Medicare Supplemental Insurance
Many people confuse the term “Medicare Supplement Plans” with “Medigap Plans”. It should be noted that Medicare supplement plans fill in some gaps in coverage in original Medicare which is known as “Medigap”.
There are 10 standardized Medigap plans available for senior citizens, each marked with the letters A to N. And these plans are only available through private insurance companies, and it is not necessary for the insurance companies to sell all the 10 Medicare supplement plans. Every insurance company selling Medicare Supplement policy have to offer at least Plan A and if they offer any other policy than they must also offer either Plan C or Plan F.
Please note that Medicare Supplement plans can be used only to pay Original Medicare expenses. These plans can be used to cover expenses that you may have in Part C Medicare. If you enroll in Medicare Advantage plan, you can keep your Medigap plan as long as you keep paying the monthly fee, but you will not be allowed to enjoy Medigap plans on the cost of Medicare advantage plans. There are few things that you need to keep in mind before going for Medigap plans.
First and foremost, the beneficiaries must be enrolled in Medicare Plan A and Plan B. Secondly, if the beneficiary has a Medicare advantage plan than they can apply for Medicare policy and you will have to leave Medicare Advantage plan before you can enroll in Medigap. These Medigap policies are only able to cover one person. If anyone from your family want to avail then they will have to enroll themselves.
Monthly premiums will have to be paid to private insurance companies in addition to monthly Plan B premium. You are not bound by any insurance company, you can select any insurance company you like that is licensed in your state. Each standardized Medigap policy is guaranteed renewable, even when suffering from health problems. This means that the company cannot cancel Medicare Supplement insurance contracts as long as you pay the premiums. Medicare supplement plans allow you to use any provider that can accept Medicare. Among all the states of America, Arizona is considered as one of the best places to live after retirement. Arizona provides the best Medicare and Medigap help to senior citizens.
There are two specific Medigap plans (Plan k and Plan L) which are capable of covering out of pocket limits, because once your basic health care costs reaches the limit, your Medigap plan will cover 100% of all the expenses for the rest of your year. It is worth mentioning that original Medicare don’t have the ability to include a yearly out of pocket limit. Remember, Medicare supplement plan is meant to work side by side with your original Medicare coverage. You only need to remain enrolled in original Medicare to take the benefits of Medigap.
Although private insurers are required to offer the same benefits for each Medicare plan, these companies can change the costs of premiums they charge for this coverage. So if you are looking for Medigap coverage, you must contact different insurance companies to find a Medicare Supplement plan that is appropriate for your medical and financial needs. Remember that insurance companies use different methods to price their Medigap plans. Pricing method that company uses may affect the amount of premium you pay when you first enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan, as well as your long-term costs.
Medigap can be used only by people enrolled in traditional Medicare only. It is not a Government-run program but you can buy private insurance to cover some or most of your expenses in traditional Medicare. Medicare advantage plans consist of variety of private health plans for every type of needs. HMOs and PPOs are the most commonly used among the beneficiaries. Most of the plans include drug prescription coverage at no extra cost. Some plans are capable of covering routine hearing and vision services but not all. By law, all plans have annual limits for out-of-pocket costs.
Another difference from the traditional program is that most plans require you to go to the doctors and hospitals within their network and if you want to go out of the network, you will have to pay extra.
If you enroll in Medicare Advantage health plan, you can’t use a Medigap policy to cover your expenses, and it is illegal to sell insurance Medigap policy if you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. If you want to stay in traditional Medicare, you will need a separate Part D plan to get prescription drug coverage and pay an extra premium for it. A Medigap does not cover drugs outputs of- pocket.
Some states even offer Medigap plans for beneficiaries under 65 years of age who are eligible for Medicare because of disability or under certain conditions. Federal law doesn’t allow states to sell Medicare Supplement insurance for under 65 years, but depending on where you live, some states offer Medigap coverage for beneficiaries under 65 years of age. Every state can have its own eligibility criteria and terms. If you are a Medicare beneficiary under 65 years of age and interested in purchasing a Medicare Supplement insurance, contact your state insurance department to find out if you qualify for Medigap coverage in your state or not.
- July 30, 2016
- azmedicare, centers for medicare and medicaid services, health insurance, Medicare Advantage Plans, Medicare coverage, Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, Medicare Part D plans, medicare supplement plans, Medicare Supplemental Insurance, medicare supplements in 2015, medicare supplements in phoenix az, prescription drug plans, private insurance plan
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Many of us spend a lot of time trying to understanding the difference between Medicare and Medigap plans. Today, you will clearly get to know the difference between these two. This article will also help you to wisely select your plan.
Basically, Medicare supplement plans are also known as Medigap plans or policies and they can cover some of the costs that original Medicare coverage doesn’t include. Originally, the government provides Part A and Part B of Medicare coverage to all the eligible individuals. However, this Medicare coverage might not fulfill your demands at later stage so you will need to decide at some point whether the traditional coverage is enough for you which is provided by the government or you need some other Medicare supplement plans.
