Over the years we have found there is a lot of confusion concerning Medicare Part B and COBRA. Many people think that as long as they have COBRA, they don’t need Medicare Part B. Unfortunately, the special rule for delaying Part B is based on current employment(either you or your spouse). COBRA is not considered current employment coverage. Most people are able to delay enrolling in Part B, as long as they are still working. Once the employment ends, however, the clock starts ticking. You will have 8 months to sign up for Part B without a penalty. If you wait for COBRA to end, or go past the 8 months, you can be subject to a penalty of 10% of your Part B premium for each year that you were not enrolled. And that penalty stays with you as long as you have Medicare. Even more important, if you miss that deadline, you would have to wait until the next General Enrollment Period(from January 1st until March 31st each year), and your Part B coverage wouldn’t start until July 1st. This could have devastating consequences if a serious illness were to strike during that time. Another important thing to remember is that your Medigap Open Enrollment Period begins when you are both 65 and enrolled in Part B. This is a one time opportunity to purchase a Medicare Supplement policy, regardless of your health conditions. Some people go back to work, or get on a spouse’s current employment coverage, after enrolling in Part B. At this time, you may be able to disenroll from Part B, and enroll at a later time(such as when that employment ends), without a penalty. This can sometimes be a good strategy, but it is important to remember that your Medigap Open Enrollment doesn’t re-start. With more people working longer, delaying Social Security, or Part B, it more important now than ever to have good advice on your Medicare choices and deadlines. Please call at 877-740-8683, for a personal review of your situation.
While we as an agency have been gravitating toward Plan G for our Medicare Supplement (or Medigap) customers, there is still a strong case to be made for the Plan F. For years the Plan F has been the most popular choice among seniors, for good reason. With Original Medicare and a Plan F Medicare Supplement, you have virtually no out-of-pocket costs for Medicare Services. There are no deductibles, no co-pays, and no co-insurance. It is a great feeling to know you can go to the doctor and walk out without paying a cent. You don’t even have to ask if the doctor accepts Assignment. As long as he accepts Medicare, you are good to go. There are also times that a Plan F Medigap policy is the best choice for a Guaranteed Issue situation. If you are the kind of person that really likes convenience, the Plan F may be the way to. To find out if you have the best price for your current Medicare Supplement, please give us a call at 877-740-8683, or visit www.emedigap411.com , for a no obligation comparison.
We published an article last month, Medigap Guaranteed Issue-Plan Termination, that had valuable information for anyone who was affected by the Universal Health Care plan terminations in FL, and several other states. At the time, the Universal Health Care HMO plans in TX and NV were not included in the plan termination. Since then those entities have terminated their contract with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services(CMS), by “mutual consent”. In addition, the Texas HMO has also been placed in receivership. The members that were enrolled in these plans lost their coverage on 5-1-2013, and were returned to Original Medicare. The good news for these members is that they will have a Special Enrollment Period until June 30th 2013. During this time, they will be able to choose a new Medicare Advantage plan that is available in their service area. More importantly, this will trigger a Guaranteed Issue opportunity for these members to purchase a Medicare Supplement, also known as a Medigap policy, without having to answer any health questions. A lot of these people have had health conditions that would have made them unable to purchase a Medigap policy in the past, so it is very important to know the options, and deadlines, so they don’t miss this opportunity. If you or someone you know has been affected by any of these plan terminations, Please call 877-740-8683, or visit www.emedigap411.com for more information.
Reminder: Anyone that was involved in the earlier plan termination on 4-1-2013, will have a deadline of May 31st 2013.
Many people who are under 65 and on Medicare Disability are unaware that they could be eligible for a Medicare Supplement, or Medigap, policy. That has meant that a lot of people on Medicare Disability have thought their only option was a Medicare Advantage Plan. While not all states have requirements that Insurers offer under 65 Medicare Supplements, if your state has these requirements, it can be a great option. The people we have found that benefit the most from having an under 65 Medigap policy are those that have higher out-patient costs. Even a Plan A Medigap policy(which is often the only choice under 65) will pay the 20% Part B co-insurance. This can be a life saver for people that have high Part B drug costs. It is also important to know that if your state does have under 65 requirements, you have many of the same Medigap protections, such as Open Enrollment within 6 months of Part B effective date, Guaranteed Issue if your plan terminates, etc. To find out if your state has under 65 requirements, and find the best price in your area, call 877-740-8683, or visit www.emedigap411.com
While the most popular Medigap policy remains the Plan F, there are a couple of plans that have become attractive options for many people. While the Plan G Medigap most closely resembles the Plan F, and is actually our favorite choice, many customers have been considering the Plan N. There is some cost sharing associated with the Plan N, such as $20 co-pay for doctors, and $50 co-pay for Emergency Room. Those are costs that are similar to what most people are used to paying with their under 65 Health Insurance, so they really aren’t that bad. The biggest caution we give our customers that want to switch to a Plan N is the Part B Excess. This simply means that with a Plan N, if your provider doesn’t accept Medicare Assignment, you could be responsible for and additional 15% on Part B services. If your providers do accept Medicare Assignment, however, the Plan N can be an attractive option. We have found that the Plan N is a great fit for our customers who have been on a Medicare Advantage plan, but did not like the network restrictions and out-of-pocket costs. If you would like to compare Medigap options, and see if Plan N is right for you, just give us a call at 877-740-8683, or visit www.emedigap411.com .