Tag: EHealth

Why Plan G Instead Of Plan F

I often hear the following from someone going Medicare who in the past has cared or currently is caring for a parent or other family member:

“My <mother, father, aunt> had a Plan F Medicare Supplement and it covered everything and that is what I want.”

I understand that point of view completely. There is no better frame of reference for what any us of can expect with our health in the future than what we have seen or see with our parents or other older loved ones.

2019-08-16 Charles Bradshaw
Charles Bradshaw

With a Plan F Medicare Supplement, our older loved ones can go to any doctor or hospital anywhere in the country that accepts Medicare – as almost all do – and all of their costs are covered 100 percent.

My mother, who will be 98 in November, has a Plan F Medicare Supplement from AARP. When she had a full hip replacement a few years ago she did not have to pay one cent for any part of the procedure or rehabilitation. This included the three days she spent in the hospital and the six weeks she spent in a rehabilitation facility.

However, Congress passed a law in 2015 that makes a Plan F Medicare Supplement no longer the right choice for someone going on Medicare today.

The law Congress passed in 2015 begins to phase out Plan F Medicare Supplements beginning in 2020. Specifically, it says no one who becomes eligible for Medicare beginning on January 1, 2020 can enroll in a Plan F Medicare Supplement.

Anyone who currently has a Plan F Medicare Supplement at that time will be able to keep it. However, because younger people will not be able to join them in Plan F, the overall group of people who have Plan F Medicare Supplements will gradually become older and have a higher level of health issues than other Medicare Supplement plans.

For example, by 2025, everyone in a Plan F Medicare Supplement will be 70 years old or older. By 2030, everyone in a Plan F Medicare Supplement will be 75 years old or older.

By comparison, at both of these points in time other Medicare Supplements such as Plan G will have people who are 65 years old and older.

The younger overall mix in other Medicare Supplements such as Plan G will mean the average health care costs per person, and therefore monthly premiums, will be less in other Medicare Supplements than in Plan F.

This will cause premiums for people with Plan F to increase at a much higher rate in the future than other Medicare Supplement plans.

An excellent alternative to Plan F that will not increase in premiums as much because of the change in the law is Plan G. A Plan G Medicare Supplement provides the exact same coverage as Plan F except the policyholder pays Medicare’s once-a-year Part B deductible which is $185 in 2019.

Because Plan G’s premiums are usually at least $40 per month less than Plan F, the savings one receives in the lower monthly premium over 12 months with Plan G more than pays for the once-a-year $185 Part B deductible.

Very importantly, Plan G is the only Medicare Supplement other than Plan F that covers Medicare Part B Excess charges. Medicare Part B Excess charges are the up to 15 percent extra some medical providers charge for people with Medicare.

Because of this, I recommend Plan G instead of Plan F for anyone now going on Medicare. In addition, I strongly recommend anyone who currently has a Plan F Medicare Supplement who can switch to Plan G do so.

You do not have to wait until Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period in October to change Medicare Supplements. You can change Medicare Supplements at any time during the year though if you have been on Medicare more than 6 months your ability to change will depend on your health situation.

At Medicare Answer Center we appreciate the privilege of assisting you with learning about your Medicare options so you can make the right permanent Medicare decision.

Simply click the following link to schedule a free, no-obligation 30-minute Medicare consultation.

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

Click here to message us via Facebook Messenger

Click here to request a quote for your Medicare Supplement from Medicare Answer Center

Click here to immediately download – Ten Most Asked Questions By People Going On Medicare

You can also call me at (865) 851-1120 or email me at charlesbradshaw@medicareanswercenter.com.

I look forward to talking with you soon.

Charles Bradshaw is President and Founder of MedicareAnswerCenter.com.

 

Who Is Managing Your Health?

There is only one acceptable answer to this question and that answer is “you.”

However, if you make the wrong decision about how to receive your Medicare, your health could be managed by an insurance company’s budget analyst often more concerned about the profits of his employer than your best health outcome.

When you first go on Medicare – usually at age 65 but often later if you are still working – you can choose to receive your Medicare benefits through regular Medicare combined with a Medicare Supplement and a Medicare Part D drug plan.

Or, you can instead assign your Medicare benefits to a private, for-profit, restricted-choice Medicare Advantage plan such as Humana Gold Plus or Kaiser Permanente.

