Guide to Open Registration for Medicare in 2018

Each Medicare term seems to have a significant buzz around it every fall. That’s why the beginning of the annual enrollment period, the biggest season of Medicare, begins on October 15th. This is the only time you can make any changes to the plans of Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D.

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The annual enrollment period, also known as the Annual Election Period or the Medicare Open Enrollment, begins on October 15 and lasts until December 7 each year. This time is important for those who have a Medicare Advantage plan. It’s the only time of the year when you can withdraw your Medicare Advantage plan and sign up for Original Medicare. Once you have done so, you can sign up for a Medicare Supplementary Plan and get full coverage for all your medical needs.

Generally speaking, this period is most important for all Medicare beneficiaries, because only then can they change their Part D plans. Part D covers prescription drugs. It is recommended that everyone enroll in a Part D plan to make sure they are approved for prescription drugs if they need to take medication. Otherwise, there are significant costs.

How to Sign off a Medicare Advantage Plan

It’s easy to end your Medicare Advantage plan. First, make sure you are in the annual registration period (15 October – 7 December). You cannot end your plan outside this period. Contact your plan directly if you are in this period. They will help you unsubscribe from your Medicare Advantage plan. Deregistration may vary depending on the plan. The safest way to contact your plan, however, is to make a call. You can also reach Medicare by calling 1 (800) MEDICARE. You can also end your plan by calling this number also.

You can also join or switch to Medicare Advantage plans at this time. However, we find that most seniors save the most money and get the most coverage while using Original Medicare and a Medicare supplement plan. Every situation is different for every senior, so talking to an agent is the best way to find out which plan is best suited to your needs.

 

 

 

How to enroll for Medicare Part D plans

As mentioned above, during the annual registration period you can also join, change or delete Part D plans. An easy-to-follow step-by-step guide has been created on how to get one of these plans.

The cost of Part D in 2019 will vary from one plan to another. Minimal coverage is provided by some plans, and this result in lower premium, though other plans can offer optimal coverage with a high premium. High income individuals may also pay extra for monthly part D premium.

It is recommended that each senior receives a plan for Part D. Even if you are healthy and you are currently not taking any prescription drugs, unplanned medical costs can be incurred at any time.

Add a Medicare supplement plan

After dropping Medicare Advantage and signing up for Medicare Advantage, most seniors can get the most savings by including a Medicare supplement plan.

 

Vasectomy: Is it Covered Under Medicare?

Unfortunately, vasectomies won’t be covered under your Original Medicare (part A and part B) plan. There are some Medicare Advantage coverages which might be able to pay for vasectomies, however, it is not obligatory for an insurance provider to cover them. In case you are already enrolled in MA plan, you must get in touch with your policy provider in order to see whether your selected coverage will be able to pay for vasectomy. However, more often than not, the procedure might not be covered by your current plan.

 

Despite the fact that Medicare Part A and Part B doesn’t cover vasectomy or similar birth control procedures, your doctor might advice you a reasonable option for avoiding pregnancy. In addition, you might also find an alternative health coverage if covering vasectomy costs by yourself is not an option for you.

 

Sterilization & Medicare:

 

Under Medicare, any sort of sterilization will only be covered when it’s essential for treating an injury or illness.

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If the sterilization is elective, like the one in case of a hysterectomy, tubal ligation, or vasectomy where it is the basic purpose, it won’t be covered by your Original Medicare Policy.

 

Even though the benefits of Part A as well as Part B Medicare can be received through a Medicare Advantage Plan, you must remember that the Advantage Plan is run by private insurance agencies and not by the government. The Medicare Advantage plan in addition to these benefits also offer some additional benefits which aren’t covered by your Original Medicare Plan. Hence, there is a possibility that you might see the sterilization procedure as one of the additional benefits under your Medicare Advantage plan. Nonetheless, it is always best to contact your insurance company prior to scheduling your appointment.

 

Does Medicare Supplement Plans Cover Vasectomy?

 

Medigap otherwise known as Supplemental Plans won’t cover your vasectomy either. These plans are intended to help seniors above the age of 65 to cover some of their out of the pocket expenses related to their Original Medicare Coverage. More often than not, these will be typically in the form of co-payments, coinsurance & deductibles. Contact your Medigap policy provider to get more info that is specific to your requirements.