Medicare and Medigap plans are federal healthcare programs which is designed to fulfill the needs and to help senior citizens during their golden years. According to the law, any senior citizen who is 65+ and currently enrolled in Medicare can apply for a Medigap plan. There are about 10 Medigap plans available to choose from. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), all the Medigap plans have to offer the same coverage plans, regardless of the company which is selling it or where they are located. It means that Plan A and Plan B is exactly the same in all 50 states of America.
In recent years, private Medicare plans have become more popular than the traditional plans. It has been observed that more than 10 million senior citizens has enrolled in the Medicare advantage plans. These plans actually help to combine the physician and hospital services into one package. Before selecting the perfect plan for yourself or your loved one, you need to keep in mind few things.
First of all, if there are no Medicare advantage or supplement plans are available in your region than you will be in traditional Medicare, which is administered by federal government. You can select any doctor who accepts Medicare in the traditional Medicare and you will have to pay deductibles of the cost of care. If you had a Medigap policy, those expenses would have been covered by your Medigap plan. So, a Medigap plan covers a vast variety of treatments which Medicare wouldn’t cover. There are multiple types of Medicare supplement plans.
Most plans such as health maintenance organizations and preferred provider organizations, manage to control costs. Other like HMOs and PPO, which is based on a network of doctors, so you want to make sure that your doctor and the hospital of your choice are involved in the network. You can also ask about the policy for referrals, In case of a PPO, you may want to know how much you have to pay to see doctors who are not on the network. Private plans fee-for-service provides more choice because they are not allowed to have a network of doctors and hospitals.
Sometimes, Medicare supplement plans have extra benefits like eye exams, dental care and hearing coverage. For many people, this coverage doesn’t seem to be enough, and this is where private insurance, such as Medicare Supplement plans come in. These plans may offer coverage of health services not covered for Part A and Part B. To participate in a Medicare Supplement plan a beneficiary must be enrolled in Part A and Part B, live in the state where it is offered, and generally be over 65 years. But you must make sure you understand each and every point of the Medicare advantage plan you will be selecting.
One benefit of Medigap plans is that Medigap policies are renewable, as long as you pay your monthly fees and your insurance company doesn’t go bankrupt, you cannot be dropped from your plan. Medicare has a small network of doctors, but Medigap provides access to an extensive network of doctors. In short, Medicare is designed for those on a tight budget and if your pocket allows you then you have to go Medigap.
According to the latest research, Medigap plans are usually more expensive than Medicare Advantage plans. Medigap offers a variety of supplemental insurance to Medicare, while Medicare coverage and Medicare Advantage are almost identical. Furthermore, you also need to keep in mind that if you travel a lot or migrate yearly as per job requirements or you live in an area where there are lack of medical facilities, then you must go for a Medigap policy. No doubt, there are other ways to supplement your Medicare coverage but Medigap offers the best flexibility.
With Medigap, you are free to receive care from any hospital and any doctor which accepts Medicare. If you have a need for vision or dental benefits, then you will also have to buy Medicare supplement plans for that which will be covered by your Medigap policies. Now that Medicare Part D is also here, so all Medigap plans which used to offer prescription drugs are being phased out.
Last but not the least, if you have signed up for a Medigap plan but you later realized that it wasn’t right for you, there’s no need to worry because as long as you make that discovery within a month of coverage, you can cancel the coverage for a full refund.
For Arizona residents who are confused about which plan to choose, visit www.azmedicare.info for all the details and help on Arizona Medicare Supplement plans.
- July 30, 2016
- Arizona Medicare Advantage plans, azmedicare, health insurance, medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans, Medicare Part A, Medicare Supplemental Insurance, medicare supplements in 2015, medicare supplements in phoenix az, prescription drug plans
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One of the benefits of our medicine system is there are tools the elderly can use to take better care of themselves. The main thing which confuses seniors is the difference between Medigap and Medicare and which plan is the best for them.
It is extremely important to realize the fact that Medicare is not sufficient to cover all your medical expenses. This is the reason why Medicare supplements are created to fill the gaps in between the original Medicare coverage. These Medicare supplements are also known as Medigap insurance. Every state can differ in terms of Medigap policies, the Medigap plans in Arizona are regulated by the State of Arizona and the federal government.
There are basically twelve (12) standardized Medicare Supplement plans naming from (A to L) that is covering the entire United States. These 12 Medicare supplements plans have their own set of basic and extra benefits. All insurance companies are obliged to sell Plan A and B as a rule of law. One thing which is common among the Medigap plans is that you cannot be charged differently from others in a particular state for a Medigap insurance plan. For example, if you pay $200 amount for Plan D in Miami, everyone will be paying the exact same amount everywhere in United States. Your Medicare supplements can only cover your expenses, you will have to buy separate policy even for your spouse.
One thing should be kept in mind is you don’t need to buy Medigap insurance policy if you are covered under a group of health insurance plan. And it is not necessary that all 12 plans may be available in all the areas.
Differences between Medigap and Medicare
Many people confuse themselves with the Medicare and Medigap advantages. Basically, Medigap refers to a bunch of supplemental insurance plans that works with the combination of regular medical benefits. Many medical options such as hospital accommodation or international transport are usually not covered in Medicare plans however they are covered in Medigap plans.
