Day: January 10, 2019

Choose the Medicare Supplement Company …Not the Initial Price

Almost every day I receive a request from someone who is about to go on Medicare to provide them with Medicare Supplement quotes for their area.

While I am happy to do this, I always feel the quotes I am providing to them are misleading.

The reason for this is there is virtually no relationship between the monthly premium you pay for a Medicare Supplement at age 65 compared to other carriers and what you will pay over the course of your lifetime.

In many situations, the Medicare Supplement carrier with the lowest premium at age 65 will cost much more than other carriers both in the near future and the rest of your life.

2017-08-09 Charles Bradshaw
Charles Bradshaw

Many Medicare Supplement carriers have a business strategy of enticing enrollees with artificially low premiums at age 65. Later, when many policyholders can not change their carrier due to health reasons, these carriers increase their prices to higher levels than other carriers.

The reason they do this because once someone has been on Medicare Part B longer than six months, they must disclose any health conditions they have to enroll in a new Medicare Supplement. Medicare Supplement carriers at that time can and will decline applicants who have existing health conditions that are likely to present the carrier with above-average costs.

There is one rule you should follow when choosing a carrier for your Medicare Supplement: Choose the carrier not the price!

Here are some qualities to seek in choosing a Medicare Supplement carrier:

1) Choose a carrier who has been providing Medicare Supplements for at least 10 years. Any carrier who has been in business shorter than this amount of time is likely to have a policyholder base weighted toward people who are new to Medicare and who will have sharp increases in health care costs as they get older. In this case the carrier will have to sharply increase their premiums to pay to higher claims cost.

2) Choose a carrier who allows independent agents who also represent other carriers to represent them. Carriers whose business strategy is to entice people new to Medicare with artificially low first-year premiums only to increase them later do not want agents who can offer other products. Agents want to avoid the dissatisfaction these carriers generate 4 or 5 years later when the premiums skyrocket. Agents will therefore recommend other carriers.

3) Choose a carrier whose name is familiar. A carrier whose name is unfamiliar is more likely to be trying to generate many enrollments with artificially low premiums and then sharply increase the premiums for the people it has trapped. Such a carrier may then change its name to confuse potential enrollees and not be associated with its price hikes on existing customers.

4) Choose a carrier with at least 500,000 Medicare Supplements policyholders. Such a carrier has proven it plans to offer Medicare Supplements on a permanent basis and it not relying on short-term pricing gimmicks to generate exorbitant profits at the expense of its policyholders.

We would appreciate the chance to help you understand your Medicare options so you can choose the right Medicare plan for you both now and in the future.

Simply click on the link below to schedule a free, no-obligation Medicare consultation.

Click here to schedule your free, no-obligation Medicare consultation

You can also call me at 888-549-1110 or email me at charlesbradshaw@medicareanswercenter.com

I look forward to talking with you soon.

Click here to receive and instant, online quote for a Plan G Medicare Supplement from Mutual of Omaha

Click here to enroll in your Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement

p.s. If you know of someone who needs help with their Medicare, please share this with them.

Charles Bradshaw is the President and Founder of MedicareAnswerCenter.com

Employer Coverage Or Full Medicare? How To Decide

The question I receive more than any other when someone is turning 65 and becoming eligible for Medicare is “What do I do about Medicare if I am still working and have coverage through my employer?

There are several different issues to consider when answering this question.

The first thing to know is when you turn 65 and are still working, you have a choice between staying on your employer’s coverage or leaving that coverage and going on full Medicare.

2017-08-09 Charles Bradshaw
Charles Bradshaw

By “full Medicare” I am referring to having both Medicare Parts A and B along with a Medicare Supplement to pay your share of Medicare and a Medicare Part D drug plan to pay most of the cost of any medications you take now or may take in the future .

In many situations it is advisable to enroll in Medicare Part A only even if you have employer coverage. Medicare Part A has no monthly premium and may cover some of your costs if you have an in-patient hospital stay or skilled nursing stay. This is not “full Medicare.”

When choosing between staying on employer coverage and or leaving employer coverage and going on full Medicare, the choice requires a comparison of your monthly costs under both options as well as your potential costs if you become sick. This is not a choice the Employee Benefits department at your employer can help you make. In fact, federal law prohibits employers from assisting employees with evaluating their Medicare options even if full Medicare is the best option for the employee.

Let’s start with full Medicare first. In most states, you will pay a little less than $300 per month for Medicare Parts A and B as well as a Medicare Supplement and Medicare Part D drug plan. With this coverage, you will have a once-a-year Medicare Part B deductible of $183 and after that all of your medical costs will be covered 100 percent for the rest of the year.

Now, compare this cost to not only what you will pay per month for your employer coverage but also what your potential out-of-pocket costs may be if you become sick or have an accident. In many situations, your monthly cost for your employer coverage may be a little less than you would pay with full Medicare but your deductible and other out-of-pocket costs may be much higher than with full Medicare.

Many employer plans now have annual deductibles as high as $3,000 or $4,000 or even more and out-of-pocket maximums of $6,000 or more. If you have existing health issues, you may already be certain to spend some or all of such a high deductible and out-of-pocket maximum every year.

In most situations, it only takes a minimal amount of annual health care needs each year to make full Medicare a less costly option than employer coverage because of the higher deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums with most employer coverage.

The choice between staying on employer coverage and going on full Medicare is not a one-time decision. Once you are past your Medicare eligibility date, you can choose to leave employer coverage at any time to go on full Medicare. This includes during the middle of the year. You do not have to wait until your employer’s annual election process.

There are a few additional things to consider when choosing between remaining on your employer coverage or going on full Medicare.

  1. You may need to stay on employer coverage to maintain coverage for your spouse or dependent if they are not yet Medicare-eligible.
  2. If you take any expensive medications, those medications may be covered at a lower cost with employer coverage than with a Medicare Part D drug plan.
  3. If you contribute to a Health Savings Account (HSA) with your employer coverage, you will no longer be able to do so once you enroll in Medicare Part A – even if you do not enroll in Medicare Part B.
  4. With full Medicare, you can receive health care from any doctor or hospital anywhere in the country that accepts Medicare as almost all do. This means you may have more choices in your health care providers than you would given the network limitations of most employer coverage.
  5. In some states – such as Florida – you will pay more for your Medicare Supplement if you first enroll at an age later than 65. While this is not a major cost difference, it could make choosing to move to full Medicare the best choice if the decision is a close call.
  6. There is almost no situation where it is a good idea to enroll in Medicare Part B while you have employer coverage. The cost for Medicare Part B is $134 per month and the combination of both coverages rarely pays any cost that full Medicare would not already pay. In addition, by starting Medicare Part B while you still have employer coverage, you may lose some options for choosing a Medicare Supplement you will eventually need once you eventually leave your employer coverage.

Whether you are about to turn 65 and become eligible for Medicare or if you are 65 or older and still on employer coverage, I would appreciate the chance to work with you to help you compare your employer coverage options with full Medicare.

Simply click on the link below to schedule a free, no-obligation Medicare consultation.

Click here to schedule your free, no-obligation Medicare consultation

You can also call me at 888-549-1110 or email me at charlesbradshaw@medicareanswercenter.com

I look forward to talking with you soon.

Click here to receive and instant, online quote for a Plan G Medicare Supplement from Mutual of Omaha

Click here to enroll in your Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement

p.s. If you know of someone who needs help with their Medicare, please share this with them.

Charles Bradshaw is the President and Founder of MedicareAnswerCenter.com