 

To sum up, you can get your Vasectomy costs covered by some Medicare Advantage Plans, however, do not expect that they will be covered by your Original Medicare or Medigap policy. You can also contact an experienced and reputed Medicare consultant and let them know your exact requirements to get the best coverage within your given budget.

Things Not Covered by Your Medicare

Many people consider Medicare as comprehensive coverage similar to group insurance coverages they’re used to.

 

Just like a group insurance policy, Medicare can cover a person’s basic health care requirements. However, hearing, vision and dental coverage won’t be a part of your Medicare plan.

 

It’s wise to appoint an experienced insurance broker or research your chosen plan thoroughly so that you don’t end up selecting a plan which doesn’t fulfill your needs.

 

Medicare will indeed cover annual eye examinations for glaucoma. Individuals suffering from macular degeneration & diabetic retinopathy can also get their eye examinations done without any out of pocket charges. However, you must ensure to choose an ophthalmologist who accepts assignments from Medicare. Any regular eye examinations, lenses, frames, etc. will be the patient’s responsibility.

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Dental care will only be covered by Medicare in case the of an emergency. Diagnostic hearing exams will be covered if your doctors believes they’re essential for determining whether additional treatment is required. Regular hearing examinations, tests and aids won’t be covered by your Medicare.

 

Dental, hearing & vision coverage might be offered as an add-on in some MA plans.

 

This might result in a lot of confusion for seniors who stay in Regular Medicare. Prior to having your treatment, you must ensure your provider will accept your MA policy. Although it covers services, each case is considered unique and you might be accountable for 100 percent charges if you choose a provider who’s out of your network.

 

In case you go with an Advantage plan which does cover the hearing, dental, & vision, then you must remember that your primary-care doctor might not accept such kind of coverage. You might also be asked for referrals before a specialist sees you plus often times there will be additional underlying expenses that you may be required to pay for.

 

So, it is highly recommended that you understand your personal insurance requirements in order to know how much coverage you’ll be comfortable with. Also, Medicare Supplement Plans can be a great option to minimize out of pocket costs associated with your Medicare health coverage.

 

Don’t fall for a plan which does not suit you and you’re purchasing it simply because it covers vision, hearing and dental care. There may be several other things which you want to consider so that you do not get disappointed by your choice later.

The Easiest Way to Pay for Medicare

After picking the required Medicare plan, the next thing you must know is how to pay for the policy. This is a crucial part because it does not actually work like regular employer health coverage premiums which are taken off the employee’s paycheck. In fact, very few individuals explain this procedure to you when you enroll yourself in Medicare.

 

If you’re like one of those who frequently travels or has another house, then it is important to know how various Medicare bills work so that you do not end up missing one.

 

For knowing how you will be billed, it’s important to confirm whether you’re drawing benefits of your Social-Security-Retirement.

 

In case you’re drawing these benefits, you’ll have Part B Medicare premium along with any income-associated monthly adjustment amount withdrawn automatically from Social-Security-Check.

 

In case you aren’t presently drawing these benefits, there are a number of modes of payment available to you. Nonetheless, if you come in this category, you’ll be getting “Medicare-Premium-Bill.” The bill will cover Part A Medicare in case it’s applicable & Part B Medicare.

 

Medicare Part C & D, along with the Medicare Supplement Plan will be billed separately.

 

Part A, as well as Part B Medicare, is billed every 3 months, and the premiums will be applicable on the 25th of that month. Medicare issues another bill in case they don’t receive the payment in a timely manner. A notification of negligence will also be issued in case you fail to make a payment by the due date mentioned on your second billing notification.

 

You might also lose the Medicare coverage as a result of non-payment. Thus, it’s essential that you stay aware of your billing notices in order to make payments on time.

 

Along with Social Security deductions, you have 4 other modes of payment:

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Money order

Debit/credit card

Check

Auto-Clearing House (ACH) through the checking account

 

ACH forms can be an option if you want to have the premium amount deducted each month. Typically, payments are withdrawn on 20th of each month.

 

Another free to use service that Medicare offers is known as “Medicare-Easy-Pay”. It’ll deduct the premium amount from either your savings or checking account. This needs you to complete an authorization form & return it to the Medicare.