Expensive payments are also often covered in Medigap that are charged to Medicare patients without Medigap. Different insurance companies which sell Medigap plans give the same benefits all over the country. Insurance companies can be different but the policies, terms and conditions and the benefits will be same all across the United States. Another thing to keep in mind is that Medicare advantage plans replaces the original Medicare because these Medicare plans are run by private companies and must be able to provide the same coverage as Medicare A and Medicare B.
Some Medicare advantage plans also offer dental, vision, ENT or prescription coverage. Medicare plans are usually much cheaper than Medigap plans, if you are short on funds or you have planned to settle at one place, than Medicare is the best choice for you.
According to the latest research, Medigap plans are typically more expensive than the Medicare advantage plans. Medigap offers a variety of additional coverage to Medicare whereas the coverage of Medicare and Medicare advantage is almost same. Medicare offers a smaller network of doctors but Medigap allows the access to a larger network of doctors. In short, Medicare is recommended for those who are on a tight budget and if your pocket allows you than you must go for Medigap.
Medigap and Medicare plans have same prices almost across whole of the United States and these prices are set using the below mentioned three methods:
Community-Rated method: This method charges everyone the same premium regardless of their age or sex.
Age-Rated method: This method sets the price based on your age when you purchase the plan.
Attained-Age-Rated method: This method will increase the cost each year as you age.
Before buying any plan for yourself, you should understand the levels of coverage from (A-L). Plan F covers everything that Medicare fails to cover, so you do not have to pay any extra costs for doctor/hospital. Lower levels of coverage involve a corresponding lower premiums but doesn’t fill like the Plan F. Another thing to remember is that only you can determine which is the best plan for you as there several type of “pay now or pay later” plans. For example, Pay Now Medigap plans are the most expensive each month. however they will save you a great portion of money if you need extensive medical treatment or service. If you think that your budget can afford a Medigap plan, than they are the best way to protect your health. Pay Later Medicare will always seem to be less expensive in short run because of their lower monthly premiums. Extra services including hospital accommodation, transport or other prescriptions are much more expensive with Medicare plans than with the Medigap plans.
If you are interested in any of the Medicare or Medigap plans, visit AZ Medicare, the best Medicare insurance for Arizona residents. For senior citizens, Medicare only covers 80% after your deductibles have been paid. Medicare plans usually don’t include Plan D which is the drug plan, but it may be included in your Medigap plans.
Medicare advantage plans further include several types of plans, some of which are:
Health maintenance Organization (HMO) plan: Your choice is restricted for hospitals and doctors in this plan, except for emergencies.
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan: You can choose doctors or hospitals outside the scope but it will cost you more in addition to the medical care within PPO.
Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) plan: You are free to select your hospital or doctor in any way you want. The plan will determine the sharing of expenses.
- July 30, 2016
- AARP, az medicare, azmedicare, centers for medicare and medicaid services, gap, Kaiser Family Foundation, Medicare Advantage Plans, Medicare Part C, Medicare Part D plans, Medicare Supplemental Insurance, medicare supplements in 2015, medicare supplements in phoenix az
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There is no doubt that everyone needs medical attention at some point in their life. The younger generation has the ability to stay strong and fight small medical issues. Older people don’t have the stamina and persistence and power to fight back. They need proper medical attention and if they don’t insure themselves, then, they may be spending plenty of money on medical bills.
Federal government has already introduced Medicare Plan A and Plan B long time ago, now for people older than 65 there are variety of supplement plans which add to traditional Medicare. Basically Medigap or Medicare supplement insurance plans covers the gap between the traditional Medicare and your medical costs. These Medicare supplement plans are sold by private companies separately. These plans are perfect for senior citizens who have expenses that will not be covered under traditional Medicare Plan A and Plan B. If the original Medicare does not cover your medical needs, you may want to look to supplement that coverage with a Medigap or Medicare Advantage plan. Both of these plans can be further supplemented with Part D drug coverage.
Different insurance companies are allowed to sell the same Medigap plan for different amounts. Therefore, you will have to look around a little to get the best offer. If you are looking for a Medigap than you must already have Medicare Plan A and Plan B. It should be kept in mind that drug coverage is not a part of Medigap insurance plan. You will have to get the Medicare Part D separate to cover you drug prescriptions. Regarding Medicare, you must know that only Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) count as minimum essential coverage. If you have the minimum essential coverage you will not owe a fee for not having health insurance. Medigap itself is nothing, but it provides a lot of benefits when combined with original Medicare Part A and Part B.
In Arizona, there is a wide range of senior health insurance plans readily available. There are many options available which include health insurance plans for people who have certain health conditions, health insurance plans for people who like to travel in the US and abroad, health insurance plans for those who want to seek the best treatment from doctors in the United States accepts Medicare and health insurance plans for people with low incomes.
Arizona is the only state where majority of the people like to retire and it has the best senior citizen health insurance, Medicare, life insurance and retirement planning options. Not many people know that if you are eligible for Social Security retirement benefits, you will be automatically eligible for Part A of the Medicare as soon as you turn 65 years of age. If you receive a pension of social security benefits, you are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part B at the time you became entitled to Medicare Part A. All the Medicare Advantage plans are approved by Medicare but they are all offered through private insurance companies within the state. Sometimes these plans can be more beneficial, but might cost you a little more than the original Medicare plan.
