The IRS will determine the Medicare tax rate for 2021. The amount is subject to change at...
Medicare questions come up all the time, but finding the answer isn’t always easy. So, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions along with the answers. Also, you’ll discover things about Medicare you didn’t think to ask. To learn more about Medicare in 2021 and get all your questions answered, keep reading.
The Medicare Questions You Need Answers to in 2021:
Most people are eligible for Medicare at age 65. Those under 65 can qualify for Medicare when they collect Social Security Disability for at least 24 months.
The cost of Medicare depends on many things. Those with a low income will likely pay less than the standard amount and may qualify for Medicare and Medicaid. Those with a higher income will likely pay more for Part B; this is called the Part B Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount. Now, Part A of Medicare is free for those that meet the requirements. But, Part B has a premium that usually comes out of your Social Security check. The premium for Part B is $148.50 a month. Yet, those are just the premium costs; some deductibles and coinsurances apply when you only have Medicare.
If you work for a large employer and have employer coverage, you may choose to delay enrollment. When you delay enrollment because you’re delaying retirement, you won’t need to rush to sign up for Part B. Although; you may choose to enroll in Part A, especially since, in many cases, it’s free. Now, if you choose to enroll in Part A, you can no longer contribute to a Health Savings Account. When you retire, you can sign up for Part B and Part A if you chose not to collect before retirement.
For the most part, people sign up for Medicare at age 65. But, some may choose to delay enrollment due to delaying retirement. In contrast, others may enroll before age 65 if they’re on Social Security Disability for at least 24 months.
You should sign up for Medicare at age 65 if you’re working for a small employer (less than 20 employees). But, if you work for a larger employer, you could delay enrollment. Of course, Medicare isn’t mandatory, so you can choose whichever option makes the most sense for your situation. You can also always consult your benefits administrator at the office where you work to identify your options.
So, if you’re not accepting Social Security income, Medicare will bill you for 4 months of premiums. Unless, of course, you sign up for Medicare Easy Pay, you can choose to pay premiums monthly using a check, bank draft, credit, or debit card.
A Medigap plan is a supplemental option for Medicare. Medigap plans are also Medicare Supplement plans; these policies fill the gaps in Medicare. So, when Medicare would otherwise charge you 20% or a deductible, the Medicare Supplement could instead pick up the bill.
You can pre-enroll in Medigap up to 6 months before the Part B effective date with some companies. But, many companies only allow you to pre-enroll 3 months before Part B effective date. The Open Enrollment Period for Medigap lasts for 6 months and begins the day your Part B is effective.
Medicare will cover intermittent or part-time skilled nursing care. If you need long term care or a caregiver for personal care assistance, you would be on your own when it comes to the costs.
If you have small employer group health insurance (less than 20 employees), Medicare will be secondary. In this case, if the group policy has a deductible, Medicare may pay a portion of the deductible. It’s best to discuss your coverage with your benefits administrator to determine how your policy will work with Medicare.
The coverage gap is the Part D donut hole. During this time, beneficiaries pay 25% of medications’ costs until total drug costs reach $6,550.
If you’re on Social Security, you’ll have automatic enrollment into Medicare at age 65. But, if you’re on Social Security Disability, you can get Medicare after 24 months.
Medicare Supplements have a premium because they offer comprehensive benefits. If you’re hospitalized or in need of major treatment, Medigap will cover the costs that Medicare would leave you to pay.
No, Medicare can’t drop you. But, if you don’t pay the premium on a Medicare Advantage or Medigap plan, they can drop you. Also, if you don’t pay your Part D premium, the drug plan can drop you. Usually, they give multiple notices before the plan terminates your policy.
No, you can’t have both a Medicare Advantage plan and a Medigap plan. You have to choose one or the other. Since Medicare Advantage plans handle your claims instead of Medicare, the Medigap plan can’t coordinate benefits with Part C. If you have both, the Medicare Advantage plan will cover you, but the Medigap plan won’t. Basically, you’re wasting money on Medigap at that point. If you can’t decide between the two, work with an agent near you to determine which option really makes the most sense.
The decision to take Part B with Federal Employee Health Benefits is a personal choice. If you don’t enroll in Part B, the FEHB plan will pay primary. But, if you do enroll in Part B, Medicare will be primary.
Telemedicine services can include telephone appointments and virtual appointments. In general, telemedicine is a remote clinical service. Medicare Part B will cover telehealth services.
Medicare can be a complex maze with an ever-changing map. But, you don’t have to navigate alone. Our agents can walk you through the plan search process to find the best options for you in your area. Also, an agent can answer all your Medicare questions, so you feel confident in your decision.
Fill out an online rate form to see your rates now. Or, call us at the number above to get answers to your Medicare questions. We can even walk you through enrolling in a policy.
As a Medicare beneficiary, you might be familiar with the compare sites from CMS. Previously, there were different sites to help people find each type of provider. Well, now these tools are merged into one convenient destination called Care Compare. Not familiar with this new tool yet? We’ll walk you through the improvements and features, as well as what Care Compare can do for you.
Before introducing Care Compare, CMS offered eight tools to compare health care providers to help recipients make informed choices. Now, these tools are obsolete, and all of their features are available on the new tool. Thus, users can compare eight different categories of providers in one place.
The Care Compare tool can help you and your family:
Using the tool, you can find information about each provider’s quality, location, and price. These factors will help you make the best choice for your needs, which is crucial for the future of your health. Instead of needing to visit separate sites individually, someone searching for multiple practitioners can access a more streamlined process.
Also, the Care Compare tool is more user-friendly than its predecessors. Its design is more refined than the previous tools, allowing for easier comparison of options. The site lists providers in a way that is simple for the user to compare them to one another. The tool is optimized for mobile and tablet use, so people can find practitioners on-the-go and call them by clicking on their phone numbers.
The interface is simple-to-use, allowing the user to start by selecting from the eight provider types. You can also use keywords to search for providers accepting Medicare near you. Users can filter results based on what they consider most important for their needs, such as distance or overall rating. The site also provides additional resources and information for users, such as what to look for when selecting a provider. Yet, CMS still rates quality the same way as they have previously.
The new Care Compare tool from CMS makes it easy to compare several categories of health care providers so you can make the best choices for your health in one place. Now that this tool is available, you only need to access one site to help you choose every provider you’ll need.
These improvements are part of CMS’s ongoing eMedicare initiative, which seeks to improve the customer experience for those on Medicare. As people of all ages turn to the Internet for convenience, online resources must be as user-friendly as possible. Accordingly, CMS is optimizing their online landscape to empower recipients now and in the future. The Care Compare tool is the newest addition to a list of resources, including the Procedure Price Lookup page and the What’s Covered app.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recognize the importance of chronic care management. According to CMS, more than two-thirds of beneficiaries have two chronic conditions, and nearly 14% have more than six chronic conditions.
Patients with two or more chronic health conditions need chronic care services. Chronic care services help beneficiaries with a higher risk of decline or death due to their conditions.
In the content below we’ll discuss all the details you need to know about managing your chronic conditions. We’ll go over eligibility, programs, and doctors that can bill.
You must be eligible for Medicare to have the federal program cover your Chronic Care Management. Otherwise, you’ll need to consult your health plan for your options.
You’re eligible for Medicare’s Chronic Care Management Services if you suffer from two or more chronic conditions. These conditions must be expected to last at least 12 months or until the death of the patient.
Also, if you’re eligible, you should take advantage of the benefits Medicare has to offer. When you have chronic issues, the more care you have, the less likely complications will arise.
Some of the most prevalent chronic conditions include:
Management services can include:
Tip: Chronic care management is not the same as the care coordination you get after an inpatient hospital stay.
Since Medicare covers these services, an Advantage plan will also cover you when you need this type of care.
The goal of this program is to give you high-quality, coordinated care that will help you gain better health.
The following medical professionals can bill for Chronic Care:
Doctors that can’t bill for these services include:
To enroll in chronic care management, you need to meet with your doctor. Typically, this requires an in-person visit, but you can talk to your doctor about your options.
After your doctor visit, you will need to give consent to start getting managed care. Finally, you and your doctor will form an in-depth care plan for your future.
Chronic health conditions can cause stress and cost money. Thankfully, Medigap plans can help with these extra costs.
While Medicare covers many of your medical needs, it doesn’t cover every cost you’ll face. When you enroll in a Medigap plan, you can get help with copays, deductibles, and coinsurance.
Our team is here to walk you through what these plans cover and provide you with further information.
Call our team of agents today at the number above for a free quote. You can also complete an online rate form and have us reach out to you.
As a beneficiary, you are entitled to know about your Medicare Rights and Protections. Each of these resources has a different purpose, and various circumstances call for the use of each.
So, where do you start when you have concerns? We’re here to make sure you’re familiar with your Medicare rights and who to contact in specific situations.
Part of your rights and protections is the knowledge of your Medicare costs, Medicare Advantage vs Medigap options, and Original Medicare coverage. Further, it’s your right to know how to file an appeal. Also, it’s smart to report because your issue could be a common complaint. You can also obtain free assistance and resources that ensure you have a voice. If adequate care at a facility isn’t being met, you can file a report. Next, we explain the types of assistance available and how you can get help.
When you have an inquiry and Medicare isn’t much help, the Medicare Beneficiary Ombudsman (MBO) is your resource. Finally, they will ensure the resolution of your concerns.
The MBO ensures the following is accessible to recipients:
To reach the Medicare Beneficiary Ombudsman, ask a representative at 1-800-MEDICARE to send your question or complaint to the MBO. They will address your concern. Then, the Ombudsman provides an annual report to Congress each year to improve the program.
The State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs) provides local health insurance counseling to beneficiaries and their families. SHIPs help with complaints, appeals, and a range of questions about Medicare. Your local SHIP allows you to speak with someone in person about costs, eligibility, and coverage. Also, they teach you about your Medicare rights.
If you plan to change status on a Part C or Part D plan, SHIP can help with counseling. Assistance can be helpful during the Annual Enrollment Period. To locate a SHIP near you, use the locator at the SHIP National Network website.
State Survey Agencies make sure health care facilities participating in government funding meet health and safety standards. Contact your State Survey Agency in the case of unsuitable care. You can also report conditions at such facilities that don’t reach an adequate standard of safety.
The State Survey Agency addresses your concerns and complaints. The information for your State Survey Agency is also available on the contact information page of Medicare.gov.
To get more information about your Medicare rights and protections got to Medicare.gov or your SHIP agency. If you need help selecting a Medicare Supplement plan, give us a call or complete our online rate form today.
When considering a Medicare Advantage plan, having a coverage checklist to verify the plan meets all your needs is crucial. We’re here with your pre-enrollment Advantage checklist so you can understand what you should be seeking in one of these plans.
If you’re looking for a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll want to consider costs, coverage, and limitations. Sometimes known as replacement plans, these provide coverage in place of Part A and Part B. You’ve probably even seen television commercials advertising zero-dollar premiums for Advantage plans. Well, the premiums aren’t the only cost you’ll have to deal with when you enroll in an Advantage plan.
Things you want to consider include:
The first thing to consider on your checklist for Medicare Advantage plans is that they involve networks. These plans are most often HMOs or PPOs. When you visit a provider outside of your network, you end up paying out-of-pocket. To avoid these costs, make sure your preferred providers are within the network of the Advantage plan you choose. Additionally, you’ll often need a referral from your primary care doctor to see a specialist.
You’ll also want to find out if your prescription drug coverage works at your preferred pharmacies. If the plan doesn’t cover some or all of your preferred providers, find out if they offer out-of-network coverage.
Copayments are dollar amounts, while coinsurance is a percentage. Before joining, make sure you understand the copayments or coinsurance amounts for your plan. You’ll also want to know what the cap is on out-of-pocket costs. The cost of each service from each plan varies. At the end of the day, you should choose the plan that makes the most sense for you and your lifestyle.
A big part of any Medicare Advantage checklist is the Summary of Benefits, a basic review of the Evidence of Coverage (EOC). The EOC is an annual report that plan members receive from their carrier each September. These documents provide details about costs, coverage, and more. Your agent must go over important details with you from the Summary of Benefits for the plan you’re considering before enrolling. This way, you can make sure it provides the coverage you need.
Advantage plans won’t travel with you. In fact, the networks of some Advantage plans restrict members to doctors in their county. This usually isn’t a problem if you seldom travel, but it could be a burden if you travel often. Make sure to think about how much you’ll be traveling in retirement and whether you’ll need to receive care when you’re away. If so, an Advantage plan might not be the best choice for you.
While doing your research, it can be helpful to read reviews of Advantage plans. Reading about the experiences of other people who have had the coverage you’re considering can give you a better idea of how the plan works in practice. If you find frequent complaints about restrictive doctor networks, multiple mentions of the need for prior authorization, and tales of high out-of-pocket costs, you’ll probably want to steer clear of the plan in question.
Also, take into account the star ratings of the Advantage plan(s) you’re considering. Medicare uses this star rating system for Advantage and Part D plans so consumers can know if a plan is consistently low performing.
We hope this article helps you find some insight about what to look for in an Advantage plan. When selecting your health care, you want to make sure that your coverage meets your needs without depleting your savings.
Naturopathy’s popularity is on the rise with older demographics. Medicare sometimes provides coverage for services falling under the category of naturopathy. If you’re seeking natural treatments and are wondering if you’ll need to pay out-of-pocket, we’re here with the answers to your questions.
Naturopathy is naturopathic medicine. Used to prevent and heal a full range of ailments, it includes practices like acupuncture and chiropractic services. Massage, exercise, and nutrition are other examples of this genre of medicine. Typically less invasive than most traditional methods, naturopathy focuses on alternative cures and treatments. Medicare recipients may opt for more natural remedies over expensive surgeries or prescription medications. But what does this mean for coverage? Well, Medicare only covers some services that fall under this category.
Recently, acupuncture started receiving coverage from Medicare. This change aims to reduce opioid painkiller dependence. Medicare only covers acupuncture when treating chronic lower back pain. Yet, some Medicare Advantage plans provide additional acupuncture coverage.
The back pain must meet specific criteria to get coverage. If you want to try acupuncture to relieve pain in another part of your body or your back pain isn’t chronic, you’ll pay for the services.
Also, chiropractic services have coverage under Medicare only to correct a misaligned spine. If you visit the chiropractor for any other reason, your services won’t have coverage. However, some Advantage plans provide extra chiropractic benefits that aren’t covered by Part B.
As for nutrition, Medicare only covers nutrition counseling if you have certain health conditions, such as diabetes or kidney ailments. A registered dietician is usually responsible for administering this counseling.
Except for the examples above, Medicare doesn’t cover visits to naturopathic doctors. While naturopathic doctors go through extensive education and training, not every state issues licenses to naturopathic doctors. Also, naturopathic doctors don’t need to complete medical residencies. Therefore, their training isn’t comparable to that of a Medical Doctor. Yet, Medicare changes what is covered yearly. A naturopathic doctor coverage in the future and the range of what’s covered will possibly expand. Advantage plans may cover a broader variety of services in certain states.
Osteopathy isn’t the same as naturopathy. In fact, Medicare provides coverage for services from doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) as well as Doctors of Medicine (MD). Similar to naturopathy, osteopathy focuses holistically on the body and avoids the use of drugs. This type of medicine focuses on manipulating the bones and muscle tissue to promote healing. Yet, that aspect is considered an extra in the training that DOs undergo.
DOs obtain the same training as MDs, complete residencies, and are recognized nationwide. Therefore, Medicare covers visits to a DO’s office the same way they cover visits to an MD. The DO of your choice must accept Medicare assignment, and your treatment should be medically necessary for coverage to kick in.
Medicare Advantage plans must cover at least as good as Medicare. While many of them will follow Medicare standards and opt-out of covering naturopathy, it’s not impossible. You can look at the plans in your area to see if one offers coverage for Naturopathy. Although, in most cases, you won’t find this kind of coverage.
No, Medicare Supplement plans only cover services Medicare will approve. So, since Medicare doesn’t cover Naturopathic Medicine, your Medigap plan won’t either. Those with Medigap will pay for alternative medicines themselves.
While Medicare covers most of your doctor visits, it doesn’t cover naturopathy. But, when you’re visiting an MD or a DO, a Medigap plan can help pay for the extra amount for which you’d otherwise be responsible.
Give our agents a call at the phone number above. They’ll prepare a premium rate comparison of plans in your area. You can also get this comparison by filling out our online rate form today.
Viral hepatitis is a condition that inflames the liver. It’s contagious and causes over a million deaths each year. Fortunately, Medicare helps to protect recipients from hepatitis. But what do they pay for? We’ll go over which preventions and treatments for Hepatitis A, B, and C obtain coverage.
Hepatitis B is most often transmitted when exposed to bodily fluids or blood from an individual infected with the virus. The vaccine to prevent Hepatitis B is a series of three shots over six months. Part B provides coverage for the Hepatitis B shots if you’re unvaccinated and at risk of contracting the virus.
Risk factors include the following:
You won’t owe any payment if your provider accepts Medicare assignment. If none of the above apply to you, but you believe you’re still at risk, check with your doctor, as you may be at medium risk.
Hepatitis C is contracted in the same manner as Hepatitis B. Unfortunately, there’s no vaccine yet to help prevent this type.
Yet, Part B provides coverage for a one-time Hepatitis C screening if you:
For those who are high-risk, Part B covers a screening annually. Qualifying screenings receive full coverage.
Although there is no vaccination against Hepatitis C, the good news is that it can be cured through a treatment process. The treatment for Hepatitis C involves drug therapy. Part D and Advantage plans that include prescription drug coverage will cover drug therapy. You may need prior authorization from your physician before starting treatment.
If you need medication to treat a Hepatitis C infection, refer to your drug formulary. Every Part D plan is required to include a medication that treats Hepatitis C.
Yet, this doesn’t mean that the costs for the medications are low. During the Annual Enrollment Period, you can look into new plan options that might provide better coverage for your medication.
Hepatitis B and C are the most common types in the United States. However, Hepatitis A can also negatively affect the liver and, thus, cause health problems. This type of hepatitis is most often spread through microscopic particles of infected fecal matter in food or beverages. Usually, this happens when the person who prepared food hasn’t washed their hands after using the restroom.
A vaccine against Hepatitis A is available and receives coverage from Part D prescription drug plans. Advantage plans that include a prescription drug component also cover it.
As you can see, many parts of Medicare offer coverage for the prevention and treatment of hepatitis. We know this is difficult, and we’re here to help ensure you’re informed and have the right coverage.
When it comes to having the best prescription drug coverage, our agents are here for you. Call the number above to speak to an agent about plans in your area. Or, fill out our online rates form to see a plan comparison and help you choose the right fit for your health and budget needs.
If you want to request Medicare equitable relief, you must fail to enroll in Medicare due to a federal employee’s error or inaction. Federal employees could be those working at Social Security or Medicare. But, you won’t qualify for equitable relief if your employer misinforms you about your Medicare rights and options.
So, if you delay enrollment due to a Medicare representative saying you don’t need to sign up, even though you needed to sign up, you may have grounds for getting equitable relief. But, that’s only because a federal employee gave you misinformation. If your boss said you could delay enrollment and do your due diligence by contacting Medicare, you wouldn’t have grounds for equitable relief.
Equitable relief is a process that allows you to request immediate or retroactive Medicare enrollment. Also, it can allow you to request the elimination of the Part B late enrollment penalty.
Equitable relief is only for those who have or had Marketplace coverage and are entitled to premium-free Part A. Also, you must have an Initial Enrollment Period that began April 1, 2013, or later. Or, you must have been notified of a retroactive premium-free Part A award on October 1, 2013, or later. To qualify for the penalty reduction, you must have a Part B late enrollment penalty from 2015, 2016, or 2017 General Enrollment Period.
Generally, the penalty is waived, not reduced. Those requesting equitable relief must provide documentation showing enrollment in Marketplace coverage. You must be eligible for Medicare to enroll in Medicare. You can’t get equitable relief if you pay for Part A. Those in an Initial Enrollment Period won’t be eligible because they aren’t subject to a late enrollment penalty.
To request equitable relief, you need to write a letter to the local Social Security office detailing the misinformation, causing your enrollment delay. You must be as specific as possible in the letter. You’ll need to include the name of the representative you spoke with, the date and time of the conversation, and any other relevant notes.
Also, provide information indicating if you want to keep your coverage going forward, retroactive coverage, or eliminate the Part B late enrollment penalty. Now, if you do request retroactive coverage, you must pay premiums back to the time coverage begins.
Social Security doesn’t have to respond to equitable relief requests within any timeframe. Also, they aren’t obligated to send you a formal decision in response to your request. You will follow up with your request through your local Social Security office about a month after submission. You can also contact a legislative representative, like a member of congress, and ask them about your case.
Part B will begin the month you enroll. To ensure there are no coverage gaps, we encourage you to enroll in Part B using equitable relief first and continue your Marketplace plan until you receive confirmation of Part B enrollment.
To be eligible for equitable relief, you must show documentation reflecting enrollment in a Marketplace plan for individuals or families. Acceptable documentation includes periodic data match notice, Marketplace eligibility determination notice, IRS Form 1095-A, receipt of premium binder payments, and other documentation that reflects enrollment in a Marketplace plan.
Once you have Part B and your equitable relief submission is complete, you’ll want to consider a Medigap plan. Medigap insurance covers the gaps in Medicare. So, instead of you paying deductibles and coinsurances, the insurance company can pick up those costs.
Our agents can walk you through all the details of Medicare and guide you to the best policy. Give us a call at the number above to see your rates today. Or, fill out an online rate form and get your rates now.
The Medicare Part B give back plan, or premium reduction plan is a feature of Medicare Advantage. Yet, only some Medicare Advantage plans offer this benefit, and it isn’t available in all areas. Those with this plan may see a higher amount on their Social Security check, depending on their Part B premium payment method.
The Part B premium reduction plan is just like it sounds. You enroll in the policy, and the carrier pays either part or the whole premium for your outpatient coverage. In the summary of benefits or evidence of coverage, you’ll see a section that says Part B premium buy-down; this is where you can see how much of a reduction you’ll get. Although, your agent or the customer service number on the back of your card can also tell you about the coverage.
The give back benefit is another term for Part B premium reduction. This is when a Medicare Advantage plan reduces the amount you pay towards your Part B monthly premium.
These plans are becoming more widely available. In 2021, there will be 48 states offering a Medicare Advantage plan with a Part B premium reduction. So, it’s fair to say the popularity of these plans is increasing.
Humana is one company that offers the give back option on Medicare Advantage plans. In some areas, Cigna may have a Part B premium reduction plan. Even Aetna has a Part B give back in some areas. Further, there are likely more companies offering this type of policy than just the ones we’ve mentioned. Also, consider the plan ratings before you enroll.
Those that pay their own Part B premium will be eligible for the Part B buy-down. But, anyone with Medicaid or other forms of assistance that could pay the Part B premium can’t enroll in these plans. The plan only participates with Social Security; so, no direct payments are sent to you by the carrier.
The amount you get back can range from $0.10 in some counties up to $148.50. Also, the amount you get back will depend on the options in your area. Further, sometimes the same plan name will have a different premium buy-down in different counties.
To get a Part B premium reduction plan, you must be enrolled in Part A and Part B. Then, you must not be accepting government assistance that pays part of the Part B premium already.
But, if you don’t qualify for a give-back plan, there are plenty of plan options on the market. Our agents can answer your questions and walk you through the process of finding the best plan for you.
Give us a call at the number above to talk to an agent today. Also, you can fill out an online rate form to discover your rates now!
There are many Medicare insurance plan options in 2021. The big question is, do you want to pay more upfront to save when something bad happens, or would you rather pay less each month to end up paying a lot when your health fails you? You may find an agent who can help you answer this question better than anyone else. Also, since plans vary by county, it’s hard to say if one option is better than another without comparing options in your specific zip code. Further, you’ll want to consider things like your medical needs, budget, and eligibility.
For the most part, a Medicare health plan is sold by private insurance companies. A Medicare insurance plan helps lower the costs of medical care. Also, some plans provide additional benefits such as foreign travel coverage, oral health, or gym membership. Yet, not all plans will offer all of these benefits; it’s up to you to decide which options have the most value for your situation.
Medicare health plans can include Part C, Medicare Cost Plans, Medicare Savings Plans, and PACE. Also, another option is a Medigap or Medicare SELECT plan. Then, those with employer coverage may find that the company they retire from offers retiree insurance. Further, for those that spent time in the military, TRICARE or VA insurance could be available. Also, those with Federal Retiree benefits may find the FEHB plan makes the most sense.
Part C Medicare Advantage plans come in various forms across the nation. Most popularly are Health Maintenance Organizations and Preferred Provider Organizations. But, there are some areas that offer Point of Service or Private Fee For Service plans. Also, there are Medicare Savings Accounts that are similar to Medicare Advantage plans, but with a high deductible.
The best insurance plan to get with Medicare really depends on your situation. We recommend understanding Medicare Supplements vs. Medicare Advantage plans before you decide. The most suitable insurance for your neighbor or even your spouse might be the worse policy for you. Medicare health plans are very situational. But, the best Medicare Supplement plans do have A+ ratings. Also, some top Medicare Advantage plans have 5-stars. Then, once you figure out which type of policy you want, you’ll want to select a top carrier to provide you with benefits.
The best time to enroll in a health plan is when you’re first eligible for Medicare. Your first enrollment period is the Initial Enrollment Period. During this time, you’re also eligible for the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period. So, you can sign up for Medigap without worrying about underwriting. After this, you can change plans during the Annual Enrollment Period or the Medicare Open Enrollment Period. Now, if you have a life-changing event, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
Medicare Advantage plans can cost as little as $0 a month. But, some areas have higher premium Part C plans such as $150 and up. Now, Medigap plans cost around $50 to $300+ depending on the location you live in and other factors.
The easiest way to compare Medicare insurance plans is by working with an agent. Our agents can answer all your questions and walk you through the process. Give us a call at the number above to compare plans today. Or, if you prefer, you can get your rates now with our online rate comparison tool.
COVID was a game-changer for people across the globe, especially for insurance companies and Medicare. Many wonder how cost-sharing for testing, treatments, and a vaccine will look. Also, people are curious if COVID will be a pre-existing condition. It’s clear that COVID impacted the world; in fact, Medicare has expanded telehealth and mental health services due to the coronavirus. Let’s look at COVID and Medicare’s details.
First, let’s take a look at Medicare coverage for testing Coronavirus. For testing, Part B covers you when you go to a laboratory, pharmacy, doctor, or hospital. The testing should take place in your local area. You won’t pay anything for the COVID test when you have Medicare. In some cases, Medicare covers a home health nurse, lab tech, or other medical assistants to collect your specimen in your home for the test. Further, Medicare covers tests at various locations, including “parking lot” testing sites. Next, Medicare covers coronavirus treatment, but some cost responsibility will fall on the beneficiary.
For example, Part A will cover inpatient hospital stays, home health visits, skilled nursing facilities, and hospice. But, Part A costs will apply to these services. Now, patients that require hospital quarantine when they would otherwise be discharged won’t need to pay an additional deductible.
Then, Part B will cover outpatient services such as doctor visits, ambulance transportation, and emergency room visits. But, beneficiaries that don’t have a Medigap plan will be responsible for deductibles and coinsurances. Part B will also cover a COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment if you test positive for COVID, have mild to moderate symptoms, and you’re at high risk for a severe case of COVID.
Insurance companies may consider COVID a pre-existing condition. But, Original Medicare is a public health program that covers people with pre-existing conditions. The bigger question, will Medigap consider COVID a pre-existing condition? Again, it’s possible. That’s why it’s important to sign up for Medigap during the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period.
COVID is increasing patient access to both telehealth and mental health services. In response to the public health emergency, there was a Medicare expansion on telehealth. The expansion took place to help patients and doctors maintain social distancing measures. Medicare acknowledges the stress people are experiencing due to the pandemic. In a post-COVID America, increased access to mental health care will be a high priority. Prolonged isolation and living through a global pandemic increase the need for therapy. Plus, most mental health care services can now take place through telehealth.
Medicare Advantage plans must cover at least as good as Medicare. So, Part C plans can’t charge any copayments or coinsurances for tests to detect or diagnose COVID-19. Cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatment will vary across Medicare Advantage plans. But, many Medicare Advantage insurers will waive coronavirus cost-sharing; this isn’t a requirement, though. Also, plans may waive prior authorizations for services relating to COVID.
Some carriers are going to apply a smaller increase at the beginning of the year and then implement the full increase later during the year. The reason for doing this is to try to keep rate increases lower during the pandemic. If you receive a letter from your company with similar information, you can call the carrier to ask any questions.
Yes, Medicare will cover three at-home COVID tests. The costs can range from $25 – $50. These tests include:
The accuracy of these tests is above 90%. Also, the FDA has given these three tests “emergency use authorization.” So, even though they haven’t gone through rigorous approval, they needed to be on the market swiftly due to the pandemic.
Yes, more than half feel comfortable taking the vaccine once it’s available.
Usually, beneficiaries choose to receive help with their Medicare coverage from a broker, in person. However, due to the pandemic, most Medicare enrollees are now going online for help. That’s where we can help! Our Medicare resource center is filled with educational material to make the process as easy as possible for you.
If you’re looking for a Medicare plan during this pandemic, our team of agents can help you identify a policy that meets your needs and brings you value. Let us help you, call us at the number above to see your options. Or, fill out an online rate form to get your rates now.
Medicare star ratings are important because it gives you an idea on which plans have a higher satisfaction rating in your area. Also, star ratings have year-round enrollment opportunities. But, these ratings are only for comparison of Part D and Medicare Advantage plans. Either way, the ratings provide a way to consider your plan options beyond costs.
When Medicare reviews plan performances each year, they give the policies a star-rating. The five-star quality rating system measures the experience other beneficiaries had on the plan. Plans will get a rating between one and five. However, new plans may be too new to determine a rating.
The star rating system helps consumers identify the best Advantage plans. If a plan is low performing for several years, you have the right to know. Medicare considers the plan low when a plan gets less than three stars for three years in a row.Also, the ratings make it easier to identify the best Part D plans.
Medicare will calculate Part C star ratings in five different categories. Including; staying healthy, plan responsiveness, managing chronic conditions, customer service, and member complaints. For Part D plans, there are four different categories for ratings. Including; customer service, member experience, drug pricing, and member complaints.
As long as you have Part A and Part B, you’re eligible for a 5-star Advantage plan. But, with Part D plans, you need either Part A or Part B. Although, Medicare cost plans only require you to have part B. Also, you must reside in the service area of the plan to enroll.Some Medicare Advantage plans deny coverage to those with ESRD, but that might be changing in 2021.
When you look at your plan options online, you’ll notice ratings for each policy. Plans with higher ratings are policies that work well for past and current beneficiaries. Also, if you’re on the fence about two plans, seeing the score helps you determine the final choice.
Now, keep in mind all Medigap plans get 5 stars. So, if you’re having a hard time finding quality coverage, give us a call at the number above to get an expert opinion on your options. You can also fill out an online rate form to see your rates now!
Medicare will cover treatment for those with End-Stage Renal Disease. Treatment can include in-home dialysis, outpatient dialysis, and more. But, there are some things you’ll need to know about ESRD Medicare. Such as the waiting period, eligibility, and plan options. For example, there are some plans you may not qualify for due to ESRD, and other plans are made just for you.
