Discover The Many Medicare Health Insurance Options For Seniors

There are many health insurance options for seniors which include standard Medicare and standardized Medicare Supplemental insurance plans. These Medicare Supplemental insurances are also called Medigap policies of which there are twelve.

Every Medicare Supplemental insurance plan, labeled A through N, offers the same coverage at varying benefit combinations and premiums. Not all Medicare Supplemental insurance plans are offered in every county statewide. Some states will have their own plans that offer coverage that is comparable to the countrywide plans.

Given that these are standardized Medicare Supplemental plans, the coverage is identical for all twelve plans. The difference is only in the cost of the plan. While all plans cover the same items in different combinations, there will be a difference in premium between companies.

Here are a few things that everyone should know about Medicare Supplemental coverage plan premiums. Continue reading

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How Medicare Advantage Plans Can Have $0 Premium

One of the questions I am asked most frequently is “how can a Medicare Advantage plan have No Premium”  This is a very valid question and I am writing today to try to shed some light on this question.

The simple answer is Government subsidies. When you sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan the Federal Government pays the Insurance company a certain amount or “Premium” each month to handle all of your medical claims. The amount of money is determined by many factors such as the cost of Medical care in your County and other factors.

As you know the government takes money from your Social Security check each month for your Medicare Part B premium. If you were to decide to stick with Original Medicare ONLY the government would pay a portion of your bills and you would be responsible to pay the rest.

The problem with Medicare has always been the “GAPS” in coverage and the co-insurance. Without going into too much detail here’s some of the expeses you will encounter with Original Medicare ONLY: Continue reading

Anthem Blue Cross Takes The Lead For 2011 Medicare Plans

With the recent CMS suspensions of Aetna, Health Net, Universal American (otherwise known as Today’s Options), and Arcadian many Medicare beneficiaries are trending towards the Blue Cross and Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare supplement and advantage plans throughout most of the Nation.

Wellpoint who is the parent company of Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, Empire Blue Cross of NY and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield of NY to name a few came into 2011 with a very competetive portfolio of plans and was well positioned to take a large share of the Medicare Advantage market also revamped their Medicare Supplement rates to become more competetive than in past years.

While having minor compliance difficulties in past years, Wellpoint came out ready for the 2011 season with efficiency and incredible organizational improvements and looks like it is going to be another profitable year.

With Medicare Advantage plans offering extra value added benefits such as the popular “Silver Sneakers” fitness program, preventative dental, vision allowances, and even hearing benefits the Blue Cross plans for 2011 have something for everyone.

Even more important than the value added benefits are the reasonable co-pays, large networks and low out of pocket maximums. With the many PFFS plans dissapearing this year Wellpoint has not missed a beat replacing them with the very popular PPO plans which allow members to use Doctors and Providers In OR Out of Network giving the patient more freedom of choice these popular plans are called Freedom Blue which is a very appropriate description.

Although these Blue Cross plans have very large networks it is always quite re-assuring that you can keep ALL of your doctors and providers which makes everything a lot easier. Anthem, Anthem of California and Empire Blue Cross and Blue Cross Blue Shield have also implemented a very convenient online shop and enroll tool for those who are computer savvy. If you’re not so comfortable online simply request an enrollment kit and you will have one at your doorstep in just a few short days.

To request materials or shop online visit www.bluecrossmedicare.org or www.bluecrossmedicare.net

Medicare Plan Information Now Available For All 2011 Plans

Medicare Supplement and Advantage plan information was released in early October for plans with an effective date of January 1, 2011.  The good news is that many of the plan benefits and premiums look good for the upcoming year.

While a number of plans have left the market, many of the remaining plans could provide lower premiums and co-pays than last year.  A few of these plans are also offering value added benefits such as preventative vision and dental along with health club memberships and an expanded part d prescription drug formulary.

The key to finding a good plan based on your specific needs is to be well informed and to know what to look for. With the reduced number of plans available in each county this year your choice should be less confusing and with a little bit of assistance, relatively stress free.

When seeking professional assistance you will want to find someone who is familiar with your specific state and familiar with Medicare rules, regulations, and special programs available. Many Medicare beneficiaries are eligible for special assistance for prescription drug premiums and co-pays and in many cases even qualify for help with Part B premiums.

Once you know what you are looking for in a plan, be sure to be specific when asking for different plan  benefits and premiums. This will speed up the process of finding a plan and you will surely be happier with the plan you choose throughout the year.

Some good picks for California plans in 2011 looks like Anthem Blue Cross PPO or Healthnet for those seeking an HMO type plan while in  NY State Empire Blue Cross looks good for PPO AND HMO type plans for the northeast and NY city areas. Unfortunately Western NY is very county specific so it is hard to tell unless you consult with a NY State insurance broker.

Gerogia, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and many Midwestern states all have very good Blue Cross Plans while Humana and Coventry health care also provide very  good options depending on your personal needs.

While I would always suggest consulting with an experienced Broker or Adviser, I have found some helpful websites that will provide you with a basic knowledge and some valuable Medicare resources. Listed below are some sites I have found to provide helpful information in certain states. The links to these sites are followed by a brief description based on my experience.

California

California Medicare Plans This site has current California Medicare related information, publications and videos. A very reliable source for Medicare insurance plans and questions. Toll Free number to cal if ou have any insurance related questions.

Georgia Medicare Plans Great site for Georgia residents. A wealth of information focusing on Medicare specific insurance plans and programs. Site is updated regularly and provides a toll free number to call for answers

New York Medicare Plans A trusted site for NY State private insurance plans for those with Medicare. Site is updated regularly and has many forms and publications.  Also has a Toll Free Helpline and you can obtain hard to find forms and publications by request.

California Medicare Supplement Plans This site will allow you to obtain quotes from several Medicare Supplement companies all in one place without having to talk to multiple representatives. You can get all your quotes in one location.

Blue Cross Medicare Plans A very interesting and helpful website. This is simply a broker referral source. You can call or request a quote or simply ask questions. You will be referred to a local representative when necessary or you can have information sent directly to you. A very good response time and very courteous staff.