Retirement Insurance.
  8. Enrollment into Medicare.
  9. Changing coverage and when to.
  10. 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.
Posted by: Cameron Kirchoff AT 12:39 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, May 06 2011
The transition from Major Medical insurance or Group Health insurance to Medicare can be an overwhelming transition. You may think that Medicare is something that would be easy, which with the right information it can be, but it can become like a big bowl of alphabet soup for some. Medicare has many moving part, A, B, C and D, not counting Medicare supplement plans A through N. Maybe this is why we are taught the alphabet at such a young age?
 
If you are turning 65 or new to Medicare, before you jump in and try to absorb all the different parts, try concentrating on the main ones. Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B also know as Original Medicare. To put it to you in a nutshell, Part A is your hospitalization portion of the insurance and Part B is your medical (outpatient) portion of the insurance. To make it a little more clear, watch the video below. This video brought to you by United Healthcare, helps to elaborate on Medicare Parts A & B without making it so painful to understand.

 

Even with what you may already know, or maybe just learned hear today, you can still be at a significant risk of out-of-pocket cost by just having Original Medicare alone. Please visit Medicare 2011 for more information on the deductibles, co-insurance, and co-pays left by only having Original Medicare as your insurance.
 
Now your question maybe, “How do I cover myself from the gaps left by having Original Medicare?” the answer is, call us. Here at Medigap Select of Texas we specialize in Medicare insurance plans in Texas. We offer free, no-obligation Medicare reviews and you will also receive a side-by-side comparison of Texas Medigap Insurance Plans from some of the best Medicare supplement companies in Texas.
Posted by: Cameron Kirchoff AT 02:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, April 29 2011
Are you one of the thousands of people a day turning 65 or just simply new to Medicare? Maybe you are already on a Texas Medicare Insurance Plan and it has been a while since you have had a review to catch you up to speed on all the changes. To anyone that is not on a daily intake of Medicare and its insurance options, “overwhelming” is an understatement. Trying to understand all the part, plans, letter and choices, can down right make someone go insane. Well maybe this can help…
 
United Healthcare has released a series of videos that I will be posting on my Blog that will, in my opinion; help ease some of the frustrations you may have with your Medicare insurance options. Medicare Made Clear is the first video and is a great overview of Medicare basics and the different Part (A, B, C, D and Supplements). Nevertheless, having an independent, licensed health insurance agent the specializes in Medicare insurance can insure that you are well advised and make an informed decision on the best Medicare insurance coverage.

 

If you are a resident of Texas, or know someone who is, and have questions on Medicare insurance in Texas, than please do not hesitate to contact us here at Medigap Select of Texas. A licensed agent will be able to navigate you through the ins and outs and provide you with a free Texas Medicare Review. Also, feel free to inquire about our side-by-side comparison of Texas Medicare Supplement Rates.
Posted by: Cameron Kirchoff AT 11:07 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, March 04 2011

It seems that everyone now a days is trying to save money any way possible. With a tough economy and not knowing when we will be bouncing back, cutting costs is inevitable. Gas prices could hit the highest it’s ever been this summer and just the other day I saw that a head of lettuce was over $3, that is just crazy. Saving money means a lot to everyone, but when you are a retired senior and your main income comes from Social Security, every penny counts. So, when dealing with Texas Medigap Insurance Plans, finding the cheapest coverage could help put some money back in the bank.

 
As I have mentioned many times, all Texas Medicare Supplements are “standardized”. This means there is no difference in coverage from one insurance company’s Medigap plan compared to another company’s Medigap plan, when looking at plans with the same letter (A-N). So, if you can get the exact same coverage at a lower rate, you would think that Medicare beneficiaries would constantly be shopping for the lowest premiums. The funny thing is most don’t. So, with this information, why do people not search for the cheapest Medigap Policy available? I do not know what it is exactly, but with my years in insurance and the clients I have talked to, I believe I have narrowed it down to two main reasons.
  1. The fear of not getting the same coverage. See, if you take a Medicare Supplement Plan F, it is designed to cover 100% in excess of what Medicare A and B does not cover, in regards to approved charges. So, this means that when an individual goes in for a major surgery, there is no cost left over to them, other than the monthly premium. Why would anyone want to change from a company after they just paid all of the remaining medical costs? Most don’t, and that is why most seniors are paying hundreds of dollars more for the exact same coverage they could get with another insurance company.

  2. Confusion of when you can change your coverage. At the end of 2005, the introduction to Medicare Part D and the increase in subsidies to insurance companies approved to offer Medicare Advantage Plans set a whole new set of rules that Medicare beneficiaries had to follow. It is know as the Annual Enrollment Period, or commonly miscalled the Open Enrollment Period. Since 2005 this has always been November 15th through December 31st of every year. This was the time of year the government and CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid) set up to make changes to your Part D or Medicare Advantage Plan for the following year. (Just a note: For 2011 the AEP will be October 15th through December 7th.) This caused a very big misconception that people with Medicare supplements that they had to change this time of year as well. THIS IS NOT THE CASE. With a Texas Medicare supplement insurance plan, you can change anytime you want, in most cases you will just have to go through underwriting.
 