Yes, Medicare will cover you if a doctor diagnosis you with End-Stage Renal Disease. Although, you must have enough work history to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance, or you’re the child/spouse of someone that has enough work history to qualify.
Yes, Medicare covers the treatment of End-Stage Renal Disease, including dialysis and a kidney transplant. You must have permanent kidney failure requiring a kidney transplant or dialysis.
People that need dialysis aren’t eligible to enroll in Medicare until the first day of dialysis. But, hemodialysis patients will wait until the 4th month of treatment for Medicare to be effective. So, if hemodialysis begins in April, Medicare will become effective July 1. Now, for home dialysis patients, Medicare is effective in the first month of treatment.
Those with employer coverage don’t need to enroll in Medicare immediately. Your employer plan will cover your dialysis treatment for 30 months and then Medicare automatically becomes your primary insurance. You may be able to keep your employer coverage and use it as a secondary insurance to Medicare. If your insurance is through the marketplace, you sign up for Medicare if you want it. You can’t have both Medicare and marketplace insurance. Those that don’t enroll in Medicare when kidneys fail will have penalties when you do enroll.
The 30-month coordination period begins on the first date you become entitled to enroll in Medicare due to ESRD. During this time Medicare can be the secondary payer for 30-months. The coordination period is beneficial for those with employer, COBRA, or retiree coverage. Now, if you don’t have other insurance, ESRD Medicare will be primary insurance when you enroll.
Those that already have a Part C policy when they develop ESRD can keep the plan or enroll in another plan offered by the same company. If that company leaves the service area, you have a one-time right to join another plan. Employer Medicare Advantage plans may offer you coverage.
If you’re 65 or older and have a successful kidney transplant and are determined to no longer have ESRD, you might be able to join a Part C plan. Now, some Part C Special Needs Plans will cater to ESRD patients, but those aren’t available everywhere. In 2021, Medicare Advantage plans will cover ESRD patients without restrictions.
Enrolling in Medigap under 65 has more to do with state-specific rules than ESRD. In many states, Medigap is just too expensive for those under 65. But, in some states, Medigap costs about the same for everyone. Either way, you’ll need to sign up during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period to avoid underwriting.
Finding a Medicare plan when you have a chronic disease can be a challenge. We can look at your plan options and make a recommendation based on your needs. Give us a call at the number above, and we’ll walk you through everything. If you can’t call, fill out an online rate form to see your rates now!
To keep your health care costs manageable as a Medicare beneficiary, you’ll want to make sure your doctors accept Medicare. Luckily, most providers participate in the program. This fact makes it easy to find doctors near you who accept Medicare.
If you’re new to Medicare or have recently made a change in your coverage, you might be looking for a new provider. Well, finding a doctor is easier when you understand how to make sure your coverage is accepted. It’s a bit different from the networks you might be used to from years on a health plan through your employer or the ACA Marketplace. When a doctor takes Medicare, it means they accept Medicare assignment. Meaning, they agree to its payment terms. A large majority (93%) of adult primary care physicians accept Medicare assignment.
Original Medicare doesn’t restrict you to a network of doctors. But, you’ll save money if you make sure first that providers accept Medicare. The easiest way to find a doctor near you is to use the Physician Search tool on Medicare.gov. To use the tool, type your location and whether you’re searching for a primary care physician or a specialist. Then press the search button.
You’ll see a list of doctors in your area who accept Medicare assignment. The next step is to call their office and determine if they’re accepting new patients.
Another tool offered by Medicare.gov is the Care Compare tool. You can use this tool to find and compare doctors, clinicians, and hospitals near you. The tool also includes listings for skilled nursing facilities, hospice care, rehabs, dialysis facilities, and more.
Unlike Original Medicare, Advantage plans come with provider networks. You’ll want to make sure that all of your doctors are in the plan’s network. Otherwise, you’ll be paying out-of-pocket. There are different types of Advantage plans. Refer to the details of your plan for specific information about your network.
Even when your doctor accepts it, Medicare doesn’t pay for everything. With a Medigap policy, you can get coverage for the 20% of costs you’d otherwise need to pay out-of-pocket.
To take this step toward greater certainty of your health care costs, call the number above. One of our agents will speak with you about your health and budget needs to find the right plan for you. You can also fill out our compare rates form, and we’ll prepare a comparison of premiums for top-rated plans in your area. We look forward to helping you make the best choice for your coverage, as we’ve done for many before.
Are one or both of your parents approaching Medicare eligibility? We understand there’s a lot of information to learn, and we’re here to help you help them. From signing up to making sure they have the right coverage, we’ll assist you in getting your parents set up on Medicare.
Whether you’ll be responsible for your parents’ healthcare or you’re just helping out, the first step is to learn the fundamentals of Medicare. Contrary to popular belief, Original Medicare isn’t free and doesn’t pay for everything.
Part A is inpatient, and Part B is outpatient coverage. When you hear about Part C, this refers to an Advantage plan, which private insurance companies offer. Some Advantage plans include Part D. But, if you select Medigap or Medicare, standalone Part D is available to enroll in separately.
Signing up is relatively simple and is done through Social Security. Remember that each of your parents become eligible in their own time, and marriage doesn’t factor into enrollment. Each person enrolls separately during their Initial Enrollment Period.
If your parent is collecting Social Security, enrollment in Medicare is automatic. But, you’ll want to speak to your parent(s) about their coverage needs to make sure they have the correct health care.
The most significant aspects to consider are their health and budget. Also, be sure to weigh the importance of their preferences.
How important are their doctors? If they’re considering an Advantage plan, you’ll need to make sure their preferred practitioners are in-network. If your parent frequently needs to see specialists, an Advantage plan might not be the best option. In Advantage plans, patients often need referrals to see specialists.
Do your parents plan to travel outside of the United States? If so, Supplement plans would be a wise choice for them.
Be sure not only to consider your parents’ current health and finances but also the future. Sometimes higher premiums can keep overall costs lower.
Enrolling in Part D sooner than later is a wise choice. Even if your parents aren’t on any prescriptions, what they save in drug costs over the years can easily outweigh the premiums they’ll pay upfront.
If your parents need financial help with Medicare, there are several savings programs available. These can be worth looking into even if your parents’ income and assets exceed the limit.
If you’re going to be more heavily involved in your parents’ Medicare coverage, you’ll need them each to fill out the Medicare Authorization to Disclose Personal Health Information form. If you’re speaking to a carrier on their behalf, they might need to submit the form to the carrier. It’s necessary to fill out this form even if you’re translating a conversation.
Beyond helping your parents learn more, enroll, and select coverage, you can help them stay safe and keep the best plan for them. Talk to your parent(s) about fraud, waste, and abuse, and how they can avoid falling victim to it. Also, make sure they always pay their premiums, so their plan never lapses.
Each September, make sure you go over their Annual Notice of Change letter with them to make sure they’re still happy with their coverage. If they aren’t, you can help them make changes. Become familiar with the enrollment periods when changes are allowed.
Once you’ve learned about Medicare and filled out the necessary forms, it’s time to shop for coverage. Our licensed agents will help guide you and your parents to the best plans for their needs and budget.
Give us a call at the number above or you can fill out our online rates form for a free quote. We represent several top-rated carriers. Here at MedicareFAQ, we connect you with the carrier and policy that makes the most sense long-term.
If you’re on Medicare and need surgery, you might be wondering about coverage. Well, we’re here with your guide to Medicare coverage for your surgery. First, if your surgery is inpatient, Part A benefits apply. But, if your surgery is outpatient, Part B benefits apply.
Now, let’s go over some more specific details on surgery coverage.
Below, we’ll explain which procedures get coverage and which you’ll have to pay yourself.
Heart surgery, including open-heart surgery, receives coverage when medically necessary. Coverage is for those with cardiovascular disease as well as those with other heart conditions. Part B covers outpatient heart procedures, such as angioplasties and stents. Also, with new technology, robotic cardiac surgery is on the rise. When FDA-approved and medically necessary, robotic surgery will have coverage.
If you’re getting cosmetic surgery to make changes to your looks, you’ll pay for the procedure yourself. But, Medicare covers a portion of costs for plastic surgery if it’s necessary. Examples of this are reconstruction surgery after an accident or severe burns. Or, blepharoplasty if drooping skin blocks your eyes and your vision suffers. Also, to keep your costs lower, we suggest making sure your doctor accepts Medicare assignment. There are several other examples of coverage for plastic surgery that will be approved due to medical necessity. In some cases, your doctor needs to write a letter to explain the procedure’s medical necessity.
Many American adults struggle with obesity and the health complications it causes. Weight loss surgery, such as bariatric surgery, can be the answer for the morbidly obese. Luckily, certain FDA-approved weight-loss surgeries have coverage. However, the surgeries get approval or denial on a case-by-case basis.
Usually, Part A doesn’t cover outpatient surgery. Part A is inpatient, hospital insurance. Since it’s an outpatient service, Part B will cover this type of surgery if medically necessary.
Medicare Supplements cover the same services covered by Part A and Part B. A Medigap plan pays for the remaining 20% that Medicare doesn’t cover. In other words, if Medicare covers the surgery, then your Medigap plan will pick up the remaining cost.
If you’d like 20% extra coverage in the form of a Medigap plan, give us a call at the number above. We have agents in every state, waiting to help. Also, we can help you compare plan options in your area. We’re committed to finding the best plan for your needs and budget.
Another option is to fill out our online rates form to see your rates now.
When you know the top ten ways to avoid the Part D donut hole, you give yourself an opportunity to save some money. Not all of these options will work for everyone. But, even if only one of these options helps, that’s more money in your wallet than before.
The top ten ways you can avoid the donut hole include:
Every year during the Annual Enrollment Period you have the chance to change your coverage. Sure, you don’t HAVE to change plans. But, it’s beneficial to at least compare your options. Besides, plan benefits change yearly and you want to know you’re saving the most money.
A simple trip to the doctor could mean huge savings. Talk to your doctor about ways you can improve your health as well as medications you could come off of if those conditions improved. Also, depending on the policy you have, a gym membership may be included in your coverage!
Brand name co-payments can be much higher than the generic counterpart. Also, the retail cost is the cost that applies to the donut hole. So, even if you’re only paying $40, if the total cost of the medication is $200, then $200 goes towards the amount that puts you in the donut hole. Now, some generics with select policies are as low as $0 and many have a small retail cost. Talk to your doctor about switching to the generic version of your medication.
The same medication can vary in cost at different pharmacies. It’s in your best interest to go either select a plan that works well with your pharmacy or change your pharmacy to one that works best with your policy. If you work with an agent, they can help you find the best pharmacy and policy combination for you.
One of the easiest ways to avoid the Part D donut hole is to price check your drugs online using GoodRx. While this won’t save you money on every medication, a couple of bucks is a couple of bucks. Medications you buy with GoodRx prices won’t be applied to your Medicare. So any medications that are cheaper without insurance, you’ll save in two different ways. First, you save on the upfront costs of the medication, and second, those medication costs won’t go towards the donut hole.
Some Part D plans have a Mail Order Pharmacy that gives you a discount on our medications. The best part, you don’t even have to leave your house. Medications shipped right to your door are quid pro quo; save on your prescriptions, and save on gas money.
Occasionally you’ll find a pharmaceutical company offers a discount to consumers. Although, drug manufacturer’s coupons are mostly found available for brand-name and specialty tier drugs. Talk to your doctor about discounts that could be available for your prescriptions or search online for the drug manufacturer’s website.
The goal of a Pharmaceutical Assistance Program is to provide financial assistance to patients that need medications for little or no cost. These programs are mostly sponsored by pharmaceutical manufacturers, which consider this program to be a safety net for Americans that are underinsured or uninsured. Also, some of these programs can help you pay for prescriptions even when you have Part D.
The National Council on Aging has a Benefits Checkup that goes over Part D, how to find extra benefits, and how to apply for Extra Help. But, there are several national and community charities that can help you with the cost of your mediations. Also, the State Pharmaceutical Assistance Program may have options to help you cover the cost of premiums and copayments.
Finally, those with low-income should apply for Extra Help. If eligible, Extra Help will help pay premiums, copayments, and coinsurances on medications. Further, there is no donut hole for those receiving assistance.
We did a lot of research to find the top ten ways to avoid the Part D donut hole, we hope this helps you save some money on prescriptions. Our goal here is to help you get the best Medicare coverage for your situation. Also, we can identify the lowest-cost Part D plan and supplemental insurance. To learn more call us at the number above. Or, fill out the online rate form to see rates in your area now!
Medicare has cost-sharing that you’ll need to know about. In fact, there are a few out-of-pocket costs for which you’ll be responsible. But aside from premiums, what are they? We’ll break down what you need to know about coinsurance, copays, and deductibles.
The terms copayment and coinsurance are very similar. But what’s the difference between the two, or is there any? You’re probably familiar with a copayment (or copay) being a dollar amount you pay as your share, out-of-pocket. You’ve paid these for prescription drugs or medical services.
Well, coinsurance works similarly to how copays do, but instead of a dollar amount, coinsurance is a percentage of the total cost. For example, if you owe 20% of a drug’s total cost with a Part D plan, your plan pays the rest. Some Part D plans involve tiers for different drugs.
Original Medicare doesn’t come with copays, but it comes with coinsurance. For example, Part B comes with coinsurance, which means every time you visit the doctor, you’re responsible for 20% of the cost for the services you receive. But, a Medigap policy helps to cover the additional 20%.
A deductible is an out-of-pocket amount beneficiaries must pay before the policy starts to pay. Part A has a deductible per benefit period, and Part B has a deductible that changes each year. Part D also has an annual deductible you must pay before benefits kick in. Unlike the deductibles for Original Medicare, the Part D deductible depends on the plan in which you’ve enrolled. This is because Part D plans are offered through private insurance companies.
Tip: If your doctor’s office or hospital ever asks you to pay the deductible upfront, tell them to bill Medicare. You should never pay any deductibles to a provider.
When you enroll in an Advantage plan, the carrier determines what the cost-sharing will be. So, instead of the 20% coinsurance, you have to pay under Medicare, it could be more.
The deductible, coinsurance, and copays you’ll need to pay to depend on the plan. You’ll have to pay these costs until you reach the plan’s annual out-of-pocket limit.
Thus, predicting your future healthcare costs is nearly impossible with an Advantage plan. The only certainty is that you won’t spend more than the maximum out-of-pocket amount.
If you’re interested in keeping your out-of-pocket costs low, a Medigap plan might be worth exploring. All Medigap plans cover the 20% coinsurance for Parts A and B.
Call the number above to reach our agents. They’ll provide all the information you need to make the best decision for your health and budget. Another option is to fill out our online rate form. You’ll get a comparison of premium quotes for plans in your area.
Those on Medicare with a low-income may qualify for a subsidy to help cover costs of medical care and medications. Even if you don’t qualify for Medicaid, you may be eligible for one of these programs. Although, if you do qualify for Medicaid, you automatically are eligible for extra help. Below, we answer the most frequently asked questions about low-income subsidy benefits and Medicare.
It’s possible to be eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. Another way financial help is offered is through the Medicare Low-Income Subsidy (LIS). This program is known as Extra Help and assists with Part D prescription drug plan costs. LIS enrollees are also exempt from the prescription drug coverage donut hole.
If eligible for any of the below programs, you qualify for a Low-Income Subsidy:
Otherwise, income and resource limits apply. If your income and resources are above the limits, but you think you may still qualify for a LIS, you should still apply.
There are levels of assistance you can receive from a LIS, depending on your need. You could qualify for partial assistance. See the chart below for limits.
|Applicant(s)||Resource Limit||Annual Income Limit|
Social Security or your State Medicaid office will determine your eligibility for a Low-Income Subsidy. If you’re denied, you’ll receive a Pre-Decisional Notice, explaining why you aren’t eligible.
You then have ten days to correct the information. Social Security will send you a Notice of Award, explaining your level of coverage. If you don’t meet the qualifications, you’ll get a Notice of Denial.
If you disagree with the denial, you have 60 days from the time of rejection to request an appeal hearing. You can ask for a case review, and you may send in any other information you feel is pertinent.
Depending on how your hearing goes, you’ll get a notice for approval or denial. If you still disagree, you can appeal to the Federal District Court.
If you’re struggling to pay your premiums, you should apply for a QMB program. Keep in mind that this program is called MQB in North Carolina and replaced with Medicaid in Nebraska.
A QMB program pays your premiums for Part A and Part B, your annual deductible for Part B, and coinsurance and deductibles for Part A services. It’s the most comprehensive MSP available, so its income and resource limits are the lowest.
|Applicant(s)||Resource Limit||Monthly Income Limit|
|Applicant(s)||Resource Limit||Monthly Income Limit|
Like the SLMB program, a QI program pays your Part B premium. The difference is that you can qualify for a QI program with a higher income, but you need to apply each year. You would have priority for these benefits if you received them the previous year.
Please note that there are differences in this program name in several states.
|Applicant(s)||Resource Limit||Monthly Income Limit|
A QDWI program is available for disabled individuals under age 65 who are working. This program pays for monthly Part A premiums. The monthly income limits are higher for this type of program than the others, and resource limits are the lowest. Unlike the above three MSPs, you don’t automatically qualify for a LIS with a QDWI.
|Applicant(s)||Resource Limit||Monthly Income Limit|
If you qualify for any of the above-listed programs, you’ll save on Medicare costs. If you’re searching for a prescription drug plan, we can help you find the right one for your needs. Call the number above to learn more about rates in your area. Or, fill out our online rates form to see local rates now.
side by side with plans & carriers available in your area.
With so much information about Medicare out there, you’re likely searching for a reliable resource. A Medicare benefits hotline will have the answers to all your questions would be ideal. Well, we’re here to provide you with some resources and let you know who you can contact and when.
Who you should speak to about Medicare depends on the part under which your questions fall. Below, we’ll guide you to resources that you can use to get your answers.
If you have questions about Part A or Part B, you can call the phone number for Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227; TTY: 1-877-486-2048). If you have a red, white, and blue card, the phone number should appear on the front.
When you call this number, you’ll get answers to your general questions about Medicare, including coverage and benefits. You’ll also be able to ask about claim status and expenses, such as premiums and deductibles. There’s also an option to hear what’s covered by the preventive healthcare screenings.
When you’re new to Medicare, you might have questions about the basics. These basics also include what’s covered. The answers to these questions and the above are accessible by calling the Medicare benefits hotline.
If you have questions beyond the scope of the above, we’re here for you as a Medicare resource. Our services are completely free. If you’re considering a Medigap plan, our team of licensed agents will educate you on each option and ensure you choose the coverage that’s best for your health and budget. If you’re not ready to call, we have a library of resources on our website to answer all the most frequently asked Medicare questions. From coverage to enrollment periods, browsing our site will help eliminate your confusion. If you have more questions, call the number above, and one of our Medicare experts will find the answer for you.
Simply read what our clients say about our service, and you’ll see that we’ve helped many navigate the maze. When you select us as your partner in health care, our client care team provides you with the best, unlimited support. If you’d like us to contact you with premium-rate quotes, fill out our rate comparison form.
Medicare for green card holders is possible. Those with a green card may be curious about Medicare eligibility. Well, if you’ve been a resident of the United States for at least five years, you may be eligible. Understanding how Medicare works for non-citizens is important. Here you’ll learn when you qualify, how to apply, and everything else in between.
Green card applicants can qualify for Medicare without enough work credits. But, you’ll likely need to pay for Part A premiums. Since Part A costs are based on how long you’ve worked in the United States and paid taxes towards Medicare, costs could vary. Those that have worked at least 10 years could qualify for premium-free Part A. Now, Part B is a little different. You’re costs depend on how much you make each year. High-income earners will pay a Part B IRMAA. Also, if you’re eligible for Medicare and delay enrollment, penalties could raise the cost of your premiums if you enroll later on.
You must have established residency for at least 5 years. Once you have residency status, you qualify for Medicare just like any other person. Either by turning 65 or by obtaining Social Security Disability for at least 24 months.
Medicare is available to those that qualify. If your parents have been permanent residents for at least 5 years, they may be eligible. Your parents will get Medicare separately, so your mom would need to be eligible on her own terms. And, your dad would need to be eligible on his own terms. Now, if one parent submits enough work hours for Premium free Part A, the other parent can claim off of those hours.
Signing up for Medicare is the same for permanent residents and citizens. Now, undocumented immigrants won’t be able to get Medicare. For those that do qualify for Medicare, we can help you find the best plan to meet your needs. For some, Medicare Advantage plans may be suitable. But, many will find Medigap insurance the most comprehensive.
Here at MedicareFAQ, we can help you find the plan for you. Give us a call at the number above or fill out an online rate form to get your rates now.
Sometimes after you retire, your employer will offer group insurance. This type of insurance is called retiree insurance, but how does it work with Medicare? While you might have retired early, you should be informed about the answer to this and other questions before you’re eligible.
In general, if you have Medicare and retiree insurance, Medicare will pay your health care bills first. In this case, your group coverage is your secondary insurance. Thus, it acts similar to a Medicare Supplement policy. To get full benefits from your retiree insurance, you’ll want to enroll in Part A and Part B when you become eligible. Retiree insurance isn’t creditable coverage, and you want to avoid penalties. Each employer plan is different, so contact your human resources representative for more details.
If you’re considering dropping your retiree insurance for Medicare, you can. Remember, though, ineligible spouses and dependents can’t enroll with you. They’ll lose their coverage through your employer’s plan if you unenroll.
In the case that your previous employer goes bankrupt or shuts down, you’ll be eligible for COBRA. However, that usually isn’t the best option if you also have Medicare. You could get a Special Enrollment Period to buy a Medigap policy, which is worth utilizing.
Some types of retiree insurance that coordinate with Medicare are PFFS, Health Maintenance Organizations, and Preferred Provider Organizations plans. If you have a Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) plan, it will act like a Medigap policy by covering Medicare cost-sharing. An HMO or PPO plan will require you to stay in a network, or else you’ll have to pay cost-sharing for Medicare. Both HMOs and PPOs are known as managed care. Occasionally, an employer will sponsor a Medicare Advantage or Medigap plan for eligible retirees. An Advantage plan is optional, and you can take Original Medicare instead. If you choose to enroll in an employer-sponsored Medigap plan, you’ll need to have Parts A and B first.
We know that navigating coverage options can be confusing. That’s where we come in. We’re here to help you understand your options from the inside out. As a result, you’ll feel better prepared when it’s time for you to choose the best combination of coverage.
Please call us at the number above. We have agents licensed in your state, ready to help. If you’re short on time, you can fill out our rates form instead. We’ll prepare a comparison of premium rate quotes for plans in your area.
When it comes to health care, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are trying to put control back into patients’ and doctors’ hands. For 2021, CMS is working toward this by dropping the inpatient-only list. To explain what this means, we go over some key points below. We also provide updates about other CMS initiatives for the year ahead.
In summary, the CMS inpatient-only list is a list of procedures that Medicare will pay for when care takes place in a hospital inpatient setting. Important to note is that the same safety and quality standards apply to both inpatient and outpatient services.
Most times, the rate at which Medicare pays for services in ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) is lower than at hospital outpatient departments. The inpatient-only list is large, and many procedures have been added and removed over the years.
Recently, CMS announced the finalization of their rule to end the inpatient-only list. This transition will occur over a three-year period that they will begin by eliminating about 300 services, mostly musculoskeletal-related in nature (including joint replacements). The changes intend to give patients more freedom of choice in their health care options and save them money. They also allow Medicare to pay for inpatient and outpatient services in the case that each is relevant.
Eliminated procedures may be subject to review including the 2-midnight rule. This means the presumption of the need for Part A payment if an inpatient hospital stay lasts two or more midnights post-admission. Yet, CMS is exempting certain 2-minute rule reviews of newly removed procedures for two years.
CMS has provided a table that includes services removed from the inpatient-only list for CY 2021. The list includes long descriptors and CPT/HCPCS codes and status indicators. You can find the list of removed services starting on page 709 of the CMS-1736 PDF.
In light of a need to help people save on drugs prescribed in hospital outpatient departments, CMS began the 340B program. This program allows specific hospitals to buy outpatient drugs at lower prices. For 2021, CMS’s final rule states that they will maintain their current payment policy for 340B drugs.
In the Patients Over Paperwork initiative, CMS attempts to lessen regulations that burden patients. The goal is to have providers spend more time with patients.
Starting in the calendar year 2021, CMS is revising its methodology to calculate Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating. These ratings help patients make educated health care decisions and now CMS is simplifying and standardizing them. This action is in response to stakeholder feedback. Calculations will also account for people on Medicare and Medicaid, as well as critical access hospitals and Veterans Health Administration hospitals.
CMS’s Rethinking Rural Health initiative strives to provide affordable, high-quality healthcare to people living in rural areas. Its payment system, Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS), has increased the wage index for hospitals with low wage indexes.
In 2021, CMS is continuing to adopt the IPPS and will use the system for a minimum total of four years. Disparities in hospital wage indexes will continue to be addressed. Also, CMS estimates payment for outpatient services in rural areas nationwide would increase by 3 percent. This percentage is 0.5 percent above the national average of 2.5 percent.
Are you a Medicare beneficiary struggling with the cost of prescription drugs? A program called Extra Help offsets the cost of prescriptions for Medicare beneficiaries with Part D. If you have limited resources, you might qualify. We’re here to help you understand how Extra Help works with Part D, who’s eligible, how to apply, and more.
The Extra Help program assists people with limited resources and lower incomes in paying for Part D prescription drug coverage.
Getting Extra Help with your Part D can:
On average, Extra Help is estimated to save beneficiaries $5,000 in these costs per year.
If you’re eligible for Medicaid or any of the following Medicare Savings Programs, you automatically qualify for Extra Help.
For those enrolled in Extra Help, generic prescription costs are no more than $3.60 each, and brand-name prescription costs are no more than $8.95 each.
If you didn’t enroll in Part D when you first became eligible, you won’t have to pay the late enrollment penalty if you have Extra Help.
In 2021, the annual income limit for Extra Help for an individual is $19,140. For a married couple who is living together, the limit is $25,860. When your income is calculated, governmental assistance such as food stamps, housing assistance, and home energy assistance aren’t counted.
Even if your income is higher than the limits, you should still apply for Extra Help if you think you qualify. Some scenarios where you’d still be eligible for Extra Help even though your income is over the limit include if you and/or your spouse:
Resource limits also apply when determining your eligibility for Extra Help. Your resources must be equal to or below $14,610 as an individual or $29,160 as a married couple who are living together.
The following examples count as resources:
The following do not count as resources:
Contact Social Security for a comprehensive list of excluded resources.
If your income and resources are greater than the limits listed above, you can still qualify for partial Extra Help. There are levels of Extra Help that depend on your income and resources.
You can mail your color-coded document to your Part D plan to help verify the level of Extra Help for which you qualify. Those who are dual-eligible to receive Medicare and Medicaid qualify for full Extra Help.
To apply for Extra Help, you can fill out Form SSA-1020 on the Social Security website. You can also call Social Security to apply over the phone or visit your local Social Security office to apply in person.
Social Security will mail a letter to you, informing you of whether you qualify for Extra Help. You can choose a Part D prescription drug plan after you qualify for Extra Help. If you haven’t qualified, you can still look for a Part D plan that fits your budget and includes your prescriptions in the formulary.
We’re here to help you in your search for a Part D prescription drug plan. We work with beneficiaries nationwide to find the best plan(s) for their needs and budget. Call us today at the number above for a comparison of plans from top-rated carriers. Or, fill out our rate form, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible with a detailed and accurate plan comparison.
If you’re a Medicare beneficiary, you know that health care costs can quickly add up. These costs are especially noticeable when you’re on a fixed income. If your monthly income and total assets are under the limit, you might be eligible for a Qualified Medicare Beneficiary program, or QMB. Below, we’ll explain all you need to know about what the QMB program pays for, who’s eligible, and how to sign up.
The Qualified Medicare Beneficiary program is a type of Medicare Savings Program (MSP). The QMB program allows beneficiaries to receive financial help from their state of residence with the costs of Medicare premiums and more.
A Qualified Medicare Beneficiary gets government help to cover health care costs like deductibles, premiums, and copays. Recipients must meet all criteria to qualify for the program assistance.
The QMB program pays:
If you’re in a QMB program, you’re also automatically eligible for the Extra Help program, which helps pay for prescription drugs.
To be eligible for a QMB program, you must qualify for Part A. Your monthly income must be at or below $1,084 as an individual and $1,457 as a married couple. Your resources (money in checking and/or savings accounts, stocks, and bonds) must not total more than $7,860 as an individual or $11,800 as a married couple.
Keep in mind that income and resource requirements for the QMB program are subject to increase each year. Thus, members must go through a redetermination to continue receiving benefits for the following year. This process includes providing your local Medicaid office with updated information about your monthly income and total resources.
If someone doesn’t have Part A but is eligible, they can choose to sign up anytime throughout the year. Once they’ve signed up for Part A, they can proceed to apply for the QMB program. If they need to pay a premium for Part A, the QMB program can cover it.
Anyone interested in applying for a QMB program must contact their state’s Medicaid office. If your income is higher than the QMB requirements, you should still reach out to determine eligibility.
Each state’s Medicaid program pays the Medicare cost-sharing for QMB program members. Anyone who qualifies for the QMB program doesn’t have to pay for Medicare cost-sharing and can’t be charged by their health care providers.
If an individual is considered a QMB Plus, they meet all criteria for the QMB program but also meet all financial requirements to receive full Medicaid services. These enrollees can receive benefits through the QMB program as well as their state’s health plan.
The first step in enrollment for the QMB program is to find out if you’re eligible. A quick and easy way to do this is to call your local Medicaid office. The next step is to complete an application. You can request Medicaid to provide you with an application form or locate a QMB program application from your state online.
Providers can’t bill QMB members for their deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments because the state Medicaid programs cover these costs. There are instances in which states may limit the amount they pay health care providers for Medicare cost-sharing. Even if a state limits the amount they’ll pay a provider, QMB members still don’t have to pay Medicare providers for their health care costs.
If you’re currently in the QMB program, you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. There are unique plans for those with Medicare and Medicaid. A Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan for dual-eligible individuals could be a fantastic option. Generally, there is a premium for the plan, but the Medicaid program will pay that premium.
Many people choose this extra coverage because it provides routine dental and vision care, and some come with a gym membership. While not every policy has these benefits, there may be one available in your area!
Medigap coverage isn’t necessary for anyone on the QMB program. This program helps you avoid the need for a Medigap plan by assisting in coverage for copays, premiums, and deductibles. Those that don’t qualify for the QMB program may find that a Medigap plan helps make their health care costs much more predictable.
If you qualify for a QMB program, you’ll save money on out-of-pocket Medicare costs. For further savings, you can add supplemental coverage to your Original Medicare.
Pairing an Advantage Special Needs Plan with your QMB is a great way to protect yourself from unexpected health costs. It also provides extra benefits at an affordable price.
Medicare coverage for Alzheimer’s disease includes inpatient care, doctor visits, and more. Depending on the service you need, there may be special guidelines you must follow. Now, Medicare does include medical services to help Alzheimer patients, such as psychology and therapeutic services.
We’ll dive into the details below!
Whether you have dementia or Alzheimer’s you can expect coverage to be available. Medicare does cover Alzheimer’s testing. A doctor will run various tests before an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Often, these tests require visits to the neurologist, neuropsychologist, and geriatricians. Testing can include physical examination as well as laboratory tests.