These plans vary widely in costs and benefits from state to state, so go through your options carefully before you plan to choose one.Benefits of Medicare Plan A include hospital stays, skilled nursing and home health care. Medicare advantage plans also cover all Medicare Part B benefits, including doctor visits, outpatient care and preventive services. Many of them are also benefits as a routine hearing and vision care, fitness program, wellness service or helpline.If you plan to enroll Medicare advantage prescription drug plan than you will also get Part A and Part B coverage along with this combine in one plan. This plan is a good choice for many of the prescribers. In order to get fully insured, you may want to supplement your Medicare coverage to Medicare supplemental insurance i.e. Medigap, which generally pays the deductibles and extra payments which are not covered by Medicare Part A or B.
Medicare allows a small network of doctors but Medigap provides access to a broader network of doctors. In short, Medicare is recommended for those on a tight budget and if your pocket allows you to go for Medigap.Medigap policies are sold by private insurance companies to fill gaps in original Medicare plan. Most states have already adopted legislation restricting the sale of Medigap insurance for no more than a standard policy. The main difference between Medicare advantage and Medigap is that Medigap is used to supplement the original Medicare. These advantage plans are used to get more Medicare benefits, while a Medigap policy is only used to supplement the cost of your original Medicare benefits. Choosing the right Medigap plan depends on your medical needs and costs. If the original Medicare does not cover the actual cost of medical expenses and you have plenty of options. In most countries these options indicated by the letters A through N.
Each standardized Medigap policy must offer the same basic benefits, regardless of the insurance company selling. Cost is usually the only difference between Medigap policies with the same letter sold by different insurance companies. According to the latest research, Medigap plans are typically more expensive than Medicare Advantage plans. Medigap offers a number of additional coverage for Medicare while Medicare and Medicare Advantage are almost the same. Medicare allows a small network of doctors but Medigap provides access to a broader network of doctors. In short, Medicare is recommended for those on a tight budget and if your budget allows you to go for Medigap.
According to the latest statistics, a huge amount amount of retired people find Arizona the best place to live because of the warm climate and medical facilities. Millions of residents are depending upon the Medicare for health and life insurances. Since basic Medicare plan doesn’t cover everything, people may want Medigap or Medicare advantage plans.
Arizona is only state which has the most amount of Medicare recipients. Phoenix, Tucson and Mesa are the largest cities of Arizona and there are about 15% Arizonians who are 65 years and up receiving Medicare and about 14% Arizonians receiving Medicare. Almost all seniors are dependent on Medicare benefits for health insurance. Among all the senior citizens, approximately 30% will choose the Arizona Medicare Advantage plans. The other 25% will choose Medigap plan instead. The remainder may have a different public or private coverage, but most do not just rely on Part A and Part B Medicare, because they want to ensure that health care costs remain affordable.
Anyone choosing Medicare insurance or any other type of health insurance needs to strike a balance between premiums and benefits. Medicare Advantage plans for Arizona are attractive because many still have a very low or even $ 0 premium surcharge. Medicare Advantage plans also include Part D drug coverage at no additional cost.
On the other hand, these cheaper plans have many co-pays and deductibles. Also many recipients operate on a tight budget during retirement. Everyone has their own plans for retirement, for some people it makes more sense to pay a hefty amount for the Medigap insurances that covers all the health expenses that are not originally covered in Medicare.
Interestingly, Medicare supplement insurance plans C and F are usually the most expensive but they are also the most popular among the people who purchase supplements.
As a beneficiary, you are free to enroll in any Medicare Advantage plans you like. All the plans offer health benefits under Part A and Part B both. Many Medicare Advantage plans also cover prescription drug coverage (Part D). Additional benefits can also be utilized by paying an extra cost on your Medicare advantage plan. You may qualify for these plans if you are entitled to Medicare Part A and enrolled in Medicare Part B.
There are many private companies who offer Medigap plans for senior citizens. People can easily sign up for one of several Medicare advantage plans if they want to receive the most of their medical insurance coverage company. Keep in mind that if you are going for Medicare advantage plan, you must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and B.
Secondly, you must be living in the area where they have Medicare network providing advantage plans. Most Medicare Advantage plans have prescription drug coverage built into the plan. This is not always the case, because it may be what is called stand-alone Part D plan.
Many people join the Medicare advantage plan as soon they turn 65. This process is called open enrollment period when you have only six months to enroll in the plan. After registration, if you want to change your plan, you’ll have to wait until the annual election period, which occurs every year from October 15 to December 7th. During this time, you can switch plans or return to original Medicare options, for this year you will not be able to move out of your plan, or join a new Medicare Advantage plans for 2016 outside of that enrollment period.
Type of Medicare Advantage Plans:
Below listed are some of the main advantage plans available across the United States:
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO):
Health Maintenance Organization plan only allows you to select certain doctors and hospitals within the network. Unless it’s an emergency, only then can you go to those approved locations. If you plan to visit someone outside your network, it will not be covered under your plan and it will be charged separately.
