Tag Archives: 2016

MedicareChanges2016

2016 Changes to Medicare

The 2016 Changes to Medicare were found throughout the parts of Medicare.  Since most people do not pay a Part A premium, that change is kind of irrelevant.  There were some changes to what you pay under Part A deductible and coinsurance but none as noteworthy as the Part B changes.  The Part B deductible and Part B premium both changed in 2016.  View the chart below to see the exact differences.

2016-changes-to-medicare

Please note … The standard Part B premium amount if you enroll after 2016 is $121.80 (or higher depending on your income).  However, most people who get Social Security benefits will continue to pay the same Part B premium amount as they paid in 2015. This is because there wasn’t a cost-of-living increase for 2016 Social Security benefits.

You’ll pay a different Part B premium amount if:

You enroll in Part B for the first time in 2016.
You don’t get Social Security benefits.
You’re directly billed for your Part B premiums.
You have Medicare and Medicaid, and Medicaid pays your premiums. (Your state will pay the standard premium amount of $121.80.)
Your modified adjusted gross income as reported on your IRS tax return from 2 years ago is above a certain amount.

How will the 2016 Changes to Medicare effect me?

The 2016 changes to Medicare may effect each person differently.  If you only have Original Medicare, then your overall out-of-pocket costs will be greater.  If you have a Plan F, you may see your actual supplement premium increased.  If you have a Plan C, G, or any other plan that didn’t pay the Part B deductible …  your premium may not have increased as much, but you will notice when you go to the doctor you will pay a little more the first of the year over what you paid last year.   If you have Part C, or a Medicare Advantage Plan, then you may see changes when the plan renews for next year.  Regardless of the specifics, the 2016 changes to Medicare will have some effect on everyone who is on Medicare currently or who will be enrolling.

Need more information?

If you would like to shop for Medicare Supplemental Plans or need help with Medicare give us a call, we will be happy to help 877-740-8683 or locally 936-756-6199.

medicare open enrollment

2016 Medicare Open Enrollment

Most people don’t realize that the 2016 Medicare Open Enrollment Dates only apply to people who are wanting to make changes to their Medicare Advantage (Part C of Medicare) and prescription drug plan (Part D of Medicare). Each year, open enrollment runs from October 15 to December 7. Therefore in 2016 it will begin on October 15, 2015. That is the time for you to shop around for a new Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C of Medicare) or a new Prescription Drug plan (Part D of Medicare).

So first of, to be clear, as far as enrolling in Medicare, you can do that as soon as you are eligible … no matter what month it is. Most people become eligible when they turn 65, and begin enrolling in Part B up to 3 months before their 65th birthday month.

It is only during open enrollment that you can switch from original Medicare to Medicare Advantage (Part C of Medicare), or vice versa. Also, if you find that another Medicare Advantage plan (Part C of Medicare) will fit your needs, or has a broader network, you can switch from one Medicare Advantage plan (Part C of Medicare) to another. Same with a prescription drug plan (Medicare Part D), you can switch from one plan to another during open enrollment or drop your prescription drug plan (Medicare Part D) coverage altogether. However, you may incur penalties later on if you go without a prescription drug plan (Part D of Medicare) – we would not advise this. Especially since you can get prescription drug plans (Part D of Medicare) for generally under $20 a month.

Now for people who are on a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C of Medicare), who miss the open enrollment but who just want to go back to original Medicare, there is also a Medicare Advantage disenrollment period (MADP) that runs from January 1 to February 14 each year. At that time, you could opt to switch back to original Medicare and then sign up for a prescription only plan (Medicare Part D). Most people will do this if they are going from a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C of Medicare) to a Medicare Supplement Plan.

For 2015 coverage, open enrollment is over for Medicare. Medicare Advantage (Part C of Medicare) and prescription drug plans (Medicare Part D) ended on December 7, 2014, and the Medicare Advantage disenrollment period ended on February 14, 2015. Remember, you can enroll year-round in Medicare if you are newly-eligible.

For more information or to shop plans, visit us at www.emedigap411.com  call 877-740-8683 or email.

