Minggu, 16 September 2012

Are Medicare Advantage Plans A Better Choice?

By Wiley P Long

One of the biggest selling points that Medicare Advantage Plans have is their low cost. The federal government still subsidies these plans and has a new strategy that makes certain ones more attractively priced. They are now rated on a five-star scale and a high rating means more federal funding. That, in turn, means premiums can be low because the insurance company is earning more federal money on the plan.

Medicare Advantage Plans See A Decrease In Premiums

Medicare Advantage Plans are expected to be less expensive in 2012. A four-percent drop in cost, averaging $32 a month, is being projected? That's pretty remarkable considering that certain of these policies already cost $0 above the price of Medicare Part B premiums.

In 2012, Medicare Part B premiums will only rise by $3.50 for the majority of beneficiaries. This is the first time in three years, though, that Medicare beneficiaries have had any increase in those premiums.

For beneficiaries who spend enough in out-of-pocket costs to meet the Part B deductible, there will be some savings. The $162 deductible is being reduced to $140 for 2012. Beneficiaries don't need to meet the deductible before a long list of preventive health care services will be covered, either. These preventive services are age specific so living longer may actually entitle you to more covered health care.

Medicare Advantage Plans Are Expected To See Growth In Membership

Only about 25 percent of those eligible for Medicare currently get benefits through one of the Medicare Advantage Plans. However, with the decrease in premiums, private insurance companies are expecting to see an increase in the number of enrollees in 2012.

The other big selling point that Advantage plans have is low cost combined with expanded coverage. The plans are required to provide all of the traditional Medicare benefits by law, but most plans add on extra value. They typically pay benefits for dental services, help with hearing aids and offer some coverage for vision care.

In addition, there's another reason to choose an Advantage plan. They offer guaranteed acceptance for all pre-existing health conditions except End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).

With these benefits, it's hard to understand why more Medicare beneficiaries aren't exploring this option. It could give them additional coverage for the same price they are already paying.

Medicare Advantage Plans Vary In Availability

Certain areas of the country, like urban settings, may have a choice of two dozen MA Plans, but no Advantage plans are available in some parts of the nation. If you're fortunate enough to have several options where you live, be sure to compare both coverage and cost.

MA Plans come from private insurance companies, which set their own rules within the range that Medicare allows. To ensure that you will get your money's worth, be sure you read how the coverage is provided. For instance, Advantage plans set up their own separate networks of providers and don't pay for non-emergency care provided by those outside of that network. That makes it essential to check the list of doctors and see whether your doctor is considered to be in-network.

Medications are another important issue. Unlike traditional Medicare, Advantage plans do cover medications, but not every prescription may be eligible. Compare your list of medicines with the plan's coverage.

The last consideration deals with timing. When you're first eligible to enroll in Medicare, you have the option of signing up for an Advantage plan instead. After that period passes, you can only join an Advantage plan between October 15 and December 7. If you find you prefer traditional Medicare, you can switch back between January 1 and February 14 of the next year. If you decide to keep your MA plan, the coverage will be effective by January 1.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6863664

How To Choose Among The Greatest Medicare Advantage Plans

By Roderick F McGough

When you begin to get close to the age of 65, you may be unhappy about your growing years, but there are some good benefits waiting for you. You have been working your entire lifetime in order to get both Social Security and Medicare and today is the right time to begin reaping the rewards. Though these are great benefits to own, they also come with their fair share of challenges and one of those is selecting the right Medicare Advantage Plans.

The whole Medicare program was redeveloped several years back and it seems that there are still lots of people who are totally overwhelmed about how it does work. For instance, there are Part A, B, C, and D, and several individuals become very confounded that they fail to take advantage of what the government is offering. So, if you have Medicare at this moment, then you ought to know about what Medicare Advantage Plans can do for you.

These are programs that you can get rather than basic Medicare and there are advantages and disadvantages. For example, with Medicare, you will end up stuck with your medication expenses, but with Medicare Advantage Plans, you should have much of that covered. Meanwhile, when you select an Advantage plan, you may be limited to the doctors and medical centers that you could see. Apart from having a prescription plan literally rolled into Medicare Advantage Plans, they can sometimes also have dental and vision, it depends on the program that you get. It is important to keep in mind that even though these are partly funded by the government's Medicare plan, there will always be some cost to you each month, although nowhere near as much as you'd pay if you decided on a Medicare supplemental plan.

People who are not actually choosy regarding the doctor that they visit as well as who likewise want the comfort that having prescription and health care in the exact same plan often choose Medicare Advantage Plans. These are usually a lot easier to handle in terms of documentation and the overall cost to the customer is much less than it is with a supplemental plan. Then again, you could still be out of pocket for a few expenses, so this is certainly not a free ride throughout your life. Since this is an extremely different program as compared to standard medical insurance, you should either speak with your insurance agent, or use the internet to match various programs. What is important to find out is that the amount of the premiums is really quite low and that is exactly because Medicare is picking up almost all of the expense. You should also keep in mind that enrolling in this kind of plan sooner rather than later will end up saving you in the end. The older you are when you join, the higher it will set you back.