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO):
Preferred Provider Organization plan allows you to save your money by selecting the specified doctor and healthcare provider or hospital. You will be required to pay a bit more if you wish to go to those that are not on the list of approved providers.
Private Fee for Service (PPFS):
Private Fee for Service a plan which does not require you to go to an approved list of providers. Instead, you will have the choice to select any provider you want. The only drawback is that there are very few people who accepts the PPFS plan.
Special Needs Plans (SNPs):
Special Needs Plans are basically designed for the people who have some specific and severe disabilities and diseases. The list of accepted providers is made on the needs of the subscriber and who will be able to fulfill their needs.
Every Medicare advantage plan is created to operate on a network. It means that all health care providers will be located within a specific area. You are required to live in the local area if you want to get covered by a certain plan. If you move to a new area, you may change your provider or insurance plan, depending on where you moved and what type of network is used.
- July 27, 2016
- AARP, health care, health insurance, Kaiser Family Foundation, Medicare Advantage Plans, Medicare Supplemental Insurance, medicare supplements in 2015, medicare supplements in phoenix az, Part D plans, PDP, prescription drug plans, prescription drugs
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As you get older, health insurance becomes an undeniable necessity, regardless of current health status. Medicare, the national health coverage system managed by the US federal government primarily addresses the insurance needs of senior citizens and the disabled. Its coverage however is limited, hence many Medicare beneficiaries opt for some form of additional health insurance. If you are looking for a plan that addresses your health insurance needs more comprehensively, consider the different Medicare supplements in Phoenix AZ.
What is Medicare?
Medicare is a nationwide health coverage program available to US citizens 65 and older, people receiving disability insurance and people suffering from specific conditions (end-stage kidney disease and Lou Gehrig’s disease).
Medicare is a four-part program. Parts A and B are referred to as Original Medicare. Part A covers costs of inpatient care in hospitals, skilled nursing or rehab facilities, whereas Part B covers outpatient and preventive care, doctor visits, ambulance services etc.
Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, is an alternative to Original Medicare. To join, you must have Medicare A and B. Medicare Part D is available as a standalone plan and covers prescription drug costs. Parts C and D are optional and are offered by private companies.
What is not covered by Original Medicare?
Original Medicare doesn’t cover cosmetic surgery, health care outside the US, hearing aids, long-term care, most types of eye and dental care, non-emergency transportation and prescription drugs (with the exception of immunosuppressants and oral anticancer drugs). Also, policyholders need to pay the deductibles, copays and coinsurance required by Medicare.
To cover medical expenses not included in Medicare, a majority of Medicare users have some kind of supplemental health insurance, including employer or military-based coverage, Medicaid (government insurance for low-income families) or some of the different private options – Supplemental Insurance for Original Medicare (known as Medigap) and Medicare Advantage.
Choosing Medicare supplements in Phoenix AZ
When it comes to supplemental health coverage, people tend to confuse Medigap and Medicare Advantage, despite their significant differences. Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) replaces your Original Medicare. It is supplied by private insurance companies, which provide the full range of Part A and B benefits, under contract with Medicare.
To join Medicare Advantage, you must have Medicare Part A and be eligible for Medicare Part B. Medicare Advantage comprises several plans with different benefits. Most of them cover prescription drug expenses.
How does Medigap work?
Unlike Medicare Advantage, Medigap complements Original Medicare. As the name suggests, Medigap is designed to fill in the coverage gaps in Original Medicare. This includes copays, coinsurance, deductibles, health care abroad and hospice expenses (palliative care for the seriously ill).
To buy Medigap, you must have Medicare Parts A and B. You can’t buy Medigap if you already have Medicare Advantage, but you can drop the latter and apply for a Medigap plan before your Medicare Advantage coverage expires. Medigap plans don’t cover long-term care, eye or dental care, hearing aids, eyeglasses, or private nursing care.
When to buy a plan
The best time to buy a plan is during the open enrollment period. This term describes a six-month period that starts the first day of the month you turn 65, during which insurance companies are obligated to sell you any of the 10 Medigap plans, irrespective of your current health status or past medical history.
If you miss this opportunity, you may still buy a Medigap plan, but the insurance company has the discretion to reject you on health grounds through a so-called medical underwriting process. This is a process where the insurance company uses your health information to decide whether or not to sell you a policy.
You can cancel your Medigap by asking your provider to terminate your plan and send you a confirmation. However, your provider cannot cancel your policy as long as you pay your premiums on time, regardless of changes to your health. This is known as guaranteed insurability.
As of January 1, 2006, Medigap policies do not offer prescription drug coverage. For this purpose, you can buy Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Plan) available through private insurers.
Medigap plans at a glance
Medigap comprises 10 standardized plans, offering different levels of coverage. Standardized means that regardless of the insurance provider or the location, the benefits offered by the 10 plans will be the same. In accordance with federal law, all Medigap plans have to be labeled “Medicare Supplement Insurance”. Each of the 10 standardized plans is designated by a letter (A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N).
However, although the plans offered by different providers are standardized, the costs are not. This means that different insurance companies charge different premiums for the same policy, so make sure you do some research before making a decision. In Arizona, people can choose from all 10 Medigap plans. More than half of policyholders opt for Plan F, followed (albeit not closely) by Plans C, B and D.