When you choose to stay with regular Medicare,

2019-08-16 Charles Bradshaw
Charles Bradshaw

you can go to any doctor or hospital anywhere in the country that accepts Medicare as almost all do. This includes such noted medical facilities as Mayo ClinicJohns Hopkins, M.D. Anderson and Cancer Treatment Centers of America.Importantly, with regular Medicare combined with a Medicare Supplement, all or almost all of your costs are covered 100 percent regardless of your health situation now or in the future.

This scenario allows you, along with the doctors you choose, to make the best decisions for your health.

On the other hand, if you choose to receive your Medicare through a private, for-profit restricted-access Medicare Advantage plan, your health care decisions are often made by a budget analyst who is more focused on managing the costs of your care than working to deliver the best health outcome for you.

With a Medicare Advantage plan, you have a limited choice of doctors and hospitals and you are not fully covered when you travel.

Even worse, because a Medicare Advantage plan is focused on its own profits, it will often say “no” to treatments and tests your doctor may think is right for you when regular Medicare would have said “yes.”

A Medicare Advantage plan can even say “no” to a cancer treatment most likely to save your life and require you to take a less expensive but less effective treatment.

With today’s internet, you have access to a wealth of information about your health and the health care providers you can choose with regular Medicare. You have more control and input into the decisions about your health than any generation before.

You should never give up this benefit by assigning your Medicare benefits to a private, for-profit, restricted-choice Medicare Advantage plan.

At Medicare Answer Center we appreciate the privilege of assisting you with learning about your Medicare options so you can make the right permanent Medicare decision.

Simply click the following link to schedule a free, no-obligation 30-minute Medicare consultation.

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

Click here to message us via Facebook Messenger

Click here to request a quote for your Medicare Supplement from Medicare Answer Center

Click here to immediately download – Ten Most Asked Questions By People Going On Medicare

You can also call me at (865) 851-1120 or email me at charlesbradshaw@medicareanswercenter.com.

I look forward to talking with you soon.

Charles Bradshaw is President and Founder of MedicareAnswerCenter.com.

Why Medicare Answer Center Doesn’t Ask For Your Phone Number

When I started helping people with Medicare more than ten years ago, I was dismayed at how many people did not fully understand their Medicare options when they first went on Medicare.

Importantly, they did not understand the potential negative consequences on their access to health care and their finances from making a poor Medicare choice.

Finally, far too many people going on Medicare did not understand that the initial choice they made about their Medicare could become a permanent choice they could not change if they had or developed health issues.

I started Medicare Answer Center with the goal of helping as many people as possible fully understand how Medicare works and what their options were with Medicare. By fully understanding their choices, more people could make a better choice and receive better access to health care when they needed it most and not be financially disrupted by thousands of dollars in unplanned if and when they became sick.

2019-08-16 Charles Bradshaw
Charles Bradshaw

At Medicare Answer Center, we take a very different approach than the thousands of high-pressure Medicare sales people who bombard you with unwanted phone calls when you are turning 65.

We provide helpful information about Medicare without asking for your telephone number.

We will only contact you if you request and schedule a no-obligation appointment with us.

Most important, we are not desperate for you to enroll with us. In fact, we only enroll about half of the people we help.

The reason for this is many people already have the coverage that is their best health insurance option and we will tell them this.

We also will continue to help you after you have started Medicare whether that means answering questions you may have or helping you change your Medicare Part D drug plan if your medication needs change.

This is not the case with the Medicare sales people who call you from high-pressure call centers. If you enroll with a high-pressure Medicare call center you are likely to never talk with your agent again.

At Medicare Answer Center we appreciate the privilege of assisting you with learning about your Medicare options so you can make the right permanent Medicare decision.

Simply click the following link to schedule a free, no-obligation 30-minute Medicare consultation.

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

Click here to message us via Facebook Messenger

Click here to request a quote for your Medicare Supplement from Medicare Answer Center

Click here to immediately download – Ten Most Asked Questions By People Going On Medicare

You can also call me at (865) 851-1120 or email me at charlesbradshaw@medicareanswercenter.com.

I look forward to talking with you soon.

Charles Bradshaw is President and Founder of MedicareAnswerCenter.com.

Your Most Important Medicare Goal

You have one goal when choosing a Medicare plan that far outweighs any other goal.

That goal is as follows:

At some point in your life – and I hope it never happens – you may be diagnosed with a serious health condition for which you want to use the doctor or hospital with the most experience and expertise for your condition and who therefore gives you the best chance for the best health outcome. If this happens, you should be able to get this care as soon as possible with little or no cost.