One mistake that most seniors make is overestimating the value of their Medicare plan. While it may seem to cover a lot of your medical care when you are in good shape, if you ever get ill or wounded, you may end up with a very undesirable surprise in the form of a huge expenses in the mailbox. What is more intense is that you may be denied medical care because you don't have enough money to pay for it, but with Medicare Advantage Plans, that is something that will surely never happen.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7102758

Why You Need To Be Aware Of Medicare Advantage Plans

By Roderick F McGough

Once you turn 65, you will have a loads of paperwork to accomplish. You might be retiring from your employment, and you may also need to communicate with Social Security who will start mailing you checks or making monthly deposits into your bank account. You will also choose to take advantage of Medicare and also what it provides. But, before you consider that Medicare will absolutely protect your medical care requirements for the rest of your life, you have to do your quest. What you should determine is that Medicare only includes so much and in case you prefer full coverage, then you need to look into few of the Medicare Advantage Plans that you can get.

These are, typically, upgraded Medicare plans that you pay a little extra for. In exchange for helping out the government with the amount for your healthcare, you will definitely get more satisfying protection, yet you will still actually be on a Medicare plan. This is much different than a supplemental plan, which is a plan that you purchase separate and only kicks in when Medicare fails to pay.

Whenever you enroll in Medicare, you will be able to go with the regular program, which will be the cheapest, or you could choose to upgrade it in some manner. Just one way of doing that is by getting Medicare Advantage Plans. They are owned by private agencies, but they're funded by Medicare and your payment to essentially grant you private insurance. The nice thing about this sort of policy is that there is not a lot of documents on your part and several of the programs feature stuff like vision coverage, dental coverage and prescription coverage. Hence, if you are on one of the many Medicare Advantage Plans, you'll not be on a Medicare Part D plan, which is a prescription plan.

These are among the most famous kinds of plans because they are absolutely simple to set up and the premium is especially affordable. Surely, you may run the potential risk of winding up with some sort of a bill in the future as no coverage is complete, but at least you'll have a lot more coverage rather than if you had Medicare alone. Additionally, having a prescription plan included in your program makes it easier for you to purchase your prescription drugs and you may normally discover that you get a best reduction rather than if you picked a different prescription plan.

There are lots of agencies that presently offer Medicare Advantage Plans, so that you may want to shop around to discover which ones cover the medical professionals that you are used to visiting and will give you the most money for your dollar. Apart from purchasing a low monthly premium, you also need to make sure that you will get the greatest possible cap on the plan, which is the most amount the program will pay for any certain health problems or hospital stay.

If you are in good condition and you have no reason to visit the doctor's office, you may not think that this sort of insurance is all that beneficial, but it will be at some point. By making sure that you utilize Medicare Advantage Plans while they are available to you, your chances of guaranteeing that you receive the healthcare you want at a price that you can afford are much better and you'll have one less factor to deal with.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7102781

A Unique Approach to Medicare Health Plans

By Danilo Orina

To be eligible you must qualify for Medicare part A and already be enrolled in Medicare part B and register during the open enrollment period.

Kaiser not only provides Medicare health plans, it also provides the medical care and integrates your coverage and care into a single location so it may be easily retrieved by any provider in the network, or by you online. Pharmacists, nurses, doctors, and lab techs can all input data into your Kaiser medical record and be kept apprised of changes in your condition and prescriptions.

When you enroll in a Kaiser Medicare plan, you will only visit Kaiser facilities for treatment; this includes lab work, X-rays, and pharmacy. The results of your test can be posted to your electronic medical record so you can quickly have access to the results by logging into your account.

Kaiser Medicare provides coverage for medical care, dental, hearing, vision, and hospitalization. Your electronic medical record keeps tabs of your tests and drugs ands allows you to reorder medications at the click of a mouse. You can print copies of your medications and medical tests for your own use or to take on medical visits.

You are free to choose your doctor and seek second opinions so long as the medical providers are in the Kaiser Permanente network. Kaiser also offers you online wellness tools and healthy living classes. The Kaiser website enables you to email the pharmacy or doctor's office, schedule appointments, keep an eye on appointments, order medications, research medial information, and use health calculators and widgets.

Since you are required to use doctors and facilities in the Kaiser Permanente network, Kaiser Medicare plans will not pay for routine medical care that is provided by doctor's outside of the network. You'll have to pay the costs up front. The exception is if you reside in DC, Virginia, Ohio, or Maryland and also have the Medicare Plus plan. You can visit any doctor but must pay standard Medicare rates. If you are traveling and have emergency medical expenses, most plans will pick up the cost.