 

We highly suggest that you set-up ACH if possible so that you can enjoy the vacations without worrying about Medicare bills.  Also, this is one of the easiest means to pay your Medicare bills.

 

Non-Smokers Can Save As Much as 10-Percent on their Medigap Plan F

Seniors who are 65 or older wanting to enroll in Medigap Plan F can save up to 10 percent on monthly premiums provided they don’t smoke, according to researchers in this field.

 

Medicare Supplement Plan tends to vary significantly from one state to another, just like state-level compliance & underwriting rules.

 

In a few states, it can be illegal to charge someone who smokes for their Supplemental coverage while some states might not allow an insurance company to charge men & women a separate amount.

 

For instance, in states which allow a different price for each gender, it is typical for men to pay five percent more as compared to women when it comes to Medigap Plan F once they become eligible for a Medicare Coverage.

 

Among the ten Medigap plans offered nationwide, forty percent of the people who’re enrolled in Medigap plan have chosen Plan F, making it a favorite choice among seniors.

 

On contrary, only thirteen percent of the people enrolled in the Supplemental plan have chosen Plan C.

 

After comparing an average monthly premium amount of both smokers as well as non-smoker enrolled in Medigap Plan F, in one of the twenty-two states, it was concluded that:

 

Smokers are likely to pay, on average, 10 percent more for Medigap Plan F.

Non-smokers don’t receive any discount in most states across the country.

The state of Alaska offered the lowest monthly premium for those who don’t smoke. ($128 compared to $140 per month for smokers)

The monthly premium for non-smokers was highest in Maine ($209 compared to $230 for smokers).

 

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  1. Issue age rated

 

In this, a person’s age plays a major role in calculating their premium when they initially decide to purchase the plan. But, premiums might increase as a result on inflation & other similar factors every year. At the moment, this type of coverage is restricted to a few states where it is mandatory.

 

  1. Community rated

 

Under this plan, each member, irrespective of his/her age will need to pay the same amount. But, premiums might increase every year as a result of external factors.  You might have a tough time finding one of these plans nowadays.

 

  1. Attained-age-rated

 

Here, your premium will depend on your age when you initially sign the coverage. Also, the premium might increase slightly as you age. Additionally, premiums might rise a bit each year because of external factors like inflation.

 

Medicare Supplement Plans: Do They Cover Mental Health?

Mental health is among the most crucial factors of your overall health & well-being which most people ignore. The bad news is, people suffering from a mental disorder might face a lot of challenges while seeking the necessary help if they don’t have any type of coverage.

 

Mental Health and Medicare Supplement Plans:

 

One important thing you must note is that your overall costs will be broken down into hospitalization (Part A Medicare) & medical care (Part B Medicare), and every Supplement plan compensates for these costs in a unique way.

 

Out-Patient Mental Care:

 

If you seek the assistance of a psychologist, or other professionals in this field, or require partial hospitalization, or drugs administered by your mental health care specialist, the Medigap plan will cover the out-of-pocket expenses of your Medicare Part B in the following manner:

 

Every Medigap coverage pays all or a portion of the patient’s Part B coinsurance & copays*.

The only plans which will pay for the patient’s excess charges (charges where the patient sees a physician who doesn’t allow Medicare participants) are plan F and G.

Only Medigap Plans C & F will pay for the patient’s Medicare Part B deductibles

 

In-Patient Care:

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The person is eligible for hospitalization (up to 190 days)  under Part A Medicare & the Supplemental Plan along with some extended visits through the Supplemental Plan. Although Part A Medicare will partially pay for the hospitalization, the patient will still need to pay Part B expenses for their mental health specialist.

 

Medigap Coverage for in-patient hospitalization:

 

Each of the Supplemental plans pays 100 percent of the patient’s Part-A hospitalization copays & coinsurance (note that it is only for hospitalization purpose, the patient will need to pay  doctor copays & coinsurance separately)

Most plans compensate for Medicare Part A deductible** (in case of hospitalization charges, the patient will need to pay a separate deductible for seeing the psychologist)

Each of the Medigap coverages pays 100 percent or a portion of psychiatrist’s coinsurance & copays*.

The only plans to cover Medicare Part B deductible for the physician are Plan C & F.

