Kodak Employees Can Avoid Crowded Medicare Meetings

Many Kodak employees are scrambling to find out about different health insurance options available since losing retiree benefits recently and this is causing very crowded local meetings with Excellus Blue Cross And MVP Healthcare. Unfortunately, when you go to a community meeting you will learn about only one company at a time and this means you will have to go to several different meetings in order to learn about your different options. There is a much better easier way to go about this and you will save time and get a better understanding of your choices.

First of all, there are more choices available than just MVP or Excellus. There are several companies that offer Medicare insurance plans in Rochester and many other options also available for those who do not live in Rochester or travel frequently. Many companies and organizations will actually schedule a personal appointment with a representative that will help you navigate through the complex world of Medicare insurance.

There are also a few organizations and companies that provide Medicare Insurance help lines to assist seniors on an individual basis. You may call Lifespan or also Century Benefits Group Inc. offers a Free Health Insurance helpline dedicated to Seniors at 1-800-698-7477.

This approach may be much more beneficial to Kodak retirees since they will provide you with information and options available from all companies. You will be able to ask questions and receive personalized non-biased information and also learn about any programs or subsidies that you may qualify for. For More information you may visit www.nymedicare.org

Kodak Retirement Medical Benefits Needs And Solutions

If you are a Kodak retiree and have recently lost your medical benefits you have options. Century Benefits Group, a Rochester, NY health insurance firm has a complete portfolio of insurance options for Kodak employees based on each persons individual needs. Listed below are some insurance needs and solutions to some of the many issues facing Kodak retirees nationwide.

 You Have A Winter And Summer Residence And Split Time Between The Two

This is a common occurance among Kodak employees. If this is your situation then you will want to obtain either a Medicare Supplement plan or a Medicare Advantage PPO. Keep in mind that if you decide to go with Medicare Advantage it MUST be a PPO in order to use the plan at any Medicare provider for non emergency situations.

Medicare supplement plans can vary in price according to your place of residence. When obtaining a quote you will usually need to provide Date of Birth, Zip Code, Effective Date Of Medicare Part A AND B, and your county of residence. Some of this information may not be necessary in a couple of states but you should have it available just in case.

Note: If you enroll in a Medicare Supplement Plan and need Prescription drug coverage you will need to apply in a separate Medicare Part D plan.

For personalized information call 1-800-683-6729 and you can request a list of plans available in your home area.

You Retired From Kodak And Now Stay Close To Home Most Of The Time

If you stay near your home area most of the time and don’t travel often you may want to consider a Medicare HMO plan. With a Medicare Advantage HMO plan you will be required to receive your health care from a plan Network provider. Each private insurance plan has established their own network of health care facilities and health care professionals to cater to their members. This will often result in lower co-pays and monthly premiums for the member, however, you should always check to see if your hospitals and doctors will accept the plan before you decide to enroll. With a Medicare HMO you may only receive EMERGENCY coverage from non-network providers.

For personalized information call 1-800-683-6729 and you can request a list of plans available in your home area.

You Only Have 1 Residence But Travel Often

In this case you should refer to the first section of this article and consider Medicare Supplement or Medicare PPO plans UNLESS you only use routine Medical services in your home area. Medicare HMO plans do provide EMERGENCY services out of network but that is very limited.

For personalized information call 1-800-683-6729 and you can request a list of plans available in your home area.

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.

 

 

Finding The Best Medicare Part D Plan

There are several ways to obtain your Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage.  It is important to know that the type of plan that you choose will depend on your specific needs. Some common questions you should ask yourself are listed below.

  1. Do you take mostly brand or generic drugs
  2. How many medications do you take on a regular basis
  3. Can any of your  brand medications be substituted for less expensive generic drugs
  4. Are any of your prescriptions available by mail order (you  may save money this way

After determining the answers to these simple questions  your next step should be to prepare  a list of all ou the prescription drugs that you take on a regular basis including

  1. The name of the drug spelled correctly (you can copy this right from the bottle)
  2. Your correct dosage
  3. The number of pills per month

Once you are armed with this information you can begin searching for an affordable Medicare Part D plan that will suit your specific needs. Each company has its own formulary and while one plan may list your drug as a tier 2 another may categorize it as a tier 3 drug and there may be certain drugs which are not offered by all plans.