Being a doctor is a noble profession. But a doctor is not a commodity. Some doctors simply have more experience and expertise for certain conditions than others.

Taking this a step further, for most specific health conditions such as a particular type of cancer in a particular location in the body at a particular stage of development, there may be only one doctor or hospital recognized as the most knowledgeable based on their experience, research and knowledge.

2019-08-16 Charles Bradshaw
Charles Bradshaw

 

This is the person or facility with whom you want to trust your life if you have an illness that threatens your life.

Often this will mean seeking care at a prestigious medical facility such Mayo Clinic, M.D. Anderson, Cleveland Clinic or Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

If you are diagnosed with a serious health issue, you should identify from whom you should receive this care as soon as you are diagnosed and begin this care as soon as possible.

When you stay with regular Medicare and enroll in a Medicare Supplement such Plan G, you can obtain this care with little or no cost.

You are giving yourself the best chance for the best health outcome if you become sick and the best chance for living a longer and healthier life.

However, if you leave regular Medicare and sign your Medicare benefits over to a private, for-profit, restricted-access Medicare Advantage Plan such as Humana Gold Plus or Kaiser Permanente, you are allowing that plan to limit your choices in care in order to minimize their costs and maximize their profits.

You are also allowing the managers of that plan to say “no” to expensive care you may need in order to meet their business objectives by minimizing the cost of your health care when you need it most.

The prestigious medical facilities listed earlier such as Mayo Clinic and M.D. Anderson are not in the network of any Medicare Advantage plan.

As someone who had my world torn apart when I was 12 years old when my father was diagnosed with a cancer because of which he was given 6 months to live, I very much hope you are never diagnosed with such a threat to your health and your longevity with your family and those you love and who love you.

However, it happens to many people and if it happens to you I want you to have the Medicare policy that gives you the best chance to win against cancer or any other terrible disease.

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 the following link to schedule a free, no-obligation 30-minute Medicare consultation.

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

Click here to message us visa Facebook Messenger

You can also call me at (865) 851-1120 or email me at charlesbradshaw@medicareanswercenter.com.

I look forward to talking with you soon.

Charles Bradshaw is President and Founder of MedicareAnswerCenter.com.

The Four Decisions You Must Make When Going On Medicare

When you are about to go on Medicare, there are four decisions you must make. Three of these decisions are possibly permanent in that you may not be able to change them later if you make a poor decision.

It is critical to both your health and finances that you get these decisions right.

2019-06-03 Charles Bradshaw Office
      Charles Bradshaw        President and Founder Medicare Answer Center

 

 

The only way to make sure you get these decisions right is to take the time to learn for yourself how Medicare works and what your options are with Medicare.

You should not simply take the recommendation of a high-pressure stranger who calls you on the phone who is trying to meet his or her sales quota for the week.

Nor should you trust someone who knocks on your door uninvited because they found your name and address on a list of people in your community who are about to turn 65. No one who has your best interest and safety in mind will want you to open your house to someone you do not know.

You should find a resource who can provide clear, easy-to-understand information about Medicare so you can make the right decision for yourself. After all, if you make the wrong decision about your Medicare, you will be the one paying the price.

Unfortunately, the information provided by Medicare itself can be confusing and even contradictory. And it may not apply to your unique situation.

Medicare Answer Center can be such a resource but there are plenty available.

The four key decisions you must make when going on Medicare are as follows:

  1. Will you stay with traditional Medicare or sign your Medicare benefits over to a for-profit, private Medicare Advantage plan.
  2. Once you decide the stay with traditional Medicare, what type of Medicare Supplement should you choose.
  3. Once you choose what type of Medicare Supplement you will have, which carrier will you choose to provide your Medicare Supplement to you.
  4. Which Medicare Part D drug plan will you choose to protect you from the potential cost of expensive medications whether you take such medications now or are prescribed them in the future.

The following blogs I have previously written will help you answer these questions:

  1. Real Medicare Versus Private Medicare
  2. Why Plan G Instead Of Plan F?
  3. Choose The Medicare Supplement Company…Not The Initial Price
  4. Do I Need A Medicare Part D Drug Plan?

I would appreciate the chance to help you with your 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

If you know of someone who needs help with their Medicare, please forward this email to them.

One Chance To Make The Right Medicare Decision

by Charles Bradshaw
When you become eligible for Medicare at age 65 – or later if you continue to work past age 65 and choose to stay on your employer’s health insurance – you have the opportunity to obtain outstanding health care at a reasonable and predictable price for the rest of your life.
 