The Medicare Annual Wellness Visit includes screening for cognitive impairment to identify if you have any memory illnesses. During the screening, your doctor may talk to you about your life and any possible concerns. Your doctor can discuss screening results, prescribe medications, recommend resources to help you plan for the future, and refer you to a specialist.
Medicare pays the full cost of Alzheimer’s screening as a preventive service.
Medicare covers care planning for those with a cognitive impairment diagnosis. But, it won’t cover long-term respite care. For many, a care plan includes Long term care, skilled Nursing, Visiting Angels, or even a home safety assessment. Designing a proper can plan can be a challenge since there is no one size fits all. Some people have unique family situations and different stages require various levels of care. You should include a caregiver to help support you and learn about things that contribute to a better quality of life.
For example, if you break a hip and spend five days in the hospital, Medicare will pay for a temporary stay at a skilled nursing facility during recovery. Now, if you need to move to a nursing home because you can’t live safely at home anymore, Medicare won’t pay for those costs, but it will cover medical care.
Alzheimer’s related care can be costly between psychological care and frequent doctor visits. When you have the right coverage your focus can be on quality care and less about the costs. Did you know with a Medigap plan you can see any doctor that accepts Medicare? With freedom like this, you can truly have the best doctors and care available.
Our team of Medicare experts can help you find the most suitable policy for you. Give us a call at the number above or fill out an online rate comparison form and see your rates now!
Marriage and family counseling can be helpful, but does Medicare cover this service? While these services are beneficial, Medicare will only cover under specific circumstances. For example, the service needs to be part of the treatment for mental illness. We’re going to help by you understand coverage by answering some of the most frequently asked questions about marriage and family counseling from others on Medicare.
For Part B to cover the counseling, you must see a professional that accepts Medicare. Going to a doctor that doesn’t accept Medicare will mean you pay the full cost of care. Outpatient mental health services medicare covers include family therapy to help you through treatment.
If you get treatment from any of the following professionals, you have coverage:
Also, the facility where the service takes place must accept Medicare assignment. Otherwise, there is no coverage for the service and you pay the full price of care.
Counseling is available in any of the following settings:
If you have Medicare and want help paying for your counseling services, we’re here to help you find the right policy. A Medigap policy will allow you to pay little to no costs outside your premium. Medigap coverage can help you afford the cost of counseling, doctor visits, and more.
Give us a call at the number above. We’ll connect you with an agent that can help you find the best policy in your area. Our agents go over everything you need to know about Medicare and ensure the policy you select is a perfect match. Also, if you prefer to do the research yourself, you can discover rates online today.
Are you currently enrolled in a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace and soon-to-be Medicare eligible? You probably have questions about the future of your coverage. We’re here to help you navigate this change in your health care needs and avoid unwanted costs along the way.
The Affordable Care Act or Obamacare mandates the availability of a marketplace for the buying of health insurance in each state. Through this marketplace, health plans are for individuals, families, and small businesses who otherwise lack health coverage. People that need to buy coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace should visit HealthCare.gov. Now, Medicare is a federal health care program in the U.S. for those aged 65 and over. It also covers disabled individuals under 65 receiving SSDI benefits for 24 months or more and those diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or End-Stage Renal Disease.
Those with Medicare coverage aren’t affected by the Health Insurance Marketplace. If you’re currently on a plan through the Marketplace but are aging in or are becoming eligible due to a disability, we’re here to help. You can keep your plan through the Marketplace until the start of your Medicare.
Section 1557 of The Affordable Care Act is the provision that prohibits discrimination in HHS-funded health care. It applies to hospitals accepting Medicare, Medicaid, and the Indian Health Service. This provision outlaws discrimination based on age, sex, race, color, national origin, or disability.
Choosing Marketplace coverage instead of Medicare can be a costly decision. Once you’re enrolled in Part A, you won’t be eligible for any of the savings you once got for your Marketplace plan. This means you’ll have to pay the full price. Also, if you delay enrollment in Part B, you’ll have to pay a lifelong penalty.
Use your Initial Enrollment Period to enroll in Original Medicare. When aging in, this seven-month period starts three months before the month of your 65th birthday and ends three months after. It’s beneficial to use this enrollment period to avoid penalties for delaying Parts A and B. You can keep your Marketplace, or Obamacare, plan until your Medicare coverage begins. If you’ve worked a minimum of 40 quarters, you get Part A premium-free, so there’s no need to delay enrollment.
Your eligibility for premium tax credits and other savings ends when your Part A begins. This means that you’d be paying full price for your Marketplace plan, so it’s beneficial to entirely switch to Medicare. Be sure you know when your coverage starts before ending your Marketplace plan.
You’re able to keep your Marketplace plan after becoming eligible for Medicare. But it’s against the law for someone to knowingly sell a Marketplace policy to someone eligible for premium-free Part A. Be aware of this, especially during the fall Open Enrollment Period each year. Also, if you have Marketplace coverage and a federal employee tells you that you don’t need to enroll in Medicare when you’re eligible you may qualify for equitable relief.
Prescription drug coverage through the Marketplace isn’t required to meet the standards of Part D. Your plan will let you know whether your coverage will be creditable in writing each year. If you need financial assistance with your drug plan, check eligibility for the Extra Help program. If you already qualify for specific Medicare Savings Programs, you’re automatically eligible for Extra Help.
Marketplace coverage isn’t creditable coverage for Parts A and B because it’s not required to be as good as Original Medicare. This means that you’ll need to pay penalties after the first 12 months if you delay coverage. So it’s best to sign up during your Initial Enrollment Period or the General Enrollment Period if you miss your Initial Enrollment Period.
You’ll no longer be eligible for premium subsidies once you’re eligible for premium-free Part A. Meaning when you’ve paid the tax for 40 quarters. This won’t end your Marketplace plan, you’ll need to terminate it. And, you’ll pay full price if you don’t.
If you have access to the Indian Health Service, it acts as a last resort and pays after all other contributions. IHS is not health insurance. If you’re a Native American or Alaska Native with a Marketplace plan and become eligible for Medicare, you should drop your Marketplace plan and sign up for Medicare. For the most comprehensive coverage, you should pair Native American Health Insurance with Medicare. The only exception would be if you haven’t worked enough quarters and don’t get Part A premium-free.
We know that the process of starting Medicare after years of Marketplace coverage can be confusing. We’re here to help you understand and set up your new health care. We work with top carriers and keep cost in mind at the same time.
Call us at the number above or fill out our rate form. Every day, we help people find the best plans to fit their needs and budget. We look forward to doing the same for you.
Medicare only covers chiropractic care services for manipulations to correct a misaligned spine. But, if you need care for a stiff neck or back pain, you can expect to pay for those services yourself. In the content below, we’ll go over when chiropractic care has coverage, how much care costs, and Medicare guidelines for services.
Manual manipulation of the spine by a chiropractor has coverage if it is medically necessary to correct a “subluxation.” Subluxation is a medical term for the misalignment of the spine. You’ll need an official diagnosis as well as a qualified chiropractor to have this treatment covered by Medicare. When Medicare does cover chiropractic care, those services will fall under Part B.
Medicare doesn’t cover a visit to the chiropractor for other reasons. If you see a chiropractor for spine manipulation, you should be aware that Medicare won’t pay for it. For example, Medicare won’t cover x-rays or acupuncture with a chiropractor’s orders. But, you’ll have coverage for the actual chiropractic treatment as long as you show improvement.
A treatment plan should include a recommendation for the duration and frequency of visits. Also, the program should consist of specific treatment goals, objective measures to evaluate treatment effectiveness, and the date of initial treatment.
Some Part C plans include extra benefits for chiropractic treatments for a range of conditions. Every Advantage plan is different, look at your explanation of benefits to see what your policy covers. Not all Advantage plans will offer Chiropractic benefits.
Supplement plans cover the same services and procedures as Medicare. Medigap doesn’t include extra services beyond Medicare. But, Medigap plans will pick up your part of the coinsurance. If Medicare covers a Chiropractic service, Medigap will pay its portion.
Tip: When your insurance doesn’t cover Chiropractic services, ask local doctors about cash prices.
The only way to have Medicare cover chiropractic care is when you need spinal subluxation. Otherwise, for services like lower back pain, you could pay for the appointment yourself. But, you can expect to pay for most naturopathic doctors yourself. Now, on services Medicare does cover, Medigap can help eliminate some or all of the deductibles and coinsurances. Our agents can help you learn more about the benefits of Medigap, give us a call at the number above. Or, fill out an online rate form to discover your rates now!
Many factors can impact your Medicare Supplement rates. Because of this, Medigap premiums are unique for each beneficiary. When trying to find Medigap premium quotes, you first turn to the Internet. You complete a form on a website in order to see quotes. Before you see anything else, however, your phone number is requested. An agent will call you soon with your rate quotes, the site promises. Below, we’ll explain what factors impact your Medicare Supplement rates.
After completing the rates form, you still don’t have actual rates. You’re understandably frustrated. What you read on the site seemed to assure that you would see premium quotes on your computer screen. The main question on your mind now is, “Why can’t I see my Medigap rates online?”
Even if your neighbor has the same Medigap letter plan through the same carrier as you, their premium will not be the same as yours. This is due to several factors that impact premium rates. It’s important to remember that all Medigap plans are standardized by the government. This means that each letter plan has a set of benefits that will stay the same regardless of the carrier. The benefits will be identical if you go with a Plan G through Aetna or Cigna; the only difference will be the premium you pay.
We’ll discuss each factor in more detail below.
The amount you pay for a Medigap plan might be very different if you lived in another state. For example, a 65-year-old woman living in Florida pays an average of $195 in monthly premiums for Plan F. If she were living in Texas, the same woman would only be paying around $123 in monthly premiums for the same plan. However, in New York, she would be paying about $306 for the same Plan F as in the other two states. As you can see, your location is a significant factor in determining what you’ll pay in monthly premiums for a Medigap plan.
You might have been unaware that your gender can be a determining factor of your Medigap rates. Since women are often healthier than men on average, female beneficiaries pay about $10-30 less in monthly premiums. For example, a 65-year-old man from Palm Harbor, Florida, will receive quotes for Plan G that average about $176 per month. Plan G quotes average roughly $169 per month for a woman who is the same age, living in the same ZIP Code. Texas follows the same pattern, with the 65-year-old man paying $112 on average for Plan G and the 65-year-old woman paying around $98. Not all states use your sex/gender to determine your Medigap premiums. For example, in New York, the man and woman can both expect to pay $268 or more per month for their Plan G.
Depending on the rating method used by your Medigap carrier, your age may be used to determine your rates. You’ll pay less when you enroll at age 65 compared to if you enrolled at age 75. Additionally, if you’re eligible for Medicare due to collecting SSDI for 24 months, your premiums could be three to four times higher than those of beneficiaries who aged into Medicare.
Those who smoke, chew, or use vaping products can expect to pay up to 10% more in monthly premiums. This is because those who use tobacco tend to incur more medical conditions.
Some carriers offer discounts to those living in the same household. If, for example, your spouse enrolls in a plan with the same carrier you use, you both might be eligible for a discount. Discounts vary and depend on the carrier with which you choose to enroll. If your carrier offers a household discount, you can expect to pay 5-15% less for your policies.
Some carriers charge more if you choose to pay quarterly, semiannually, or annually. This is because they prefer you to pay monthly. Also, it’s more cost-effective for carriers to process your payments electronically versus by check or credit card. Because of this, some carriers will discount your premiums if you pay electronically.
You’ll want to ensure the carrier you enroll with has a financial rating of A or better. You want to ask your agent about the carrier rate increase history. Also, it’s best to choose a carrier that has been in the market for at least five years.
One of the most significant factors determining your Medigap premium rate is when you enroll in your plan. The optimal time to enroll is during your Open Enrollment Period. This timeframe may only happen once in your lifetime. Your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period takes place during the six-month window that begins the first day of the month of your Part B effective date. During this time, a carrier can’t deny you coverage or charge you higher monthly premiums due to any health conditions or medication you take. Outside of your Open Enrollment Period, carriers may require you to go through medical underwriting. You may then be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions or need to pay more in monthly premiums.
Some carriers offer a 12-month rate lock. In this case, even if your effective date isn’t for a few months, you can benefit from enrolling as soon as possible to prevent any rate increases.
A Medigap plan can cost anywhere between $50 to $350 per month depending on the letter plan.
Your Medigap premium quotes will be unique, and we’re here to present you with the most accurate information. We realize how essential this accuracy is when you’re making major healthcare decisions. With our services, you’ll be informed about the actual premium amount you’ll pay each month and not walk away with a guesstimate. At MedicareFAQ, our goal is to help you find the right plan(s) for your needs and budget. Call the phone number above to speak to an agent today, or fill out our online rate form.
As a Medicare beneficiary, it’s helpful to be acquainted with terms such as Medicare’s “8-minute rule” to understand how Medicare gets charged for the services you receive. Due to the limited understanding of some practitioners regarding this rule, errors occasionally happen. These errors can result in delayed reimbursement or underbilling.
Physical therapists and other service-based providers bill Medicare for the services beneficiaries receive. Billing and claims procedures involve the use of CPT (Current Procedural Terminology) codes and rules. The 8-minute rule, which is followed by Medicare, is one of these rules. We’ll discuss why it is important for beneficiaries to understand what the 8-minute rule is and how it works.
Medicare’s 8-minute rule is a stipulation that applies to time-based CPT codes for outpatient services, such as physical therapy. Introduced in December 1999, the 8-minute rule became effective on April 1, 2000.
The rule allows practitioners to bill Medicare for one unit of service if its length is at least eight (but fewer than 22) minutes. A billable “unit” of service refers to the time interval for the service. Under the 8-minute rule, units of service consist of 15 minutes each.
The 8-minute rule applies only to services where the practitioner has direct contact with the patient. Therefore, the service must be in-person for the 8-minute rule to apply.
If you’ve received more than one service, Medicare will be billed based on total timed minutes per discipline. If an individual service takes less than eight minutes, Medicare won’t be billed for it.
The services are then billed in 15-minute units. Therefore, if a service or services take(s) 20 minutes, Medicare will be billed for one unit, because the number of minutes falls between eight and 22.
If 23 to 37 minutes is spent on the service(s), Medicare can be billed for two units. If the service(s) take(s) 38 to 52 minutes, the practitioner can charge for three-units, and this pattern continues (in 15-minute intervals) beyond two-hour services (see chart).
The following outpatient providers follow the 8-minute rule when billing Medicare for their services:
The common thread among practitioners that follow the 8-minute rule is that the services they provide are outpatient and in-person.
The 8-minute rule also does not only apply to Medicare. It applies to federally funded plans, including those listed below:
Additionally, some commercial plans also follow the 8-minute rule. Since Medicare requires the 8-minute rule to be followed for these in-person, outpatient services, providers do not have the choice of using another billing method.
Lynne visits the hospital where her physical therapist’s office is located. She receives 31 minutes of therapeutic exercise and 14 minutes of manual therapy. She then goes upstairs and receives an ultrasound, which takes nine minutes. The total number of minutes between services is 54, so Lynne’s Medicare plan will be billed for a total of four units of service.
As shown in the above example, the ultrasound is not billed separately. Since each service takes longer than eight minutes, the minutes are added together and billed to Medicare as the total number of units.
As another example, Gregory visits his physical therapist’s private practice. His physical therapist spends 16 minutes assessing his situation, 23 minutes on manual therapy, and seven minutes answering Gregory’s questions. This visit totals 46 minutes, so the office will charge Medicare for three units of service.
At times, providers are unaware of the full range of services for which they should bill, such as assessments. This results in underbilling. Therefore, patients should understand what Medicare can and should be charged for, so they can be confident they are not being overbilled. It is also crucial for providers to keep this in mind so they do not underbill for services.
We hope the above information helps in clearing up any confusion you might have about the 8-minute rule. It’s advantageous for Medicare beneficiaries receiving physical therapy or another outpatient, direct-contact services to understand how Medicare is billed.
If you’re in search of a Medigap plan to cover what Medicare doesn’t give us a call. Our team of Medicare experts is here to help you find the best plan to fit your needs. You may also fill out an online rate form to see options available in your area.
With so many options, you might be wondering which Medicare Supplement plans are the most popular in 2021. Below, we’ll go over the plans so you’re better prepared for the upcoming year.
The most popular Medigap plans are Plan F, Plan G, and Plan N. High-Deductible versions of Plan F and Plan G are also available.
Plan F is the most comprehensive Medigap plan. It covers the Part B deductible and everything covered by Plan G. After Medicare pays its share, Medigap Plan F pays the rest.
This leaves beneficiaries with $0 out-of-pocket expenses. Enrollees pay a monthly premium, but they don’t need to pay deductibles or copays. Plan F includes full benefits and provides proper coverage for beneficiaries who require treatments for chronic conditions.
Plan G is similar to Plan F. However, with Plan G, beneficiaries are responsible for the Part B deductible.
A high-deductible version of Plan G became available this year. It is a replacement for High Deductible Plan F. High Deductible Plan F provides identical benefits to standard Plan F (as well as a higher deductible that the beneficiary must pay in exchange for the lower premium).
Both standard and High Deductible Plan F are no longer available to newly eligible beneficiaries. Any Medicare-eligible beneficiary, regardless of when they become eligible, can enroll in High Deductible Plan G.
A more affordable option for those who:
Plan N is one of the most popular Medicare Supplement plans for all beneficiaries.
This plan requires beneficiaries to pay small copayments. For example, $20 for a doctor visit and $50 for an emergency visit. There are no copays required if you visit a local urgent care facility. However, excess charges are not covered by this plan. This will not be a concern for you if live in a state that does not allow excess charges. The states that prohibit Part B excess charges are as follows: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. If you want a lower premium and are comfortable with more copayments, this plan could work well for you.
In the past, Plan F was the most popular of the Medigap plans. Now that it’s no longer available to newly eligible beneficiaries, Plan G is gaining popularity. It also makes more financial sense to many beneficiaries.
You can compare Medigap plans by filling out our online rate form or giving us a call, regardless of when you became Medicare-eligible. We’ll help you find the best letter plan and carrier for your health and budget needs.
Hospital Indemnity insurance can help lower your costs if you have a hospital stay. The average price of a hospital stay for seniors is nearly $15,000 for a five-day visit. While Medicare may cover some of this, it won’t cover the entire cost. Hospital indemnity plans are especially beneficial for those with high deductible insurance plans. Below we’ll go over Hospital Indemnity plans and how they work.
Hospital Indemnity insurance can reduce hospital costs, even for those with Medicare. When choosing your plan, you can select a per-day cash amount and benefit periods.
Plans with more benefits will cost more than those with fewer benefits. But, your options have some customizable options. You can use the cash benefit to cover things like medical copayments or deductibles. Also, if you need to use the benefit to pay rent or utilities, you can.
The benefit periods are the maximum amount of days spent in the hospital that your policy will cover. Hospital Indemnity policies tend to include a variety of services.
Benefits can include one of four services:
Hospital Indemnity coverage is relatively simple to use. With Indemnity policies, you can choose to see whichever specialists and doctors you like, without referrals.
Indemnity plans will need you to pay for your health care services upfront. You’ll then submit a claim to your insurance company and get a reimbursement.
You’ll more than likely need to pay a yearly deductible before insurance pays on your claims. Once you meet your deductible, insurance will pay your claims at a percentage rate.
As long as you’re able to pay your bills upfront, these plans work well, especially for those with high deductible insurance plans, such as High Deductible Plan G.
Like with all forms of health coverage, you’ll want to make sure the coverage works for you. While it sounds like a dream to use, it may not be right for your situation.
For example, if you aren’t able to pay upfront for your services, this may not work well. Or, if you have Medigap Plan F, it could be silly to have a Hospital Indemnity Plan.
An Indemnity plan may work for you if:
Once you pay, you can submit your claim to insurance. You’ll want to be sure you have the financial freedom to do this.
Even if you have a Medigap policy, having an indemnity plan could be the additional protection you need if you have a lengthy hospital stay.
Some of the most popular indemnity benefits generally include:
Of course, there are additional benefits not shown here. You can get a complete list of benefits through your insurance agent.
Hospital Indemnity payments can work hand-in-hand with Medicare coverage. Medicare may cover a good part of the hospital expenses, but it won’t cover everything.
Hospital Indemnity insurance and Medigap can work together to bring you ultimate savings. Medigap helps with medical copays and deductibles that Medicare won’t pay. But Medigap won’t provide the same coverage as Hospital Indemnity insurance.
Why? Well, Indemnity plans can help pay household costs. If you’re in the hospital and unable to contribute financially at home, this insurance can help pick up those costs.
While you’re in the hospital, you want your life to continue running as normally as possible. Medigap helps reduce your health care costs. But with an Indemnity policy, you can gain that extra cost protection on the home front as well.
Hospital Indemnity policies can produce price predictability alongside your Medicare Advantage plan. Advantage plans usually have low premiums. But Advantage policies can include deductibles, copays, and coinsurance making them more costly.
Indemnity insurance joins works with Medicare Advantage to help you pay even less for health coverage. If you want the ultimate protection, these two policies may work for you! The results? Comprehensive coverage can give you peace of mind and pocketbook savings!
Hospital Indemnity insurance can offer plenty of benefits. Most importantly, your situation won’t be the same as everyone else’s, weigh the pros and cons. You can use an Indemnity plan with Medicare, Medigap, or Medicare Advantage. It can help by giving you some of your money back during an emergency.
You don’t have to worry about network guidelines when getting admitted to hospitals. To help you understand Medicare or enroll in new coverage, contact one of our agents.
We’ll help you make the best decision possible. When you choose to go with MedicareFAQ, you’ll gain access to cost quotes from many different companies. Call us at the number listed above or complete an online rate form today.
You see dozens of commercials for zero dollar premium Medicare Advantage plans that are all-in-one coverage. They may include benefits for prescriptions, vision, dental, and maybe even a free gym membership. So, why are Medicare Advantage plans bad? Medicare Advantage plans are not necessarily bad, but they’re certainly not a good fit for everyone. We’ll explain below.
This biggest misconception is that Medicare Advantage plans are free. Everyone has heard the saying, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Well, there is also no such thing as a free Medicare plan.
One of the reasons Medicare Advantage carriers can offer low to zero-dollar premium plans is because they are paid by Medicare to take on your health risk. Advantage carriers make their plans look super attractive to entice beneficiaries to enroll. Then, Medicare pays the carrier a fixed amount per month per enrollee to provide coverage, so they don’t have to.
Another reason Advantage plans have low or zero-dollar premiums is due to cost-sharing. Unlike Original Medicare and Medigap, Medicare Advantage plans come with copays. You can expect to pay a copay for every doctor visit, test, and service you receive.
Medicare pays Advantage carriers based on a bidding process. The carriers submit their bid based on costs per enrollees for services covered under Original Medicare. These bids are compared to benchmark amounts and will vary county to county. If the bid is higher than the benchmark amount, the enrollee will pay the difference in the form of monthly premiums. Which is why some Medicare Advantage plans a free and others have a monthly premium.
That depends on who you ask. Some additional coverage is better than non. If you’re on a limited budget and cannot afford the monthly premiums for a Medigap plan, then a Medicare Advantage plan is a good deal.
If you would like to use your benefits often, then Medicare Advantage may not be such a good deal. Your cost-sharing will quickly add up and could easily exceed the monthly premium for a Medigap plan.
If you like to travel, then Medicare Advantage is not a good deal for you. Unlike Original Medicare & Medigap, your coverage will not travel with you.
If you have health problems and are concerned about your health in the future, then a Medicare Advantage plan is not the right choice for you if your goal is to spend less out of pocket annually.
Medicare Advantage also comes with a much smaller network of doctors compared to Original Medicare and Medigap. Always check your plans provider directory before you enroll to confirm ALL your doctors are in the plan’s network.
Also, be aware that your doctor is free to leave the plan’s network at any time of the year. Unfortunately, you will still be stuck in that plan until the next Annual Enrollment Period. You will have to either pay 100% of your medical costs or find a new doctor in your plan’s network.
Medicare Advantage comes with an Out-of-Pocket Maximum. Usually, this is a good thing. However, the limit is pretty high. High enough to break the bank. If you don’t have a rainy day fund, enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan could be a financial risk, you don’t want to take.
Medigap plans do not come with an Out-of-Pocket Maximum. That’s because they don’t need one. Your cost-sharing is minimal.
Unlike Medigap, Medicare Advantage benefits change annually. It’s essential to check your Plans Annual Notice of Change each September to ensure your plan will still have the same benefits the following year.
If you ask your doctor if he likes Medicare Advantage plans, you might be surprised by the answer. Medicare Advantage plans put the financial risk of the patient on the doctors. This model is known as global-risk or full-risk. The Medicare Advantage plan will pay the doctor more money upfront than per service rendered.
Judith Stein, the executive director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy, stated, it’s a way to keep costs down and provide less care. The only way the physician will make a profit is if they stay under budget. If they don’t say under budget, they end up losing money.
Medicare Advantage plans are certainly worth the zero dollar premium; however, it’s your choice to decide if the coverage is right. The worth of a Medicare Advantage plan depends on your location, healthcare needs, budget, and preferences.
Some healthy people live in prime Medicare Advantage areas, and they prefer to pay as they go; these feelings are justifiable. But at the same time, people do leave Medicare Advantage plans for good reasons.
The worst plan for you is the plan you don’t analyze. When it comes to Medicare Advantage, there are many different ways you could become disappointed in your choice.
It could be the endless copayments, the necessary referrals, or the small network of doctors. Either way, doing your research on the policy of interest should be a top priority. Doing your due diligence will help you determine if a Medicare Advantage plan is a bad choice.
This is the ultimate question. If I enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan now, can I leave the plan and switch to Medigap later? Yes, you can leave the plan and switch to Medigap later. However, you will have to wait until either the Annual Enrollment Period or the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period to make changes.
It’s important to know that most beneficiaries will only get a one time Medigap Open Enrollment Period. This is the only time you can enroll in a Medigap plan without answer health questions.
If you miss this one time opportunity to enroll, and you choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan instead, you will have to go through medical underwriting and may be denied coverage due to pre-existing health conditions.
If reading through details of insurance coverage is confusing, call one of our agents to help identify the best policy for you.
We know that Medicare can be complicating and ever-charging; that’s why we choose to be here for you throughout the process. Plus, we’re still here next year when the plan changes.
No time to call us? Fill out an online rate form and see what supplemental Medicare options are available in your area now.
Beneficiaries eligible for both TRICARE For Life and Medicare should understand how the two work together. Medicare consists of a few different parts. If you are familiar with these parts, you might be wondering how each works with TFL, and if additional supplemental insurance is necessary for those who are dual-enrolled in both Original Medicare & TFL.
TFL is the health insurance program available to U.S. military retirees who qualify, as well as their beneficiaries, for no cost. It’s different and separate from Medicare. Medicare is the U.S. national health insurance program for individuals 65 years of age and older or who are disabled.
TRICARE-eligible beneficiaries will be automatically enrolled in TRICARE For Life when they sign up for both Part A and Part B. You must pay your monthly Part B premium to remain enrolled.
If you enroll in both Medicare and TFL, Medicare will be your primary insurance, and TFL will work as a wraparound. Or otherwise known as supplemental insurance. TFL will help cover costs for which the beneficiary would otherwise be responsible for paying. This includes the Part A hospital deductible and Part B 20% coinsurance.
When used together, TFL and Medicare will cover most procedures deemed medically necessary.
Some TRICARE For Life beneficiaries choose to enroll in Medicare Advantage plans to access benefits such as gym memberships and dental, vision, and hearing coverage. As Medicare doesn’t cover these benefits, an Advantage plan is a means for the beneficiary to obtain them. Before you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, make sure your healthcare providers are in the plan network. Meaning they accept your coverage.
For example, if you have a Medicare Advantage HMO plan and TFL, the HMO is your primary insurance, and TFL acts as a supplement. If you receive care outside your HMO network, the HMO will cover 0% of the costs. Any claim will be forwarded to TFL.
Anything the Advantage plan doesn’t cover, your TFL will help cover. This includes copays and deductibles, for which you would be responsible otherwise. Therefore, if your providers are in your network, you may ultimately have no out-of-pocket expenses once TFL has paid its share. Thus, underscoring the importance of ensuring your providers are in-network before signing up for a Medicare Advantage plan.
If you are a TRICARE For Life beneficiary, there is generally no need to enroll in a Part D prescription drug plan under Medicare. TRICARE For Life includes prescription drug coverage, for which there is no additional charge to you.
Prescriptions for maintenance drugs, such as medications for blood pressure or cholesterol, must be filled through TRICARE’s mail order pharmacy. Acute care prescriptions for TRICARE For Life beneficiaries are available at their local pharmacy or military base. In both scenarios, TRICARE For Life pays for the prescriptions, and the beneficiary is usually responsible for a copay.
If you have Tricare for Life and decide to enroll in Part D, you won’t have to worry about being penalized. The late enrollment penalty you might otherwise have to pay for Part D gets waived because TRICARE drug coverage qualifies as creditable coverage.
If you have limited income and resources, you could qualify for Extra Help paying for a Part D prescription drug plan.
TRICARE for Life acts similar to a Medicare Supplement. It’s possible to also enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan if you have both TFL and Medicare. Whether this would be advantageous to you is dependent on your health insurance needs. If you enroll in Medicare, TFL, and Medigap, Medicare will be your primary insurance, the supplement will be secondary insurance, and TFL will pay last.
If you’re under the age of 65 when you have Medicare with TRICARE Prime, you don’t need to disenroll. TFL isn’t mandatory. Those on Medicare because of disability can remain on TRICARE Prime as long as you’re eligible. When you qualify, you’ll get a waiver for Prime enrollment fees or a refund for a past enrollment fee.
MilConnect lets TRICARE beneficiaries save and print an eligibility letter for “Proof of Insurance“. This information allows you to show creditable coverage to any other insurance you may purchase in the future.
This information is available online or through a written request.
In most cases, you need to take your Notice of Award to the Social Security office, or local ID card office to update your Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) records. When information is incorrect in the database this causes problems with your healthcare benefits.
Are you single, never married? You continue to be eligible for TRICARE Prime or Tricare Select past your 65th birthday.
Are you a widow or widower? If you’re eligible for free Part A, sign up for Part B. Your TRICARE For Life coverage begins on the date you have both Part A and Part B. If you’re not eligible for free Part A, you continue to be eligible for TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select past your 65th birthday.
Married/divorced: spouse age 62 or older? If you’re eligible for free Part A, sign up for Part B. Your TRICARE For Life coverage begins on the date you have both Part A and Part B. If you’re not eligible for free Part A, under your spouse’s (or divorced spouse’s) Social Security number, you continue to be eligible for TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select past your 65th birthday.
Married/divorced: spouse younger than age 62? You continue to be eligible for TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select past your 65th birthday. Three months before your spouse (or divorced spouse) turns 62, apply for Medicare Part A under his or her Social Security number.
Medicare coverage includes benefits for those with epilepsy. But, some things cost a copayment or coinsurance depending on the service. Also, sometimes there will be a deductible that needs to be met before coverage begins. Below, we’ll answer some common questions about Medicare coverage for epilepsy.