In summary I would like to say that there is no “one size fits all formula” and your choice should be taken seriously and proper research and choosing the correct plan could save you thousands of dollars per year. Listed below are several websites which will assist you in you search. You can submit a request for help and then your prescription drug list and they will supply you with comparative estimates.

http://www.todaysmedicare.com

http://www.choicesformedicare.org

Still Time To Enroll In Medicare A Part D Plan Avoid Penalty

The Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP) is coming to a close on December 31st, 2009. All Medicare Eligible participants who wish to enroll in a Part D plan must do so on or before this date or go without coverage untill next year and pay a late enrollment penalty. 

It is also important to kow that any Medicare Beneficiary who does not enroll in a plan when first eligible will be penalized at a rate of  1% per month for every month not enrolled in a Part D plan. This percentage is based upon the National average for Part D  plans at the time of enrollment. This penalty will be imposed every month the beneficiary is enrolled in a plan with no limit or cap.

This may not seem like very much but it can actually be very expensive.  For instance, if you do not enroll when first eligible and wait 1 year you will pay a 12% per month penalty. Two years is a 24% penalty.

Example:

  1. You did not enroll in a plan when first eligible in 2008 and decide to enroll in 2009.
  • Lets say that the National average for Part D plans in 2009 is $40. This means that you will pay a penalty of  $4.80 per month every month for as long as you have Part D plan.
  • If you use the same example for 2 years the the penalty will double to $9.60 per month.

Keep in  mind that you may also choose a Medicare Advantage Plan that includes Part D coverage and many of these plans offer $0 or a low monthly premium although you will still need to pay your regular Part B premium and any late penalties if applicable. However many healthy seniors simply enroll in your basic $0 premium plan.

Each Medicare participant should evaluate coverage based on the level of care required. Some may actually benefit from a more robust plan and may wish to spend a little more on a monthly premium in order to enroll in a plan that offers more benefits or lower co-pays.

If your income meets certain criteria you may be eligible for Federal or State Part D Subsidies. You sould first visit www.ssa.gov and visit the medicare section to apply.

Cigna Plans Pricing Co Pays And Benefits Look Good For 2010

While many Medicare Advantage plans have either raised premiums sky high or increased co-pays and lowered benefit Cigna Medicare Plans have continued to offer an excellent PFFS plan for 2010. It is against the Center For Medicaid And Medicare services current rules to say that any plan is “the best”. What I can say is that according to the Government website comparisons Cigna seems to offer the most comprehensive plans for the least amount of money.

Keep in mind that all Medicare advantage plans have experienced some cuts in benefits or raised premiums but the trick is to shop around. Cigna Medicare Plans are only available in select counties and states and although you should look at all of your options it would be a good idea to put Cigna Plans within the comparison.

Good News For Those Losing Medicare Advantage Plans For 2010

While many Medicare Advantage Plans will be leaving the market or discontinuing service in some areas of the country there are others who are very competetive and trying to grab that market share. The majority of Seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage Plans are very satisfied and enjoy the extra benefits and lower co-pays.

It is important however, to shop for  the best plans each year. You may be pleasantly surprised and might even find a plan offering better benefits than you had in the previous years. Many companies in 2010 are now offering prescription drugs during the dreaded “doughnut hole” or coverage gap.

Be careful not to simply allow the insurance companies to dictate your decisions. Many seniors simply accept the rate hikes and increases in copays rather than taking the time to look for better companies or rates. If you don’t have the patience or the time for this I would suggest finding an ethical broker or agent to help.

Although each county has its own rates and companies available you can still find many great deals. While Advantra Freedom and Wellpoint have both pulled their PFFS plans off of the market Wellpoint has Re-Entered the Market after a brief new enrollment ban with some great new Plans through their Smart-Value PFFS plans and PPO and HMO plans through Empire, Anthem, And Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Georgia. Cigna Medicare also has a great PFFS plan in many areas.

The god news is that with private companies fighting for your healthcare dollars you may find many extra’s and better service than ever before. You can visit our website at www.todaysmedicare.com  and find some basic tips and we have also added a new broker locater to find a qualified Medicare Plan broker licenced in your area.