Despite coming at the highest cost, Medicare Supplement Plan F is the most popular choice, due to its comprehensive coverage. Plan F covers 15% in excess of the Medicare-approved costs, leaving the policyholder with zero additional costs after Medicare has paid its share.
Plan C is the second most comprehensive plan. This plan doesn’t cover Medicare Part B excess costs. Both F and C don’t cover post-discharge expenses i.e. home recovery costs (drugs, rehab, medical supplies etc.).
No matter which option you choose, supplemental health coverage will significantly lower your medical expenses not covered by the traditional Medicare policy. Just keep in mind that after you choose your plan, you will also need to carefully choose the insurance company, since providers differ in the packages, premiums and coverage they offer.
Also, remember that the least expensive policy is not necessarily the best choice. Your health can change considerably in the future, actually making your currently affordable policy the most expensive one tomorrow. In any case, both Medigap and Medicare Advantage have annual memberships, which gives you the opportunity to change your mind and your plan once a year.
If you have Medicare, you know that there are a lot of things it does not cover. Beneficiaries who want to get additional coverage to their Part A and Part B insurance plans, can do so through the various Medicare supplements in Phoenix AZ. All of these are part of what’s known as “Medigap”.
In essence, there are “gaps” in your original Medicare coverage. This is where Medigap comes in, as the different Medigap plans cover health costs that are not covered by original Medicare. Medigap “fills in the gaps”. Medigap insurance plans are only available for participants who have both Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B coverage.
Choosing a Medigap policy is crucial for every health insurance beneficiary. Since your original Medicare coverage might not include certain expenses, you may have to face numerous out-of-pocket costs. These costs include coinsurance, copayments and so on.
Medicare supplements in Phoenix AZ include twelve standardized service plans. These Medigap plans are labeled with letters, from A through L. They all offer an extensive set of covered services for the beneficiaries who already have a Medigap A or B policy. The Medigap A policy is the basic coverage policy. The Medigap B policy covers everything that Medigap A policy offers, plus additional benefits.
When choosing a Medigap policy, you need to compare the various Medicare supplements. Comparing these supplements may be challenging for most Arizona residents. So, instead of making a choice on your own, you are welcome to rely on our expertise and knowledge. We can help you compare these supplement plans and choose the one that fits your needs.
Medicare Advantage vs. Medigap plan
When speaking of Medicare Advantage plans and Medigap plans, many people confuse the two. Some people believe they are similar, but there are major differences between these two options. What you need to know is that Medigap policies are only available to people who have Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. Beneficiaries who have a Medicare Advantage plan cannot get Medigap.
Medigap can only be used by beneficiaries of traditional Medicare. This is private insurance that you can buy in order to cover some out-of-pocket expenses which are not covered by your traditional Medicare plan. These may include some Part B costs, Part A deductibles, medical emergency costs made abroad and so on. The coverage depends on which kind of policy you have.
The costs of your Medigap policy
The costs of Medigap plans are influenced by various factors. They depend on the type of Medigap plan, your age, health, and location. Once you choose your Medigap plan, you are obliged to pay a monthly premium. Most Medigap plans can help you pay for your Medicare co-payments, as well as the co-insurance for a hospital stay.
The benefits offered by a Medigap plan depend on the type of plan you choose. Less expensive plans offer less benefits and come with higher out-of-pocket costs. Meanwhile, more expensive plans include more benefits. These extra benefits may include coverage of routine checkups, at-home recovery costs, some Medicare deductibles, and so on.
It is crucial to decide which benefits are right for you, in order to discover what type of plan best fits your needs. That way, the cost of your Medigap policy will make sense and you can lower your out-of-pocket costs related to your health.
How to choose the right Medigap plan?
Choosing a health plan can be complicated. There are many factors to consider before you decide which plan is right for you and your family. Medicare supplements in Phoenix AZ offer you a variety of benefits to choose from.
If you’re wondering how to make the right choice, here are some essential questions to consider:
- Will your health plan cover all the services and medications you need?
- Will your health plan cover your regular visits to a doctor?
Compare all the options available and remember that your monthly premium isn’t the only factor to consider. Make sure you check all of the available cost-sharing elements such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles, which may be included in your plan.
If you need help with understanding all of these, it is wise to contact our professionals before you make a decision. In addition, here is what you need to know when choosing from the available Medicare supplements in Phoenix AZ.
1. What types of plans can I choose from?
We offer several supplement health plans and they are all different. Aetna Medicare Supplement Plans are health plans that we recommend in addition to Medicare Part A and Part B. These plans help you pay for additional healthcare costs, such as copayments and deductibles.
These Medicare supplement plans include benefits such as three pints of blood per year, and 365-day hospitalization coverage after the Medicare coverage ends. These plans also cover twenty percent of Medicare-approved expenses or copayments for outpatient services, among other things.
We also have experience with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Arizona (BCBSAZ) plan which covers expenses that are not covered by Medicare and Medicare Advantage. Moreover, we work with Mutual of Omaha Medigap insurance plans. These health plans help you reduce co-pays, premiums and deductibles for services covered by Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B insurance plans.