Medicare covers care for people with epilepsy. Coverage includes diagnostics, treatment, hospital, and medical care. Part A covers inpatient surgeries. But, outpatient doctor bills fall under Part B. Then, Part D plans cover epilepsy medications. Good healthcare is critical for epilepsy patients and treatment is specific to the individual. Let’s take a look at the specifics of Medicare for those with epilepsy.
An epilepsy diagnosis doesn’t automatically make you Medicare eligible. To get Medicare, you must qualify for Social Security Disability. The Social Security Administration makes a case-by-case decision. They look at how your condition affects your ability to hold a job. But, if you get disability benefits, you’ll be eligible for Medicare 24 months after becoming eligible.
Yes, Medicare covers deep brain stimulation for epilepsy, including essential tremor treatment. Deep Brain Stimulation involves surgically implanting electrodes in the brain.
Medicare approves Deep Brain Stimulation for patients that don’t respond to seizure medications. Patients will spend a couple of days in the hospital following the electrode implant surgery but will have the pulse generator surgery as an outpatient.
Thermal ablation is known as interstitial thermal therapy. Medicare doesn’t have a National Coverage Determination for laser interstitial thermal therapy. Also, Local Coverage Determinations don’t exist either. Yet, Medicare usually covers medically necessary services and procedures. So, if your doctor says you need interstitial thermal therapy, it’s likely that Medicare will cover.
Now, if you have a Medicare Advantage plan, coverage will likely vary.
An Electroencephalogram (EEG) can be done to diagnose and treat epilepsy. The non-invasive test can show the region of the brain that has abnormal activities. Since this is a diagnostic lab test, Medicare will cover the full cost. Also, Medicare Advantage plans should provide full coverage when this is necessary for diagnosis or treatment.
Part D will cover Medications for many conditions. But, it’s your responsibility to make sure your medications are on the formulary. Epilepsy patients rely on medications to control and limit epileptic seizures. Numerous antiepileptic, or anticonvulsive, drugs are available. Different medications are effective for different people, and side effects can vary.
Further, anticonvulsants for epilepsy are among six classes of drugs protected under Part D. All plans must cover the drugs in protected classes. Patients must have the right to seek all medications available to treat their condition.
While there are protections to keep these medications available, there are barriers to care including high cost-sharing that can limit access to lifesaving medications. Now, the Low-Income Subsidy or the Extra Help program can help low-income beneficiaries gain access to medications.
A Special Needs Plan is a Medicare Advantage plan for people with a chronic medical condition. Also, Special Needs Plans can be a good option for people with epilepsy. These plans are made to give people with specific chronic conditions access to care that’s necessary. Like, specific specialists and medications for the condition.
Yes, since Medicare covers epilepsy, Medigap will cover it too. But, if you are under 65, it can be hard to get Medigap coverage. In some states, there are no Medigap plans for people under 65. Further, in most states, they cost more than Medigap for people over 65.
Our team of Medicare agents can help you find the best plan for your budget and health needs.
We can provide quotes, compare plan options, and answer any questions you may have. Our team provides you with the information you need to choose the right option.
Give us a call today at the number above. If you can’t call, fill out our online rate comparison forms.
When you compare Medicare Plan F vs Plan G vs Plan N, you can see why these are the most popular Medicare Supplement plans. If you’re like most people, you want your policy to cover as many of your healthcare costs as possible, without breaking the bank. Because we understand Medicare is always changing, we update our content regularly. The more relevant your information, the easier it’ll be to make the best choice. In this context, we’ll discuss the differences in Plan F vs Plan G vs Plan N.
When comparing Plan F vs Plan G vs Plan N, you’ll notice they provide similar coverage.
All premiums are different per state per carrier, but the benefits remain the same.
With Plan F, you’ll have zero out of pocket costs outside your monthly premium. This is because it’s a first-dollar coverage plan. This means the first dollar is covered by Medicare. You have no deductible, no coinsurance, and no copays. All you have to pay is your monthly premium.
With a Plan G, the only cost you have to pay out of pocket is the Part B deductible. After you’ve met the deductible, Plan G will cover the rest, just like Plan F.
Then there’s Plan N. Plan N is great for those that are okay paying a small copay when they visit the doctors or hospital. These small copays keep the monthly premium low. If you find yourself going to the doctor’s office often, you may want to consider Plan G. You’ll also be responsible for any excess charges under Part B. However, these charges are not common. Some states don’t even allow them.
With Medigap plans, the benefits are standardized by the federal government. Meaning, it doesn’t matter which carrier you choose to enroll with, the benefits across each letter plan are exactly the same. So, if you like Plan G the most, the benefits will not change, no matter what carrier you go with.
When it comes to coverage, Plan F will give you the most coverage since it’s a first-dollar coverage plan and leaves you with zero out of pocket costs. However, when it comes to the monthly premium, if you think lower is better, then Plan G may be better for you. So, the answer to the question depends on you. What do you consider better? More benefits, or a lower monthly premium. Depending on when you first became eligible for Medicare, you may not be eligible for Plan F. Therefore, the better option for you could be Plan G, or maybe Plan N.
When you compare Plan G vs Plan N, you’ll see that Plan G comes with more coverage. However, Plan N will come with a lower monthly premium. In exchange for a lower monthly premium, you agree to pay small copays when visiting the doctor or hospital. So, if you prefer to pay out less as you use the benefits, then Plan G may be better since you won’t have any copays when visiting the doctor or hospital. If you prefer to have a lower premium and pay more out of pocket as you use the benefits, then Plan N may be better for you.
The good thing about Medigap plans is there’s no Annual Enrollment Period like there is with Original Medicare. You can enroll or change plans at any time. The best time to enroll is during the Medigap Open Enrollment Period, during this time, carriers can’t deny you coverage or charge you more in monthly premiums due to pre-existing health conditions.
Outside this enrollment window, you can still enroll or change your plan. But, you may need to answer health questions first. There are times when you’re eligible for Guarantee Issue Rights, in which case you could change plans without underwriting. The plans you’re eligible to enroll in, depend on when you became Medicare eligible.
It’s important to understand all your Medicare Supplement plan options to find the best plan for your individual needs. At MedicareFAQ, we help you choose the Medigap policy that’s best for you. Since we work with almost all carriers, we can provide you with unbiased options so that you can get the most affordable supplement plan with the best coverage. We’ll answer all your questions and help you get a policy that works for you. Give us a call at the number above. If you prefer, you can use our online rate comparison tool to see what plans are available in your area now.
Every year, the Medicare Open Enrollment Period gives beneficiaries an opportunity to make changes to their current Medicare coverage. The OEP for Medicare begins on October 15th and ends December 7th. Below, we’ll explain what you can and cannot do during the Medicare Open Enrollment Period as well as answer some common questions we get from beneficiaries.
The Open Enrollment Period for Medicare was introduced back when Part D first began.
Since Part D, as well as Medicare Advantage plans, re-file its benefits with Medicare every year, they created this election period for beneficiaries to make coverage modifications if they were unhappy with the benefit changes.
For recipients currently enrolled in an Advantage plan or Part D policy, your benefits, as well as your monthly premiums, can change from year to year.
This election period is when you can change your existing coverage if you’re not pleased with those changes.
Every year during September, you’ll receive a letter in the mail that contains a document called the Annual Notice of Change.
The Annual Notice of Change will inform you if your premium, copays, pharmacy networks, or drug formulary is changing in the upcoming year.
You’ll want to set some time aside to review this document once you receive it.
The document will compare any changes year over year in an easy to understand format.
If you’re satisfied with the changes documented in your Annual Notice of Change letter, then there’s nothing you need to do! Your current coverage will renew automatically.
If you’re enrolled in Medicare, you can leave Medicare & switch to Medicare Advantage. If you’re enrolled in an Advantage plan, you can leave the plan and switch back to Medicare. You can also join, leave, or change your stand-alone Part D drug plan. When you switch back to Medicare, you can then choose to enroll in a Medigap plan.
Due to the Bipartisan Budget Act, there are new home health benefits that will be added to SOME Medicare Advantage plans.
If your current Advantage plan doesn’t include home health benefits, and you feel you would benefit from them, this Open Enrollment Period is the time to switch to a plan that provides these new benefits. You can also wait for the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period to make a change as well.
Since home health benefits we’re just recently introduced, there may not be an Advantage plan that includes these benefits available in your area yet.
If you’re joining or making changes to your current Part D policy, you won’t have to answer any health questions. With Medicare Advantage plans, the only health question you’ll have to answer is whether or not you have End-Stage Renal Disease.
If you’re choosing to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan at this time, and are outside your Medigap Open Enrollment Period, you will have to go through medical underwriting and answer some health questions. However, don’t let that concern you, we can help you every step of the way.
During the Medicare Open Enrollment Period, you can make multiple changes to your coverage. The last change you made is what will take effect on January 1st.
This is not the case for all open enrollment windows. For example, the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period only allows you to make a one-time change.
There are multiple enrollment periods when it comes to Medicare. Depending on your current coverage, you may qualify for another enrollment window outside of this one.
When it comes to Medicare Supplements, there is no annual enrollment window. You can enroll in a Medigap plan at any time during the year.
Although, Medigap is different in each state. Some states do have an Open Enrollment or birthday rule that allows beneficiaries to change plans during the year without underwriting.
You can apply for a Medigap plan at ANY TIME of the year. But, the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period is the best time to enroll in Medigap. Although, this is a one-time enrollment period, not annual. So, if you miss yours, going through underwriting would likely be necessary.
The Medicare Open Enrollment Period is for current beneficiaries to make changes to their Medicare Advantage and Part D coverage. The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is ONLY for those who are currently enrolled in Medicare Advantage to make changes.
The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is the same thing as the Open Enrollment Period. The Medicare Open Enrollment Period, depending on the context could also be referring to other enrollment windows.
We’re here to help you! Whether you’re enrolling in Medicare Advantage, Part D, or Medigap, we can compare all your options side by side to see which coverage is best for you.
Our goal at MedicareFAQ is to make sure our clients are always up to date and informed on their Medicare options. Medicare changes annually, monthly, sometimes weekly! It’s our job to keep up with all these changes so that our clients always have the most coverage at the most affordable price.
If you run into any obstacles with your coverage, we’re by your side to help overcome them. Give us a call today or complete our online rate form now to see what Medicare plans are available in your area now.
Beneficiaries leave their Medicare Advantage plans for different reasons. Most commonly, the policy isn’t as inclusive as they thought. When you look at the surface of a Part C policy, it seems simple enough—covering things like dental, vision, gym memberships, and more. But just because it covers the services, doesn’t mean that coverage is comprehensive. Usually, it’s better to buy a policy that covers you adequately. Below we’ll look at the top three reasons beneficiaries leave their Medicare Advantage plans.
While there are many reasons someone may choose to leave their policy, we’re going to discuss the top 3 reasons beneficiaries leave their Medicare Advantage plan. Hopefully, this insight will help you during your Medicare journey.
Top 3 Reasons People leave Medicare Advantage plans:
Often, Medicare Advantage plans are considered “all-in-one” plans because they include dental and vision coverage. But, your policy may only cover preventative services.
With these limits, you could end up footing the bill for dental care beyond the cleaning and exam. And, plans change annually.
For example, maybe you join a plan because of the dental benefits. Next year, that same plan could drop those benefits.
You’ll likely pay for your root canals and other dental care. When you shop for dental, be sure to triple-check the benefits.
You may find that buying a separate dental policy makes the most sense.
Network restrictions are a common reason why beneficiaries leave their Medicare Advantage plans. Going out of network could mean high fees.
Even with a Preferred Provider Organization plan, you’ll pay more to see doctors that aren’t in-network.
But, Medigap beneficiaries can visit any physician that accepts Medicare. Although, if you don’t mind limitations to doctors and hospitals, an Advantage plan may work for you.
Yet, it’s essential to keep in mind that the doctors can leave the network anytime, and plans change annually. So, a policy may be superior coverage for one year, but unsuitable the next.
Another common reason beneficiaries leave their Advantage plans is because of cost-sharing. When you join a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll pay coinsurance and copays along the way.
You may have a $20 copay to visit your doctor at your checkup. But perhaps your doctor sends you to a specialist where you pay a $50 copay.
Maybe that specialist wants to send you for a procedure in which you’ll pay a larger copay or coinsurance. You’ll want to read the fine print.
You can check out your plan’s Summary of Benefits to get a good idea of the types of copays you’ll have.
To give you a better example of copays you may face:
The list of copays above proves that your costs can add up quickly. If you were to get seriously ill, these prices could skyrocket depending on the care you need.
While you may only have a $0 premium with your Advantage plan, your costs could far outweigh that.
While the reasons above are the most popular reasons people leave their plans, there may be other factors.
Some other common reasons to leave Advantage coverage include:
Difficult access to specialty doctors and hospitals is the leading cause of people leaving Medicare Advantage. Although, some people leave the Part C plan because they find a lower costing policy.
Researchers find that Medicare Advantage contracts with high disenrollment rates are more likely to be for-profit and small. These plans also have a disproportionate amount of low-income and disabled enrollees.
If you want to change your plan, it’s best to use an agent. You don’t want to end up thinking you have coverage or have other issues arise.
Beneficiaries ultimately leave their Medicare Advantage plans for a variety of reasons. You don’t want to regret your choice because of a lack of benefits, network restrictions, or cost-sharing.
Whether you go with Medicare, Medigap, or an Advantage plan, make sure to do your homework. If you’d like help with choosing a policy, call our team of agents today at the number above.
Can’t call now? No problem, fill out an online rate form to see rates in your area now!
We’re here for you every step of the way on your Medicare journey.
Medicare can be beneficial for Veterans. As you know, Veteran benefits only apply to Veterans’ facilities and doctors. So, if you want to see a civilian doctor, Medicare can help with some of the costs. Having both Medicare and Veterans benefits gives you the opportunity to see a wide range of doctors and specialists. The Veterans Association recommends you enroll in Part A and B when you’re first eligible. Below we’re going to go over everything you need to know about Medicare and Veterans Administration benefits.
Most people get premium-free Part A benefits. Those that contribute to Medicare taxes for 10 or more years are eligible. When an emergency happens, the VA hospital isn’t always an option. Having benefits at civilian facilities could save you thousands of dollars. The real question here is, why wouldn’t you enroll in Part A?
While Part B is NOT mandatory, the Veterans Administration strongly recommends you still enroll. Delaying enrollment in Part B will result in a late enrollment penalty should you need the coverage in the future. This is because the Veterans’ benefits are not considered creditable coverage under Medicare. Medicare will provide coverage outside a Veterans facility, this can come in handy in the case your Veteran benefits are dropped or if your local Veteran facility does not cover all your health services, you could pay up to 100% of your medical costs out of pocket if you don’t enroll in Part B.
Many veterans are going to find Medicare Advantage a practical solution to coverage. Most plans boast a $0 premium and extra benefits beyond Medicare. Some plans may include prescription drug coverage. Depending on the service area, an Advantage plan could include telehealth, dental, vision, and a gym membership. Although, it’s not realistic to expect comprehensive benefits from this type of policy. You can expect to pay more out of pocket as you use these benefits than you would with a Medigap plan. If you can’t afford a Medigap policy or if you don’t qualify, Medicare Advantage is better than nothing.
Even though you can get prescriptions through the Veterans Administration, sometimes it’s more convenient to have Part D. For example if a civilian doctor prescribes a medication, the Veterans Administration doctor needs to approve the medication for the Veterans Administration to cover. But, if you have Part D, you can go fill your prescription at a local drug store. If you do choose to delay Part D, there is no penalty since VA drug coverage is considered “creditable coverage” through Medicare.
Many people think paying a premium when you already have Veterans benefits is unnecessary. While Medigap could be over-insurance for some, for others it could be the extra coverage you’ve been looking for.
Those that don’t live close to a Veterans facility or want to use local doctors would reap many benefits from a Medigap plan. Also, if you’re in a low priority group you should consider Medigap, especially for those with a higher income that could find it difficult to obtain insurance if Veterans benefits were gone.
A Medicare Supplement is a policy that covers the portion of Medicare you’d otherwise be responsible for paying. Such as deductibles and coinsurances.
Veterans Administration benefits are only valid at Veteran facilities. Further, Medicare is only going to cover doctors that accept Medicare. So, if you have a heart attack while grocery shopping and the nearest hospital isn’t a Veterans facility, you’re going to want Medicare coverage.
While it’s not mandatory, the Veterans Administration suggests all veterans, disabled or not, have Medicare. It’s especially beneficial to have Medicare when the need for civilian coverage arises. You might be thinking you’re fine without it, but delaying Part B will result in penalty charges when you do enroll. Signing up for Medicare when you’re initially eligible is a smart move.
The simple answer to the question of who pays first is both. When you go to the Veterans facilities, the only coverage you have is Veterans Administration coverage. Then, when you go to civilian facilities, you only have Medicare coverage. Unless, of course, you enroll in Medigap.
If you’re a Veteran looking for help with your Medicare, you’ve come to the right place. Our agents have experience helping people just like you navigate the maze.
When you call us, an agent will ask you a few questions about your current coverage and budget. Then, based on the information you provide, we’ll help you identify the top plan options for you. Once you choose your policy, your agent will walk you through the application over the phone.
We represent the top insurance carriers in the nation. Instead of calling each company individually, give one agent a call, and get all your quotes in one spot! If you can’t call right now, fill out our online rate form to see what options are available to you!
Coverage that’s as good as Medicare is considered creditable coverage, meaning the plan benefits are as good as Medicare. When a person has creditable coverage, they may postpone enrollment in Medicare. Creditable coverage allows beneficiaries to delay without worrying about being penalized and forced to pay a later enrollment penalty.
The most common type of creditable coverage is a large employer group plan. Meaning, a company employs 20+ people. When working for an employer, you likely receive health coverage through the company. If the company you work for has more than 20 employees, you have creditable coverage for Medicare.
The same is true when you’re on your spouse’s large employer group health plan. An employer with small group insurance is a company with less than 20 employees. Small group plans may not be considered creditable coverage under Medicare.
A variety of government programs are also considered creditable coverage. Other plan types are individual, group, and student health plans.
Prescription plans are most common for creditable coverage. A Part D plan is a creditable coverage as long as it first meets four qualifications.
Delaying Part B enrollment is common. Creditable coverage usually comes from a current employer plan. The Part B penalty is 10% every year that you don’t have creditable coverage. Then you pay the penalty cost plus your premium when you finally enroll in Part B.
The Medicare Modernization Act requires insurers, whose policies may or may not include prescription drug coverage, to notify Medicare-eligible policyholders whether their coverage is considered creditable coverage.
This notice will inform you if your current coverage is considered creditable. Keeping this notice in a safe place is a good idea. Make sure to keep the notice filed safely with your personal documents for easy access. It comes in the mail annually each September before the Annual Enrollment Period begins.
Delaying past 63 days without creditable coverage may result in higher monthly costs. You must pay the late-enrollment fee. The penalty for Part D is equal to 1% of the “national base beneficiary premium.” Take that number times the number of months you went without creditable coverage. The total is your late penalty cost. The Part B Penalty is 10% for every year you go without coverage. Neither of the penalties ever goes away.
COBRA can be considered creditable for Part D, but COBRA is NOT considered creditable under Part B.
VA benefits are only considered creditable coverage under Part D. VA benefits are NOT considered creditable under Part A and Part B. This is something that is HIGHLY miscommunicated to veterans. Even if you have medical coverage under the VA, there are still many reasons to enroll in Medicare coverage to work with your VA benefits.
Whether you have CHAMPVA or TRICARE, you’ll need to enroll in both Part A and Part B of Original Medicare when you’re first eligible for Medicare to keep your CHAMPVA or TRICARE benefits as well as avoid late enrollment penalties.
No, FEHB is NOT considered creditable coverage. However, some beneficiaries choose to still delay enrolling in Medicare when they have FEHB benefits. Some may find the FEHB benefits to be more cost-effective and vice versa.
You would need to contact your benefits administrator to get proof of your creditable coverage.
Once you know which parts of Medicare you currently have creditable coverage for, you can determine what parts of Medicare you need to enroll in, or if you can delay Medicare until you lose your creditable coverage.
Medicare guidelines and regulations regarding creditable coverage can be a little intimidating. We know the lingo, and have the knowledge and resources to help you quickly navigate the Medicare maze. Whether you have creditable coverage or not, we can help. Give us a call today, or use our rate form to see all your Medicare options in one place now.
Medicare Supplement plan reviews can be helpful when shopping for Medigap. Since the plans are standardized, the company you choose needs to have good ratings. Also, the plan that is the “best” for you might not be great for your friend. Medicare is a situational thing when it comes to finding suitable coverage.
Plan F remains the most comprehensive coverage. It’s no wonder Plan F reviews are some of the best in the nation; this policy is an A+ plan. If you’re looking for a policy that leaves you with no copayments or deductibles, Plan F is your best bet. A version of this plan with added benefits is also available. However, you can only qualify for Plan F if you weren’t newly Medicare-eligible.
Rate increases are an essential factor to consider; unfortunately, it’s difficult to predict these, so trends are the only thing we can discuss. Rate increases vary by company, policy, and location.
Since there are so many factors, it may be next to impossible to find the specific numbers you want. But, we’ll do our best to explain why some plans may have a higher or lower rate increase.
In our experience, Plan F rate increases can fall around 7% – 10% depending on the company and your location. Plan F rate increases are often higher than the rate increases of other policies.
High-Deductible Plan F scores an A+, and the plan is available through several of the top companies. Just like Plan F, you must not be newly Medicare-eligible to qualify for this plan.
From our experience, United American has a great High Deductible F plan, and they hardly give any rate increases on this plan. Of course, it always depends on your location. Compared to the standard Plan F, the high deductible version has a much lower rate increase each year.
Plan G is a close second in favorites. Medicare Supplement Plan G gets A+ with every top company because, like all Medigap plans, it pays when Medicare pays. It’s possible that over the years, this will become a more popular option since Plan F is going away. But, whether more people have plan F or not, Plan G reviews are incredible!
In the last few years, Plan G has seen a low rate increase. Much smaller than Plan F, but possibly higher than High Deductible Plan F. Some carriers have had rate increases of 3% or lower. Of course, there are some carriers and locations that have seen slightly higher increases.
Newly-eligible beneficiaries can enroll in a High-Deductible Plan G policy. The plan works like the High-Deductible F policy and will not cover the Part B deductible.
Since High Deductible Plan G is a new policy it’s hard to say what the rate increases for this plan will look like in the future. Our best guess, it’s going to have a small rate increase similar to High Deductible Plan F.
Just like the other plan options, Medigap Plan N is worthy of an A+ rating. It’s noteworthy to say that you need to understand the copayments on this plan before enrolling. For some, the copayments alongside the premium can feel like nickel and diming every time you go to the doctor.
Plan N rate increases tend to be low, falling below 3% on average for most companies. Since the companies don’t take on as much of the cost per doctor visit, you reap the benefits in lower rate increases. If a high deductible option is something you’re against, Plan N could be a great alternative if you don’t want the higher premiums of Plan G or Plan F.
Much like we said before, the company you go through will make or break the Medigap experience for you. Here at MedicareFAQ, our client testimonials are essential to us.
We love our clients, and they love us. Taking our time to explain everything, answer questions, and identify suitable coverage is our passion. There is no need to feel in over your head when our experts are ready to walk you through the process. MedicareFAQ gets an A+ in our book, and I believe our clients feel the same!
Here at MedicareFAQ, we take pride in helping our customers find the plan they love. Our agents will help you compare Medicare Supplement Plans and rates. Then, once you decide the policy that is best for you, we’ll walk you through the enrollment process and be here for you long after your plan is in place. Call us at the phone number above or complete an online rate form for a quote in minutes. We’re here for you!
There are many reasons you could be looking for the top 10 Medicare Supplement companies of 2021. Maybe you’re new to Medicare, or you’re hoping to find your company on the list. Either way, we have all the details! The information below is from consumer reports for the top Medicare Supplement insurance companies. We’ll include the companies A.M. Best Rating, S&P Rating, and the years they’ve been in the market. You can also compare Medigap plan rates side by side with all the top companies to see which one has the lowest rate in your area.
Every Medigap plan meets government standardization requirements. No matter which company you choose, the benefits are the same when the letter plan is identical. So, Plan G with Mutual of Omaha has the same coverage as Plan G with Medico. Plan N with Cigna is the same coverage as Plan N with TransAmerica.
The differences are in premium, rate increase, and the financial rating history of the carrier. Every Medigap plan allows you to go to any doctor, coast to coast. Some policies even offer international coverage. For those new to Medicare or anyone that finds the process too confusing, our agents can walk you through everything.
By comparing company ratings, hopefully, you’ll be able to determine the best carrier for you. Below we discuss the important key factors in each company; pros, cons, and everything in between.
There is no wonder why Mutual of Omaha is making the top of our list; the company has an A+ rating with A.M. Best and an AA- with S&P. Back in 1909, Mutual of Omaha enters the insurance industry.
Mutual of Omaha boasts about paying 98% of Medicare Claims within 12 hours, meaning you don’t need to worry about claim status!
Then, there are household discounts up to 12% for beneficiaries that live with someone over 60 for at least a year. There is also a spouse discount for those with a spouse that has an active Medigap policy with the same Mutual company.
Of course, discounts vary by state. Either way, you can’t go wrong when you go with Mutual of Omaha.
Imagine starting an insurance company in 1853; well, that was Aetna. The name comes from a highly active volcano in Sicily, Mt.Etna. In the ’90s, Aetna was the first to make a commercial about insurance.
Over 39 million customers rely on Aetna for Healthcare, including Medicare.
Aetna has excellent ratings from all over. A.M. Best gives them an A and S&P rates Aetna at an A+.
Aetna Medigap plans include a 12-month rate lock. Meaning, you have the same rate with no increases during the first 12-months.
Further, you can use their website to track your claims, view your coverage, and even request an ID card.
They offer a spouse discount to those who have an active Medicare Supplement policy with the same Aetna company. Aetna does offer household discounts as well; the amount varies by state.
Both A.M. Best and S&P rate Cigna at an A. Cigna began in 1792 as the first Marine insurer of the United States; during that time, it went by the name Insurance Company of North America. Now, Cigna insures people for all kinds of things, such as life, accident, health, and more.
Cigna designs policies with the thought of pre-existing conditions in mind. Many companies have strict enrollment eligibility guidelines for a Medigap policy. However, Cigna will cover customers with serious issues that most companies would reject.
Cigna offers a 7% household discount when both spouses signup for a supplemental policy, like everything else, the amounts vary by state.
Like many other companies, Cigna has an online platform that allows clients to view their policy, set up payments, update information, print ID cards, and more.
For over 40 years in a row, United American has gotten an A+ rating from A.M. Best. S&P rates the company an AA-. United American established the company back in 1947 with four core values in mind. These core values include stability, service, quality, and commitment.
Unlike most companies, United American has many clients that experience a premium reduction at some point, though premium increases are standard.
The company is most well-known for it’s High Deductible Plan F.
United American is a subsidiary of Globe Life. Much like Cigna, United American allows policy approval for beneficiaries in less than good health.
Although, those with a pre-existing condition, working with an agent is a recommendation you should heed. Agents are aware of state guidelines and underwriting rules that you won’t find online.
Working with an agent means you can quickly determine the best policy in your area; so, you save time and money!
Government Personnel Mutual Life Insurance is commonly called GPM. A.M. Best rates GPM with an A-. The company benefits policyholders. Much like Mutual of Omaha, GPM is a mutual company. Policyholders are the owners of Mutual Companies; any profits and the beneficiary earns dividend distributions or premium reductions.
GPM offers five plans; Plan A, C, F, G, and N.
There are household discounts available, talk to your agent about the amount in your state.
A.M. Best gives Transamerica an A rating, whereas S&P rates them at an AA-. The company has more than $130 billion in assets and over $460 billion in revenue-generating investments; this indicates strong financial performance by Transamerica.
Those switching to Transamerica without creditable insurance may have to wait six months for coverage on any pre-existing conditions. However, this doesn’t apply to those living in Hawaii, Ohio, or Texas.
Transamerica makes it easy for customers to view and update information, as well as print claims right from a computer.
Many clients have more than one policy with Transamerica; the company is trustworthy in both health and financial needs.
There are household discounts available.
For those looking for coverage in Puerto Rico, Manhattan is one of the few companies that operate where others don’t. Manhattan Life is one of the longest continuously serving insurance companies in America; they’ve been going since 1850.
They have a B+ rating with A.M. Best.
Also, they offer additional coverage you can add to your supplemental policy, like dental, vision, and hearing. With those plans, you can choose your providers.
Manhattan Life offers a household discount of 7% even if you live with someone over 60, as long as you lived together for 12 months.
Back in 1955, Bankers Fidelity began. They have an A- with A.M Best and an S&P rating of BBB+. The ratings come from their financial transparency and ability to meet insurance obligations.
You should know that Colonial Penn underwrites the Medicare Supplements through Bankers Fidelity. Though, you can avoid underwriting if you enroll during your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period.
Bankers Fidelity isn’t available in all states, and the household discounts vary but usually fall between 5% and 10%.
Established in 1929, Blue Cross Blue Shield has over 100 million members in the United States. Overall, they insure about 1 in every 3 Americans.A.M. Best rates BCBS as an A company. S&P ratings are AA- for Blue Cross Blue Shield.
BCBS offers more than just supplemental insurance; they have dental, vision, and marketplace policies for those under 65.
You may hear people refer to this company as Anthem. In most states, the household discount is 5%.
Since the 1930s, Medico has been offering Americans quality insurance options. A.M. Best rates Medico as an A- for being a stable and affirmed company.
Medico offers a plethora of services and products such as Hospital Indemnity Coverage, Life Insurance, and Cancer Insurance. Although, if you want to add dental and vision, they can help with that too.
Medicare Supplement Plans through Medico won’t be available in all states. Also, Medico doesn’t offer household discounts everywhere it operates; however, if one is available, it ranges from 7%-12%.
While every top carrier is competitive, it makes sense to pay more for superior customer service and financial stability. There are many top-rated medicare supplement companies to choose from in 2021, and when you use our agents, you get your cake and eat it too!
When you enroll in a policy through us, you get the benefits of a low-cost plan with elite customer service.
Our agents can access the most popular Medigap plans for you! So, instead of calling each company for a quote, you dial one agent, and they quote you on all the top carriers. Getting all your quotes in one phone call is going to save you time and money.
Are you considering buying a Medicare Supplement plan? Call our agents at the number above to get the best coverage in your area.
Don’t have time to call today? Fill out an online rate comparison form, and an agent will call you to discuss the top Medicare Supplement companies in your area.
Dementia patients with Medicare can expect coverage for medical services such as inpatient care and doctors’ visits. But, Medicare never covers respite care. If you need in-home caregiver services you can expect to pay for those yourself. Now, there are somethings Medicare will help with such as screenings, psychological services, and care planning. Also, those with Part D will have medication coverage.
While Medicare does cover a lot of medical services, the federal insurance program isn’t the most comprehensive. Most services have limitations and specific requirements that must be met for coverage. If you don’t meet the terms, Medicare won’t pay.
Medicare does cover dementia testing. In fact, health laws require doctors to cover cognitive function screenings during the Annual Wellness Visit.