Another reason that seniors are paying too much for their Texas Medicare supplement plans, is due to the release of the New Modernized Medicare Supplements. On June 1, 2010 the government changed the outline of Medigap policies. When this happened it caused insurance companies to basically start up a whole new book of business. This left the old policies, or the ones purchased before June 1, 2010 with out any new premiums coming in to help offset medical cost. If you have not reviewed your Texas Medicare Supplement Rates since June 1, 2010, you may be shocked at how much more you are paying per month for basically the same coverage.
 
If you have not reviewed your Texas Medicare Supplement Rates in a year or two, please contact an agent today and we will provide you with a free Medicare insurance review and a no obligation, side-by-side report of Medicare Supplement Insurance Quotes in Texas.
Posted by: Cameron Kirchoff AT 12:45 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, February 28 2011

Medicare Insurance Coverage Pie Chart

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.  
Posted by: Cameron Kirchoff AT 04:44 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, February 18 2011

Medicare Supplement Rates in Texas

When searching for the best insurance coverage to meet your specific needs, it all depends on the type of insurance that you are shopping for to see where comparisons will differ. What I mean is that when shopping for a Major Medical Plan in Texas through companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humama, or United Healthcare, there is more to look at than just price. These companies will offer an array of deductibles, plans with or without co-pays, even different co-insurance options. So, doing your homework can payoff when finding the right coverage for your needs, but when it comes to other types of insurance you may only have to look at price and company stability to find the best coverage available with the best rates.
 
A good example would be Term Life insurance coverage. If you know how long you want the term to be and what face amount you, than there is really no difference in coverage from one insurance company to another. What you will find is different monthly rates, different financial ratings of insurance companies, and maybe some type of benefit rider that you can added to your policy that other companies do not offer. Point is, a $100,000 20yr Term, is life insurance coverage that will cover you for 20 years in the amount of $100,000.
 
The same is true about Medicare supplement insurance plans in Texas. All Plans are standardized, and you can choose from Plans A – N. What this means is that if you choose a Medicare supplement Plan F as your coverage, you are not going to find any difference in basic benefits from one insurance company to another. So, like the example of the Term Life coverage, you are back to looking at the Medicare supplements rates or premiums from different insurance companies, and I strongly suggest looking at the financial stability as well.
 
Even though it sounds like taking the lower premium for a Texas Medigap insurance coverage is the way to go, you will also want to keep in mind a few more factors that can come in to play the longer you have your coverage:
  • How does that company rate their premiums? Do they use attained age, issue  age, or a community rating?

  • Making sure you know if the plan being quoted is a standard Medicare supplement insurance plan or have you been quoted a Select plan price.

  • Knowing if there are or how many complaints against the insurance company.
 
All of this information can be overwhelming to obtain, this is why we are here to help. Feel free to contact an agent today to have any questions or concerns you may have answered, as well as a free Medicare insurance review in which we will provide side-by-side Texas Medicare supplement quotes from top rated insurance companies throughout the state.  
Posted by: Cameron Kirchoff AT 02:10 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, February 14 2011

Rep. Paul Ryan on Medicare

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.
 
Posted by: Cameron Kirchoff AT 04:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, February 04 2011

Medicare Part B Excess Charges

If you have done any homework or research in to how Medicare Part A and B will cover you once you turn 65 or age in to Medicare, you more than likely have come across what is know as the Medicare Part B Excess Charge. In my years of helping Texans understand their options with filling in the gaps left by only having Original Medicare, this is the one question that seems to always come up.
 
When looking at the benefits of Medicare Part B, you will notice that Medicare will pay for 80% of their approved charges for covered services. Without having any supplement, you will automatically pay the other 20% of approved charges. These approved charges are called Medicare assignment, and the good news is as of now most hospitals and doctors accept Medicare pay schedule. What most people do not understand is that any hospital or doctor has the option and the right to charge up to 15% more than Medicare’s approved charges. If you do not have a supplemental insurance plan that covers these excess charges than you may be responsible for up to 15%.
 
For example, let us take a doctor visit that cost $100. If $100 is the approved Medicare amount for that doctor visit, than a doctor can charge 15% more than $100, which would be an extra $15. Medicare would pay 80% of the $100, which would be $80, leaving a balance of $20 owed for the Medicare approved amounts. If you are covered by a Medicare supplement plan, most will pick up the $20 charge that is left over from this doctor visit, but what if the doctor charges the extra $15?
 
This is where choosing the right Medicare Supplement in Texas can protect you from any and all unexpected out of pocket expenses. Since June 1, 2010, when the Modernized Medicare Supplements were released, Medicare Supplement Plan F and Plan G are the only two plans that cover the excess charges. Now, understand there is a Part B deductible that has to be met with a Plan G, but other than that both Plans will cover not only the Medicare approved amounts, but the excess charges as well.
 