This outstanding health care – which allows you to choose almost any doctor or hospital in the country – gives you the best chance for best health outcome if you are diagnosed with a serious and threatening health issue.
2019-06-03 Charles Bradshaw Office
        Charles Bradshaw               President and Founder    Medicare Answer Center

 

 

That means if you ever have a particular type of cancer, you can go on the internet and research which doctor or hospital anywhere in the United States has the most experience and expertise in your exact type and location of cancer and go there for treatment as soon as you are diagnosed.
 
Unfortunately, far too many people who are going on Medicare for the first time choose a type of Medicare plan that potentially restricts their access to health care when they need it most, limits their choices in doctors and hospitals and requires them to pay thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in unplanned costs when they become sick.
 
Many people do not realize that with Medicare you often have only one chance to make the right Medicare decision for the rest of your life.
 
Here are three simple rules you should follow to make sure you make the right Medicare decision during the one chance you have to get it right
 
1) Never sign your Medicare benefits over to a private, for-profit, restricted access Medicare Replacement plan – also called Medicare Advantage. These plans often say “no” to expensive but needed care in order to make more money for themselves. If you do sign your Medicare over to these private Medicare plans you may be ineligible to get the right Medicare plan at any time the rest of your life.
 
2) Do not work with an insurance salesman who contacts you without permission. These salesmen often use high-pressure tactics and are usually more trained in sales techniques to get you to buy from them than they are trained in Medicare itself. You should not work with someone who is not committed to helping you understand your Medicare options so you can make the right decision for yourself. The internet gives you plenty of channels to learn about Medicare on your own and choose someone committed to what is best for you and not for them.
 
3) Choose a Medicare Supplement company that you have heard of before and that has been providing Medicare Supplements at least 10 years. Newer companies are more likely to increase premiums higher than is necessary and you may not be able to change your Medicare Supplement provider in the future. Many of these smaller, newer carriers also offer lower teaser rates when you first go on Medicare but then increase prices much more than other carriers later when you may not be able to change
Below are links to blogs I have written that will give you more insight into how Medicare works so you can make the rightMedicare choice for you:
 
We would appreciate the chance to help you with learning about your Medicare options so you can make the right Medicare decision for you.
 
Simply click on the link below to schedule a free, no-obligation Medicare consultation.
 
For a free, no-obligation Medicare Supplement quote, please click the following link
If you know of someone who needs help with their Medicare, please forward this email to them.

“I Wish I Had Talked With You Sooner”

I talk with many people every day about their Medicare situation.

In most situations, the people I talk with are about to go on Medicare so they still have the opportunity to choose a Medicare plan that will give them maximum access to the health care they may need now or in the future while having their costs paid 100 percent.

However, I often talk with people who are already on Medicare and who may not have realized the fact that bad Medicare choices can be permanent and irreversible.

Such a situation happened last week. A gentleman named Roger called me from Atlanta who had left regular Medicare when he turned 65 two years ago and enrolled in a private, for-profit Medicare Advantage plan from Humana.

2017-08-09 Charles Bradshaw
Charles Bradshaw

He had recently experienced a health scare with his heart. Because Roger was proactive with his health, he was anxious to have whatever tests were available to learn the details of his heart condition. Roger told me he was willing to take any actions necessary to improve his health and his longevity with his wife, his two grown children and his one-year old granddaughter Abigail.

Unfortunately, because Humana’s Medicare Advantage plan is a private, for-profit insurance plan, they would not pay for the types of tests that Roger knew would allow him to learn what he needed to know about his heart condition.

When Roger called me, he told me he wanted to leave his Humana Medicare Advantage plan and return to Regular Medicare as soon as possible and get a Medicare Supplement that would pay everything Medicare does not pay.

Unfortunately, I had to tell Roger that although he could leave Humana’s for-profit Medicare Advantage plan and return to regular Medicare on January 1, he would be declined for any Medicare Supplement because of his recent heart issue. This would mean he would have to pay an unlimited 20 percent of his health care costs.

Roger was furious. He was adamant that the Humana sales agent who convinced him to leave regular Medicare had not told him about the possibility he would not be able to return to regular Medicare and get a Medicare Supplement in the future. I am sure the Humana agent did not do this. They are not required to disclose this and usually do not.

However, I could not help him.

Roger then said the words I hear too often – “I wish I had talked with you sooner.”