Medicare doesn’t cover non-medical care such as activities of daily living, custodial care, and rent. Dementia patients may need help with activities of daily living such as managing medications, getting dressed, and preparing meals.
Medicare covers some types of home health services, such as intermittent skilled nursing care as well as physical, occupational, and speech therapy. But, Medicare only covers services that a doctor orders at a certified home health agency.
Medicare won’t cover:
Assisted living facilities are a popular choice. Most assisted living facilities charge rent and a fee based on the assistance a resident needs. Medicare doesn’t cover assisted living rent nor does it cover fees for personal care. Yet, Medicare will cover healthcare you get in assisted living.
Many assisted living facilities also have memory care wings. There are also standalone memory care facilities.
Memory care units are designed to meet the needs of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
They are usually more expensive than standard assisted living. Medicare treats memory care the same as assisted living. It only covers medical expenses, not rent, meals, or assistance.
Hospice brings in a team of healthcare professionals to manage your care at the end of life. Part A will pay for hospice, but your doctor must certify that you have six months or less to live.
Hospice can bring relief to patients and their caregivers in the late stages of dementia. But, it isn’t a long-term solution for a dementia patient who is still relatively healthy.
Advantage plans must offer the same benefits as Medicare. That means you can expect your Medicare Advantage plan to cover an annual dementia screening as well as medical costs.
Medicare Advantage plans come with deductibles, copays, and doctor networks, so your costs may be different than if you had Medicare.
Advantage plans could benefit dementia patients:
Advantage plans vary by location. Plans geared toward dementia and long-term care may or may not be available in your area.
Medigap plans cover the same healthcare services like Medicare. That means a Medigap plan won’t pay for assisted living or in-home help. But, a Medigap plan can pick up where Medicare leaves off when it comes to paying for doctors and Medicare-covered home health. Also, the Medigap plan can pay the daily copay for a stay in a skilled nursing facility and extend the number of covered days of care.
With limited Medicare coverage, families of dementia patients often wonder how to pay for care.
Here are common approaches:
Medigap plans will cover the coinsurance payments you’d otherwise be responsible for paying. Our agents can help you find a policy that makes sense for your situation. Give us a call at the number above to learn about your rates today! Or, fill out an online rate form to see your rates now!
There are many reasons why some states have more expensive Medigap plans than others. The rules in some states vary, and the cost of living can also play a factor. If you live in a state where Medigap premiums are higher, it’s likely going to provide you with more value. The cost of healthcare is on the rise, and you want to have the coverage you need when you need it. Some people make the mistake of thinking they’ll get proper insurance when they need it, but much like car insurance, you need the coverage before the problems arise. In the context below, we’re going to discuss the most expensive states for Medigap and explain potential reasons for the higher costing policies.
One thing I noticed in this research is that states with community rating methods tend to be higher for those age 65 and balance out through the life of the policy. So, while you pay more in the beginning, the rate increases won’t occur due to age. Eight of the ten most expensive states for Medigap plans use a community rating. The other two states have high costs of living and different special rules that can influence prices.
While these are the highest premium states for Medigap, there’s one thing I want you to know; never judge a policy by the premium, but rather by what the policy can do for you. Are you moving, considering dual residency, or perhaps just curious? Those are all good reasons to looks at the costs of Medigap in each state.
These quotes are based on Medigap Plan G for a 65-year-old woman, non-smoker during the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period; for storytelling purposes, we’ll call her Sarah. Keep in mind, men usually pay more for healthcare, and these are only cost estimates.
If Sarah lives in Arkansas when she turns 65, she can expect to pay $150 a month for Plan G. Well, Arkansas follows community rating methods, so if her best friend is 70-years old with the same coverage, and the same company they’ll have the same premium.
There are perks to community rating; that’s why a handful of states have adopted this as the only allowable rating method. While you may think the premium is high, the cost of healthcare in Arkansas is high too.
With Arkansas being the third most unhealthy state, it would make sense to see higher costing healthcare. Without a Medigap policy, you could end up paying a lot for services, especially in a catastrophic health event.
If Sarah lives in California when she turns 65, she can expect to pay around $155 for Medigap Plan G. Now, the biggest perk to living in California while on Medicare is the “Birthday Rule.”
While the “Birthday Rule” is beneficial, it’s also a factor in the higher costs of Medigap. Oregon also uses the “Birthday Rule,” but the cost of living in Oregon is slightly lower than in California, so the premiums in Oregon tend to be more comparable to other states.
California doesn’t have community rating laws.
Three states follow their own rules for Medigap, and Massachusetts is one of them. In this state, there are different plan names than traditional options. Plus, doctors aren’t allowed to charge excess charges in Massachusetts. Also, Massachusetts follows community rating rules.
Further, Massachusetts has a two-month window annually where Medigap plans are Guaranteed Issue. Plenty of reasons for Medigap to cost more here. Even the cost of living, Massachusetts, is one of the more expensive places to live in the United States. And, Medigap is no exception here.
For Sarah, the comparable option to Plan G would be the 1A Plan, and it would cost about $160 a month. But, as far as coverage goes, the 1A plan makes sense if you want to protect your savings from medical debt.
The sunshine state isn’t one of the most expensive places to live, but it’s certainly not the cheapest. Florida requires insurers to use issue-age rating methods, but the carriers can choose community rating instead if they wish.
The cost of Plan G for Sarah in Florida would be about $170 a month. While this may seem high, the average price of Medicare beneficiaries in Florida is higher than the national average.
Since the average cost of care per beneficiary is higher in Florida, it would make sense that the premiums for Medigap are higher. Meaning, it’s even more important to have insurance that’s going to be there when you need it.
Community ratings are the law in Washington. Further, those with pre-existing conditions will only have a 3-month waiting period instead of the usual 6-months.
For Sarah, Medigap Plan G in Washington would cost her $175 a month. But, once you have Medigap in Washington, you can apply to buy or switch plans at any time.
While nearly a third of Medicare recipients in this state have Medicare Advantage, that type of policy isn’t available in nine of the counties. Overall, while the premiums might seem high, there is more freedom with a Medigap than Medicare Advantage.
While Vermont was listed as the healthiest state, the cost of living is still about 15% higher than the national average. Further, Vermont follows the community rating method that influences a higher price. If Sarah lived in Vermont, she’d pay about $185 for Medigap Plan G. Which isn’t bad considering Vermont pays higher Social Security benefits than more than half the states. But Medigap plans are worth it, no matter where you reside.
Minnesota has different options for supplemental insurance than the traditional plans. And, like most of the states on this list, follows community rating method laws. If Sarah were a resident of Minnesota, she could customize her policy to have benefits equivalent to Plan G; this would cost her about $190 each month.
A large number of beneficiaries choose Medicare Advantage coverage in Minnesota, so the pool of people buying Medigap is smaller, which can also drive up the costs. While many are choosing alternatives to Medigap, it’s more beneficial to have the coverage you need than just a lower premium.
The third highest costing Medigap plans are in Connecticut. Medigap plans are Guaranteed Issue year-round in Connecticut. Also, there are community rating laws in this state. Further, those living in Connecticut have a higher Social Security benefit than most other states; they’re number two in the country for the highest benefit amount.
With the higher costs of living, special Medigap rules, and higher benefit amounts, it would make sense that Sarah would pay more. In Connecticut, Sarah can expect to pay about $200 each month for Plan G.
The second highest costing Medigap plans are in Maine. Those with Medigap in Maine can switch to a different policy with the same or fewer benefits throughout the year. Maine follows community rating method laws.
Medigap premiums in Maine only vary due to tobacco use. Premiums don’t go off age, and those under age 65 still qualify for the same costs as those over 65. Because of these rules, it’s no shock that premiums are much higher in this state.
For Sarah, Medigap Plan G in Maine would cost about $205 a month. But, even when she’s 90, she’ll have a premium equal to a person that’s 65. While it may seem like a lot at first, long term, it’s the most comprehensive option.
The highest costing Medigap plans are in New York. Let’s take a look at why. Medigap plans are Guaranteed-Issue year around in New York. Also, there are community rating laws in this state.
The cost of living in New York is one of the highest in the country. When you mix year-round Guarantee Issue with community rating and a high cost of living, you get the most expensive Medigap plans.
For Sarah, Medigap Plan G in New York will cost about $270 a month. But, if she believes that’s too high, she can always look into Plan N or High Deductible Plan G. Consulting an agent about your potential coverage can save you money long term.
Were you surprised by any of the states with the most expensive Medigap plans? Is your state on this list? If you learn one thing, remember that you never judge a policy by the premium, but rather by what the plan can do for you. To find the most suitable coverage for your needs, give us a call at the number above. Or, fill out an online rate form to see your rates now!
Every year, Medicare premiums and deductibles change. With this comes updates to Medicare plans. Each September, Medicare beneficiaries should expect to receive a Medicare Annual Notice of Change (ANoC) letter for each Medicare plan in which they’re enrolled. This document describes the changes for the following year. If you don’t receive this important plan document, you should contact your plan provider.
You can expect to receive a Medicare Annual Notice of Change letter if you’re a Medicare beneficiary. Whether you’re enrolled in Part A, Part B, a Medicare Advantage plan, or a Part D prescription drug plan, you’ll receive this annual letter in the mail.
Medicare beneficiaries shouldn’t expect to receive an Annual Notice of Change for a Medicare Supplement plan. That’s because Medigap plans don’t incur annual changes to the plan benefits.
The letter will include all changes to your Medicare plans. For Parts A and B, the letter will come from Medicare. It will include cost changes and, if applicable, benefit and service area changes.
Beneficiaries enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan will receive the letter from the private insurance company providing their coverage. The message will include changes in costs, benefits, and any changes to the service area.
Private insurers offering Part D plans are also required to send their beneficiaries an ANoC letter. For Part D prescription drug plans, the changes listed will include costs, service area, and formulary changes.
It’s crucial to note any Part D formulary changes involving medications for which you have a prescription. If a drug is dropped or changes tiers, you could end up with much higher copays.
Medicare guidelines require the letter to be sent annually, in the fall. You should anticipate receiving your letter(s) in September. If you don’t receive a letter for each of the Medicare plans in which you’re enrolled by September 30, you should contact the plan provider. The plan changes will take effect in January of the following year.
Without your current address on file, you won’t receive the ANoC that Medicare sends out each fall. You’ll also want to be sure your address is up-to-date with any private insurance companies with whom you do business. Otherwise, you won’t receive the ANoC that’s mailed to you each autumn.
The Evidence of Coverage is usually mailed along with your Annual Notice of Change in the fall. The EOC is a list of Part D and Medicare Advantage plan costs and benefits. These costs and benefits will take effect on January 1 of the following year.
Last year, you worked with your trusted, licensed insurance agent. Together, you reviewed the options available to you and compared those options with your anticipated medical needs in mind. After cost comparison and a thorough review of options, you decided on the Medicare plans that would best meet your needs. When those plans change, you must be notified.
The ANoC provides you with a list of changes more than a month before the Fall Medicare Enrollment Period begins. This window to make plan changes lasts from October 15 until December 7 each year. With the list of changes, the Medicare beneficiary can contact their insurance agent to review options that may be a better fit for the next policy year.
After receiving your Annual Notice of Change letter, you should contact your licensed agent to review the policy changes that you’re expecting. A benefit comparison is essential and should include a list of the services which you most frequently utilize. For example, yearly EEG or durable medical equipment. A cost comparison is equally important, to ensure you can still comfortably afford your policy.
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, changes could be made to your network. If you want to keep your doctors in the upcoming year, you should speak to an agent about switching to a Medigap plan that will include your preferred providers. It’s also possible your health needs have changed since last year and you need more coverage than you originally thought you would.
Lastly, take into consideration your premium costs and expected cost-sharing. Review the service area in which your current plan is available and compare it to any potential service area changes you can expect for the following year.
Each September, all Medicare beneficiaries will receive an Annual Notice of Change letter in the mail. All changes, whether cost, benefit, or service area, will be listed in detail. If you don’t receive the ANoC letter for each Medicare plan you’re enrolled in, contact the plan provider. Upon receiving the ANoC for your Medicare plans, you should contact your licensed agent to review your policy and expected changes.
If your Part D prescription drug plan formulary has changed and it will affect the prices of your medication for next year, this is especially important to address. Also, if your Medicare Advantage plan network no longer covers your healthcare providers, the Fall Annual Enrollment Period is the perfect time to change coverage.
Call the number above and one of our licensed agents will help you navigate the muddy waters of Medicare coverage during a free consultation. You can also use our online form to start the process now.
Social Security and Medicare are both federal programs. Together, these programs help those no longer working due to retirement or disability. There are similarities and differences between these two programs. In some ways they work together and yet, they are two separate programs. Just because you qualify for one doesn’t mean you’ll immediately qualify for the other.
No, these two programs are different. Although, these programs do have some similarities. Both programs help those in retirement or on disability. Medicare provides health insurance, while Social Security provides a monthly income.
When you retire or go on disability, you get a Social Security check. The Social Security Administration will determine Medicare eligibility and handle some of Medicare’s administrative work, like enrollment. While these programs serve different purposes, both programs are funded through payroll taxes, provide benefits to those eligible, and help people with certain disabilities. While they are different programs, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare helps to keep both programs protected.
Yes, you can file for Medicare without Social Security. If you don’t collect Social Security benefits, you’ll need to pay the Part B premium directly. Then, once you begin taking benefits, you can have the premium deducted from your social security check.
Even if you’ve never worked, you can still get Medicare. Often, Social Security and Medicare eligibility will depend on your history of employment. But, if you have a disability or permanent kidney failure, you can obtain benefits even when you don’t have enough employment history.
For those on Social Security Disability, Medicare enrollment will begin after 24 months of collecting benefits. The exception is when you have End-Stage Renal Disease or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis; those conditions allow you to qualify immediately. If you don’t collect Social Security, you’ll need to apply for Medicare yourself.
Those under age 65 on disability will get benefits from Part A automatically and immediately if they have Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Otherwise, those on disability will begin Part A benefits after 24 months of collecting benefits. Those turning 65 that plan to obtain Social Security at 65 can have the effective dates for both coincide. The situation is personal to each individual. So, if you want to work after age 65, you could delay benefits depending on the size of your employer.
Yes, Social Security will deduct your Part B premiums from your check. No need to worry about paying your monthly Part B premium unless you don’t collect Social Security. The Part B premium is deducted out of your Social Security check automatically. The amount that comes out will depend on your income. The standard Part B premium amount does change annually.
If you don’t have Social Security, then Medicare will send you a quarterly bill. You can also contact Social Security directly to enroll in automatic monthly payments.
The good news is, yes. Your Social Security benefits can deduct your Part D drug plan premiums. Depending on the effective date, you may need to make premium payments directly for a couple of months before premium withholding begins.
Did you know there is a Social Security Surplus fund that allows the government to fund the deficit while acquiring less from the public? And while Medicare isn’t mandatory, you will face penalties if you don’t have proper coverage.
We know there is a lot to understand about Medicare and Social Security, that’s why we’re here to help you. Call us today at the number listed above or complete the online rate form and get started today.
We’re here to break down the basics of what Medicare will cover for you and your Cystic Fibrosis. In this content, you’ll learn how Medigap and Medicare Advantage can help cover Cystic Fibrosis care.
Also, we’ll take a look at drug coverage and potential costs. Then, we’ll answer some common questions on the topic.
You deserve to know how coverage will work and when you qualify, learn all about it below!
Yes, Medicare will cover cystic fibrosis treatments and care. But, you must use a doctor that accepts Medicare assignment.
Any form of care you obtain at an inpatient facility or hospital will fall under your Part A benefits.
Some patients need blood transfusions and surgery to help treat Cystic Fibrosis. When necessary, Medicare will also cover a lung transplant for Cystic Fibrosis patients.
Further, Part A will cover hospice and home health care, should you need it.
Now, Part B will cover any doctor visits, screenings, equipment, and procedures. If you need physical therapy like pulmonary rehabilitation, Part B covers it. These treatments can be done in the doctor’s office.
You may be wondering about costs for doctor visits and therapy sessions. You’ll pay 20% of the costs. Also, you may need to meet deductibles or pay extra charges.
A Medigap plan can help ease the stress of coming up with extra money for your treatments. Once you enroll in Medicare, you can choose to buy a Medigap plan.
Medigap can cover your portion of the medical bills. But, Cystic Fibrosis may disqualify you from a Supplement plan.
So, if you think a Medigap plan sounds right for you, you’ll want to enroll while you’re eligible for the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period.
Medicare Advantage plans will help you receive the Cystic Fibrosis care you need. Also, Advantage plans cover, at the very least, everything that Medicare covers.
Medicare Advantage plans will cover your Fibrosis screenings, treatments, medications, and even surgery. You’ll need to buy your Advantage policy through a private insurance company.
One thing to note is to pay attention to your network. Advantage policies have health networks of specific providers and facilities you can use.
If you end up going to an out-of-network doctor, you could end up with high medical fees.
Anyone living with Cystic Fibrosis knows firsthand the high cost. Also, costs for Cystic Fibrosis medications can exceed thousands of dollars.
If you’re on a fixed monthly income, facing thousands in medication costs may not be feasible. Part D drug plans help in situations like this.
You can buy a standalone drug plan, or an Advantage plan with Part D. Part D will usually cover the Cystic Fibrosis medications your doctor prescribes.
Although, it’s best to verify the plan covers your medications before you enroll. The best plan for you is the one that covers your drugs and brings you the most value.
Any disability can give you access to Medicare before age 65. But, you need to receive at least 24 months of Social Security Disability Insurance before you’re Medicare-eligible.
Although, if you have Cystic Fibrosis and End-Stage Renal Disease, you may be Medicare-eligible sooner, especially if you need a kidney transplant or dialysis.
If you’re unsure about your eligibility, you can always contact the Social Security office near you.
Medicare covers treatment for many of those who live with Cystic Fibrosis. While Cystic Fibrosis is rare, there are more than 30,000 people throughout the U.S. who live with the disease.
The Cystic Fibrosis Registry indicates that 1 in 4 Fibrosis patients have Medicare. Beneficiaries with Cystic Fibrosis are typically between the age of 30 – 65 years old.
Medicare can be so confusing for so many people. Shopping for health coverage that includes drug, medical, and hospital coverage is essential. Especially for those with Cystic Fibrosis.
Call our team of agents at the number above today. We’ll find you the most suitable options for your situation.
Can’t call? Fill out an online rate form to learn about the options in your area now!
Medicare coverage for home blood pressure monitors is available under certain conditions. For example, if you’re undergoing home kidney dialysis. In some scenarios, Medicare will pay for the temporary use of a different kind of blood pressure device called an ambulatory blood pressure monitor. Below we’ll go over the details of coverage, cost, and guidelines for Medicare coverage on blood pressure monitors.
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a common cardiovascular disease, affecting almost half of American adults. If you have high blood pressure, a doctor may recommend a home blood pressure monitor.
Home monitors allow you to check your blood pressure, alerting you to sudden changes that might indicate a heart attack or stroke. They may help your doctor see whether your medications are effective. The American Heart Association recommends home blood pressure monitors for people with hypertension, but Medicare doesn’t cover them.
There are only two specific situations where you might have Medicare coverage for home blood pressure monitoring:
The blood pressure reading at your doctor’s office may not reflect your usual blood pressure. Some people have high readings or “white coat hypertension” because they’re nervous.
Others have “masked hypertension” or lower than usual readings at a doctor’s office. If your doctor suspects either issue, Part B will pay for once-a-year monitoring with an ambulatory blood pressure monitor.
Your provider will give you the ambulatory monitor and explain its use. You’ll wear it for 24 hours. During this time, the monitor will take a series of blood pressure readings.
After 24 hours, you’ll return the monitor. By looking at your blood pressure throughout the day, your doctor can more accurately diagnose hypertension and prescribe a treatment plan.
If you have end-stage renal disease and are undergoing dialysis treatments at home, Medicare will pay for your home dialysis equipment and supplies.
Supplies for home use fall under Part B. You may pay a deductible and coinsurance when you get a blood pressure monitor. Unless you have a Medigap plan.
Part B covers ambulatory blood pressure monitors. If you have a Medicare Supplement plan, your costs will be lower. Other types of home blood pressure monitors aren’t covered by Medicare or by Medicare Supplement policies.
If you have high blood pressure, the American Heart Association recommends an automatic monitor that uses a cuff around your bicep–similar to the device in a doctor’s office.
Wrist and finger monitors are also available, but they aren’t as reliable. You can expect to pay around $25-35 for a monitor that features an arm cuff and a digital reading. Smart monitors that can store data or synch with phones and smartwatches are likely to cost around $80-$100.
Medicare doesn’t provide free home blood pressure monitors, but there are several ways to check your blood pressure for free.
Many pharmacies have public blood pressure machines that you can use free of charge. But, these machines may not always provide accurate readings, especially if the cuff does not fit your arm.
If you live in a senior housing community with a nurse on staff, find out if the nurse can perform blood pressure checks. If you qualify for Medicaid, it may pay for a home blood pressure monitor in some states.
In addition, some apps that claim to monitor your blood pressure. Experts caution that apps aren’t well tested and may not be accurate.
Advantage plans must cover the same services as Medicare. So, all Advantage plans cover ambulatory blood pressure monitors and home monitors for dialysis patients.
But, your cost may be different from Medicare Advantage than with Medicare. If you have Medicare Advantage, contact your plan to see about blood pressure monitors.
If you have high blood pressure, Atrial Fibrillation, or other cardiovascular issues, it’s important to stay on top of your health. Medicare isn’t free and if it’s your only insurance, doctor visits can get costly.
Medigap and Medicare prescription plans help make health care more affordable. Our MedicareFAQ agents can help you find the right plan for your needs. Call us or fill out our form, and we’ll get to work on your free quote.
While much of the rest of the budget is a significant deficit, the Social Security surplus enables the government to acquire less from the public to fund the deficit. Some Social Security benefits use a specific government trust fund to secure payments to beneficiaries that qualify for subsidies under different definitions. Beneficiaries that are eligible for Medicare coverage may also get a form of Social Security payments from this trust fund.
Funds for the Social Security Trust Fund comes from income taxes. If the amount they’re funding is more than what pays, this is a surplus.
When a surplus occurs, the U.S. Treasury will use the extra funds somewhere else within the federal budget. In trade, it will transfer specific securities into the fund. A deficit is when more gets paid to beneficiaries than is received through taxes. When this occurs, trustees can redeem the funds for securities to change the debt.
The trust fund’s financial condition can change when policies about its funding change. The Social Security Administration provides data that shares the status of the fund each year. Reports on the state of the fund will follow the calendar year before the report’s date.
The Social Security Trust Fund is the name for The Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund (OASI Trust Fund). It’s also the name for the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund (DI Trust Fund).
A trust fund holds investments in the interest of beneficiaries. Beneficiaries will then get distributions from the trust fund in scheduled payments. With the Social Security Trust Fund, income taxes that beneficiaries pay are placed into securities. The Social Security Trustees oversee the program.
Medicare coverage isn’t immediately related to the Social Security Trust Fund. But plenty of beneficiaries get payments from the fund. Why? Most beneficiaries qualify for monthly Social Security payments due to disability or age. Below are the benefits that run through the Social Security Trust Fund.
At age 62, those eligible can start getting early retirement benefits. Early benefits will come through the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund. The year you’re born will determine your full retirement age. And late retirement age is 70 years old. When you retire early, you’ll get a smaller benefit payment each month. The amount is lower than what you would typically get at full retirement age. Retiring later can help you earn credits to increase your benefit payment.
If you have a qualifying disability and have enough work credits, you can get benefits through Social Security. You’ll receive your payments from the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund. The monthly amount you receive will depend on what your employment earnings were.
Survivors of beneficiaries that are deceased may qualify for payment. The monthly payment would be based on a percentage of what the beneficiary was getting.
When the beneficiary is either deceased or retired, fees will go into the OASI Fund. If the recipient has a disability, the DI Trust Fund will allot the payment amounts.
Supplemental Security Income benefits go to disabled children and adults that don’t have enough work credits. But these payments won’t come directly from the DI or OASI Trust Funds.
Medigap policies are secondary insurance for Medicare. Because Medicare pays first, it is primary. But, Medicare doesn’t pay for everything. So, a Supplemental policy is beneficial to have in place to protect you from unexpected medical costs.
If you’re looking for the best secondary insurance with Medicare, it’s wise to become familiar with what each Medigap plan includes. The right policy for you depends on your present and future needs. We’re here to help you better understand the concept of Medigap as secondary insurance.
Medicare Supplement plans are secondary insurance for individuals who have Part A and Part B. Because Medicare doesn’t cover everything, these policies are available to fill in the gaps. This helps reduce costs.
Most states offer 12 different plan options, with varying levels of coverage. Each plan is subject to federal regulations, ensuring that the benefits are the same regardless of the carrier. Also, not every carrier offers all Medigap plans.
The plans that provide more coverage tend to be more costly. When choosing a Medigap plan, consider the amount of coverage as well as the price.
Medicare recipients who are still working might have a large employer group health plan. In this case, Medicare is secondary to the employer plan. It’s also possible to delay Part B if you reach age 65 and have creditable coverage through your employer. Yet, those without creditable coverage who delay enrollment into Part B could incur a Part B late enrollment penalty.
Medicare is primary to a Supplement plan because it pays first. After reaching the limit, your Medigap plan will pay second. Often, secondary insurance will not pay if the primary insurance doesn’t pay.
Medigap is not the only type of insurance that can be secondary to Medicare. For example, those with TRICARE For Life have TFL as their secondary plan. A series of rules known as the coordination of benefits decides the order of payment in each case. Sometimes, although rarely, there can be up to three payers.
When you have two insurance policies that cover the same kinds of risks, one of them is primary and the other is secondary. For example, suppose you have Medicare along with Medigap Plan G. Medicare will be your primary health insurance, and the Medigap plan is secondary. If you go to the doctor, Plan G will cover the remainder of the cost that you would otherwise be responsible for paying.
Medicare Supplements provide extra coverage for what Medicare includes. Thus, your Medigap plan will always be secondary to Medicare. Supplemental insurance is available for what doesn’t get coverage.
For example, Part D is drug coverage, which is supplemental insurance. Dental, vision, and hearing policies are also available for purchase to supplement your existing coverage. Yet, these policies stand on their own and are not primary or secondary insurance. We understand this verbiage can be confusing since Supplements are secondary, rather than supplemental.
Medicare Supplements can provide extra coverage as a secondary insurance option. If Medicare is your primary health insurance, a Medigap policy can safeguard against excessive costs.
To start comparing plans today, call the phone number above. As another option, fill out our online rate form. A licensed agent will prepare a premium rate comparison for you. We have helped countless individuals obtain the best secondary insurance for their Medicare, and we would be happy to do the same for you.
Don’t wait 3 months for your Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) to come in the mail. Get electronic MSNs (eMSN) every month. Beneficiaries just need to simply sign up online.
Sign up to get eMSNs every month. The Medicare Summary Notice is a report of health care services over 3 months’ time. It’s just a statement of services and items.
The eMSNs allow you to follow up with statements electronically and in a timely fashion.
In the research below, you’ll learn more about the MSN and what do with it. Also, we’ll answer some common questions relating to the Medicare Summary Notice.
Medicare beneficiaries get an MSN after a service or procedure. MSNs are sent via U.S.P.S. every 3 months.
Further, MSNs explain the supplies and services you get, how much Medicare covers, and how much you must pay the doctor.
An MSN is not a bill. Just a summary of services and a break-down of payments.
Choosing the eMSNs eliminates the paper copies from coming in the mail. Instead, every month an email is sent with a secure link.
This link allows access to the beneficiary’s MSN. So, instead of waiting for the 3 usual months for the paper copy, you can see this information every month.
This helps track monthly claims and costs, print only necessary needs. EMSNs are beneficial because they help check remaining deductible amounts and catch any errors in billing.
Also, this prevents fraudulent activity by ensuring beneficiary billing only happens once.
Online sign up is easy; just create an account today by visiting MyMedicare.gov and clicking the “Create an Account” option.
Beneficiaries may complete these next 5 steps between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
Prior to visiting the Medicare website, print a copy of the steps to use as a reference. This may be easier to navigate than opening another web browser or bouncing between two tabs.
Medicare beneficiaries can view all available eMSNs by logging into their account.
The electronic edition of the trusted “Medicare & You” handbook (eHandbook). By making the switch to the eHandbook, you can reduce tax dollars and paper copies won’t come in the mail.
Each fall a hard copy of the handbook is sent via U.S.P.S. unless you decide to take the paperless route. In which case, you may follow those three steps to signing up online for the eHandbook.
Medicare updates the online version regularly, meaning the print version may be out of date.
Medicare doesn’t print hard copies of all publications, but the electronic versions are often available in several eBook formats.
Now, you may download them to your personal eReader or device; making them available to take with you anywhere.
Our live agents are here to make the process easy for you.
Medicare covers an annual screening for alcohol misuse. If the screening shows you may be misusing alcohol, Medicare will also pay for a series of short counseling sessions to help you avoid a bigger drinking problem. Also, Medicare covers more in-depth counseling and alcohol treatment programs.
Part B pays for an annual screening for alcohol misuse. Your doctor screens as part of your Annual Wellness Visit. It consists of questions about alcohol use. Your doctor may ask the questions or give you a form to fill out. Your answers may not concern your doctor. But they could indicate alcohol misuse or dependence.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines alcohol misuse as harmful drinking:
To be diagnosed with alcohol dependence, you must have at least three other specific alcohol-related behaviors, such as tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, and an inability to cut down or quit.
If the screening indicates you’re misusing alcohol, but you don’t meet the medical criteria for alcohol dependence, Part B covers alcohol counseling. You can get up to four brief counseling sessions a year. Both screening and counseling are preventive services.
As part of its substance abuse coverage, Medicare covers both inpatient and outpatient alcohol rehab if it’s medically necessary. You must receive treatment in a Medicare-approved treatment facility.
Inpatient treatment usually lasts from one to three months, and it may occur in either a hospital or a rehab center. If you get inpatient treatment, you’ll pay Part A costs.
If you have inpatient treatment at a specialty psychiatric hospital, you should know that Medicare will only pay for 190 days of treatment at a psychiatric hospital in your lifetime.
Outpatient rehab falls under Part B. Also, partial hospitalization is where you report to a hospital or mental health center for intensive treatment, but don’t stay overnight. Part B covers the necessary partial hospitalization.
If Medicare is your only insurance, alcohol treatment can be costly. But a Medigap plan can pay the Part A deductible and extend the number of days Medicare pays for hospitalization.
If your annual screening suggests alcohol misuse, you can get four counseling sessions free of charge. If you need additional counseling for alcohol misuse or related mental health issues, Part B may cover individual and group psychotherapy.
If for some reason, you have to pay for your counseling sessions, you can file a claim for reimbursement. When you seek alcohol misuse counseling from a psychologist, be sure they accept Medicare. Your doctor will bill Medicare for you, and your doctor will accept Medicare’s rate as full payment.
Medicare may deny your claim if your treatment isn’t necessary or if you go to a doctor that doesn’t accept Medicare.
If you have a Medigap plan, those plans sometimes deny claims based on pre-existing conditions. If you were diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder before enrolling, your plan may exclude coverage.
Always read the fine print on pre-existing conditions before signing up for insurance. Finally, some Advantage plans can deny claims if your doctor isn’t in your plan’s network.