Because there are differences in the Kaiser Medicare plan depending upon the plan you choose and your location of residence, it is necessary that you take time to fully understand each plan and pick the one that fits your lifestyle and medical condition. You can only change plans once a year during open enrollment if you pick a plan you don't like, you will be stuck with it for quite quite a long time.

Medicare health plans generally offer more benefits that Medicare alone. The advantage of the Kaiser Medicare plan is how they have developed the electronic patient record that keeps all of your vital data automatically updated and available for every healthcare provider to access. Another advantage is perhaps you can access your information easily as well, so you are never left in the dark about your problem.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/4819507

How Medicare Supplement Plans Affect Seniors Above 65

By Richard Dante Cantu

Medicare Supplement Plans are utilized to support health care costs which are not covered by the original Medicare plan. The coverage costs can very a bit from company to company and with different plans since the different organizations charge many different premiums. This insurance also helps with co-payments and deductibles. Seniors who are enrolled in a Medicare Benefit Plan do not qualify for a Medicare Supplement Plan. All Medicare supplement policies should be clearly identified as such. These policies are required to have comparable if not identical benefits.

Advantages like long-term care, eyeglasses, dental care, etc. Are not covered by these policies. The insurance providers may well determine which types of policies they sell but state laws affect the policies which are offered. Occasionally, insurance providers ought to sell you a policy regardless of any health difficulties you've got particularly if you are making application throughout open enrollment. At times other than open enrollment, the insurance organization can refuse to problem you a policy when you have preexisting conditions. Simply because a lot of people today have medical issues, the very best time to buy a policy is during open enrollment..

You will, as a result, basically be wasting your time by attempting to find plans via these websites. Even though they may possibly put on the front and appear to be helping you generate plans, the primary objective would be to simply gather together your info. This will then be sold on and you'll end up being bombarded by promotions from other corporations. This, in turn, basically makes the entire process even far more irritating and frustrating.

So that you can keep away from the situation you consequently need to have to take several actions. It is critical for you to make sure that any provider that you deal with is a fully licensed broker who is really selling insurance. You'll find a couple of techniques in which you can tell whether or not this is the case. First of all they'll virtually constantly have a toll free number that it is possible to call. Second of all, they will promise that the data that you provide will never be passed on to a third party.

To be able to uncover the most effective Medicare Supplement Plans, consequently, you'll want to take benefit of an agent as they will be in the most beneficial feasible position to locate the most effective feasible policies that will be suitable for you. Typically this is a much far better selection than going straight to a huge firm and via an independent broker you may be able to find the very best alternatives obtainable.

While coverage and cost ought to be significantly the same from provider to provider, certain things can change. Most noticeably is the flexibility of a plan to adapt to life's ups and downs and, take on extra expense. Ideally, a plan ought to supply as much flexibility as possible, though it's worth mentioning that the premiums will likely be higher for this privilege.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5748552

Sabtu, 15 September 2012

How Medicare Advantage Plans Open Enrollment Period Lets You To Switch From Medigap

By Wiley P Long

The open enrollment period for 2011 Medicare Advantage plans and prescription drug plans is from November 15 to December 31 in 2010. You can find hundreds of different types of these plans across the country, with different co-insurance, deductibles and premiums so procrastinators will be doing themselves a favor by shopping early.

Starting in 2011, you will no longer have the traditional period from January 1 to March 31 to make additional changes once you're enrolled. That makes it even more important to compare all of your options thoroughly.

Approximately 11.8 million Medicare beneficiaries were already enrolled in Advantage coverage plans as of September 30. That amounts to almost a quarter of all the people enrolled in Medicare.

How Do Medicare Advantage Plans Work?

These plans are from private insurance companies that provide insurance for seniors and certain people with disabilities. These plans are subsidized by the government and the plans typically compete with extras not available in Original Medicare, such as dental, hearing or vision coverage. With the subsidies, their premiums were lower than standard Part B Medicare premiums, but subsidies have come under scrutiny. The federal government has frozen subsidies during performance evaluations. Some Advantage coverage plans may earn bonuses, but under-performing plans face a loss of subsidies and that may result in higher premiums.

Most of these plans include prescription drug coverage that is comparable to Medicare Part D. Advantage coverage plans are also typically managed care plans, such as a health maintenance organization (HMO) or a preferred provider organization (PPO) plans. You typically have to choose a primary care physician and see that doctor for a referral before you can see a specialist.

Your access to doctors, hospitals or other medical providers may be restricted to the plan's provider network, too. A few insurers do have what are known as Private Fee-for-Service plans, which may let you to see any doctor or use any Medicare-approved hospital. Such plans may have co-pay charges for doctor visits, but you wouldn't be required to select a primary care physician or get a referral in order to see a specialist.