Another popular option we work with are the United Healthcare Supplement Plans. These plans may help you cover some expenses that are not included in Medicare Parts A and B such as deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments. United Healthcare supplements help you cover your annual out-of-pocket expenses and they don’t require a referral in case you need to see a specialist.
2. What does each health plan cover?
Are your current doctors in the plan’s structure? If the answer is no, it is wise to consider what fees your plan should cover. Additionally, you should check which hospitals your doctors are affiliated with, and if these hospitals are part of your plan’s structure.
One of the crucial elements that you should consider is whether your plan covers your spouse and children. Are any preventive services covered, such as checkups and blood pressure screenings?
3. What additional costs will I have to cover?
When choosing a Medigap policy, aside from the premium and deductible payments, you may also have to pay certain additional costs. These additional costs include copayments, coinsurance, your share of allowed charges, out-of-pocket maximum limits, and then limits on services and non-covered services, etc.
Choosing the right Medigap is a big decision. Before you decide, make sure you are well aware of what’s covered and what’s not. The health plan you choose will determine how you and your insurance will share the costs of your health care. Our experts can help you choose the best Medigap policy for you and your family.
Retaining good health is one of the main concerns people have after retiring. If you would like to experience a happy and healthy retirement, you need to make sure your Medicare coverage suits your needs. If your Medicare coverage is not suitable to your current needs, you will experience unpredictable and expensive out of pocket costs. That’s why you should consider all of the different offers for Medicare supplements in Phoenix AZ.
Traditional Medicare plans only cover hospitalization and routine care coverage. Typically, that is not enough to cover all of your health issues. That is the reason why you should explore your options when it comes to Medicare supplement plans. You need to check out all the benefits of Medicare supplements in Phoenix AZ, so you can make a smart choice.
The benefits of Medicare supplements
By the time you reach the age of 65 and have regularly paid your social security taxes, you immediately become eligible for Original Medicare. Original Medicare insurance covers hospitalization costs referred to as Part A, and medical routine care costs referred to as Part B.
Medicare coverage plans Part A and B don’t cover all health care bills. To fill in the gaps in the Original Medicare policies, we can use the different Medicare supplement plans, also known as Medigap plans. These Medicare supplement plans cover co-pays and deductibles for hospitalization, doctor visits and other medical services. The main benefit is that they save you from unexpected out of pocket costs.
Beneficiaries of medicare supplement policies enjoy coverage on extra expenses such as coinsurance, copayments, and deductibles. Medicare supplements in Phoenix AZ can only be bought together with Original Medicare. To be eligible for Medicare supplement plans, you must have Medicare Part A and Part B coverage.
Medicare supplements in Phoenix AZ are classified by ten letters, A through N, excluding E, H, I, and J. Each lettered plan offers more benefits than the previous one. For example, a Medigap A policy is the most basic policy, whereas a Medigap B policy offers more extended benefits, but not as much as a Medigap C policy.
All Medigap plans are standardized and they offer similar benefits, no matter which company provides them. The only difference is the premium that different companies charge you with. Not all Medigap insurance providers are required to sell all policies A through L, so you should carefully explore the different Medicare supplements in Phoenix AZ.
The most common type of plan obtained by nearly 40% of all Medicare beneficiaries in the United States is Medigap plan F. All medigap plans exclude additional coverage, such as dental, vision or hearing care, but some offer coverage for overseas travel.
Shopping for Medicare supplements in Phoenix AZ
In order to be eligible to obtain a Medigap plan, you should already have Original Medicare coverage. This means you should be aged 65 or over. People who are younger than 65 and have a permanent disability or End-Stage Renal disease can also get this plan.
Beneficiaries may enroll in a Medicare supplement plan in Arizona during the six-month Medigap Open Enrollment Period. This period starts on the first day of the month of which the beneficiary turns 65 years old.
The Medigap Open Enrollment Period is called the ‘right period’ because only then can you enroll in a Medigap plan of your choosing without any influence from your previous medical conditions. After the six-month Medigap Open Enrollment Period, Medigap insurance providers can charge higher premiums due to your pre-existing medical conditions.
Choosing the right plan in 2015
Buying a Medicare supplement plan can be confusing. In order to get the most suitable plan, you should carefully compare all the benefits you get from different providers. Several companies offer Medicare supplements in Phoenix AZ, so the key is to pick a provider that you are comfortable with.
Your best choice of a Medigap plan will be the one that meets your needs, based upon your medical condition, where you live, and the budget you can invest on medical care.
Medicare Supplemental Insurance providers change rates throughout the year, so if at the beginning of the year you don’t see a change in rates, that doesn’t mean they won’t change them later. As for 2015, no major changes in benefits are expected. However, premiums and your own needs may change, so carefully explore all insurance companies.
Top companies for Medicare supplements in Arizona
· Blue Cross Blue Shield
· Banker Fidelity Life Insurance Company
· Gerber Life
· Mutual of Omaha
· United Healthcare AARP
Aetna Medicare Supplement plans can be obtained in addition to Medicare Part A and Part B, so that beneficiaries can pay for deductibles and co-payments. This plan allows members to visit doctors and hospitals of their choosing. The Medigap plans offered are lettered A, B, F, G and N. These plans offer varying coverage, including options for 100% Part B coinsurance, skilled nursing coinsurance, Part A deductible, Part B deductible and foreign travel emergency.