A Medigap plan can help lower your costs, making substance abuse treatment affordable when you need it most. At MedicareFAQ, we can guide you through choosing a plan, beginning with a free, no-obligation quote. Just give us a call at the number above or fill out our online form.
Medicare covers necessary services for Atrial Fibrillation. But, some costs can you pay in the form of coinsurance or copayments Below we’ll discuss some of the most popular treatments, and how Medicare will cover them. We’ll even go over costs and common questions relating to Medicare and Atrial Fibrillation.
Medicare covers different types of treatments, as long as it’s medically necessary. Should you go to the hospital because of A-Fib, Part A may cover your stay. Doctor’s visits, diagnostic exams, and screenings fall under your Part B.
Just a few treatment options for A-Fib are:
Medicare covers Cardioversion under Part A benefits. Cardioversion is an inpatient therapy that comes in a couple of different forms.
Medicare Advantage plans are great for those looking for an all-in-one plan. Many Advantage policies provide drug coverage. But these policies may not be the perfect match for you. If you buy an Advantage plan, you’ll need to stay within a network in most cases.
If your doctor or hospital isn’t within the network, you can plan on getting some hefty medical bills. Yet, since Advantage plans have to cover all that Medicare covers, this option may work for you.
Medicare Supplement plans can be a lifesaver for those who have high costs. But these plans may not be available for people with A-Fib. Some Medigap companies won’t accept patients who have Atrial Fibrillation. Some companies won’t take those who’ve had A-Fib in the last two years.
But, for many, this condition may not just go away. Because of this, people often wonder if they’ll still be able to buy a Medigap plan with A-Fib. Well, if you buy a policy during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period or during a Guaranteed Issue right, you can avoid answer health questions.
Keep in mind that if you miss enrollment or switch plans, you’ll need to answer those health questions. And, if you need to answer health questions, you may not qualify.
Many A-Fib treatments come in the form of inpatient therapy. But others come in the mode of prescriptions. A popular medication to treat A-Fib is an oral drug called Eliquis. If you take this, you’re well aware of how costly it can be.
One month’s worth of Eliquis can cost an average of around $470 a month without insurance. With Part D, you may only pay $10 each month. Most drug plans cover popular medications. In fact, Medicare Advantage plans and Part D drug plans include the majority of drugs that treat A-Fib. Prescription drug coverage proves to be a significant benefit when shopping for the best insurance.
Shopping for insurance coverage doesn’t have to be hard. Whether you’re new to Medicare or want to switch plans, we’re here for you. Our team of agents can find the best plan options for you. Simply call the number above or complete an online rate form for your instant quote.
There are multiple life events that can make you eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. A SEP allows you to make changes to your Medicare coverage outside the standard enrollment periods. Below, we’ll go over the most common Medicare Special Enrollment Periods.
The Special Enrollment Period for Part B of Medicare gives you the option to delay enrolling when you first become eligible without incurring a lifelong penalty. You must meet at least one of the eligibility requirements below to qualify for a Part B SEP.
Eligibility Requirements for a Special Enrollment Period for Part B:
You’ll need to print and mail the following two forms to Social Security:
The CMS L564 form will need to be completed by your employer. You can also upload the completed forms to your My Social Security account.
If you were enrolled in a Medigap plan and decided to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan for the first time, you’ll be granted trial rights. You’ll have 12 months from the effective date of your Advantage plan to drop it, enroll back into Original Medicare, and enroll in a Medigap plan again.
When moving to a different zip code or service area, different rules will apply to qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period.
With Medicare Supplements, as long as you’re moving within the United States, and not outside the country, you won’t have to change your coverage as long as that same plan is available at your new location. This is the case regardless if you’re moving to another county within the same state, or moving to a new state. You’ll still want to notify your Medigap carrier that you moved to they can update their records.
The exception to the above is if you’re moving to one of the states that have their own version of standardized Medigap plans. This includes Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin. You’ll want to look into enrolling in one of their state-specific letter plans. Do not drop your current Medigap plan without consulting with your agent first, otherwise, there’s a high probability that you may not be able to enroll back into it.
Here is a list of tips for moving to another state with Medicare.
Your new home address isn’t in your plan’s service region
If you end up moving to a different state that happens to fall outside the service region, you can change to a new plan. Those with a Medicare Advantage Plan can switch back to Medicare. Tell the plan before the move; then, the SEP begins the month you move and extends two months. However, tell the company after the move, and the SEP begins the month you notify them plus two months.
Your new home is still within your plan’s service area, but new plan options are available
If your new zip code is within the service area but with new plan options, you can select a new plan. Your SEP starts the month the company knows of the move and lasts for two months after.
You’ve recently moved back to the United States
If you were living in another country and move back to the U.S., you can enroll in a new plan for up to two months.
You’ve moved into or out of a health facility
If you recently moved into, currently reside in, or recently moved out of a nursing facility, you have several options. You can choose to join a plan if you don’t have one, or switch your current policy. Also, you may choose to drop your Advantage plan and return to Medicare, or you can drop Part D. If you are continuing to live within the nursing facility, you can join, switch plans, or even drop your coverage. You can do this for up to two months after you move out of the health facility.
When institutionalization or incarceration comes to an end, Medicare SEP rules state you should act immediately to enroll in Medicare. You can enroll in a new plan upon release of jail and can do so for two full months.
You need to be a United States Citizen and resident for at least five years before you can qualify for a SEP to enroll in Medicare.
When you qualify for Extra Help, you also qualify for a continuous SEP. You can drop, join or switch plans one time during each period; January through March, April through June, and July through September. You can’t make changes from October through December with this Special Enrollment Period. When making a change, the new policy will go into effect on the first day of the next month.
There are several instances in which you may find you lose your current coverage. When a person loses coverage, that is an indication of eligibility for a Medicare Special Enrollment Period.
You lose employer health coverage
When you lose health coverage from an employer or union, you can join a different Medicare plan up to a full two months after.
You lose creditable prescription coverage, or it changes dramatically
Losing drug coverage equal to Medicare’s means you can switch to another plan with drug coverage or a stand-alone Part D. This Special Enrollment Period continues for two full months after the month you lose your drug coverage, or you get a notification.
You leave a Medicare cost plan
If you have Part D through a cost plan and you end up leaving that plan, you can enroll in a new policy for up to two months after you leave your old plan.
Your PACE coverage drops
Dropping your coverage in your PACE plan means you can enroll in a new plan for two months with a SEP.
Below is a list of circumstances that qualify you for a SEP due to obtaining another type of coverage that’s equal to Medicare.
You can enroll in group coverage that’s offered by your current employer or workers union. To do this, you would drop your current Medicare coverage and would join in a private plan offered by your workplace. You can do this whenever your employer advises you can make changes to your plans.
Prescription Drug Coverages
If you’re enrolling in a drug plan that is just as good as Medicare, you can drop your current Medicare plan at any time.
If you decide to enroll in a PACE plan, you can drop your current Medicare plans at any point in time.
5-Star Medicare Advantage Plan in your Service Area
If there is a 5 star Medicare Advantage plan in your area, you can enroll in this once between December 8th and November 30th, unless you select this coverage during AEP.
Below is a list of circumstances that qualify you for a SEP due to changes with your plan’s contract with Medicare.
Sanctions and Medicare
If Medicare ends up taking official action because of an issue with your plan, and this affects you, you can switch your Medicare plan. Medicare may review making this switch for you, depending on the situation at hand.
Contract ends early
Those that have a health plan coming to an end in the middle of the contract year can switch to another Medicare plan two months before the contract ending and up to one full month after it ends if the policy isn’t for another contract year.
You may find yourself in a position where you face a different set of circumstances that qualify you for a SEP.
No Longer Qualify for Extra Help
Those no longer eligible for Extra Help in the upcoming year have several options. You can choose to join a new plan or switch your plan. Further, you can drop your Advantage plan and return to Medicare, or you can choose to decline your drug coverage. You can make changes to your policy for three months from the date in which you’re no longer eligible, or the notification date.
Ineligible for Medicaid
Those no longer eligible for Medicaid coverage can enroll in a new plan, switch plans, drop advantage plan and return to Medicare, or even drop Part D. You can make these changes up to three months from the date that you’re no longer eligible for Medicaid, or when you get a notification.
When eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, you can choose to change plans, whether it be switching, joining, or dropping plans. Changing plans is an option because dual-eligibility and low-income subsidy qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period.
You can do this once throughout the following dates:
Those getting extra help can make changes once during the above time frames.
Enrolled in an SPAP Program
You can choose to join a Medicare plan once during the calendar year.
Enrolled in an SPAP Program and you lose eligibility
You can choose to join a new Medicare plan. You can do this either the month that you lose your eligibility or when you get the notification.
Suffer from a severe condition
If there’s a Special Needs Plan and you have a severely disabling condition, you can join into a Medicare Chronic Care SNP at any time.
Errors by a Federal Employee
If you join a plan or decide to not participate because of a mistake by a federal employee, you have a few options.
You can choose to:
These changes can take a full two months after the month you get notification of the error.
Not all Special Enrollment Periods for Medicare are listed above. To find out if you qualify for a SEP, give us a call.
We can help you through any of the various Medicare Advantage Enrollment Periods. With a Medicare expert on your side, making a decision is so much easier.
If you have a qualifying life event, we can help you compare all the options in your area. You can also use our rate comparison form to see rates in your area now.
Medicare changes in 2021 include things like new benefits, cost changes, and more. Since Medicare changes annually, it can be hard to keep up. Lucky for you, we have all the details.
Medicare costs can vary from person to person. For example, those with higher incomes will pay more for Part B, this is the Part B Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount. Considering how much Medicare has gone up in the past years, the 2021 increases are pretty low. We’ll go over the parts of Medicare and the cost increases in the information below.
Medicare Part A is free for most people. But, those that buy into Medicare could pay $471. And, those that paid 30-39 quarters could pay $259 per month.
But, the deductible still lingers as an expense. Mostly every year, the Part A deductible increases. In 2021, the deductible will be $1,484 for the year. That makes the increase only about $76 more than last year.
The inpatient hospital benefit period costs rose a little in 2021. For days 1-60 beneficiaries will continue to pay $0 each day during that benefit period. Now, days 61-90 grew to $371 each day. Finally, for days 91 and beyond you’ll pay $742 coinsurance.
Now, Skilled Nursing Facility copayments also saw an increase; days 21-100 will now cost $185.50 per day.
The Part B premium is increasing to $148.50 monthly, which is only $3.90 more per month than before. Then, the Part B deductible is going up to $203 which is only a $5 increase for the year. As you can see from the numbers, Medicare cost increases are reasonable.
Medicare Advantage plan premium costs are going down to an estimated $21 on average across the United States. Part C plans will be at the lowest premium price since 2007. Beneficiaries can also expect to see more plan options, even for those in rural areas. More options and lower costs sound like a huge win for beneficiaries opting for Part C insurance. In 2021, CMS is giving Advantage plans the flexibility to include telehealth providers in specific areas.
Some of these specialties include:
Before 2021, End-Stage Renal Disease patients could only enroll in Medicare Advantage plans under limited circumstances. The new rule implements changes made by the 21st Century Cures Act. It gives all End-Stage Renal Disease beneficiaries a choice to enroll in a plan with the effective date of January 1, 2021.
In previous years, Medicare Advantage plans didn’t include coverage for Long-Term Care. Now, some Medicare Advantage plans will be offering coverage for Long-Term Care.
Premiums for Part D in 2021 average to about $41 a month. The initial deductible in 2021 is $445 for the year. Then, the initial coverage limit increased to $4,130. Also, the Out of Pocket threshold increased to $6,550.
During the Catastrophic Coverage phase, beneficiaries will pay a minimum of $3.70 for generics and $9.20 for all other drugs. Or, 5% whichever is higher.
While a lot of costs are going up in 2021 pertaining to Part D, insulin costs decrease.
For Medicare Advantage, Maximum Out of Pocket limits can reach up to $7,550 for in-network services. Now, for out of network, you could have a MOOP of $11,300.
Medicare is changing in 2021. If you’re new to Medicare, or an existing beneficiary, know that our team is here for you. Whether you’re interested in Medigap or simply have questions about Medicare, we can help.
Saving time and money has never been easier! Give us a call at the number above or fill out an online rate form to see the rates in your area now. Make sure to check out what factors impact your Medigap rates.
Medicare can cover a biopsy to find out whether you have cancer or another health condition. Your costs will depend on several factors. Things that can influence cost include location, supplemental coverage, and type of biopsy.
Medicare covers medically necessary procedures to diagnose and treat health conditions, including biopsies. Biopsies are often associated with cancer, but they can also help your doctor identify other conditions such as infections or inflammation.
During a biopsy, your doctor will surgically remove a small amount of tissue and sent it to a lab for testing. You may be under anesthesia. Most biopsies are outpatient. You may get bills from doctors, facilities, and labs for your procedure.
Biopsies performed in doctors’ offices or at outpatient centers are covered by Part B, Medicare’s medical coverage. If your doctors accept Medicare assignment, you won’t have a higher fee. But, before Medicare pays, you must meet the annual part B deductible.
If you are an inpatient at a hospital, Part A covers biopsies. Part A also has a deductible. But after you’ve met that deductible, Part A pays 100% of the biopsy’s cost.
Needle biopsies involve inserting a needle into your body to get cells from your muscles, bones, or organs for testing. Needle biopsies may detect cancer or diagnose other conditions such as infections or inflammations.
There are two types of needle biopsies: Fine needle aspiration and core needle biopsy. Medicare covers both kinds of needle biopsies. Coverage is the same as for other types of biopsies Medicare also covers anesthesia and imaging tests such as CT scans, which your doctor may administer before or as part of the biopsy procedure.
If you’re 50 or older, Medicare covers an annual prostate-specific antigen test to screen for prostate cancer. If your results show higher than normal levels of the antigen, your doctor may order a biopsy to find out whether there are any cancer cells present.
As long as they are medically necessary, prostate biopsies are covered by Medicare, just like any other biopsy. Your biopsy will most likely be performed on an outpatient basis, and it will, therefore, fall under Part B’s medical coverage.
Medicare covers some screenings for breast cancer. Women over 40 who are on Medicare can have yearly screening mammograms free of charge.
Medicare also pays for a manual breast examination every two years as part of a well-woman exam. If a breast examination or mammogram reveals a lump or abnormality in your breast, your doctor may order a biopsy.
If your biopsy occurs at a doctor’s office or outpatient center, Medicare pays part of the cost. You pay the rest if you don’t have a Medigap plan. With Medigap coverage, your biopsy could have total coverage.
Oral biopsies help doctors diagnose cancers in your mouth or oropharynx–the part of your throat behind your oral cavity. Your doctor or dentist may refer you to a specialist for evaluation if they suspect you have mouth cancer.
Medicare doesn’t cover dental care or cancer screenings at a dentist’s office. But, Medicare does cover biopsies to diagnose cancers of the mouth. Medicare pays for oral biopsies in the same way as other types of biopsies.
If you have Medicare Advantage, your plan will cover biopsies, just the same as if you had Medicare. But, private companies that sell Medicare Advantage establish deductibles and copays. That means your costs depend on the specifics of your plan. Unlike Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans have doctor networks. To keep your costs down, be sure the doctors are in your plan’s network.
Medigap lowers your out of pocket costs for services and procedures that are covered by Medicare. All Medigap plans cover biopsies. But with some plans, you will be responsible for a flat copay or a percentage of the bill. For example, if you have Plan G, your plan will pay all the Part B charges that Medicare doesn’t after you meet the deductible.
Medicare can be confusing, even if you’ve done your homework. An agent can help you sort through the options and choose a policy that fits your budget and gives you the best coverage possible.
At MedicareFAQ, we help you every step of the way. Our agents are always available to answer questions and explain your options. Give us a call or fill out our form to get started with a free quote.
Medicare routine vision coverage isn’t comprehensive; but, there is coverage for severe eye conditions. Your eyes work hard for you, and they deserve high-quality care, but is it even possible with Medicare? In this article, we go over all the costs, coverage, and benefits of vision care. It’s essential to make sure you have everything you need in retirement; glasses might be part of that.
Medicare excludes most routine eye exams, though it does cover conditions like glaucoma, detached retinas, and cataracts.
Glaucoma is an eye disease that affects your optic nerve, resulting in vision loss. A detachment of a retina happens when the retina tears away from the underlying tissue. Certain health conditions or some form of trauma can lead to this severe injury. If a detached retina doesn’t correct with surgery, it can ultimately lead to a permanent loss of your vision.
Cataracts cause a cloudy lens over your eye that can create blurry eyesight. Certain chronic diseases like cataracts require surgery to repair the eye. In a situation like this, Medicare will extend coverage to the lens replacement surgery. The doctor will remove the existing cataract and replace it with a manufactured lens.
When you have replacement surgery, Medicare covers a pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses. Also, Medicare covers exams to diagnose vision issues you may be feeling due to an eye ailment. Medicare will provide coverage if you have diabetes or if you’re high-risk for glaucoma. But, if you aren’t high risk, paying out of pocket could be a requirement.
If you want to run into your local vision center for a simple exam to get glasses, Medicare won’t cover. You’ll be 100% responsible for the cost of your prescription eyewear, as well as your routine exam.
If you’re in the market for preventive screenings and tests to check for glaucoma or macular degeneration, you’re in luck. Medicare will cover preventive screenings to help keep the health of your eyes in check. Not only will Medicare cover the exams for macular degeneration, but they’ll include any doctor visits to treat the disease.
Part A and B won’t pay for Lasik procedures unless they’re necessary, and that is rare. One example is a traumatic injury in which Lasik could benefit. Lasik is a procedure that treats farsightedness, astigmatisms, and nearsightedness in the eyes.
Lasik surgery is the most common eye surgery and has proven to improve eyesight, immediately following the procedure drastically. It’s a surgery that uses a laser and is virtually pain-free for patients. Most times, Medicare will not pay for the eye exam given before a Lasik procedure.
Medicare Advantage over the counter drug cards helps cover the cost of OTC drugs. Below, we’ll take you through all the things you need to know about over the counter coverage.
A Medicare Advantage over the counter drug card is a prepaid card for products. You can use your card to buy most health products, as well as medications.
Your insurance carrier is in charge of reloading your card each month. Most major retail stores accept these cards, so you shouldn’t face difficulty in using it.
But many wonder how easy it is actually to get a Medicare Advantage over the counter drug card. Note that the Medicare card is different from the Medicare Advantage card and the OTC card is also different.
Want to know how to get an OTC drug card? Coverage comes with many Medicare Advantage policies, that’s why many call these “all in one” plans.
So, you’ll need to enroll in a policy to get benefits. Getting a Medicare Advantage over the counter drug card may be easier than you think. When you enroll in a Medicare Advantage health plan, your carrier can give instructions. They likely have a website that shows eligible products that you can buy.
You’ll also be able to find details of your over the counter benefits, and directions on how to buy OTC drugs.
OTC drug cards can provide you with an allowance for some products. In the last year, 51% of beneficiaries with Advantage plans enrolled in a plan with over the counter benefits.
Medicare Advantage policies will often partner with large retail pharmacies. By doing this, it enables people to use over the counter benefits with their drug card.
Some plans even include home delivery of your over the counter drugs. Your drug card balance and benefits will vary depending on your specific plan.
For specific information, you can contact your insurer.
Thankfully, getting your much-needed over-the-counter medications has never been easier. Always check your OTC drug card catalog to see what has coverage.
Products can vary depending on your provider and plan.
But most policies do include the following:
Again, this isn’t a complete list of available medications. For a guide to drugs and products that you can get, contact your plan.
Different pharmacies and stores can provide you with the over-the-counter products you need. Most major pharmacies and stores accept OTC drug cards, but of course, will vary.
Most plans include the following major chains:
Unfortunately, Medicare doesn’t cover the cost of your over the counter health products. Which means you’ll have to pay for things such as cold and flu medicine.
But if you decide that you need help covering over the counter medications, you can buy a Medicare Advantage plan. While not every Advantage plan offers this cool benefit, many do.
MedicareFAQ has everything you need to do Medicare right. We can guide you through the start of the process if you’re brand new.
Maybe you’re already an existing beneficiary? That’s fine! We can handle all your questions or concerns!
Our agents will go over several key things with you on your initial call. We can then recommend the best cost-saving plan for your needs.
Call us at the number above or complete an online rate form. We’re ready to dive into this exciting journey with you!
In the case of an emergency, Medicare will cover an ambulance ride to the hospital. Medicare only covers non-emergency ambulance transportation in certain situations.
Medicare pays for an ambulance when not taking it would risk your health. Understanding Medicare coverage for ambulance services can prevent an unexpected bill later.
So, in the content below, we’ll discuss the coverage, guidelines, and details of ambulance coverage through Medicare.
Also, we’ll go over other important facts that you’ll need to know.
It may be wise to buy a travel insurance policy if you plan to go outside the United States.
But, if an ambulance operator believes Medicare may not pay, they must give you an “Advance Beneficiary Notice of Non-coverage“.
The record informs you that you’ll pay the full bill.
The form is incomplete until you provide your signature. In an emergency, you’ll never get a notice.
You may choose to skip transportation services after getting a notice. If you refuse to sign the notice but take a ride in an ambulance, you’ll be responsible for the cost.
When an ambulance company gives you a voluntary notice, they expect that Medicare won’t cover the costs. So, they’ll give you a form to sign saying you understand.
If you’re unsure how your policy works, you may always refer to your Summary of Benefits.
You don’t want to get stuck with a large medical bill, and Medigap can help lower your costs. Comparing plans is easy and our agents can help!
Our agents can answer all your questions and help you become a Medicare expert. Give us a call at the number above and learn more about how Medicare can protect you.
If calling now isn’t possible, fill out our online rate form to get the best rates in your area!
If your doctor prescribes an asthma inhaler for treatment, Medicare will cover it. A doctor must provide a prescription and submit a form stating the necessity for a nebulizer. For Part B to cover, doctors and suppliers must accept Medicare assignment. Doctors must list the inhaler as a Durable Medical Equipment for Part B to pay. Part D may help reduce inhaler prices, making them an affordable option. But, coverage begins after your doctor writes a script.
Formularies should include drug tiers and plan guidelines. Inhalers range in cost with most lower-tier drugs costing less. Talking to your doctor about generic alternatives could save you money. Further, with the elimination of the gag clause, you can speak to your pharmacist about prices outside your insurance.
Medicare covers most inhalers when prescribed by your doctor. It would fall under your Part B or Part D coverage.
Original Medicare doesn’t cover rescue inhalers, but Part D plans might! Comparing the policies in your area is the best way to decide which option provides you with the most value.
Yes, Medicare will cover both COPD inhalers and Bronchodilators.
Part A and B cover asthma treatment outside of medications. If you’re in the hospital due to an asthma attack, Part A benefits pick up hospital charges.
Part B covers outpatient rehab for chronic pulmonary conditions, such as:
Pulmonary rehab focuses on lung restoration. It’s a preventative program, lasting anywhere from 6-8 weeks.
These rehab programs entail:
When recent tests show poor lung function, Part B covers therapy. The purpose is to restore lung function and improve life quality. Also, those with chronic issues may be eligible for Chronic Care Management, talk to your doctor about your options.
Part B and D expenses can add up quickly when you don’t have insurance. The best plan is a plan. But, there are countless benefits to having a Medigap policy. You get to forget about some deductibles and coinsurances!
Also, you can go to any doctor that accepts Medicare. Further, you don’t worry about referrals to specialists. Even if you don’t take Medications, having a Part D plan will protect you from penalties.
Our agents can go over all your options and help you identify the most suitable policy. Give us a call at the number above to get started! Can’t call now? Fill out an online rate form to learn more about your options!
Medicare covers most forms of dialysis treatment. Medicare will cover a range of treatments, including tests, medications, and equipment. We know how important it is to understand your coverage. You need to know what isn’t covered just as much as you need to know what is covered. Below we’ll review how Medicare works with each treatment you may need. Then, you can make decisions for your care based on services that have coverage.
Yes, Medicare will cover you should you need dialysis treatments. Dialysis can come in many different forms.
Below we’ll go over different types of dialysis treatments that have coverage.
Medicare will cover:
While Medicare covers a lot of dialysis services, but it doesn’t cover everything.
For instance, Medicare doesn’t cover:
Part A will cover dialysis treatments at an approved center. Any doctor fees you get with dialysis Part B benefits cover.
When you go to dialysis in an outpatient setting Part B will cover 80% of the costs, and you’ll pay the rest.
Part B pays for lab tests, equipment, and other supplies.
You’ll need immunosuppressant drugs for life when you get a kidney transplant. While this sounds scary and costly, you can take a breath of relief.
Part B will cover these drugs under a few different factors:
Part B wouldn’t cover immunosuppressants if you didn’t have Part A during your surgery. If this situation applies to you, you may need to buy a Part D plan to cover the medications you need.
Part B will cover any necessary medications you’ll need to conduct self-dialysis. Medicare will cover most of the costs.
Some of these medications can include:
You can get dialysis in several different types of facilities.
If you qualify, your dialysis can take place within the comforts of your own home. Or, you can also get dialysis at a certified dialysis center.
For Medicare to cover your treatment, though, the center must be Medicare-certified.
Medicare will cover ambulance transportation that you may need to get to your dialysis facility.
If you need non-emergency transportation, your doctor needs to provide the ambulance company with a written order. Your doctor will need to specify that transportation is medically necessary.
Often, Medicare Advantage plans will cover transportation services too.
In addition to your actual dialysis treatment, Part B will cover all other services.
Durable Medical Equipment, all lab tests, and transportation can fall under Part B benefits.
You still have coverage if traveling in the United States. You can contact your dialysis center to help find other centers along your trip.
The dialysis center needs to be Medicare-certified for you to continue getting coverage. Medicare may only cover dialysis nationally or on an emergency basis.
Just one year of hemodialysis may cost you $72,000. And a single year of peritoneal dialysis can cost you around $53,000 each year.
Keep in mind, Medicare will only cover 80%, you’ll be left with the remaining costs. Even with the majority of your treatment covered, you’ll still have costly bills.
You can opt into buying a Medigap plan, or Advantage policy. If you’re on costly medications, a Part D drug plan can help lower your costs.
Dialysis treatments can put a strain on you. Medigap can help ease some of the financial burdens you may be facing. We want to make sure you find the policy that gives you the most benefit and saves you the most money. We’ll compare all carriers and plans that in your area. Our goal is to help you feel confident in your insurance plan. Contact one of our agents today at the number above. Or, fill out an online rate form to get your rates now!
If you’re a Medicare beneficiary, you might wonder if dental services are covered. Unfortunately, Original Medicare doesn’t cover routine dental. But, you can buy a dental plan alongside Medicare to pay for cleanings, exams, and dental care. Another option is an Advantage plan with dental benefits.
We’re here to help you make the right decision for your dental care needs and explain when Medicare covers dental services.
Medicare doesn’t cover routine dental care such as cleanings, fillings, root canals, and extractions. Part A and B will only cover dental services if they’re necessary for another medical procedure. For example, Part B may pay for a dental exam before a kidney transplant or heart valve replacement. Further, Part A covers tooth extractions as part of reconstructive jaw surgery after an accident. Almost all dental care falls outside these narrow exceptions.
If you want help paying your dental bills, you have three options:
Some dental plans cover gum surgery. If you have one of these plans, you’ll probably have to pay a percentage of the bill. Most dental plans also will only pay up to a certain amount in claims each year. If you’re having dental surgery because of an accident or jaw cancer, Medicare may cover your surgery.
Medicare doesn’t cover dentures, but some dental plans do. Insurance may not pay 100% of dentures’ cost, but it can help lower the bill. If you need dentures, look for a plan that includes denture coverage.
Some Medicare dental plans cover dental implants. Implants can be an excellent alternative to dentures. You can, however, expect to pay part of the cost of any major dental work. Your dental plan may have a limit on the amount it will pay out in claims each year.
Medicare won’t pay for wisdom teeth removal, but some dental plans will. As with any other major dental procedures, you’ll probably have to pay part of the cost.
No, Medicare won’t cover an oral exam. But, some companies sell Medicare dental plans – either alone or bundled with Advantage. Each company is different, and some only carry benefits. Even the most basic plans should cover preventive services like dental exams and x-rays. Sometimes you’ll have a copay.
Your insurance may pay the full cost of an exam, or you may have to pay part of the bill. Your plan may also require you to choose a primary dentist or use the dentists in the network.
If you need a dental exam because you’re having a kidney transplant or heart valve replacement, Part B may cover your exam, but it won’t cover any dental work you need.
Medicare won’t cover dental cleanings. But, basic dental cleanings are a service that most dental plans cover. A dentist may suggest an in-depth cleaning if you have gum disease or haven’t had your teeth cleaned in a while. Most likely, you’ll pay more for these types of cleanings.
Invisible aligners like Smile Direct Club help straighten teeth but aren’t as noticeable as braces. Medicare won’t cover invisible aligners. But, some insurance companies usually treat aligners the same as braces. If your dental insurance includes orthodontic work, it will typically cover aligners.
With that said, it may be hard to find insurance that includes adult orthodontic coverage. If you do, you can expect to pay a percentage of the cost. Another option is to buy into a dental discount program that offers a discount on aligners.
Original Medicare doesn’t cover root canal treatments. Advantage plans with dental coverage often include partial or full coverage for such procedures. You’ll likely have to use a dentist in the Advantage plan’s network.
An abscess is an infection in your gum or at the root of a tooth. If you develop an abscess, your dentist may perform a root canal treatment or pull the tooth. The dentist may also prescribe antibiotics. Many dental policies cover root canal treatments, but you’ll have to pay part of the cost. Your Part D plan should pay for antibiotics your dentist prescribes. If the infection spreads and becomes more severe, Part B will cover a doctor’s care, and Part A will cover hospitalization.
Some Advantage plans include dental insurance, and others don’t. Coverage can vary. Some plans cover only standard services, and others cover a wide range of dental procedures. Research plans, so you understand what’s included before signing up. Advantage plans often include vision and hearing benefits as well.
Many people find dental bills go up as they get older. Crowns, extractions, gum surgery, implants, and dentures are costly. A good dental plan can help you stay on top of cleanings and make it easier to afford major procedures.
Dental plans can cost as little as $9 and range to $63+ per month. However, the average plan is about $35 per month. Humana is one of the most popular carriers for senior dental insurance.
Also, an indemnity solution we offer costs about $1 a day and there are no networks for dentists, audiologists, or optometrists. To learn about the details, give us a call at the number above.
We can help you find the policy that’s best for you. From dental insurance to Medigap coverage, we can walk you through everything you need. Just call the number above or fill out our online rate form.
Medicare coverage for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is available. Individuals with ALS may receive health care benefits through Medicare. Patients with these chronic diseases may enroll in Medicare without any age restrictions. The 24-month period of disability before coverage starts doesn’t apply in these cases. Original Medicare Parts A and B provide beneficiaries with coverage for health care services. They must be medically necessary for treating or maintaining a health condition. Part A covers most inpatient hospital services, while Part B covers outpatient services and diagnostic tests.
Social Security Disability benefits begin five months following a patient’s initial “disability” classification from their healthcare provider. Therefore, it’s important to submit applications to either Social Security or the railroad retirement board immediately after receiving this diagnosis.