All of these plans provide all of your Part A and Part B Medicare coverage, including emergency and urgent care coverage. The plans don't cover hospice care because Original Medicare will provide that coverage even after you enroll in one of the Advantage coverage plans.

How Do I Join One Of The Medicare Advantage Plans?

Generally, you can join an Advantage coverage plan if you have Medicare Part A and Part B and you live in an area where there is an Advantage plan that accepts new members.

If you are switching to a different Advantage coverage plan, all you have to do is join the new plan and you will automatically be disenrolled from your old plan. You will not have any lapse in your coverage.

As long as you are enrolled in any Advantage plan, you do not need to buy Medicare Supplement insurance. In fact, it is illegal for anyone to sell you any of the ten Medigap policies if you are in an Advantage plan. The benefits offered by Medigap policies are covered by Advantage plans and Medicare Supplemental insurance will not pay for your Advantage plan co-insurance, co-pays or deductibles.

What Do Medicare Advantage Plans Cost?

These plans have been inexpensive or even free in certain cases. With the freeze on government subsidies, you may see higher premiums, co-insurance or co-pay charges or reduced benefits. Nevertheless, these plans must continue to provide all of the benefits that are available through Original Medicare, though.

Medicare sets certain rules that all Advantage plans must follow, but these plans may include co-insurance charges on durable medical equipment like wheelchairs, add co-pay charges to see doctors, set an annual deductible you must meet before your prescriptions are covered or raise your premiums.

The only way to be sure you have the best Medicare supplement and are getting the most out of Medicare is to take a serious look at all of the Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Supplement plans available in your area

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5394746

Smart Alternative To Medicare Advantage

Medicare Supplement Plan N
By David Forbes

What makes Medicare supplement plan N a good alternative to an Advantage plan? Your Medicare Advantage plan can change every year. The benefits can change, the premium can increase or the plan may not renew for the following year. What if you don't like the changes? Or maybe your Medicare Advantage plan is not renewing for the following year.

Take a look at Medicare supplement plan N as a viable alternative. Plan N was introduced in June 2010 as one of the new Modernized Medicare supplement plans. Plan N offers more freedom than an Advantage plan, as well as lower premiums than most other Medicare supplement plans. In some cases, it will have lower premiums than some of the Medicare Advantage options that are available. Benefits are fairly comprehensive Benefits of plan N include: Medicare Part A:

    Part A hospital deductible
    Part A hospital coinsurance
    Skilled nursing facility coinsurance
    Hospice co-payment/coinsurance

Medicare Part B:

    Part B outpatient coinsurance

Other Benefits

    Foreign travel emergency - 80% to lifetime max of $50,000 after $250 calendar year deductible
Premiums for Medicare supplement plan N are less than other supplements because the policy holder will share some of the outpatient costs. If you purchase this supplement, you will be responsible for:

    The Part B deductible - currently $155 annually
    Up to a $20 co-pay for a doctors visit
    Up to a $50 co-pay for an emergency room visit

Why Medicare supplement Plan N is a smart alternative to a Medicare Advantage plan When you purchase plan N you are not bound by any network restrictions like many Advantage plans. Also, supplements offer standardized benefits from one company to the next and are readily accepted by medical providers. Because these are standardized plans, it is easy to compare one company to another. The difference between plan N from one company to the next is price and the perceived level of customer service.

Other than the small co-pays for doctors visits and ER visits, you will have very little out-of-pocket expense. No deductibles or daily co-pays for inpatient hospital stays are required. You may have less out-of-pocket expenses for some outpatient procedures. Many Advantage plans require the same coinsurance levels as original Medicare for outpatient surgery and other medical services. Your plan N supplement will cover the 20% coinsurance for outpatient surgery that Medicare doesn't pay. Unlike an Advantage plan, plan N is not an annual plan and you are not subject to enrollment periods. Many providers are offering plan N with limited underwriting and pre-existing conditions are not relevant in many cases. If your Medicare Advantage plan is not being renewed you are guaranteed acceptance into a Medicare supplement plan.

What are you missing?

Supplements fill in the gaps left by Medicare. You are generally not afforded additional benefits, like dental, vision or gym memberships. So you need to determine the importance of these ancillary services compared to the freedom and level of coverage offered by the supplement. Medicare supplements do not include Part D drug coverage. You will need to purchase a separate drug plan and will still be subject to Part D enrollment periods. Whether or not the plan will fit your budget is obviously a huge factor. But that said, there are Advantage plans with higher premiums than plan N.

One benefit of a standardized plan, is that it lends itself to being easy to shop for online. Unlike an Advantage plan, you don't need to review dozens of brochures to learn about the differences from one plan to the next. The benefits are the same with Medicare supplement plan N no matter which company you are looking at and you should be able to compare plans online with little trouble.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5027333