New Medicare Cards are Coming this Year!
I'm sure most of you have heard that new Medicare cards will be mailed out this year. And I am sure y'all have a few questions:
Why am I getting a new card?
Your current card has your Social Security number on it, as your claim number. And you are asked to carry it around with you, because its your insurance card also. Everybody knows this... Including criminals that want to steal you identity. The federal government is finally catching up to the 21st century, and that will change with the new card. (see picture above, the new card will be a random 11 letters and numbers.)
When will I get my new card?
CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid) will mail out cards for Florida residents in the Fall. Although beneficiaries Turning 65 starting in August of this year, and going on Medicare for the first time, will be getting the new cards in the spring of this year.
I got a call from someone saying they were with Medicare, asking me if I got my new card. Does that sound right?
No, Medicare will not contact you by phone. This is a new scam. CMS will automatically mail you your new card, and you do not have to call them, give them any information, or do anything. CMS will only contact you by mail. Do not give anyone your information over the phone that claims to be from the government.
Will this affect my current coverage with Medicare or Medicare Advantage?
No, nothing will change.
If you have Medicare Advantage, you will continue to use your Medicare Advantage card. This new Medicare card should be put in a safe place, like you did with your old Medicare card. Continue to use your Medicare Advantage card, if you have one.
Can I keep my current card as a backup?
It is not recommended. You will however, have a 21 month transition period to start using your new card, and still be able to use your old card. The period is expected to end beginning of 2020.
Find the Best Medicare Supplement Rate
How do you find the best Medicare supplement rate? You can search Florida Medigap Rates online, attend seminars, invite a parade of strangers into your home and let them try to sell you something. And calling carriers direct is another option.
The best rate is the one that fits your needs and budget. What your friend Mary or Bill bought was (hopefully) right for them. But that does not make it right for you.
Mary wears a size 6. You wear a size 4. That’s close but just not a good fit.
Bill has health problems you may not be aware of, while you are in almost perfect health.
Picking the right plan for you requires a basic understanding of what is available, and realizing your decision today may be the last time you get to make a change in coverage.
This is especially true if you are turning 65 and going on Medicare for the first time. Does Colonial Penn have the best rates? Is AARP a good fit for you? What about Humana? What is Medicare Advantage, and is it any good?
You are about to enter the no bull zone.
AARP now offers Plan G Medicare Supplement
United HealthCare/AARP is now offering a Plan G in Florida! Most people (at least us in the insurance industry), were anticipating this was going to YYYUUUUUGGE. Unfortunately, is was a yuuugge let down. Let me first start by expaining what Plan G is.
A Plan G Medicare Supplement is very similar to a Plan F Medicare Supplement. The only difference is with Plan G, you pay the Medicare Part B deductible of $183 in 2017. Whereas with a Plan F, it is first dollar coverage, you never have anything out of pocket, as long it is approved by Medicare.
Now why is this launch of a Plan G a big let down? Because for most people in Florida, Plan F is only about $168 a year more. That means with a Plan G you are saving $168/yr so you can pay $183/yr more out of pocket.
Sometimes When You Pay More, You're Just Paying More
Sometimes when you pay more, you're not getting more, you're just paying more. There are a lot of companies out there where you can buy your Florida Medicare Supplement Insurance from. Many of them offer you a Plan F. But none of them have the same price. Weird right?
In many cases, when you buy a product, and you pay more, you're getting more. This is true for many things. I like to buy my meat in bulk, and then freeze it. I pay a little more up front, but because I buy in bulk, I get a lot more bang for my buck.
Unfortunately, this is not the case with Florida Medicare Supplements. If you pay more for your Plan F, you're just paying too much. There are companies our there like Colonial Penn that charge over $200/mo for their Plan F, and try to sell you on the idea that their customer service is worth paying an extra $70/mo for their insurance.
Ask yourself this. How often do you really need to call your insurance agent?
For most people its once or twice a year. Is that really worth an extra $800/year?
Our clients would rather put that $800/year toward fun! Put that money in your savings account, toward a cruise, golf, dinner and a movie, or your grand-kids. There is no need to pay more than you have to. Everyone of our clients have our personal cell phone number, and email address. They can call, text or email us anytime, and get a response usually within the hour.
The Value of Having a Local Agent
1. Insurance Agents are Discount Detectives. Insurance agents WANT to save you money. By choosing a local independent insurance agent in Florida, you not only are getting a local professional, but the best rates available to you. Agents know that price is important when shopping for insurance, so they will work to win your business by identifying all of your eligible discounts.
2. Multiple Companies to Choose From. Because we're independent insurance agents, we represent many companies, not just one like a captive Allstate or Bankers Life and Casualty agent. If you call an 800# to get your insurance, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Call a local independent insurance agent and get quoted through multiple companies all at once, in the same time it takes you to get just one quote by calling a direct writer like MetLife.
3. Change Companies as You Change. Buying a home or getting married? Maybe the company you are with now isn’t the right fit anymore. That’s okay, because if you are with a local independent insurance agent, we can move you to a company that may be better suited for your new life. Maybe bundling your health insurance with your life insurance makes more sense with a different company. We have many companies so we can move you!
4. Knowledge. Let’s be honest… how many of you can explain the differences in: Universal, Term, Indexed Universal, Whole Life, Graded Benefit, ROP or how cash value accumulation builds up and loans on your insurance policy work? It is so important to have an independent insurance agent to explain these differences to you so you can make an informed decision and they can guide you through this difficult decision.
5. One-Stop Shopping. Medicare, Life, Dental, Annuities, and more… whatever your situation and independent agent can help you with all of your insurance needs.
6. On-going Support. Our livelihood depends on your customer satisfaction, so an independent agent will always be there to help guide you through whatever obstacles life throws your way; whether it is billing problems or continued cutbacks to your Medicare coverage.