Roger is going to return to regular Medicare even though he will likely be responsible for an unlimited 20 percent of his health care costs the rest of his life. He will have to reallocate much of his retirement planning to pay these costs and he will still be at risk of spending tens of thousands of dollars a year if he needs expensive care in the future.

That is the price Roger is willing to pay to give himself the best chance for the longest and highest quality life with the family he loves.

The sad part is if Roger had simply enrolled in a Medicare Supplement when he first went on Medicare two years ago, all of his health care costs would have been covered the rest of his life by paying a affordable monthly premium of a little more than $100 per month.

When someone first goes on Medicare, they can enroll in a Medicare Supplement that will pay their share of Medicare without answering any health questions. They can keep this policy the rest of their life regardless of any health conditions they have at the time or develop in the future.

And by being with regular Medicare, they will be much less likely to be denied the health care they desire and need than with a for-profit, private Medicare Advantage plan.

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 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

Managed Care Medicare? Why You Should Avoid

As you probably know by now, when you are about to turn 65, you receive a large amount of unwanted mail trying to persuade you to enroll in a specific Medicare plan.

At first, it can be very confusing. Prior to becoming eligible for Medicare, Medicare seemed like a simple program. You turn 65 and go on Medicare.

Unfortunately, Medicare has become more complicated as the government has allowed private, for-profit companies such as Humana to steer you into Managed Care Medicare Plans that can provide far less access to the health care you need and require you to pay far higher costs than you should.

These plans are very profitable for these companies at the expense of your health and financial well-being. The high profits these companies make from these plans are the reason they spend so many millions of dollars advertising them on television and in your mailbox when you are about to turn 65.

2017-08-09 Charles Bradshaw
Charles Bradshaw

It is important that you understand how Managed Care plans work with Medicare.

Medicare consists of two primary parts – Medicare Parts A and B.

Medicare Part A pays most of the costs if you are an in-patient in the hospital or a rehabilitation patient in a Skilled Nursing Facility.

Medicare Part B pays around 80 percent of the cost for most other health care services such as doctor’s visits, outpatient services, x-rays, lab work, physical therapy and sophisticated diagnostic testing such as MRIs.

When you have Medicare Parts A and B as your primary, the government pays your health care costs. With this coverage, you can go to any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare as almost all do.

With Medicare Parts A and B as your primary insurance you can also get a Medicare Supplement that covers all or almost all of your share of Medicare which is around 20 percent.

This is wonderful coverage that gives you the best chance for the best health outcome possible if you have a serious health situation.

Unfortunately, for-profit companies such as Humana want you to waive this wonderful coverage and sign your Medicare benefits over to them.

If you enroll in the for-profit managed care plans Humana advertises so much – also called Medicare Replacement or Medicare Advantage plans – the government no longer pays your medical bills and instead sends around $800 per month to Humana to pay your medical bills.

Humana in turn requires you to only use their network of doctors and hospitals as well as requiring you to contribute in most situations up to $6,700 per year for the cost of your care if you become sick.

But this is not the worst part of this scheme.

If you sign your Medicare benefits over to Humana, Humana will decide what medical care they will cover. And they often will say “no” to expensive care in order to spend as little as possible on your care and maximize their profits.

You see, Humana gets the $800 per month from the government whether they spend it on your care or not. And most of whatever they do not spend they keep as net income which goes toward exorbitant executive salaries and bonuses.

In 2017 Humana made $2.4 billion dollars as a company and most of that money came from profits from the Medicare Advantage program.

All of these profits from Humana’s Medicare Advantage scheme came from spending less and providing less health services for its members than those members would have received on average had they stayed on regular Medicare.

You see, what “Managed Care” really means is managing your care to spend less so an insurance company can make a lot more money.

You have worked hard all of your life to pay into a Medicare system that promises to give you the best chance for the best health outcome without forcing you to spend thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in unexpected costs if you become sick.

You should never give up this hard-earned benefit to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan that will increase profits at a big insurance company at the expenses of your financial well-being and your health.

I 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 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

What Are Captive Medicare Agents? And Why you Should Avoid Them

As you go through the process of learning about Medicare and choosing a Medicare plan, there are different people you can talk to about your options.

It is an excellent idea to work with a Medicare agent who represents several different Medicare Supplement carriers. This agent will be able to focus on what is right for you.

A type of Medicare agent that you want to avoid is called a “Captive Agent”. A Captive Agent only represents one insurance carrier and usually can only offer one plan. They are almost always directly employed by an insurance company.