Blue Cross Blue Shield Arizona (BCBSAZ) is the largest company in Arizona that offers health insurance. BCBSAZ offers Senior Security and Senior Preferred plans. The Senior Security plans offered are A, C, F and N with standardized levels of care. Senior Preferred plans, C and N, offer standardized levels of care at lower monthly rates for eligible participants that enroll in one of these plans at age 65, 66 or 67. The network consists of 14000 doctor’s offices in the designated coverage area.
Mutual of Omaha offers eleven Medigap insurance plans in Arizona lettered A through N, excluding E, and J. Each plan includes the basic benefits: Part A hospital coinsurance; Part A extended hospital coverage; Part A hospice outpatient prescription drug copayment and inpatient respite care coinsurance; Part B coinsurance; and Part A and B – the cost of the first three pints of blood. Some of the plans provide benefits such as Skilled Nursing Coinsurance, Part B deductible payments and any foreign travel emergency.
Medigap plans that the AARP offers are insured through UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company or one of its affiliated companies. Available plans offered are lettered A, B, C, F, K, L and N. You can also add Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) to any of these plans. UnitedHealthcare supplement plans are guaranteed to be renewable, and you cannot be denied coverage based on previous medical conditions or the number of claims filed.
Medicare health insurance is generally designed to offer some coverage for hospitalization and routine health care, but it does not offer complete coverage for most services. In some cases, health care services you may need or want might not be covered at all, or may be covered only in limited circumstances.
Another consideration for Medicare beneficiaries is that not every health care provider accepts Medicare insurance. There is no requirement that doctors or hospitals accept Medicare. Many do, however based on recent and proposed changes in Medicare payment to providers, some doctors and hospitals are limiting the number of Medicare patients they’re accepting, and some providers have said that they will no longer accept Medicare.
When you enroll in Medicare, it’s important to decide how much you want to stay with your current doctor(s), hospital and/or pharmacy. Don’t make assumptions about your health care providers. You may need to ask each provider you see whether or not s/he accepts Medicare. If your provider does not accept Medicare, you may need to ask for a referral to another provider who does accept Medicare, or cover your health care costs from that provider out-of-pocket.
If you’re enrolled in traditional Medicare Part A and Part B, you can choose your health provider. Assuming your provider accepts Medicare, you can see the doctor(s) you want to see and receive services at your choice of hospitals that participate in the Medicare insurance program.
If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you may have to choose your doctor(s), hospital(s) and pharmacies based on a list of participating providers who have been approved by your Medicare Advantage plan provider. In this way, Medicare Advantage plans are much like a health maintenance organization (HMO). If you choose to go out of your Medicare Advantage provider network, you could end up paying most or all of the costs associated with your care by yourself.
In short, not all health care providers accept Medicare, and not all services are covered. With traditional Medicare Part A and Part B coverage, you can purchase additional Medicare Supplemental Insurance to fill in some of the coverage gaps. With Medicare Advantage plans, some of these gaps are already filled in, but you may pay extra premiums with these plans, or you may find a limited network of health care providers whose services are covered by your Medicare Advantage plan.
- December 31, 2010
- az medicare, azmedicare.info, doctors, HMO, hospitals, Medicare Advantage Plans, Medicare beneficiaries, Medicare health insurance, Medicare insurance, Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, Medicare Supplemental Insurance, out-of-pocket
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If you will become age-eligible for Medicare in 2011, you may be tempted to let your Medicare enrollment slip. Perhaps you’re still employed or you have health care coverage through your spouse. Regardless of the reason, if you don’t enroll in Medicare within three months of your 65th birthday, you could end up paying a premium penalty for the rest of your life, based on when you finally enroll in the plan.
When you become age-eligible for Medicare, you have a “special enrollment period” during which you can enroll in Medicare for the first time. The special enrollment period begins three months before your 65th birthday and ends three months after your birthday.
If you don’t enroll in Medicare during the special enrollment period, you’ll be paying a permanent penalty in the form of increased monthly premiums on Medicare coverage. The penalties can vary, and they apply to all Medicare coverages for which you pay premiums. In other words, the penalty will apply to Medicare Part B, Medicare Part C and Medicare Part D premiums.
This is especially important to understand for Medicare Part D coverage. Medicare Part D coverage is optional. If you opt out for a year or two, even if you enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B plans, you’ll still pay the premium penalty for your prescription drug coverage when you enroll in a Part D plan.
To avoid the premium penalty, many Medicare-eligible beneficiaries enroll in the lowest cost plans possible when they first become eligible. This strategy may have you spending some additional cash up front, but it will prevent you from paying potentially large non-enrollment penalties later.
One other caveat: your eligibility to enroll in Medicare Supplemental Insurance plans begins when you first become eligible for Medicare. If you choose not to enroll in Medicare at that time, you may forfeit your opportunity to enroll in a supplemental insurance plan later. If you eventually want traditional Medicare Part A and Part B coverage, examine the Medicare Supplemental Insurance plans carefully during your special enrollment period.