Tag Archives: Medicare

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.

Plan F Plan G

Medicare Supplement Plan F or Plan G

“That is the real question, which Medicare Supplement Plan do I go with?” Bob said. “Plan F or Plan G? They both look the same.” “Good question.” I told him. Then I began to explain as I do to all the folks I talk to who ask this same question. It’s funny how in the end, they always seem to agree and make the same decision because it just makes $ense.

Here is the deal. Plan F has been the most popular plan in the Medicare Supplement Market for years. Mainly because it is simple to understand; most people have almost no out of pocket costs other than what they pay each month for the plan. If Medicare pays, then the Medicare Supplement pays. Some people even say the “F” stands for “Full coverage”. However, “Full coverage” as we all know, comes at a price, and sometimes it isn’t the best “bang for your buck”.

Plan F and Plan G are identical, the ONLY difference is, on Plan G you have to pay for the Medicare Part B deductible. Therefore, Plan G is becoming more and more popular, mainly because of the cost. If you look at the graph below, the Part B deductible has not changed in the past 3 years.

PART B DEDUCTIBLE HISTORY

In 2010 Part B deductible was $155
In 2011 Part B deductible was $162
In 2012 Part B deductible was $140
In 2013 Part B deductible was $147
In 2014 Part B deductible was $147
In 2015 Part B deductible was $147

Even though the Part B deductible hasn’t changed much in the past 5 years (in fact it’s lower than it was in 2011), Plan F prices have steadily been increasing every year. Basically, for 4 years people with Plan F have been paying more for a benefit that hasn’t changed.

When you look at the actual numbers, the Medicare Part B deductible breaks down to around $12 per month ($147 / 12 months). So if a Plan F costs $12 more than a Plan G per month for you, then you are paying too much!!! Make $ense??

In some areas, we see a Plan F for a customer and a Plan G be as much as $40 difference! So tell me, if Progressive or Geico told you that you could save $480 per year in premium and only add $147 in your deductible, would you be willing to make that change? Of course you would, because it makes $ense.

So after quoting Bob Plan F @ $187.39 per month and Plan G @ $157.35 per month … I said to Bob … “I always give folks the choice by showing them the price difference and let them make the decision … which plan do YOU think you should go with?” Without hesitation Bob blurted “Well I would be dumb to not go with Plan G!” Bob is a smart man. Over 90% of our customers go with Plan G, however if you are willing to give an insurance company $200-$400 in trade for $147, then we won’t mind helping you do that.

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.

 

Medigap Continues to Grow

Recent studies shoe that Medicare Supplement, or Medigap, policies continue to grow in popularity. With over 10.5 million people enrolled in Medigap as of 12-31-2013, that represents a 3.8% growth over the previous year. People are also overwhelmingly satisfied with their Medigap coverage. 94% are satisfied with their coverage, 95% consider it a good value, and more than 9 out of 10 would recommend Medigap to their friends and family. You just don’t see that level of satisfaction with under 65 Health InsurancePlan F continues to be the most popular choice, with 52% of plans purchased. Plan G, our pick for best value, and Plan N are growing in market share. One of the only complaints a person can have with Medigap is the price. While rates do go up, you are always able to change to a new Medigap policy at any time. Medigap policies are not subject to the lock in period that Medicare Advantage has. If you are turning 65, or new to Medicare, give us a call at 877-740-8683, and we will help you find the best rate. If you have a current plan, and would like to make sure you have the lowest price, you can also call, or visit www.emedigap411.com , for a free personalized price comparison.