BCBS PPO ACA

BCBS of TX PPO Members

Urgent ALL BCBS of TX PPO Members must read the following notification just released by BCBS of Texas.  This Notice affects all members who have an ACA (Affordable Care Act) PPO plan with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas.

As of December 31, 2015, BCBS of TX will no longer be offering their PPO insurance plans for the individual under 65 block of business going forward.  This means if you currently have one of the new ACA plans purchased after Jan 1, 2014, and it is a PPO, it will no longer be offered for 2016.   This means you must change plans for 2016!

According to BCBSTX, they have filed a new product that should give members a flexible choice.  Bottom line, their PPO network for new ACA plans is going away.  The 2016 plans are currently not available, but as soon as they are released, we will be contacting you.  You can count on us to make sure you see all options available to you, from All Insurers and that we will make this transition as smooth as possible for you.

According to BCBSTX, the reason for this is because for the past 2 years, they have been the only insurer offering individual PPO plans in all TX markets and due to anti-selection, they find the PPO product is unsustainable at an affordable price.  The will continue to offer other plan options in all 254 counties, on and off the Marketplace.

There are about 367,000 members who will have their PPO plan discontinued in 2016.  If this is you, click here.

There are about 148,000 members who are in a Grandfathered PPO plan who WILL NOT have their plan discontinued and will be able to continue to use the Blue Choice PPO network.

This does not affect Employer Group customers or Medicare members.

The Blue Advantage HMO Network will remain and BCBSTX is working to expand the number of providers in that Network.

According to BCBSTX, they paid out $400 million more in claims than it collected in premiums in 2014. Losses that high are unsustainable, and they must adjust offerings, as most of the other insurers have done also, in order to be sustainable in the new market reality.

As a Broker, who represents all the major Health Insurers, we are seeing many changes taking place in this entire market, which can have major effects on many consumers!  According to different Insurance News publications, it appears that Aetna is in the process of acquiring Humana and Anthem in the process of acquiring Cigna.  Acquisitions like this, mean less Insurers in the market, less competition, thereby creating less choices for our customers.  We realize this is not good for anyone, but we will help you find the best products that are available in the market.

Remember…A Broker works for YOU….not the Insurance Company!  It is ultimately our ONLY goal to make sure you have the plan that fits your needs best.  There are more things to take into consideration when choosing a plan, other than just the cost.  Many people found this out this year!

You will never pay more for your premium by working with a Broker, than you do by going direct with the Insurance company or by going direct to the Marketplace.

To shop for 2016 plans now, click here.

 

Important Deadlines

2016 Health Insurance Open Enrollment

Here are some important dates for the 2016 health insurance open enrollment dates:

  • November 1, 2015: Open Enrollment begins — This is the 1st day you can enroll in a 2016 health insurance plan
  • January 1, 2016: This is when the coverage will start if you enroll by December 15th.
  • January 31, 2016: Last day to enroll for 2016 coverage.

January 31, 2016 – FINAL DAY TO ENROLL

If you don’t enroll in a health insurance plan for 2016 by January 31, 2016, you CAN’T enroll in a plan for 2016 unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

Penalty for not having coverage in 2016

If you don’t get coverage, or choose to go without coverage in 2016, you may have to pay a fee. The fee is higher than it was in previous years. The fee for not having health coverage in 2016 ….

Shop for a 2016 health insurance plan now

Need a plan now, shop for a 2015 plan

No health insurance fee

2016 Penalty fee for not having health insurance

Each year you go without coverage, the fees get higher.  The 2016 penalty fee for no health insurance is more than 2015 and 2014 was.  If you don’t have coverage in 2016, you’ll pay the higher of these two amounts:

  • 2.5% of your yearly household income

OR

  • $695 per person ($347.50 per child under 18)
  • In future years, the fee is adjusted for inflation.

How you pay the fee

You’ll pay the fee on the federal income tax return you file for the year you don’t have coverage. Most people will file their 2015 returns in early 2016.

The fees for 2014 and 2015