Unfortunately, Captive Agents will only be successful in the eyes of their boss if they convince you to enroll in the only plan they have to sell – even if it is not the right plan for your situation.

2017-08-09 Charles Bradshaw
Charles Bradshaw

Captive Agents are often new to the Medicare Supplement business. They usually represent carriers who have higher prices, smaller policy holder bases and a higher likelihood to have higher than average price increases in the future.

A few even represent private, for-profit, restricted access Medicare Advantage which are almost never a good option.

The carriers who employ these agents insist on them selling their product only for one reason – people who compare their product with major Medicare Supplement carriers such as Mutual of Omaha or AARP almost always choose the proven, more stable carrier.

Conversely, this is why carriers such as Mutual of Omaha and AARP are happy to have their independent agents offer products from other carriers.

If you are talking with a Medicare Supplement agent, the first thing you should ask her is who are all of the carriers with whom she has enrolled her clients in the last 30 days

If that list is only one carrier, you should politely thank her for her time and instead work with someone who represents many carriers.

I would appreciate the chance to help you with your Medicare.

As you may have guessed, we represent all major Medicare Supplement carriers such as Mutual of Omaha, AARP, BlueCross/Anthem, Cigna and Aetna.

We will help you compare the different plan offerings and prices and well as the strengths and weaknesses of each company.

Once you make your selection, we will assist you with your Medicare Supplement and Medicare Part D drug plan enrollments and well as be available for you going forward to answer any questions, deal with any problems or assist you with your yearly Medicare Part D drug plan evaluation.

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

Real Medicare Versus Private Medicare

I would like to ask you a very simple question that will help you decide how you will receive and pay for your health care for the rest of your life.

Which of the following two goals is most important for you and your family:

1) To be able to get the best health care possible from the doctors or hospitals I believe give me the best chance for the best health outcome with little or no unplanned cost.

Or

2) To help make a big insurance company like Humana more profit and their executives richer even if it means cutting back on my health care and reducing my chances of getting well if I have a serious health problem.

I don’t believe anyone is going to select #2.

2017-08-09 Charles Bradshaw
Charles Bradshaw

However, if you permanently sign over your Medicare benefits to a private Medicare plan such as Kaiser or Humana, you are potentially placing your health care for the rest of your life in the control of a company who will ration your health care if you become sick to maximize their profits – even if doing so reduces your chance for the best health outcome.

This happens because a private, for-profit Medicare Advantage plan operates under a much more restrictive set of guidelines when it determines what tests, treatments or surgeries it will approve.

There are many times real Medicare – also called regular Medicare or original Medicare – will approve an expensive procedure such as an MRI or a new, expensive cancer treatment when a private Medicare Advantage plan will say “no” in order to save money.

When you opt-out of real Medicare and enroll in a private Medicare plan, Medicare no longer pays your medical bills. Instead, the federal government sends your Medicare dollars to the private company who somehow convinced you it was a good idea to let them make your health care decisions instead of you and your doctor.

Every time a private Medicare Advantage plan says “no” to an expensive medical procedure when real Medicare would have said “yes”, the private plan increases their income while decreasing your chance for the best health outcome.

Sadly, if you opt-out of real Medicare for a private Medicare plan, your opportunity to change your mind later will be either extremely limited or possibly non-existent. This is because leaving a private Medicare plan and returning to real Medicare with a Medicare Supplement that pays your share of Medicare almost always requires you to answer a lengthy list of health questions and verify you are in good health.

Fortunately, if you have not yet started Medicare, you can stay with real Medicare and enroll in a Medicare Supplement that takes effect when your Medicare starts without answering health questions. You will be approved for this wonderful coverage that allows you to choose any doctor or hospital anywhere in the country that accepts Medicare – as almost all do – regardless of your health and you will always be able to keep this coverage regardless of any health conditions you develop in the future.

If you have already opted out of real Medicare and assigned your Medicare benefits to a private, for-profit, restricted access Medicare Advantage plan, you can choose to return to Real Medicare during Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period from October 15, 2018 through December 7, 2018. However, in most states, in order to qualify for a Medicare Supplement that will pay your share of Medicare, you will likely have to answer health questions and be in fairly good health.

I 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

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

Do I Really Need a Medicare Drug Plan?

I am often asked the following question “Charlie, I don’t think I need a Medicare Part D drug plan. I don’t take any medications. Can’t I just add that later if I ever need it?”

Regardless of whether you take several expensive medications or take no medications at all, almost everyone on Medicare needs to enroll in a Medicare Part D drug plan.

