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How To Choose A Medicare Plan-Part 2

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In Part 1 of How To Choose A Medicare Plan we explored the pros and cons of Original Medicare and Medicare Supplement plans.  In Part 2 we explore the other path, Medicare Advantage plans.  If you are new to Medicare, you must choose one of these two paths.  With these two articles, our intent is to give you enough information to decide for yourself which path is right for you.

Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicare Advantage plans are health insurance plans that replace your Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B with a private insurance policy from a private, for-profit insurer.  They come in many different forms but are usually either HMO’s or PPO’s.  They often include a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan as part of the Medicare Advantage package.  Medicare Advantage Plans are also referred to as Medicare Part C.

If you choose a Medicare Advantage plan you must still pay your Medicare Part B premium that is automaticallyMedicare Enrollment Maze deducted from your Social Security check.  However, instead of those funds going to Medicare, they are redirected to your Medicare Advantage insurer. 

Medicare Advantage plans are required to be actuarially equivalent to Medicare Part A plus Medicare Part B.  What that means is that over large groups of people the medical expenses of the population in total should be approximately equivalent to the medical expenses of those people with Original Medicare Part A & B.  Simply put, “actuarially equivalent” means very little to the individual as individual experiences will vary greatly depending on the plan and their medical needs.  In addition, Medicare Advantage is not equivalent to Original Medicare plus a Medigap plan.  Original Medicare plus a supplement (any supplement) offers more coverage and freedom of choice but comes with a higher premium.

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How to Choose A Medicare Plan-Part 1

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    Rather than present this How to Choose A Medicare Plan guide in one large article, this will be a two-part series.  This, the first article, will review how you should approach learning about Medicare and a process to follow in making your choices. We will also review Original Medicare and Medicare Supplement policies.   In part 2 we will look at Medicare Advantage plans, including some basic features of Medicare Advantage and the pros and cons of choosing a Medicare Advantage plan over Original Medicare.

     In each part we have linked to other articles we have written that provide more detail on the subject. Readers are encouraged to at least peruse those links for more information. By the end of this two-part guide, you will have a good grasp on Medicare and the choice within Medicare that is best for you.

How to Choose A Medicare Plan – Part 1

It is estimated that 10,000 people turn 65 every day in this country, and that staggering pace will continue until the year 2030.  While not everyone needs to deal with Medicare at age 65 because they maintain employer healthcare and delay retiring, the number of people who must learn how Medicare works and make decisions regarding their Medicare choices is the highest it has been since Medicare began back on July 01 of 1966.  This article is meant to help those new to Medicare learn how to choose a Medicare plan and be comfortable with their decision.

Whenever I give webinars about Medicare, one of the first subjects I talk about is how to choose a Medicare plan, or any health insurance plan and be confident in your decision. The process doesn’t start with picking up the Medicare & You guidebook to study all the features Medicare.  It doesn’t start with learning about the pros and cons of keeping Original Medicare vs. moving to a privately run Medicare Advantage plan.  No, the first step in finding the right health insurance plan for you is much more personal.  The first step is answering for yourself and your spouse a simple question; why do you have health insurance? Or, what do you want your health insurance to do for you?

This is a personal question.  There is no right or wrong answer.  Every one of us, or every couple will respond differently to the question.   Those people who start this process with their own answer to that question tend to have a much easier time and be more confident in their decision than those who start by trying to understand the details of Medicare.

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Do I Need An Insurance Agent For Medicare?

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With approximately 10,000 people turning 65 every day in the United States, there is a lot of interest in Medicare.  Every day people are searching the internet or opening the 150 page Medicare & You handbook to learn about the rules, the features, the benefits and the choices they have when it comes to Medicare.  One of the first questions people often ask of themselves is “Do I need an insurance agent for Medicare?”  Well, Medicare is not complicated, although the new terms can be confusing at first.  It does take time to learn, especially for those that do not work with insurance every day.  And it is easy to miss important information and to make wrong choices that cost thousands of dollars down the road.  The right insurance professional can help save you time, reduce confusion or the frustration of learning something new and can save you thousands of dollars in medical expenses that you may not be considering when wading knee-deep in Medicare regulation.  This guide to finding an insurance agent who will represent your best interest will help.

 Read this article or watch our updated article in video format!

 

Help with MedicareWhat we have found in our many years of experience in the industry is that most people who choose not to seek the help of a professional agent do so because they fear being sold something.  It’s like how I feel when I walk into a car dealership.  I want a car, and I wouldn’t mind some honest help in considering what to purchase, but I don’t want to be sold a car.  I understand. 

A second reason for not seeking advice from a professional is the belief that you can get all the information you need on their own.  Well, that is true, the information is available. However, as a wise man once told me; “Knowledge is not wisdom, and wisdom is not experience.”  Anyone can get the knowledge they need from the Medicare & You handbook and the Choosing a Medigap Policy publication.  You can even call Medicare or other government services.  But, none of those sources can pass along what a good professional has learned from experience.

If you are concerned that an insurance professional will try to sell you something, this article is for you.  This is a guide to finding an insurance professional who will represent your best interest and will add value to your process in learning about Medicare and making the right choice in plans at the best price available.

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How Floridians Save On Medicare Supplement Insurance

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Save on Medicare Supplement PlansMedicare beneficiaries in Florida have the same Medicare Supplement and plan choices as seniors in most states.  However, because Medicare Supplement plans in Florida are priced “as issued” instead of by age, they are significantly more expensive than most other states.  This throws the pricing metric off so that plans that are the best value in other states are a poor value in Florida.  It’s also why only 30% of people in Florida turning 65 choose Medicare Advantage plans, a slightly higher percentage than the national average. In this article, we show some tips and tricks for How Florida residents save on Medicare Supplement insurance plans.

No matter where you live in Florida, there are three main Medicare Supplement plans that you should consider.  For each plan, the prudent consumer will compare the plan features as well as prices. Those plans are Medicare Supplement Plan F, Medicare Supplement Plan N and Medicare Supplement Plan F-HD (high deductible).

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