7. Community Ties. Our local agents are right beside you helping to build a stronger community. Going with a local independent insurance agent will help build your community even stronger, as it helps stimulate your local economy by keeping the money local, instead of sending it to another state.
No Blanket Answer
"I want Plan F, because its the best!" "My doctor told me to get AARP Plan F." "My brother has Plan F, it seems to work good for him, so I want the same thing."
We have heard those exact quotes many times here. But here is something many agents out there won't tell you: "There is no blanket answer for every person out there". Many agents will hear you say "Plan F!" and without hesitating, go ahead and sign you up for it, because its an easy sale. If you want a 'Yes Man', you are looking at the wrong agency. But you want an agent, that will hit the brakes, and actually do some due diligence for you to make sure that Plan F is the right choice for you, then D&D Insurance is the place for you! Allow me to explain:
I recently met with a customer in Crystal River (please note, we serve the entire state, not just Citrus County.) She wanted a Plan F with AARP. But, I insisted on letting me shop around a little bit first, and if it came back as the best deal for her, I would gladly sign her up for it. I just like to do my homework first. She agreed.
As it turned out, Freedom Health had a plan, all her doctors accepted, and was going to be significantly cheaper:
This particular plan gave back $80/mo on her SS check. Savings: $960/yr
She didn't have a $175/mo premium for a supplement. Savings: $2,100/yr
No Part D premium. Savings: $204/yr
This particular plan also had donut hole protection for her diabetes drugs: Savings: $1,300/yr
Total Savings: $4,564/yr
I'm not saying Plan F is bad. I'm just saying its not for everyone. Please shop before you buy.
Medicare Part B Premiums Explained for 2017
There has been a little bit of justified confusion over the new Part B premiums for Medicare.
There will be hundreds of different Part B premiums in 2017. For those currently paying $104.90, the 2017 premium will be a unique amount in the $109 ballpark. The actual amount will be $104.90 plus the 2017 SS COLA (.3%).
For Example, if you SS check is $1,000 then you add .3%, or $3.00 to your Part B premium. $104.90 + $3.00 = your new Part B premium if $107.90
Those currently paying $121.80 and taking SS will each pay a unique amount in the $127 ballpark. The actual premium will be $121.80 plus the SS COLA. New enrollees for 2017 and those not collecting SS will pay $134. These assume no income changes that trigger IRMAA.
Obamacare rates Skyrocket
If you are like millions of other Americans, your health insurance premium may not seem like insurance, but rather just another burden. I have met dozens of people with this problem, and monthly premiums ranging from $700/mo - $2,100/mo. $2,100 a month! That is more than my mortgage!
And its only getting worse, next year rates in Florida are increasing an average of 17%
Thankfully, there is another way. Our brothers and sisters in Christ, have come together to help each other and share in our medical bills...
And at a lower out of pocket cost to you!
Follow the link below to find out how
All Medicare drug plans and Advantage plans run on a calendar year basis. Your current plan may or may not renew but whether it renews or not you need to be prepared for the Medicare open enrollment in 2015.
Here are a few pointers if you are new to Medicare or have been to this rodeo before.
- Update your list of medications and dosages
- Make a list of your doctors including name and address
- Evaluate your health. Is it better or worse than last year?
- Update your health care budget
- Consider what you pay every month in premiums AND your out of pocket health care costs
The Villages Health
The Villages Health announced that will will only accept United HealthCare Medicare Advantage for new patients. Then, earlier this Summer, The Villages Health announced that they will only accept United HealthCare Medicare Advantage for all patients starting January 1, 2017.
What does this mean for you?
If you use The Villages Health, you must make a change to United HealthCare Medicare Advantage this AEP. If you have original Medicare with a supplement (even if the supplement is with United HealthCare) they will not accept your insurance.
Please be sure to contact your local agent, talk to your doctor about the changes, and visit the Villages website, they have a detailed FAQ for many questions. If you don't have an agent, feel free to contact me, I can answer any questions you have about the changes happening.
The Truck Analogy
When buying Medicare Supplements I like to use the analogy "Its like buying a truck!"
Lets say your buying an F150. You want it in Black, and with certain features. You go to a Ford Dealership in Clermont, and they tell you the truck is $40,000. And, because you know that its good to shop around, and that another dealership can offer you the exact same truck, you decide to go to a Dealership in Orlando. This dealership tells you they can give you the exact same truck, exact same color and exact same features for $45,000.
Where do you buy your truck at?
Hopefully you said in Clermont. Why? Because its cheaper, and it is the exact same truck!
Medicare Supplements are the same way. If you want to buy a Plan F, for example, you can talk to 8 different insurance companies, and get 8 different prices. And just like the car-salesman at the dealership when you were buying the truck, the insurance company will try to convince you why its a good thing that you should pay more for the exact same policy. Is there a difference between a Plan F with company A and company B? NO!
Don't fall for the tricks. Just like a 2016 Ford F150 is the same as the next Ford F150 with the same features, so are Medicare Supplements with the same Letter. Don't Fall for the tricks.
Medicare and Home Depot
It might seem like an odd combination, but stick with me on this.
The first time I walked into Home Depot I was overwhelmed. I was not much of a handy man at the time, but I did know which end of the hammer is useful.
Home Depot must have had 100 hammers.
I needed someone to not only point me in the right direction, but explain why one hammer was better than another for the particular work I was doing.
Before Home Depot I owned 1 hammer. Now I have at least half a dozen, each designed for a particular job.
Medicare is the same way.
How much does a Medicare supplement plan cost in Florida?
There are over 170 different Medicare supplements and Health Plans to pick from. Let me help you find the right plan for your needs and budget.
When you pay more you don’t get more, you simply paid too much.