There are three primary reasons you need a Medicare Part D drug plan even if you take no medications:

  1. You can only enroll in a Medicare Part D drug plan to take effect when you first go on Medicare or on the first day of a calendar year. If you do not have a Medicare Part D drug plan and are prescribed an expensive medication during the year, you will have to pay the full cost of the medication until the beginning of the next year. This could be $400-$500 per month or more.
  2. During the last few years, a large percentage of cancer treatments have become Part D medications in the form of a pill you take at home instead of an IV that is administered in a medical facility. The cost for this type of chemotherapy is usually $10,000 per month or more. If you do not have a Medicare Part D drug plan you may have to pay the full cost up front not be able to take these drugs when you need them.
  3. If you do not enroll in a Medicare Part D drug plan when you are first eligible and have no other credible drug coverage, you will pay a higher premium the rest of you life if you enroll in a drug plan later.

Most states have 20-25 Medicare Part D drug plans. These plans can differ in the following five ways:

  1. What monthly premium you will pay
  2. Whether you will pay a deductible and how much the deductible is
  3. Whether the deductible applies to your medications
  4. Whether the plan covers all of your medications
  5. How much the plan requires you to pay for your medications

Medicare provides a Planfinder website where you can enter your medications and the website will tell you which Medicare Part D drug plan will provide your medications at the lowest overall cost for the year.

You can click the following link to access this website

Click here for Medicare’s Planfinder Tool

2017-08-09 Charles Bradshaw
Charles Bradshaw

Please be sure to note and keep the Drug List ID and password that is created. You should print out and keep a copy of your results. This will tell you your costs by drug by month as well as allow you to retrieve your results later and modify your drug list if your medications change.

Very importantly, you can change your drug list once a year during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. This will allow you to always make sure you are paying as little as possible for your medications.

We are happy to assist you with every part of your transition to Medicare including:

  1. Fully understanding how Medicare works
  2. Understanding your Medicare options if you are still working
  3. Enrolling in Medicare Parts A and B
  4. Identifying the right Medicare Supplement for you
  5. Identifying the right Medicare Part D Drug plan for you
  6. Assisting you with enrolling in the Medicare plans you choose

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

 

Will Your Medicare Plan Be On Your Side Against Cancer?

I hate cancer.

I vividly remember as a 12 year-old being in the surgery waiting room at Baptist Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee on a snowy January day. My dad – my best friend, my baseball coach, my golf teacher and playing partner, my fellow history buff and my hero – was undergoing surgery for a supposedly benign tumor in his kidney. (The picture above is my dad and me from around 1969)

“Benign” was a word I had just learned a few days earlier. I knew it was a good word. A word my father and mother were using with a sense of relief and comfort. It was almost like a friend.

When my mother, grandmother and aunts came to see me in that waiting room that morning, “benign” was nowhere to be found. A dark, foreboding, evil word had taken its place – “malignant”.

2017-08-09 Charles Bradshaw
Charles Bradshaw

“When they operated on your father they saw the tumor was malignant.”

I did not need a dictionary. The look on their faces defined the word “malignant” better than Mr. Webster ever could.

I soon learned many new words that 12 year-olds should not know so young – radiation, chemotherapy, oncology, survival rate.

“First we’ll do radiation then we’ll do chemotherapy.”

For his radiation treatments, my father was tattooed with big dark lines to direct the radiation technicians where to direct the beams at his tumor. I remember the space between the lines contained most of his abdomen. Even at my age I knew those beams had to travel through a lot of healthy cells and organs to reach those malignant cells around his kidney.

The chemotherapy regimen that followed was a medical version of the Bataan Death March. My father had the beginning and end of the nausea attacks that followed his weekly chemotherapy treatment timed down to the minute.

The chemotherapy treatment ended at 11:00 a..m. on Tuesday, the nausea started at 2:15 p.m. that afternoon and ended around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday. It did not pause for dinner, sleep or helping me with my homework.

I learned how hard a man will fight to be able to watch his only child grow up a little longer.

We have come a long way in fighting cancer in the 42 years since that snowy January day.

A few months ago the FDA approved for the first time cancer treatments based on the genetic makeup of a cancer instead of the location of the original tumor. You can learn more about this by clicking on the following link from Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Click here for more information

This progress in fighting cancer may never apply to you but the odds are it will in the future either apply to you or someone you love.