Although, ALS and ESRD are the only qualifying disabilities this rule applies. Other disabling health conditions may require individuals to receive SSDI benefits for 24 months prior to becoming eligible.
In most cases, Part B covers the cost of many home health care services and benefits. Members must meet all the requirements before receiving coverage for care. All beneficiaries needing health care services at home must be under the care of a physician who they regularly visit. Doctors or other health care providers must create a care plan for patients, such as those with ALS. A care plan should establish regular services a patient receives. Additionally, providers must regularly review care plans.
Beneficiaries must have certification from their healthcare provider stating that they’re bound to their home. Meaning, they can’t leave without extensive effort and/or assistance.
Intermittent skilled nursing care or therapy services must be medically necessary to qualify for coverage. Therapy includes physical, occupational, and speech-language pathology services.
Intermittent care is for less than 7 days a week or less than 8 hours a day. Care may be for up to 21 days or less. Although, beneficiaries must use a home health care company that Medicare approves for it to cover the costs of services.
Beneficiaries under Medicare Advantage plans must use providers within the plan’s network. Referrals for specialist visits may also be a requirement under many Advantage policies. Members may also have similar out-of-pocket expenses like premiums, deductibles, and copays/coinsurance costs.
Enrollees can choose an appropriate Medicare Part D plan as soon as they’re eligible for Medicare. Due to the nature of Lou Gehrig’s disease, prescription drugs are necessary to maintain the patient’s quality of life and health condition. Part D Prescription Drug plans can help pay for these drugs or lessen the cost.
If you have questions about pre-existing medical conditions such as ALS and how it affects your insurance coverage, we’re here to help! Senior healthcare is our specialty. Our personal mission is to help you achieve the best health insurance benefits no matter the current health status. We can provide extra information about Medicare coverage. All you must do is make a simple phone call.
Give us a call today, or you can fill out our online rate comparison form. Our team of licensed agents is ready to help with all your insurance needs.
Medicare covers anemia, but the costs depend on treatment, and if you have supplemental coverage. Below we’re going to discuss everything you need to know about how Medicare covers anemia. When you finish this article, you’ll be an expert!
Part A covers therapy during a hospital stay. Coverage may include services such as blood transfusions, medications, injections, and surgeries. Part B covers doctor visits and specific treatments. Also, outpatient drugs fall under Part B. Further, Part B may pay for B-12 or iron injections that you obtain from your doctor. With Medicare, deductibles and coinsurances apply. Medigap can help cover these costs.
Section 5012 of the 21st Century Cures Act established a new Medicare home infusion therapy benefit. The infusion therapy benefit is for coverage on home infusion therapy- associated professional services for medications and biologicals given intravenously, or subcutaneously through a pump that is Durable Medical Equipment. The act goes into effect on January 1, 2021.
The Preserving Patient Access to Home Infusion Act is new legislation that gives patients access to Part B home infusion medications. The main goal of the Act is to ensure patients with Medicare access under the Part B Durable Medical Equipment benefit. The recent outbreak puts emphasis on the value of home-based treatments for vulnerable patients.
The cost of therapy varies because there are many causes. Anemia treatments range from iron supplementation, observation, surgery, medications, or sometimes cancer treatment.
One of the most expensive anemia injections can cost upwards of $1,500 per vial. Private insurance companies may charge more. You can always talk to your doctor about a cheaper alternative.
Part C must cover at least as good as Medicare. It’s likely that with a Part C policy you’ll pay a copayment when you go to the doctors or specialists. Further, if you have an anemia complication that lands you in the hospital for a long period of time, your costs could be unbearable. You’re likely not covered out of network with an Advantage plan. So, if you have severe anemia it could benefit you to have a Medicare Supplement.
Some stand-alone Part D or Advantage plans may cover the cost of anemia drugs. Medicare doesn’t pay for drugs. Before you enroll in a plan, check that your specific medication is on the formulary.
Did you know that Medicare Supplements fill the “gaps” of Medicare? Well, this is the first recommendation of many agents. Let me tell you why. See, instead of paying copayments and coinsurances, you have a steady premium every month.
Having any chronic conditions can be costly. With a Medigap plan, you can easily budget healthcare costs. We can help you find the best plan for your needs. As Medicare experts, we answer questions and walk you through the process.
We work with top carriers across the nation. So, no matter what coverage or company you want, we have your back! Give us a call at the number above to find your best policy. If you can’t call now, fill out an online rate form today!
Medicare Part B covers sleep apnea, sleep studies, and doctor visits to treat the disorder. Also, Medicare covers a CPAP machine or oral appliance to help with sleep apnea with a doctor’s prescription.
Depending on the Medicare plan you have, you may be responsible for a portion of the cost.
Sleep apnea means you involuntarily stop breathing while you are asleep. Your breathing may stop for a minute or longer, and you may stop breathing multiple times during the night.
Sleep apnea without treatment can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, sleepiness, diabetes, and depression.
Sleep apnea is more common in men than in women. Hispanic and African American men, overweight people, and people over 40 seem to be at higher risk, although sleep apnea can occur at any age.
Symptoms include loud snoring, obesity, sleepiness during the day, and waking up at night feeling out of breath. Regularly waking up with a dry mouth or headache can indicate sleep apnea.
The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea; this is where the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses during sleep.
When it comes to sleep apnea, Medicare covers 80% of an oral appliance or CPAP machine as “Durable Medical Equipment.” To avoid additional costs, be sure your equipment comes from a supplier accepting Medicare assignment.
In some states, you must get equipment from a supplier who participates in Medicare’s bidding program. If you have Medicare Advantage, copays, network restrictions, and deductibles could apply.
Check with your provider before scheduling a sleep study or getting apnea treatment equipment.
Medicare can offer coverage for sleep studies; however, before treatment, there are specific requirements. Part B of Medicare can cover a sleep study test that is medically necessary.
Even with coverage, you may be responsible for some of the costs; after deductibles, Medicare only covers 80%. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, talk to your plan provider about in-network providers, coverage, and costs.
Those with a Medigap policy may pay little to nothing out of pocket when receiving treatment.
Testing frequency depends significantly on the reasons behind needing a new study. There isn’t a lifetime limit on sleep studies.
You may need a new study if you discontinue CPAP therapy or fail during the 3-month trial period; that’s when testing and trials restart.
The most common treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, machine. Patients are using this machine with a breathing mask during sleep.
CPAP machines send pressurized air into the throat to stop the airway from collapsing.
With a CPAP machine, sleep apnea sufferers can:
People who have mild to moderate sleep apnea or cannot tolerate a CPAP machine are good candidates for oral appliances.
Like a sports mouth guard, the oral appliance holds the jaw forward in a way that keeps the airway open. Oral appliances are comfortable to wear and are quieter and more portable than CPAP machines.
When you meet specific requirements, an in-home sleep apnea study could have coverage through Medicare. Home studies provide a way for portable monitoring; this has been around as long as the CPAP.
According to the National Coverage Determination, a doctor must order and supervise an in-home sleep study. Also, when you do an in-home sleep study, the initial coverage for a CPAP is only a 12-week trial period instead of the 3-month trial period.
Medicare does cover CPAP Machines for sleep apnea; you need to purchase a CPAP machine through a Medicare supplier. If Medicare approves the claim, the Medigap carrier approves it.
Those with Medicare Advantage plans should check the plans network, coverage, and costs before undergoing a sleep study.
Position therapy devices for sleep apnea likely have coverage with a doctor’s prescription and Medicare DME supplier. Those that have sleep apnea primarily when back sleeping, could benefit from the “supine” positioning device.
The wearable device will go around the waist and position you to sleep and stay sleeping on your side. Another option goes on the back of the neck to gently vibrate when you start to roll to your back; this is “vibrotactile feedback” technology; without waking you, the vibrations alert the body to not rollover.
Lifestyle changes can reduce snoring and improve symptoms of sleep apnea. These changes can include quitting smoking, quitting drinking alcohol, and staying with your treatment plan.
Medicare covers 80% of the cost of a CPAP machine that is medically necessary for the treatment of Sleep Apnea. Beneficiaries with Medigap coverage might not have to pay the 20% of the bill.
Advantage plans have their fee schedule, check with your insurance to find out how your coverage works.
Replacement supplies are available depending on the supplies you need. Some supplies, like full-face cushions, Medicare allow replacements for monthly.
Medicare beneficiaries can receive new disposable filters and nasal cushions twice a month. While other supplies, like a replacement CPAP Machine, only allow replacements every five years.
Failing to meet Medicare guidelines for coverage could cause your supplies not to have coverage. You must follow the steps set forth by Medicare to receive coverage.
If a diagnosis wasn’t up to Medicare guidelines, you might need to start the process over with a new sleep study; followed by a compliance period.
Medicare doesn’t pay for a CPAP cleaner. Medicare beneficiaries can easily clean the CPAP device with mild antibacterial soap and water.
The CPAP machine should receive a cleaning at least once a week; although, once a day is allowable.
Of course, only ever put distilled water in the humidifier. The humidifier should also receive weekly cleanings.
Medicare Supplement plans can cover the expenses Medicare doesn’t, such as deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments you’d otherwise pay. With Medigap, you can choose any doctor that accepts Medicare in the nation.
Also, Medigap always approves services that Medicare approves, and they cover the way they say the cover. Never question your coverage, enroll in Medigap.
MedicareFAQ will help you find a plan that fits your needs and your budget. Fill out our form or call us for a free quote.
If you’re unhappy with your current Medicare Advantage plan, the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is a once-a-year window when you can make a change. Time and time again, we hear how beneficiaries decided to go with a Medicare Advantage plan without fully understanding how these plans work. It happens when beneficiaries try to take on the task of enrolling in a plan without an agent. Or with an agent who didn’t have their clients’ best interest in mind.
If you fall into at least one of the above categories, then keep reading. The video below also goes over this enrollment period in depth.
The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period runs annually between January 1 and March 31. But, there are plenty of Medicare Advantage Enrollment Periods you should understand.
During this window, a current Medicare Advantage enrollee can:
If you have a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan, you can switch to another or you could switch to just a Part D plan.
You can only make one change to your healthcare coverage during this time, so choose wisely. Once you make that change, you cannot make another change until the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period outside of qualifying for a Special Enrollment Period.
This enrollment period is ONLY for beneficiaries currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan.
This enrollment period is NOT for new beneficiaries trying to enroll in Part A or Part B. It’s NOT for new beneficiaries seeking to join in a Part D plan who are not currently on a Medicare Advantage plan. It’s also NOT for those seeking to switch their Part D to another Part D.
As stated above, this enrollment period is only for those beneficiaries who are currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. For those familiar with Medicare, you may remember this time as the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period.
The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period ran annually between January 1 through February 14. The ACA legislation discontinued the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period in 2010. The problem with discontinuing the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period is it was forcing beneficiaries to keep a plan they didn’t want, or that didn’t fit their healthcare needs for an entire year.
Many times, the beneficiary has the misconception that their Medicare Advantage plan is the same as a Medicare Supplement plan, which is far from the truth. There are many disadvantages to Medicare Advantage plans.
Are you unhappy with your current coverage? Do you wonder if there is a better plan option out there? If you’re looking to change your current Medicare Advantage plan during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, give us a call. We can help you get the coverage you needed from the beginning. Even if you’re just curious about your options, we can either reassure you or find something that brings you the most value. If you prefer to look at options yourself, use our online rate form to see rates for plans in your area.
Did you forget to sign up for Medicare when you were first eligible? Well, the General Enrollment Period is your chance to get in on the coverage you’re entitled to. Those eligible for Medicare that delay enrollment for one reason or another will need to sign up during this period.
The General Enrollment Period for Medicare takes place from January 1 through March 31 of every year. When you enroll during this time, your coverage begins on July 1. It’s likely since you delayed enrollment that you’ll pay a Part B late enrollment penalty.
You can use the Medicare General Enrollment Period to enroll in Part A or Part B at any time during January, February, and March.
The coverage won’t go into effect until July 1; you won’t have your health care until then.
That’s why it’s crucial to take advantage of your Initial Enrollment Period.
For the most part, if you delay enrolling when you’re first eligible, you risk having to pay a Part B late enrollment penalty.
If you already have Part A and only need to enroll in Part B, you will need to complete this form. Once complete, you can either mail it to the Social Security office or bring it to them in person.
The only circumstance you can generally delay Part B and avoid a late enrollment penalty is if you’re actively working past 65 and enrolled in employer coverage. Or if you’re covered under your spouse’s employer group plan.
If you delayed enrolling in Part B due to having creditable coverage, such as group coverage through your employer, you don’t have to worry about being impacted by the Part B late enrollment penalty.
When you retire, you’ll be given a Special Enrollment Period to enroll in Part B. You won’t have to wait until the General Enrollment Period comes around to sign up.
When you enroll in either Part A or B during the General Enrollment Period, you’ll also get a related Part D Special Enrollment Period to choose your Part D prescription drug coverage. You can enroll in a Medicare drug plan from April through June; your coverage will begin July 1. All other Medicare parts you joined during the Medicare General Enrollment Period will also start on July 1.
Just like Part B, there is a Part D late enrollment penalty if you don’t sign up when you first become eligible. However, the penalty is calculated by the number of months you delayed coverage vs. the number of years.
Just like Part D, when you enroll in Medicare during the General Enrollment Period, you’ll get a Special Enrollment Period to choose a Medicare Advantage plan.
You can enroll in a private Medicare Advantage plan from April through June with a July 1 effective date.
Nobody should have to navigate the Medicare maze alone. Here at MedicareFAQ, we believe in helping you find the policy that brings you the most value. Since we work with a variety of carriers, we make shopping for Medicare insurance simple. No matter which Medicare sign-up period you need to use, we can help you.
Contact us today at the number above, or use our rate form to get started now.
If you’re new to Medicare and don’t sign up for Part B when you’re first eligible, you may end up having to pay the Part B late enrollment penalty. The late enrollment penalty is imposed on people who do not sign up for Part B when they’re first eligible. If you have to pay a penalty, you’ll continue paying it every month for as long as you have Part B.
The Part B penalty increases your monthly Part B premium by 10% for each full 12-month period you waited before signing up. The penalty is based on the standard Part B premium, regardless of the premium amount you actually pay.
Here are some examples of the way the penalty works:
If you’re turning 65, you can enroll in Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period. Your IEP begins three months before your birth month and ends three months after your birth month. This means that if your 65th birthday is June 15th, you can enroll between March 1st and September 30th.
If you don’t enroll in Part B during your IEP, you usually will have to wait for the General Enrollment Period before you will be allowed to sign up. General Enrollment runs from January 1st to March 31st each year.
If you enroll at this time, your coverage will not start until July 1st. Meaning you may be without insurance if you have a sudden illness or injury. You can also apply for a Medicare Savings Program to avoid the Part B late enrollment penalty.
Those that miss the enrollment deadline but end up signing up during the next General Enrollment Period within fewer than 12 full months won’t pay a penalty. So, if the Initial Enrollment Period ends on June 30, only 9 months will have passed before the end of the General Enrollment Period on March 31.
Also, those under age 65 with Medicare disability and paying a Part B late enrollment penalty won’t pay the penalty after turning 65. Further, those with Medicaid won’t worry about Part B premiums and penalties since the state pays those.
Finally, anyone living outside the United States that doesn’t get premium-free Part A, can’t enroll in Part A or Part B abroad. But, these people will get a Special Enrollment Period for three months after returning to the United States.
Enrolling during those three months means you’re not liable for late penalties. You may also be able to qualify for equitable relief if a federal employee told you that you didn’t need to sign up for Part B when you were supposed to enroll.
If you feel that the Part B penalty shouldn’t have applied to you or your current situation, ask for a review. Medicare has reconsideration request forms to file an appeal. Unfortunately, you’ll still have to pay the penalty while waiting for your review to be processed.
As of now, there is no cap on Part B late enrollment penalty. There has been a bill introduced called the “Medicare Part B Fairness Act” or H.R.1788. This bill would cap the amount at 15% for the current premium.
If you have health insurance through your employer, your spouse’s employer, or a union, you can keep your coverage. You won’t have to pay a penalty for waiting to sign up for Part B. But, if you lose your coverage or stop working for that employer, the clock begins ticking.
Usually, you will be allowed to sign up for Part B right away, during a “Special Enrollment Period.” This is an eight-month period beginning when the employment coverage ends. If you do not enroll during this period, you’ll have to pay a Part B penalty for each full 12 months you wait, beyond the date, the SEP began.
For example, if you’re still working when you turn 65, you can keep your employer health insurance instead of signing up for Part B. If you then retire at age 67, you can avoid a penalty by signing up for Part B during your eight-month SEP. If you instead decide to wait until age 70 to enroll, you will pay a 30% penalty every month. 10% for every 12-month period you delayed.
The best way to avoid Part B penalties is to plan ahead. You have several Medicare options to choose from, including Original Medicare plus a Medigap Plan. MedicareFAQ can help you through these decisions by answering your questions and helping you prepare for Medicare. Call the number above or fill out our online rate form to see all the options available in your area.
When it comes to finding the best Medicare Supplement plans for 2021, there’s no one size fits all option. Many different factors go into deciding which Medicare Supplement plan is the best. Below we’ll go over the best Medicare Supplement plans today, including Plan N, Plan G, and Plan F.
The first supplement plan we’re going to talk about is Plan N. Even though Plan N isn’t as popular as other letter plans, it’s one of the Medigap plans we enroll our clients in the most.
The reason this plan makes this list is due to its lower premiums. The only benefits Plan N doesn’t cover are the Part B deductible and any excess charges.
The reason the monthly premiums for Plan N are lower is because of the copays. In exchange for a lower monthly premium, you agree to pay a $20 copay at the doctors’ office and a $50 copay at the emergency room.
Tip: Over 90% of doctors accept Medicare and won’t charge excess charges. Some states don’t even allow excess charges.
The next best Medigap plan we’re going to mention is Plan G. With Plan G, you’ll get the same benefits as Plan N plus coverage for any excess charges.
Also, you won’t have to pay those small copays that Plan N requires you to pay. In exchange for not having to pay a small copay every time you visit the doctors or hospital, you agree to pay a slightly higher monthly premium.
For many years, Plan G has been the runner-up plan to Plan F. This is because Plan F checks off the final box on the benefits list.
Plan F is the all-inclusive Medigap plan. It leaves you with zero out of pocket costs. It covers the Part A and B deductible.
With Plan F, you won’t ever spend a dime on any medical services outside the premium. But, the legislation didn’t like this. So, they proposed Medicare changes and discontinued Plan F to those newly-eligible after 2020.
There are also two high deductible plan options. Both Plan G and Plan F have a high deductible version. These versions have the same benefits as the standard plans, with the only difference being the deductible.
Both high deductible versions of Plan G and Plan F have a deducible of $2,340 per the calendar year. In exchange for having a high deductible, your monthly premiums will be significantly less than compared to the standard versions.
Trying to identify which option is the best is difficult when you don’t know the exact premium ratings in your area. For some, Plan N could make the most sense.
But, for others, Plan G could be superior coverage. Many factors go into play; consulting an agent for advice and direction is our recommendation.
There are way too many factors, many not included here, that you need to take into account when enrolling in the best Medicare Supplement plan. Don’t settle for just okay coverage when you’ve been paying into Medicare your entire life.
Compare the best plans for each type of supplemental coverage today. Our services are 100% free; we never enroll our clients in a policy that we wouldn’t enroll our family in. We genuinely care about your Medicare. Enroll in the best Medicare Supplement plan for you today. Give us a call at the number above. Or, compare rates now using our online rate comparison form.
There is Medicare coverage for thyroid testing and screenings. Coverage would fall under Part B if done in an outpatient setting. If done in an inpatient setting, then Part A would cover it.
When your doctor performs your thyroid tests in outpatient settings, you’ll have 80% coverage under Part B. Therefore, you’ll be responsible for the Part B deductible as well as the 20% coinsurance. Any thyroid tests given during a stay at the hospital would fall under Part A. You’ll be responsible for the Part A deductible and any other cost-sharing.
If you have a Medicare Supplement plan, any coinsurance will be covered by the plan. Depending on what letter plan you enrolled in, you may also have coverage for any deductibles. Leaving you with zero out of pocket costs.
In patients that are not at risk of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, a test may be conducted up to two times per year. Patients who are at risk, if your doctor finds it medically necessary to test more than twice per year, Medicare may cover it.
Doctors or health care providers may order a variety of tests to determine the status of a patient’s condition.
Below are some thyroid tests Medicare will cover:
Indications for Coverage:
Below is a list of some of the conditions where Medicare will consider a thyroid test medically necessary.
The thyroid gland helps regulate the body’s metabolism, regulated by the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Different diseases and disorders may affect how the thyroid functions or the structure of the gland itself.
Hypothyroidism is the result of a lack of production of thyroid hormones. Individuals with this condition may experience several signs or symptoms; while others may not have any.
Signs of hypothyroidism are dry skin, fatigue, feeling “foggy” or having poor concentration, slow reflexes, loss of hair, digestive issues (constipation), and weight gain. Other symptoms include feeling cold, fluid retention, aching muscles, and joints, slow speech, and depression. In some cases, women have had abnormally long cycles or excessive menstrual bleeding.
Although, not as common hyperthyroidism is the opposite. This condition is an overactive gland, excessively producing thyroid hormones.
In such cases, patients may have a higher metabolism. Signs may include tremors, nervousness, increased heart rate, anxiety, and excessive sweating. Individuals may notice a heat intolerance, more bowel movements than usual, unintentional weight loss, and even difficulty concentrating.
Many beneficiaries don’t know Part B does not cover 100% of your medical costs. You’re left with deductibles and coinsurance with zero caps on your maximum out of pocket costs. You can get most, if not all, your cost-sharing covered by enrolling in a Medicare Supplement plan. Medicare also does not cover any thyroid medications given at home. That’s where a stand-alone Part D plan comes into play.
Let us do the hard work for you, we already did! We can compare all carriers in your area to see not only what plans are available to you, but see which carrier offers the lowest premium. Give us a call today, or you can use our rate comparison form to see rates in your area now.
During the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, also known as the Annual Election Period, you can make changes to your current Medicare coverage. The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, or AEP, runs from October 15th to December 7th every year.
During the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, you can:
Any changes you make during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period will take effect on January 1st of the following year.
Medicare Advantage and Part D benefits change each year. This means your premiums can increase and your benefits may change. Some common reasons you may want to change your coverage is due to your premiums increasing, the Advantage plan no longer has your doctor in the network of your plan, or the Drug formulary drops your medication off the list of covered drugs.
You’ll receive an Annual Notice of Change in September from your carrier. The ANoC will explain any changes happening to your current policy that will take effect the following year.
If you’re unhappy with the changes shown in your ANoC, you can change your coverage during the Annual Enrollment Period.
Your ANoC explains how your current coverage will change the following year—including whether you’ll see an increase or not in your monthly premiums. Look at the premium for your current plan and compare it with the premium amount shown on your ANoC. A significant increase is a good sign it may be time to shop around for a new plan.
A new year can also bring changes to your drug formulary, the pricing tiers that medications are placed in, or the copays required for various types of prescriptions.
In addition, some Medicare Advantage prescription drug plans now require prior authorization for certain expensive brand-name drugs, potentially making it more difficult to get Medicare to cover these medications.
Find out whether your prescription plan will cover your current medications in the upcoming year, and how much you’ll pay for them. If you take expensive medications, it’s a good idea to explore other prescription plans available in your area to see if they have lower copays.
Make a list of the doctor visits and procedures you expect for next year. Then estimate what you will pay for them out of pocket with your current Medicare coverage. Add in a years’ worth of premiums and you’ll have a good estimate of what your healthcare will cost you next year.
You can do this same calculation with other Medicare plans you’re considering, to compare the overall cost of one plan to another. This is one of the many things our agents do each year with our clients.
A new year can also bring changes to your Medicare Advantage plan’s network of doctors. Confirm that your current providers will still be in your plan’s network for the upcoming year. If they aren’t, you will have to change plans or providers or pay much higher out-of-pocket costs to stay with the same doctors and the same plan.
Another option is to switch back to Original Medicare and enroll in a Medigap plan. Although you’ll most likely have to answer questions about your health to enroll, there are no provider networks with Medicare and Medigap. You can see any healthcare provider that accepts Medicare.
If you travel frequently, you may delay getting care until you are at your primary home. Make sure your plan has providers and pharmacies near where you live.
If you live in two places or plan to travel out of state, consider a plan with a nationwide network, or go with Original Medicare, which does not have provider networks.
Medicare doesn’t cover routine dental, vision, and hearing services, but some Medicare Advantage plans do. You can also buy dental, vision, and hearing coverage separately. Consider your needs and the available coverage as part of your overall evaluation of Medicare plans.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has a star rating system to help consumers compare Medicare plans.
Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans receive an overall star rating of one to five stars—with five being the best—on factors such as customer service, member experience, and member complaints.
Medicare Advantage plans are also rated on preventative care to help people stay healthy, and management of chronic conditions. If your current plan gets low marks, you may be happier with another option.
Having a Medicare Advantage checklist makes it easier when going to sign up. There are many different enrollment periods when it comes to Medicare. Each just as confusing as the other. It’s important to understand what you can and cannot do during each enrollment window. Otherwise, you could make a move that could negatively impact your Medicare benefits forever.
You won’t be eligible to make changes at this time unless you’re within your Initial Enrollment Period or are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. You’ll need to wait until the General Enrollment Period to enroll in Original Medicare.
We encourage you to take a deeper look into the coverage you currently have. Think about your health situation, and what you are currently getting the most use out of. Then, try to figure out how you may be able to supplement or reduce your total out of pocket costs.
You may find the SilverSneakers benefit included in your Part D plan that you thought was so great, you never used it. You could save a few dollars in monthly premiums by switching to a different Part D plan that doesn’t include a gym membership.
One of the more common complaints we hear from our clients is how the dental benefits included in some Medicare Advantage plans were not as comprehensive as initially thought. If you attempted to use them this past year, and we’re unhappy with what you ended up spending out of pocket in cost-sharing, you may want to consider disenrolling in your Advantage coverage and going with a Medigap plan and stand-alone dental plan.
This may be considered one of the most important steps. Often times, you may be able to find a lower premium for the same benefits. Or, you may be able to find a plan with more benefits for the same monthly premium you’re paying now. Just like you would compare your car insurance premiums annually, or even semi-annually, you want to do the same with your Medicare coverage. More than likely, there’s an opportunity to save money somewhere, and every penny counts.
Below, we’ll answer some common questions we hear from our clients.
No, your Medigap benefits do not change like Part D and Medicare Advantage plans do. Your Medigap plan will cover the same benefits from year to year. What may change is your premiums. Rate increases do happen annually, on the anniversary date of your policy. Your carrier sends out a letter the month before your anniversary date that informs you of any premium increases. If you want to compare the same plan with other carriers to see if another carrier offers the same benefits at a lower premium, we can help.
Yes, you’ll have “Trial Rights” to purchase a Medigap plan if you cancel your Medicare Advantage plan and switch back to Original Medicare within 12 months of joining Medicare Advantage.
If you don’t qualify for Trial Rights, you can still apply for a Medigap plan, but the insurance company will take your health into account in deciding whether to issue you a policy and what the monthly premium will be.
If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during AEP, you’ll have another Open Enrollment Period in January to make changes to it if you’re unhappy with those benefits.
The fall Medicare Annual Enrollment Period starts October 15th.
The fall Medicare Annual Enrollment Period ends December 7th.
The Annual Coordinated Enrollment Period, or ACEP, is another name for the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period or Annual Election Period. To add even more confusion, the Annual Enrollment Period is also commonly referred to as the Fall Open Enrollment Period.
That depends on the context used when talking about the Medicare Open Enrollment Period. OEP can refer to many different enrollment windows with Medicare. However, for the most part, when someone is talking about the OEP they are referring to the Annual Enrollment Period.
Our agents are here to help you understand the dos and don’ts during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. Our services are 100% free to you. Don’t end up enrolling in a plan you didn’t want, and end up stuck with it under the next AEP. Give us a call today, or complete our online rate form to have one of our agents lookup rates on all Medicare plans available in your area now.
An all in one Medicare plan can mean several different things. There are Medicare Advantage plans, or you can combine Medicare Parts A, B, D, and Medigap plans. Then, you still need dental and vision coverage. With a flurry of possibilities, where do you begin?
All in one coverage would need to cover inpatient, outpatient, and medication expenses. Most consider dental and vision coverage necessary. Most people consider a Medicare Advantage plan all on one coverage. Others who are looking to spend less in out of pocket cost sharing prefer to build their own all in one Medicare plan.
Medicare Advantage plans bundle coverage together to entice beneficiaries. These plans include Part A, Part B, and Part D. Sometimes Advantage plans include dental, vision, and hearing. The biggest pitfall is the out of pocket expenses that make this coverage far from comprehensive. Many Advantage plans only include basic dental, for adequate coverage you’d still need to purchase a stand-alone dental plan.
Advantage plans are offered by private health insurance companies that contract with Medicare. Medicare pays the carrier to take on your risk. There can be both pros and cons with all in one Advantage plan. The negative side is the restriction to a network of health facilities, hospitals, and physicians. You can also expect to need to acquire a referral for services with specialists.
Often, insurance companies will push All in One Medicare Advantage policies to beneficiaries. This can be an attempt at landing a quick commission pay for enrolling new beneficiaries. Although, it’s important to remember Medicare Advantage plans can benefit some beneficiaries; this can include those under 65, ineligible for Medigap, or those on the Medicare Savings Program. Check out our quick guide on the pros and cons of Medicare Advantage plans.
While Medicare Supplement plans are not an all in one plan, you can use it to supplement your other Medicare benefits to give you real comprehensive coverage, unlike Medicare Advantage plans. When deciphering which plans are best for you, pay attention to the benefits of all options. Medigap can help cover a beneficiary’s copayments, deductibles, and coinsurance. The below parts and plans combined will give you the most coverage.
Typically, Medigap plans will not cover dental, vision, or long-term care. They also exclude home health care because Original Medicare doesn’t cover home health care. If Medicare covers the service, the Medigap plan covers the service.
Stand-alone dental coverage allows beneficiaries to customize coverage. For example, a higher premium policy will have lower copayments and deductibles. However, a lower premium policy will have higher out of pocket expenses.
So, if you know you need a lot of dental work, a higher premium policy will benefit your wallet more than a low-cost policy. Although, if routine care is your main goal, a low-cost policy would be sufficient.
Vision coverage can either be purchased as a stand-alone policy, or some beneficiaries find Groupon rates for low-cost vision options as life requires. Many vision facilities offer affordable rates for an eye exam and one or two pairs of glasses.
Sometimes paying out of pocket on vision care is most cost-effective. Also, Medicare does cover cataracts surgery when medically necessary; if Medicare covers, Medigap covers. Then, one pair of glasses or contacts will have coverage after cataracts surgery.
There are many factors to consider when making a choice.
You may already know, but Medicare costs vary from person to person. Then, the cost of Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans vary from state to state. In many states, Medicare Advantage can cost as little as $0 a month. But, you still pay your Part B premium in most cases. Now, Medicare Advantage can cost up to $200+ each month. Then, even the best Medicare Supplement plans can cost $90- $300 a month depending on many different factors. The best way to determine your policy costs is to consult an agent about your specific situation and needs.
