Friday, October 9, 2009

Aetna and Blue Cross Dropping some Medicare Advantage Subscribers

All is not lost when your Medicare Advantage plan terminates your coverage.

Recently, thousands in the Philadelphia area (and other areas) have been notified that their Medicare Advantage plan will terminate as of 12-31-09. While this may be particularly harsh to those on some low premium plans, subscribers in PPO's are finding they may actually be better off.

Depending on you age, and where you live, Medicare Advantage PPO subscribers are finding that a Medicare Supplement plan, also called "Medigap" may be comparable in price, have no co-pays, no doctor networks, and better out of network coverage than they had before. Many are actually saving money when combined with the proper Medicare prescription drug plan.

While it's not true in every case most people we've talk to have been satisfied if not thrilled at the outcome. We would recommend calling the SENIOR ADVISORS GROUP for help and more details. They operate in 11 states with more being added to accommodate terminated Medicare Advantage subscribers. And, since they offer all the top Medicare supplement providers they can reccommend the lowest cost Medicare Supplement plan available in your area. They have also indicated that a new – major - Medicare Supplement provider will launch its Medicare Supplemental Insurance in 32 states on November 1st. I’m told it will be a well recognized brand providing Medigap insurance at - or near - the low end of Medicare supplement premiums in most areas. So with all the stress over terminated Medicare advantage plans, there may be a silver lining, and change in your pocket.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Medicare Supplemental Plans for 2010

Beginning June 1st, 2010 Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap) will include two new choices for consumers - Medicare Supplement Plan M and Medicare Supplement Plan N.

At that time Medigap will eliminate plans E, H, I, and J as the "Preventive Care Benefit" and the "At-home-Recovery" benefit are removed. Once removed these plans – E, H, I, And J – will become identical to other lettered Medicare Supplement plans and thus redundant. Medicare has deemed these two benefits unnecessary in the current Medicare structure. In addition to these changes, a hospice care benefit Co-insurance coverage will be added to all new Medicare Supplement Plans.

Current Medicare Supplement policy holders will be permitted to keep existing Medicare Supplement Insurance policies, however as of June, 2010 enrollment will cease into ALL current plans. It is not necessarily beneficial to purchase one plan over another (purchase the one that fits) because all plans purchased after June 1st will be in the "New" Medicare Supplement Plan policy design. Existing Medicare Supplement policies (Policy holders) will be partitioned into one group and plans purchased after June will be partitioned into new policy groups. However, it is not certain that all Medicare Supplement (Medigap) providers will offer the new plans N and M, so a qualified, independent, advisor is suggested. Since most insurance carriers offer several plans it is important to shop around for the best price. (For more help go to Medicare Advisor)

An independent Medicare Supplement Advisor can assist you in finding a plan now; as well as help in 2010 when the new plans roll out. For individuals turning 65 before June 2010 the independent Advisor will be able to suggest a plan today as well as provide service and alternatives next year when the new plans and premiums become available. Company employed agents may not be the best solution as they can only suggest their companies plans. The Senior Advisors Group (Link) represents most plans in a given area and is very helpful in explaining the various options available today and the new plans coming next year. (including Medicare Advantage) Search Medicare Plans in your area

New Medigap Plan Design

Medicare Supplement Plan N will have similar benefits to Plan D, but there will be a $20 co-payment for doctor visits and a $50 co-payment for emergency room visits. It is believed that this co-pay will apply after the $135 deductible is paid. But there is some uncertainty as to how the deductible and co-pay will be applied. The good news is the cost of these plans is expected to have premiums around 70% of the cost of Plan F or about 77% of current plan D. Medicare Supplement Plan M will also offer similar benefits to Plan D, but will only cover 50% of the part A deducible and none of the part B deductible. The cost of Plan M is expected to price at approximately 85% of Plan F (or 92% of current plan D).

Industry experts are enthusiastic about these changes as consumers will be attracted by the lower premiums. As usual these plans were designed by academics’ with zero understanding of what consumers want and we're not certain the design fits exactly what consumers’ desire. I.e. these plans (M & N) don't include the $135 deductible nor do they include excess charges allowed by most states. However, we do expect the introduction of Medicare Supplement Plan M and Medicare Supplement Plan N along with other changes to provide a real opportunity for consumers. For plan information in your area go to Find Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plans. An internal consultant from the Senior Advisors Group will provide information on available plans, and answer questions about the best options and lowest premiums available in your area. (No salesman will visit your home)