The problem with excess charges, or just Medicare Part B alone, is the fact that there is not a cap on how much the charges could be. So, if all you look at is a $100 doctor visit that you could be responsible for an extra $15, it does not seem to be that much of a worry. Now, if you consider that Medicare Part B deal with all outpatient medical services, paying an extra $15,000 on $100,000 worth of charges brings a little more importance to having the excess charges covered.
 
Contact an agent today for your free side by side comparison of Texas Medigap Insurance Plans, and see the rates of a Texas Medicare Supplement Plan F and a Texas Medicare Supplement Plan G from top rated Texas Medicare insurance companies.
Posted by: Cameron Kirchoff AT 04:38 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, January 28 2011

Mutual of Omaha - Medicare Supplement in Texas

If you have read our blog or ever talked directly to one of our agents, you know that here at Medigap Select of Texas we strongly stress that all Texas Medicare supplements are “standardized” and there is no difference in basic benefits offered by different insurance companies that offer Texas Medigap insurance plans with the same identified letter. As stated on page 9 of the publication “Choosing a Medigap Policy 2010”, the only difference you will find is cost. So, we strongly believe that as long as you are with a financially strong company, why pay more for the same benefits?

Even with this being said there are a lot of factors to look at other than cost. As mentioned, financially strong insurance companies will always offer the security of knowing that they should around for you and be able to have the finances to pay claims. Also keep in mind how insurance companies rate their premiums, compete for your business, and any other benefits that you can gain when choosing your Medicare supplement in Texas.

Mutual of Omaha is a name that has been around and has always been a leader in offering Medicare supplement insurance plans. They are a financially strong company and tend to always be one of the most priced competitive Medigap insurance companies in Texas. This does not mean that they are the best Medicare supplement company to choose, but year after year they always seem to keep showing up as one of the top choice.

If you keep in mind what I said earlier, the fact that all Medicare supplements in Texas are “standardized” and financial stability, affordable rates and any other perks that you can get should always fall in to the equation  when search for your insurance company that provides Medigap insurance in Texas. With that said, not only is Mutual of Omaha one of the top rated insurance companies with A. M. Best, but they also offer something that no other insurance company does at this time, a 7% household discount.

With Mutual of Omaha Medicare supplement insurance plans in Texas, if you reside with another individual that also has a Mutual of Omaha insurance policy; you both will receive a 7% household discount. So, if you and your significant other are over the age of 65 or eligible for Medicare and both apply for a Medicare supplement insurance plan in Texas, you each will receive a 7% discount from the premiums paid for your policy. When adding this household discount to a husband and wife applying together for a Texas Medigap insurance policy, it almost makes them unbeatable when you compare price and financial stability to other insurance carriers.

To find out more about Mutual of Omaha’s 7% household discount, or to receive your free side-by-side, no obligation Texas Medicare supplement quotes, please contact an agent today at 1-866-849-5465.

Posted by: Cameron Kirchoff AT 04:19 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, January 21 2011
Saving Money on texas Medicare Supplements
For years, I personally have been helping Texans with all types of health insurance. When dealing with major medical plans for individuals, families and the self employed, it seems that everyone is always shopping for the best deal. Rightfully so, they should be. The problem with major medical plans is even with the rate increase that happen every year, people opt to look for new coverage due to also having a lot of out of pocket risks. So, lowering their monthly cost and trying to take on less risk, drives major medical consumers to find the most comprehensive coverage they can at the best price available.
 
With people 65 years of age and older, there is not as much shopping that goes on. It is a constant trend that almost always stops once someone is on a Medicare supplement plan in Texas. When I do have the opportunity to do a free, no-obligation Medicare review for individuals and end up saving them hundreds annually on their premiums without loosing any of their benefits, most people always wonder why they did not have this comparison sooner.
 
The only reason I can think of that Medicare beneficiaries become complacent with there coverage, is quite simply their coverage. Let me explain, being that all Texas Medigap insurance plans are meant to literally fill the gaps left by Original Medicare, if the right plan is chosen it eliminates any and all out of pocket medical costs other than the monthly premiums. In most cases, when someone ages in to Medicare, they find themselves paying less per month for their coverage and less liability on covering deductibles, co-insurance, and co-pays.
 
For example, a Texas Medicare Supplement Plan F covers 100% of what is not covered by Medicare Parts A and B. So, someone on a Plan F paying less per month than what they use to pay for their major medical coverage, usually considers themselves quite lucky compared to what they use to have. Also, I have had a lot of client tell me that they were scared to change their coverage due to them maybe not getting as good of coverage as what their old Texas Medicare supplement offered.
 
Here’s the deal. All Medicare supplement plans in Texas are “standardized” by the Federal and State Government. So, there is no difference, other than cost, from one insurance company’s Plan F than another insurance company’s Plan F. So, by not having annual reviews and checking to make sure you are not paying too much for the same benefit, you could be spending hundreds of dollars more annually than you should be. Contact an agent today to see how we can help and receive your no obligation Texas Medicare Supplement Insurance Quotes.
Posted by: Cameron Kirchoff AT 01:45 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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