There are some specific Medicare coverage guidelines that pertain to Skilled Nursing Facility services. Skilled nursing services are specific skills that are provided by health care employees like physical therapists, nursing staff, pathologists, and physical therapists. Guidelines include doctor ordered care with certified health care employees. Also, they must treat current conditions or any new condition that occurs during your stay at a Skilled Nursing Facility. Below, we’ll go over what you need to know about Medicare coverage for Skilled Nursing Facilities.
There are specific requirements that beneficiaries must meet to qualify for Medicare coverage for Skilled Nursing Facilities. The patient must have been an inpatient of a hospital facility for a minimum of three consecutive days. The patient must go to a Skilled Nursing Facility that has a Medicare certification within thirty days of their hospital discharge.
For a beneficiary to extend healthcare services through SNF’s, the patients must undergo the 3-day rule before admission. The 3-day rule ensures that the beneficiary has a medically necessary stay of 3 consecutive days as an inpatient in a hospital facility. This doesn’t include the day of the patient’s discharge, any outpatient observations, or the time spent in the emergency room.
If the patient’s health conditions are not appropriate for placing into a nursing facility directly after leaving the hospital, the hospital will determine when to begin appropriate care. Another exception to this rule is if the patient requires around the clock nursing services.
Part A benefits cover 20 days of care in a Skilled Nursing Facility.
After that point, Part A will cover an additional 80 days with the beneficiary’s assistance in paying their coinsurance for every day.
Once the 100-day mark hits, a beneficiary’s Skilled Nursing Facility benefits are “exhausted”.
At this point, the beneficiary will have to assume all costs of care, except for some Part B health services.
Benefit periods are how Skilled Nursing Facility coverage is measured. These periods begin on the day that the beneficiary is in the healthcare facility on an inpatient basis. This period ends when the beneficiary is no longer an inpatient and hasn’t been one for 60 consecutive days.
A new benefit period may begin once the prior benefit period ends, and the beneficiary receives another admission to a healthcare facility. One keynote to remember is that a new benefit period is not each calendar year or change to the patient’s diagnosis or health condition.
There are instances where Medicare may require a claim, even when payment isn’t a requirement.
When the beneficiary is discharged from a skilled nursing facility, and then readmitted within 30 days, this is considered readmission. Another instance of readmission is if a beneficiary were to be in the care of a Skilled Nursing Facility and then ended up needing new care within 30 days post the first noncoverage day.
If a patient exhausts benefits, the monthly bills continue with normal submission; although, the beneficiary must still be in a Medicare facility. Full exhausted benefits mean that the beneficiary doesn’t have any available days on their claim. Partially exhausted benefits mean that the beneficiary had several available benefit days on their claims.
No payment billing happens when a patient moves to a non-SNF care level and is in a Medicare facility.
Expediting the determination processes can happen when providers initiate discharge from SNF’s because of coverage reasons. Although, beneficiaries can appeal health service terminations through this process.
Skilled Nursing Facility requirements must be met to obtain benefits.
If a beneficiary needs a Skilled Nursing Facility and goes but doesn’t have a qualifying stay in a hospital facility, they can move to a Skilled Nursing Facility after they remain for the night. They’ll then go the next night and receive coverage.
Medicare covers anesthesia for surgery as well as diagnostic and screening tests. Coverage includes anesthetic supplies and the anesthesiologist’s fee. Also, Medicare covers general anesthesia, local anesthetics, and sedation. Most anesthesia falls under Part B.
The cost of anesthesia depends on several factors, including location, admission status, and if you have supplemental coverage. If you are an inpatient at a hospital when you have your procedure, Part A pays for your hospital stay and the hospital’s anesthesia costs.
But, Part A doesn’t cover the doctors that treat you while you’re in the hospital. Instead, Part B covers doctors’ services. If you have the procedure outpatient or at a doctor’s office, care falls under Part B. Now, Medicare will pay 100% of the anesthesia cost for a routine screening colonoscopy.
Because anesthesia billing is based on a formula, it’s almost impossible to give a one-size-fits-all cost estimate for general anesthesia. But there are some general guidelines.
Anesthesia for a 30-minute procedure will cost less than a five-hour surgery. It may cost less in a small city than in New York or San Francisco. And anesthesiology for a complicated operation with many potential complications will be more expensive than anesthesia for a routine procedure.
Most of this is beyond your control. But if you have Medicare, your costs will be much lower if you have a Medigap plan. For example, suppose the anesthesiologist’s bill is $1000. Medicare will pay 80%, or $800. Your Medigap plan can cover the other $200.
Medicare reimburses anesthesiologists using a formula that takes several factors into account:
The above three items are added together and multiplied by a conversion factor. The conversion factor depends on the part of the country where the procedure is performed. It’s intended to compensate for different healthcare costs in different localities.
Medicare Advantage plans cover necessary anesthesia. But, Advantage plans establish their costs that usually differ from Medicare. Advantage plans also operate with provider networks. You may get a costly surprise medical bill if your anesthesiologist isn’t in your plan’s network. If you’re having elective surgery, be sure to request an in-network anesthesiologist.
Many people are in shock over the bill from the anesthesiologist after surgery. A Medigap plan can cover almost all of the costs you’d otherwise get an invoice to pay yourself. Our agents can walk you through the details of Medicare and help you identify the best policy for you. The option that brings you the most value is the plan that you’ll want.
Coverage is more than a premium; it’s protecting the savings you worked hard to acquire. Don’t wait until it’s too late, find the Medigap plan that makes sense for you. To find a plan that’s right for you, contact us or fill out our form for a free quote.
If you’re on COBRA through your previous employer and are eligible for Medicare, you probably have questions about the future of your coverage. We’re here to explain how COBRA works with Medicare and answer the most frequently asked questions about this topic.
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) helps employees extend benefits past employment. Qualifying events for COBRA include termination of employment or reduction in working hours. It’s possible to have COBRA and Medicare coverage at the same time. However, they don’t coordinate the same way as employer coverage and Medicare. When you have COBRA, Medicare usually pays first, and COBRA pays second. However, it’s possible that your group insurance has special rules that will determine the primary payer. Refer to your plan document for details.
It’s important to note that your COBRA coverage could be terminated before the maximum period if you become entitled to Medicare after electing to continue coverage.
To avoid penalties, you must have creditable coverage. This means coverage that’s at least equivalent to Medicare. COBRA is NOT creditable coverage. If you’re Medicare-eligible and have COBRA, you should enroll in Part B. COBRA extends group benefits for a set period of time – up to 18 months. It’s rare for COBRA to be the best option for a Medicare-eligible person. You can usually get better coverage for less money than COBRA.
Your Initial Enrollment Period will begin three months before your 65th birthday. If you don’t join during the seven-month window, you’ll incur penalties.
You can get COBRA if you retire early, but it’s usually costly. It involves your premium, your employer’s contribution, and any extra amount owed to the carrier. We recommend looking into other health care options before choosing COBRA.
We know Medicare is a beast constantly unleashing new information. Luckily, you don’t have to face this confusion alone. Our team of Medicare experts is ready to answer any additional questions you have.
Give us a call at the number above to get your quote today. Or, fill out an online rate form to get your quote now!
Medicare covers a variety of prosthetics if they’re necessary to replace a body part or function. Examples of prosthetics range from artificial teeth, eyes, facial bones, the palate, artificial hip, knee and other joints, legs, arms, and more. Below we’ll discuss WHICH prosthetics have coverage and HOW Medicare covers them.
Medicare covers many types of prosthetics, including:
Medicare will provide coverage for prosthetic devices such as enteral and parenteral nutrition equipment & supplies, ostomy supplies, tracheostomy care supplies, urological supplies, cardiac pacemakers, speech aids, scleral shells, etc. Since each situation is unique to the beneficiary, talk with your doctor to see how much Medicare will cover.
Yes, Medicare will cover a prosthetic leg. Part B will cover the cost of the surgery if it’s done in an outpatient setting. If it’s done in an inpatient setting, then Part A will cover it. You must get your prosthetic leg from a supplier that participates in Medicare. You’ll pay 20% of the cost, plus the Part A or Part B annual deductible. If you have a Medigap plan, it will help cover most, if not all, of your cost-sharing.
Tip: If you only have Medicare, consider shopping around for a Durable Medical Equipment supplier. You may find the prosthetic for less cost.
Part B covers prosthetic arms the same as legs. You pay the premium and meet the deductible. Then, you pay 20% of the costs. Like prosthetic legs, there is a wide array of options for prosthetic arms. Costs can range from around $3,000 to $30,000.But, advanced myoelectric arm costs fall around $20,000 to $100,000 or more depending on the technology. Medicare may not pay for advanced features if they’re not necessary.
If you want a 3D printed arm custom fit in about 40 hours, Open Bionics has the cost of the “Hero Arm,” starting around $3,000. But, they don’t have a clear indication of insurance acceptance.
Since they have private clinics, I imagine the costs are all out of pocket. Although, if you’re spending that much on a prosthetic even with coverage, that might be something to consider.
Medicare doesn’t cover hair prosthesis unless it’s necessary for treatment. Since a wig won’t improve your health condition, it’s unlikely that insurance will cover any costs. But, the cost of wigs for people going through cancer can be a tax-deductible expense, so save those receipts! Further, if you have an Advantage plan, you may get reimbursement for one wig.
Medicare covers cochlear implants to improve hearing. Implants work differently than hearing aids. Cochlear implants can cost as much as $100,000 without insurance, but you can expect to pay much less if you have Medicare. Part B covers implants inserted in a healthcare provider’s office or outpatient facility. Medicare will pay 80% of the Medicare-approved rate for the implants and surgery. If you have Medigap, that policy picks up the other 20%.
Medicare covers prosthetic eyes if your doctor orders them. Part B will cover the surgical procedure to insert the implant into the orbital socket. Once you meet the Part B deductible, Medicare pays 80% of the cost. Medicare will also cover replacement prosthetics every five years. In addition, Medicare covers polishing and resurfacing twice each year.
Medicare covers surgically implanted breast prostheses after a mastectomy. Part B also pays for external breast prostheses, bras, and post-surgery camis. But, you must buy from a supplier that participates in Medicare. External breast prostheses need replacement periodically, and Medicare will pay for replacement devices.
Medicare adheres to this coverage schedule:
Medicare covers standard external breast prostheses. It won’t pay for custom versions, even for women having trouble with off-the-shelf products. But, legislation has been introduced in Congress that would provide coverage. As of now, there is a CPT Code for custom breast prosthesis, but coverage isn’t available yet.
You can enroll in Medicare before you’re 65 if you have a disability and meet certain other conditions. You can choose Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan. For many people under 65, an Advantage plan is the most cost-effective option.
When you are under 65, you become eligible for Medicare if:
If you’re under 65 and Medicare-eligible you can sign up for an Advantage plan.
Yes, you need to pay the Part B premium when you have a Medicare disability. Generally, the premium will come out of your Social Security check before you get the funds. Now, if you have Medicaid, the state may help cover some of the cost of the Part B premium or Part D premium.
You may have to pay a monthly premium, an annual deductible, and copays or coinsurance for each healthcare visit. Your costs will vary depending on your insurance company and the plan you choose.
You may also be eligible for a Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan. These plans are only available to people who meet specific criteria, such as having a particular chronic and disabling health condition or being eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.
A Special Needs Plan is designed around the healthcare needs of the people in the policy. The availability of this type of policy can vary by location.
Many people on Social Security Disability also qualify for their state’s Medicaid program. If you’re on Medicare and Medicaid, you can still sign up for an Advantage plan. The two programs together will usually cover almost all your healthcare costs. But, it’s important to note, Medicare isn’t free.
If you’re under 65, here’s when you can enroll in Advantage Plans:
You can also switch from one Advantage plan to another or drop Advantage coverage during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period from January 1st to March 31st.
Medicare pays a large portion of the cost, and Medigap can help cover what Medicare doesn’t cover. But if you’re under 65, it can be hard to find an affordable Medigap plan.
While some states require companies to offer at least one Medigap plan to people under age 65, others do not. In some states, Medigap plans are only available to certain types of beneficiaries, such as people with end-stage renal disease.
In several states, you can’t buy a Medigap plan at all if you’re under 65. And rates tend to go up from one year to the next. So, Medigap can be both hard to get and expensive if you’re under 65. Often, the best solution is an Advantage plan.
When you turn 65, you’ll qualify for the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period. Then, you can get a policy without having to answer any questions about your health.
If you choose Medicare, you’ll need a Part D drug plan. You’ll pay a premium, and a copay or coinsurance. And, don’t worry about Medicare and Social Security going away. The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare works to protect those in need of the federal health program.
Many people on Social Security Disability qualify for Extra Help with Part D costs. Eligibility for Extra Help is based on income and assets. If you’re on Medicaid, you automatically qualify for Extra Help.
We understand Medicare is confusing. That’s why our agents take their time to answer all your questions. Our agents consider the coverage you need and make the best recommendation based on your situation. Don’t waste your time calling each company individually. Call us and get a quote for all the top insurers. We can help you make the best choice. To get started with a free quote, call us at the number above or fill out a quote form.
Making Medicare or Social Security choices on behalf of someone else requires more than standard power of attorney. Below you’ll learn which forms you need, how to apply, and much more. And, we’re going to make it simple because handling someone else’s affairs can be difficult.
Keep reading to learn more about Medicare, Social Security, and Power of Attorney.
Having a standard power of attorney isn’t enough when it comes to Medicare or Social Security. Standard power of attorney allows you to handle most the finances; but, it doesn’t allow you to make health care choices. Yet, making healthcare decisions is necessary when if they become incapable.
You need an “advanced directive” to make medical choices. But, medical choices are different than Medicare or Social Security changes.
There are different forms for various changes or decisions you would want to make on behalf of another.
Let’s take a look at what you’ll need.
The law requires Medicare recipients to write a form permitting for you to handle personal medical information. If they can’t give consent, the personal representative can fill out the “Authorization to Disclose Personal Health Information“.
When you complete this form, you should gain access to:
Information can come from getting a paper copy, or by visiting an online portal.
If you want to be the representative payee for someone on Social Security, go to the local office.
At the Social Security office, submit a letter from the recipient’s doctor that states the need for a representative payee.
Also, you’ll need to have proof of identity. Your Social Security card is necessary.
Payee applications are made in-person with Social Security. If applying on behalf of an organization, you’ll need your employee identification number.
The type of authority you need will depend on the decisions you want to make.
An attorney can notarize any documents in your state. Each state has different rules.
When you have the forms signed and prepared you to need to:
Depending on what you need, a durable power of attorney, or representative payee may be the solution. Pay attention to what tasks you need to handle; this will benefit you when looking for forms. You can always contact Medicare and Social Security to better identify the form you need.
If you’re already a client with us, give us a call, and our support team can help walk you through the forms you need.
If you want a team that has your back, call the number above to speak with an agent.
Or, complete the online rate form to view rates in your area side by side.
If you’ve heard of a Medicare replacement plan, it’s the same as an Advantage plan. Advantage plans are also known as replacement plans because, in a way, they replace Original Medicare. If you’re thinking about signing up for an Advantage plan, we’re here to tell you everything you need to know.
Replacement plans, Advantage, or Part C, plans stand-in for your Medicare for each year you’ve enrolled. They don’t act as a permanent replacement, and you can always return to Medicare during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period or Annual Enrollment Period. The way these plans work is by providing benefits through a private insurance company rather than through Medicare. When enrolled in an Advantage plan, you must use the plan’s network of providers to be covered. When signing up for an Advantage plan, you must have enrolled in both Parts A and B.
Again, an Advantage plan doesn’t permanently replace Medicare. However, it acts as your primary coverage. Medicare pays private insurance companies offering Advantage plans to handle beneficiary claims and benefits. The Advantage plan must offer the same benefits as Parts A and B. They often also provide additional services and perks, such as prescription drug, dental, vision, and hearing plans, or free gym memberships.
If you enroll in an Advantage plan, check your Summary of Benefits. This document will let you know what’s not covered, as well as list copay amounts for which you’ll be responsible.
Additionally, your benefits are subject to change each year. As an Advantage enrollee, you’ll want to keep your eyes out for your Annual Notice of Change letter to make sure you’re still happy with your plan. You should expect to get this letter in September, right before the Annual Enrollment Period.
The best Advantage plan for you depends on your needs. Indeed, it also depends on if you would benefit from enrolling in an Advantage plan at all. When making a decision, consider how much the downsides to Medicare Advantage plans would affect you. Some people find the networks restrictive, and they pay more than they save in copays outside their network. On the other hand, others who don’t need to visit many doctors enjoy having one plan for all their needs and spending less than they would for a Medigap plan.
If you’re considering enrolling in an Advantage plan, be sure to go with a top-rated carrier. Also, ensure that you’re familiar with how the plan you’ve chosen works.
If you need more information or help to choose the right plan for you, give us a call today. We offer plans from top-rated carriers.
You can also complete our online rate form to see rate quotes for your area.
Medicare Part B covers visits to urgent care centers, as well as regular doctor appointments. You can visit any urgent care in the country that takes Medicare. The urgent care will bill Medicare, and you’ll only pay the portion of the bill in the form of deductibles or copays. Most urgent care facilities do accept Medicare. If the facility accepts Medicare, they’ll also take your Medigap plan. Occasionally a recipient comes across an urgent care center that is out of network with the Advantage plan. It’s essential to ask the facility each time before getting treatment.
As long as the urgent care you choose to go to accepts Medicare, you’ll have 80% of the cost covered. Since Part B does come with a deductible, you’ll have to pay that out of pocket if it has not been met yet for the calendar year. If you have a Medicare Supplement plan, you will have the remaining 20% insurance covered and possibly the deductible under Part B as well.
The cost of a trip to urgent care can vary depending on where you live and what kind of treatment you need. A typical urgent care visit costs less than $200, while a trip to the emergency room can cost ten times as much.
A Medicare Supplement plan can help pay for an urgent care visit. Medicare supplements pick up costs that Medicare doesn’t pay. Many beneficiaries choose to enroll in Plan F so they have zero out of pocket costs. Normally, Plan N comes with a small copay for doctor visits, however, at an urgent care facility you can expect no copay.
Most urgent care centers do accept Medicare Advantage. But, Medicare Advantage plans operate with provider networks. An urgent care center may participate in some Advantage plans, but not others. If you go to urgent care that isn’t in your plan’s network, you’ll pay more. Some policies, especially HMOs, don’t cover out-of-network care at all except in emergencies. Before you head to an urgent care center, confirm that it’s in-network for your Advantage plan.
Urgent care, emergency rooms, and retail clinics are all designed to handle immediate medical needs. But there are differences in the kind of care they can provide.
Retail clinics in pharmacies and grocery stores use nurse practitioners. They can diagnose and treat common illnesses like flu, strep throat, and ear infections.
Urgent care centers have doctors on staff. They can handle the same minor illnesses as retail clinics. They can also take x-rays, treat sprains or broken bones, treat minor burns, and stitch up wounds. Urgent care centers aren’t equipped to handle serious medical emergencies. They don’t have specialists or surgeons and can’t do advanced testing like MRIs and CT scans. If your gut tells you that you need an emergency room level of care, don’t hesitate to go to the ER.
The emergency room is much more expensive than an urgent care facility. You can keep your healthcare costs down by going to urgent care for minor ailments. If you have a life-threatening emergency like a heart attack, stroke, head injury, potential overdose, or serious accident, you should always go to the emergency room.
Yes, the CVS minute clinic does accept Medicare. You can use the CVS insurance check tool to find the closest one.
There are guidelines and rules you must follow when it comes to Medicare and Health Savings Accounts. A Health Savings Account is a savings account in which money can be set aside for certain medical expenses. As you get close to retiring, it’s essential to understand how Health Savings Accounts work with Medicare.
Health Savings Accounts help pay for deductibles, coinsurance, copayments, and other medical expenses. Once the money goes into the Health Savings Account account, you can withdraw it for any medical expense, tax-free. Additionally, you can earn interest, your balance carries over each year, and this can become an investment for a retirement fund. Unfortunately, some restrictions come along with having a Health Savings Account with Medicare.
HSA is only for those enrolled in a high-deductible plan. Since Medicare is not considered an HDHP, enrolling makes you ineligible to contribute to an HSA.
Once you enroll in Medicare, it’s illegal to continue to contribute to a Health Savings Account. The only exception to continue contributing to your HSA is to postpone enrolling in Medicare. As long as you have creditable coverage through your employer, you won’t be penalized for delaying your enrollment.
Before you assume your employer coverage is considered creditable coverage, make sure to talk to your benefits administrator. If your employer has less than 20 employees, it won’t be considered creditable coverage.
Once you enroll in Medicare, the IRS sets your contribution limit to your HSA to zero. What this means is, beginning the first month you’re enrolled in Medicare, you’re not allowed to contribute any monies into your HSA.
This limit also pertains to any period of retroactive Medicare coverage. If you continue to contribute, or your Medicare coverage becomes retroactive, you may have to pay a 6% excise tax on those excess contributions. If you happen to have excess contributions, you can withdraw some or all to avoid paying the excise tax.
The good news is, even though you can’t continue to contribute to your Health Savings Account once enrolled in Medicare, you can still use your Health Savings Account funds to pay for many medical expenses, including premiums.
Qualified Medicare Expenses:
Yes, you can use your HSA funds to pay for your Medicare Advantage premiums as well as any copays and coinsurance.
No, Medigap premiums are not considered a qualified Medicare expense. You can not use your HSA funds to pay your Medigap premiums.
Yes, in some Medicare Supplement plans you can get reimbursed from your HSA for premiums you paid out of pocket.
You can take tax-free withdrawals from your Health Savings Account to reimburse the cost of premiums you’ve paid out of pocket. Even if those premiums were an automatic deduction from your Social Security check. If this is something you didn’t know, you can still withdraw money at any time to reimburse yourself for those premiums.
Once you enroll in Part A, you can not actively contribute to your HSA. Any contributions made after you’re Part A is active will be considered excess contributions.
Health Savings Account beneficiaries can contribute until the first day of the month; Medicare is sufficient. It’s your responsibility to prorate both your regular contribution and the catch-up contribution if applicable. To determine the prorate maximum contribution, add the IRS maximum plus the catch-up amount ($6,750 or $3,350 + $1,000 catch-up amount). Then, divide that number by 12 months and multiply by the number of months you won’t have Medicare.
Whether working or on a fixed income, every penny counts. With each year bringing escalating healthcare costs, obtaining supplemental Medicare insurance is becoming more and more necessary.
There many benefits when it comes to working with a Medicare agent. In addition to having an agent by your side, you’ll get continuous support on claims, appeals, and much more from our Client Care Team.
Call us today for more information on the various types of policies available in your area including Medigap, Medicare Advantage, and prescription drug plans. You can also fill out our rates comparison form to see all your options side by side now.
There are plenty of big changes in 2020 when it comes to Medicare. These changes impact all current and future beneficiaries. Changes range from coverage, plan options, and so much more. In this context, you’ll learn which plans are going away, cost changes, and how we can help you. Keep reading to review these changes!
Part A increases include premium raises for those that aren’t eligible for premium-free Part A. In 2020, Part A costs up to $458 a month instead of the previous year being $437 monthly. Those that meet some of the work credits will pay $252 instead of last year’s $240 monthly premium. The Part A deductible increased from $1,364 to $1,408 in 2020.
Part B premiums went from $135.50 last year to $144.60 in 2020. Further, the deductible went up from $185 to $198 in 2020.
In 2020, there are no more first-dollar plans available to those Medicare-eligible after 2020. First-dollar coverage plans are Medicare Supplement plans that cover all deductibles, coinsurances, and copayments.
The three Medicare Supplement Plans considered first-dollar coverage plans are:
The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 eliminates all Medigap Plans that cover the Part B deductible.
The reason for the change is due to some members of Congress believing Medicare beneficiaries are over-using healthcare services.
With no out of pocket costs, playing it safe was priceless.
By making everyone meet the Part B deductible, legislators hope to prevent recipients from going to the doctor for every minor ailment.
Critics argue that the deductible may keep people from getting the care they need. When people don’t see a doctor, they can end up with serious conditions down the road.
Another important fact, MACRA is making both Plan G and Plan D Guaranteed Issue plans for “newly-eligible” beneficiaries not able to sign up for Plan C or Plan F.
Remember, if you’re eligible before 2020, you’re still eligible for a Guarantee issue with Plan C and Plan F.
Even though Plan F High Deductible is not a first-dollar coverage plan, it’s being discontinued since it’s a plan that falls under Plan F.
The good news is, there’s a new high-deductible plan coming in 2020, High Deductible Plan G. In 2020, any beneficiary can sign up for High-Deductible Plan G.
The Part B deductible in 2020 is $198. Also, the Part A deductible is $1,408 in 2020.
Due to the Bipartisan Budget Act, Medicare Advantage plans will be undergoing a few changes. Starting in 2020, Medicare Advantage plans will begin offering supplemental home health benefits.
Further, some Medicare Advantage plans will cover End-Stage Renal Disease patients. Right now, End-Stage Renal Disease is the only condition that prevents people from enrolling in Part C.
Also, in 2020, Medicare Advantage enrollment periods will include the Open Enrollment Period that was once the dis-enrollment period.
Each fall, Medicare announces Part A and Part B rate changes. We’ll make sure to include this information as soon as it’s released.
At MedicareFAQ, our mission is to help you find the best Medicare coverage at the best price. We strive to keep our clients informed on any changes regarding their Medicare benefits.
Let us research the top insurance companies in your area to find you the best rates on Medicare Supplement policies. Whether you’re inquiring for yourself or a loved one, our services are 100% free. Give us a call or fill out our rate comparison form to get started.
Your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period is a once in a lifetime window that allows you to enroll in any Medigap plan without answering health questions. This is the best time to enroll since a carrier cannot deny you coverage due to any pre-existing health conditions. However, you can still enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan at any time of the year.
Applying outside your open enrollment window can result in higher premiums, as well as restrict your coverage options. This window only lasts for six months for each new beneficiary, unless you delay enrollment into Part B due to having other creditable coverage.
Your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period is not the same as the annual fall enrollment window. With AEP, the dates to enroll are the same every year. With your individual Medigap Open Enrollment Period, the dates are unique to you.
Your individual Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period starts the first day of the month your Part B is in effect.
If your Part B coverage begins April 1st, then your individual Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period window will start then and continue for six months, ending September 30th.
For most, this period starts when they age into Medicare at 65 & enroll in Part B. For some; they choose to delay enrolling in Part B due to still working and having creditable coverage with their employer. When they do retire and enroll in Part B, they will initiate their Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period.
For those who planned and applied for Medicare early, you’ll be given your Medicare claim number before your birthday month.
If you have your Medicare claim number, we can submit your Medigap application before your Part B effective date. The carrier will process your application as if you’re already in your Medigap Open Enrollment Period, with no health questions.
Once you apply for Medicare, there’s no need to wait to enroll in a supplement plan until you turn 65. With rates constantly changing, we often help our clients lock in their Medigap plan months before their 65th birthday.
There are very few situations where a Medicare beneficiary will get a second Medigap Open Enrollment Period window.
One reason a beneficiary on Medicare due to disability would choose not to enroll during their first Medigap OEP is that they have minimal options because they’re under 65. Many states are not required to offer all supplement plans to those under 65.
Most states only offer Plan A to those under 65. If they wait to enroll in a Medigap plan when they turn 65 during their second Medigap OEP, they’ll be able to choose from all the programs available to them in their state.
Another reason a beneficiary on Medicare collecting SSDI would not enroll in a Medigap plan during their first Medicare Supplement OEP is that the premiums are too expensive. Unfortunately, most states have astronomically high Medigap premiums for those under 65. Once they age into Medicare and their second OEP begins, the rates quoted will be much more affordable.
When it comes to Medicare Supplement plans, you can join at any time of the year. If your open enrollment window has passed, you can always still apply. However, you’ll most likely have to go through medical underwriting and answer health questions during the application process.
Outside your one-time open enrollment window, a carrier can deny you coverage due to pre-existing conditions or health issues. The only way around this is if you’re granted Guaranteed Issue Rights do to one reason or another that would qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period.
Some states have unique open enrollment rules, like Connecticut and California. In California, they have a birthday rule that allows you to enroll days surrounding your birthday without answering health questions. In Connecticut, they have a year-round open enrollment window for all beneficiaries. So if you like in one of these states, you have a unique benefit that most beneficiaries don’t get!
Timing can affect how much you pay for coverage; how easy coverage is to obtain, and it can significantly determine the options available to you.
The Megiap OEP is the only time you’ll ever get that allows you to enroll in any Medigap letter plan. You’ll be able to avoid having to answer any health questions.
By law, the carrier must approve your application for coverage, regardless of any health issues.
After your individual Medigap Open Enrollment Period has passed, a carrier can choose to deny you coverage based on your current health status.
Many new beneficiaries may have pre-existing health problems that could end up preventing them from getting coverage.
If they enroll as soon as their first eligible, during the one-time individual open enrollment window, these health problems will not prevent them from getting coverage.
That’s why we strive to educate our clients on the importance of enrolling during this once in a lifetime window.
The Fall Annual Enrollment Period takes place every year from October 15th through December 7th. During this period, you can enroll, dis-enroll, or change Medicare Advantage as well as Part D prescription drug plans. The majority of new beneficiaries that enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan end up wanting to switch back to Part A & Part B and buy a Medicare Supplement plan. The biggest reason is due to having to stay within the plan’s network of providers and not being able to see their current primary physician.
Many new to Medicare are under the pretense they can enroll in a supplemental plan during the fall Annual Enrollment Period without having to go through medical underwriting questions.
This is one of the biggest misconceptions that causes the most problems for beneficiaries that didn’t have the right resources to educate them on all their enrollment periods. The above is why it’s so important to have a knowledgable agent by your side from the very beginning.
During AEP, you can switch to another Medicare Advantage plan or disenroll from one and enroll back in Part A & Part B. If you return to Original Medicare, you can then enroll in prescription drug plan coverage & Medigap.
If you do enroll in an Advantage plan at any point during the year, you’ll have an opportunity to make changes to it annually during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period.
When you miss your Medigap Open Enrollment Period and are denied coverage, there are alternative options. If you have a serious health condition that causes a Medigap carrier not to accept you, you should be able to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.
Advantage plans only have one health question, and most applicants can pass. However, you’ll have to wait until the fall enrollment period to sign up for one of these plans.
You’ll be required to stay within the plan’s network of doctors. However, if you’re willing to pay more for a PPO plan that gives you access to doctors outside their network, you may be able to keep the same doctor.
At MedicareFAQ, our agents truly care about you. They’ll be able to teach you on all the different enrollment periods to make sure you don’t miss out. If you’re already outside your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period, we’re still here to help you find a plan.
Our agents will be more than happy to answer all your questions and walk you through the health questions to see if you qualify. Our clients also get unlimited support from our Client Care Team.
If you have any issues with claims, appeals, Part D, or want to rate shop, they’re by your side. Contact us by calling the number above or use our rate comparison tool to see premiums near you now.
Medicare won’t cover costs associated with independent, retirement, or assisted living. Now, there are some plans that may provide some relief for those in need of help. Below we’ll discuss the services Medicare will cover and how you can pay for senior living.
First, Medicare won’t pay for Assisted Living costs. The median annual cost of assisted living care is about $48,000 a year. When saving for retirement, it’s vital to consider saving for needing assistance with daily activities.