The excess charges of the psychiatrist will only be covered by Plan F & G.

 

*Medigap Plan L & K needs the enrollee to pay 25 percent and 50 percent respectively while Medigap Plan N needs the enrollee to pay the doctor’s visits copays.

 

**Plan A won’t cover Part A deductibles whereas Plan L & K needs the participant to pay 25% & 50% respectively.

 

Medicare Supplement Plan C & F Will Be Terminated in 2020

Medicare Supplement Plan C & F: A Brief Overview

 

Supplemental Plan C & F are among the most popular Medigap coverages available as of now. The thing which truly sets both these plans apart from other similar coverages is that both of these cover deductible for Part B Medicare.

 

When you compare them, Medigap Plan F offers coverage for Medicare Part B excess charges whereas Medigap Plan C doesn’t.

 

Why Are They Being Terminated?

 

In an effort to minimize costs to Medicare & also to properly pay physicians who allow Medicare patients, the government voted to cut off “1st-dollar coverage”.

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Medigap Plan C & F are very popular since they compensate for quite a lot of things, and that’s the primary concern. As the 1st-dollar plan allows for frequent visits to the doctor, it becomes expensive both doctors as well as Medicare.

 

As a result, starting from 1st Jan, 2020, Plan C & F will no longer be issued. This law will only affect new Medicare participants. Thus, if you are already enrolled in any of these plans, you won’t need to worry about it.

 

Also, those who haven’t already enrolled in any of these plans have the option to enroll in any one of them till 2020.

 

Once the plans have been discontinued, people will still have the choice to participate in identical coverage. Among all the Medicare Supplement plans, Plan G appears to be the closest competitor to Medigap Plan F. Plan G covers almost everything which Plan F does. These also includes excess charges for Medicare Part B. However, it doesn’t cover Medicare Part B deductible. If you found Plan C worth going for, consider Plan D that covers almost everything as Plan C except Medicare Part B deductible.

 

Despite the fact that 2 of the major Supplemental Coverages will be being discontinued after a few years, there is no need to worry because you still have plenty of options.

 

In case you have additional doubts or would like to consider other options, you can always check out the online plan finder tool or simple contact an experienced &licensed agent in your area.

 

Medicare SELECT Plans: Should You Consider Them?

Most seniors who’re a participant of Original Medicare prefer a Medicare Supplement plan to cover their additional health care costs. Enroll in a plan by visiting https://www.medisupps.com/         Folks with a fixed monthly income might find it tough to afford these additional costs. A SELECT plan under Medicare might just be an ideal choice for them!

 

Basically, a SELECT plan can be considered as an affordable twist to a regular Medigap coverage. Majority of the states (besides Minnesota, Wisconsin & Massachusetts) provide ten basic Medigap plans for seniors. The Supplemental plans when combined with your regular Medicare plan help minimize the coverage “gaps”. Supplements help pay for the copays & deductibles which are typically paid by the seniors out of their own pockets.

 

Medicare SELECT: How is it Different?

 

Medicare SELECT coverages are basically Supplemental coverages. Their premium is set much lower because the enrollee is required to select a doctor or a hospital within the provider network of the plan.

Medicare SELECT Benefits:

 

As the plan providers can negotiate costs with healthcare specialists within their network, the premiums for these plans are typically lower than regular Medigap. This way, a Medicare SELECT coverage becomes quite attainable for seniors who’re on a tight budget.

 

But, since these plans concentrate on specific regions, they might not be available everywhere. It is quite likely that the agencies offering Medigap in your locality might not provide Medicare SELECT plans.

 

Still, you should definitely check out these plans and see if they’re available in your area. The most crucial step is considering the network. In case you wish to stay with your present primary health care expert, it’s very critical to see if they are actually included in the network’s list of covered health-care providers. Another advantage to these plans is anyone can try them out for 12 months & the person can still switch back to regular Medigap in case they don’t like the coverage.

 

Taking everything into account, SELECT plans might not be for everyone, however, they can still allow a number of seniors to find reasonable coverage to aid their regular Medicare. In case you find a Medicare SELECT coverage in your locality that offers a decent network, then this might be a perfect option for you which will not only save you some money but also offer quality coverage for your needs.