Do I have the right plan?
No matter which plan you select when you turn 65, it is important to evaluate this plan once a year. For United Medicare Advisors clients, this often means comparison shopping.
Why would I comparison shop?
People come to us from across the country with a variety of situations. Sometimes people selected a plan that ended up not being enough coverage for their healthcare needs. Others come to us after their plan’s premium went way up due to rate increases. We also work with a lot of folks who may have not really known what they were getting into with their first plan. And that’s okay! We are here to help.
Comparison shopping is a simple process:
- Connect with an agent who is licensed to sell a variety of plans in your state
- Discuss your current coverage: what you like, what you dislike, and what you’d prefer
- Provide basic information to the agent (age, zip code, gender, etc) so they can look up rates
- Comparison shop! Once you have the rates is as simple as finding a great carrier and a great price
As you can see in this Medicare Supplement chart, each plan letter covers different portions of the gaps in Original Medicare. For example, Plan G does not cover the Medicare Part B deductible, but Plan F does. The most important thing to know about Medicare Supplement plans are that they are standardized by the federal government. No matter which insurance company sells a Plan G, the benefits are exactly the same.
The only difference from one company to the next is the monthly premium. This is the same for every plan letter no matter where you are in the country. Plan G with Company #1 is the same coverage as Plan G with Company #2.
Choosing a Medigap plan is a two-step process.
- Pick the plan letter that fits your health care needs
- Find the lowest-priced option for that plan letter
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What other coverage might I need?
Although Medicare combined with a Medicare Supplement plan is a very high level of coverage, it doesn’t cover everything! There are a few areas of our health that Medicare doesn’t pay attention to. These include (among others) basic dental, vision, and hearing services.
Dental, Vision, and Hearing
United Medicare Advisors researched a wide variety of dental insurance plans and were not very impressed by most options. The issue is that you don’t want to own a piece of insurance that isn’t worth the cost when you try to use it at your provider’s office. There are, however, a few plans offered by insurance carriers that we recommend.
Our team always recommends finding a dental insurance plan that also covers your vision and hearing needs. The best plans will cover you for basic services in all three areas as well as some of the more expensive surgeries and procedures.
Cancer & Critical Illness Insurance
Half of all men and one-third of all women will develop cancer during their lifetimes. About 77% of all cancers are diagnosed in those age 55 or older. An affordable Cancer & Critical Illness insurance policy can help lessen the financial burden of a tough diagnosis. Most plans include a lump sum cash benefit paid directly to you for use in any way you see fit.
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What’s coming next in Medicare 2018?
Though Medicare is in the news regularly, actual change doesn’t happen that often. In recent years, we’ve seen the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).
How does the Affordable Care Act affect Medicare?
The ACA mainly affects those under 65 who can access healthcare options through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Medicare and Medicare-related insurance plans are not available through the Marketplace. The ACA, does however have a goal of closing the Medicare Part D donut hole by the year 2020.
How did MACRA affect my Medicare Supplement options?
This legislation was quite dense and varying but does directly affect Medicare beneficiaries. On January 1, 2020, Medicare Supplement Plans F and C will close for new Medicare beneficiaries. Those enrolling in Medicare for the first time during this period will not be permitted to enroll in Medigap Plan F. If you have a Plan F or Plan C, you will still receive coverage for however long you choose to keep the plan. We are still researching how this change may affect premiums across all plans.
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What Else Do I Need To Know?
Now that you understand a few core Medicare concepts, check out our complete Medicare Resources archive with over 100 articles to keep you informed on the latest in Medicare news. Still have questions? Our licensed agents are here to help!