When you first go Medicare, you make a decision about how you will receive your Medicare benefits and medical care the rest of your life. One choice will allow you to take full advantage of the wonderful breakthroughs we make every day against cancer.

This choice is staying with regular Medicare and enrolling in a Medicare Supplement that will cover your share of Medicare’s costs. With regular Medicare, if you have a serious health condition you can receive care at leading cancer treatment facilities such as Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Mayo Clinic, or M.D. Anderson Cancer Treatment Center. With the Medicare Supplement that you can combine with regular Medicare, your costs are covered 100 percent from the best cancer doctors and hospitals in the country.

I call this choice the “benign approach”.

The other choice is to leave regular Medicare and assign your Medicare benefits to a private, for-profit, restricted-choice Medicare Advantage plan such as Humana Gold Plus or Kaiser Permanente.

With a Medicare Advantage plan, you can only receive care from a limited list of doctors and hospitals and you must receive care in your home area – even when the best treatment for your condition may be outside of the plan’s network or your home area.

Even worse, the ultimate decision concerning the type of cancer treatment a Medicare Advantage plan will approve will likely be made by a budget analyst who may consider the cost of your treatment rather than your likely health outcome. Medicare Advantage plans can, and very often do, say “no” to more expensive cancer treatments even when the more expensive treatment is likeliest to save your life.

They do this because the money they save by saying “no” to a more expensive treatment that may save your life goes to increase their profits, pay their salaries and pay bonuses based on reduced patient care costs.

And leading cancer treatment facilities such as Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Mayo Clinic and M.D. Anderson do not participate in Medicare Advantage networks.

Imagine having to tell your loved ones in a few years that you unwittingly left regular Medicare for a private, for-profit, restricted-choice Medicare Advantage plan and now they will not pay for the cancer treatment you believe will give you the best chance to live.

For this reason I call the Medicare Advantage option the “malignant choice”.

I would appreciate the chance to help you with your Medicare transition when the time is right so you can choose the right Medicare plan for you both now and in the future.

I 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

The Medicare Musical Chairs Trap

I received a call from Bruce in Ohio last week.

Bruce is 69 years old and was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation two years ago. He has only had two episodes of an irregular heart beat and feels he has the condition well-managed with a medication called Xarelto.

The reason Bruce was calling was the Medicare Supplement he had chosen when he turned 65 had increased its premium nearly 50 percent in four years.

2017-08-09 Charles Bradshaw
Charles Bradshaw

Unfortunately, Bruce was now unable to leave this plan for a less-expensive Medicare Supplement because the Atrial Fibrillation caused him to be declined when he applied for a different Medicare Supplement.

When I asked him who was the carrier for his existing Supplement, he said the name of a carrier I had never heard. He said someone had called him four years ago and said it was a new Medicare Supplement and had the lowest premium in his area.

Bruce had fallen into what I call the Medicare Musical Chairs Trap.

A Medicare Supplement carrier that may be the cheapest at age 65 may be much more expensive than other carriers just a few years later.

Here’s the biggest problem…when a Medicare Supplement’s premiums go up much more than is normal, healthy people can shop around and leave for a lower priced Medicare Supplement. However, people with health issues usually can not switch.

This means that a Medicare Supplement that was the least expensive just a few years earlier is now much more expensive and now has an overall less healthy pool of policyholders. This will cause the premiums to increase at an even higher rate in the future.

It is like the Musical Chairs game we all played years ago. When you develop a health issue, you may lose the ability to shop around for the lowest premium for a Medicare Supplement. The music figuratively stops and you are stuck where you are without a chair.

This can require you to spend hundreds of dollars a year more every year for your Medicare Supplement than you would with a more established Medicare Supplement carrier.

You can avoid the Medicare Musical Chairs trap by choosing a Medicare Supplement carrier who had provided policies in your area for at least 10 years and is highly-rated for financial strength.

In most states, I recommend Medicare Supplement carriers such as Mutual of Omaha. Mutual of Omaha has been providing Medicare Supplements since since 1966 when Medicare started, They have more than one million policyholders and are rated A+ for financial strength.

Other carriers you can trust to have stable premiums long term include AARP and BlueCross Blue Shield/Anthem.

I am happy to assist you in evaluating your Medicare Supplement options.

Simply click on the link below to schedule a free, no-obligation 30-minute appointment with me.

Also, if you know someone who has a Medicare Supplement that has increased its premium more than 5 percent per year please forward this email to them so they can understand why they may want to upgrade to a more stable carrier.

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 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