I’m Matthew Claassen at Medigapseminars.org Whether you’re new to Medicare and are just researching your options or you’ve had Medicare for while and want to know if you can get a better value than Medicare plan that you have now this video is for you. We’re going to go over the 10 things that you need to know to find the best value out of your Medicare. First, of course, are the free governments resources that are available to you. The two primary resources are Medicare & You guidebook which comes once a year. You can order it in hardcopy online and sent to you from Medicare.gov I prefer you can download a copy and have it accessable on your computer. This has all the the features the benefits of Medicare and the phone numbers to contact information that you need. In addition to that, and often neglected publication, is the Choosing a Medigap Policy. This is specific to Medicare supplements and has more information on Medicare supplements than the Medicare & You guidebook It also shows you how to compare the supplements and how to a shop for a Medicare supplement plan. In addition to that there is our own web site. You can go to MedigapSeminars.org. Up in the top menu, under the learning zone come down to the index, and what you’ll find as we’ve indexed the resources that are available to you as well as the many articles and videos and that we’ve already published. For example if you want to download a copy of the Medicare & You guidebook, you can do that. The same with the Choosing a Medigap policy. You have direct access to Medicare.gov, also a great resource for you. That is where you can order the two guides. Of course, if you’re new to Medicare you’ll need to go to the Social Security website because you actually sign up for Medicare through Social Security. The Social Security website also has a number of very useful calculators and tools to try to figure out whether you should take your Social Security payments now, or put them off until later. One of the other features we added is the table of Medigap policies. This table is found in both the a publications we had already mentioned. This table is just a quick reference. You can easily seen the Medicare supplements that you have available to you, that are named by letter. There are other benefits and how much are covered. Next is, of course, understanding the difference between a standardized and are regulated plan. This is very important. Your Medicare Supplement plans are standardized. The supplements simply supplement your Original Medicare. Your primary insurance is Original Medicare as is described in the Medicare & You guidebook. The supplement is there so that you’re out-of-pocket expenses are limited to anywhere from zero to just did a couple $100 a year. Being standardized means that they are identical from one company to another. Medicare has standardize the features of each plan so that if you, for example want af Plan F for Plan G it doesn’t matter what company you you purchased the coverage from. The plans are identical from one company to the other. And I stress that they are identical in features and benefits, but not necessarily in price. Medicare supplements, for example, are so standardized that you don’t even have to worry if your doctor accepts that particular insurance coverage. they only have to accept Medicare because your Dr. Bills Medicare. Medicare pays their portion and then they send off the remaining to your supplement company to be covered. The Doctor never even bills your supplement company. The Medicare Advantage plans are not standardize, but they are regulated. They are regulated to provide a certain minimum level of coverage for you. That they can regulated means they provide that minimum level of insurance, but they are not identical from one company to the or one plan to the other. They typically come as HMO’s or PPO’s, and that the all the different features and benefits can change each and every year which is why you have the open season also knows the Annual Election Period (AEP). That goes from October 15 through December 7 each and every year The reason AEP exists is for these Medicare Advantage plans and for your prescription plans because they can and will change every year. They change which doctors can use them, they change the benefits that are available to you, the cost structures all of that. and each and every year you get to look at a plan than the changes that can have for the coming year and decide whether you want to keep it or try to get a new one. So Medicare Advantage plans are not standardized but they are regulated. #3 is that when you shop plans, you want a shop both the company and the plan and price. Here’s why. When you look at the Medicare supplement plans, for example, a company can have a Medicare supplement plan, but they don’t necessarily have all the plans available to them. What does that mean? If you call up of an insurance company and ask them “What is the best supplement plan for me?”… and you happen to live in the state were Plan G is your best value and the insurance company doesn’t offer it! That’s that’s actually quite common. They may offer Plan F and Plan N but not your Plan G The company won’t tell you about it. They don’t have to tell you about it. It’s up to you to shop for the best plan so don’t assume that just because an insurance company offers one Medicare supplement that they’re gonna to offer all of them Next of course it is that even though they may offer different plans, and different company’s plans are exactly the same, the price is not. And again, this is in both the Medicare & You guidebook as well as the Choosing a Medigap Policy. It is stressed that “Different insurance companies may charge different premiums for the exact same policy.” So you can have a Medigap Plan G or Plan F or Plan N from one compan,y and have it priced completely different at another company. The benefits are the same. The features are the same, but the price is different. So it’s up to you to shop for the best price even after you found which plan that you want. The prices are not always subtle differences. Sometimes they are just pennies from one company to another dollars in which case you want to work with the company that are most comfortable with. We work from coast to coast and we do most of the state’s out there. We find that often the best price plan is half the cost of the most expensive plan that’s available to you. We see all the time we’re talking to people and they might be paying $180-$200 a month for a plan that would cost them $90 -$100 a month from a different insurance company. All they have to do is change insurance companies while keeping the exact same plan. It’s important shop both the company and the the price and don’t assume that just because it’s a plan that that you’re interested in that all the companies will offer the same price. # 4 on our list is that if you are going to shop Medicare Supplements Medigap plans you should at least shop these four plans; it’s a Plan F, Plan G, Plan N and a Plan F HD. Understand the features and their prices. We work from coast to coast and find that typically one of these plants are going to be the best plan for you as far as value. We mentioned that Medicare supplements are standardized, so they don’t change every year. But they will change by an act of Congress and there was a wall passed in 2015 that will discontinue Plan F as of 2019. We are discouraging people from one getting into that because, although that if you have a Plan F you’ll be able to keepit there be no new young people entering the plan. No new 65 year olds. So everybody in the Plan F are getting older and will require greater Medical Services and that will make the cost go up. It’s not necessarily the best value. If, for example, something happens and you have a heart attack, stroke or cancer you may not be able to change plans. You can get stuck in a plan that is quite expensive. But, shop these plans and shop at least these four. Next on the list, and also important, # five; know your state laws. State laws do impact both the prices and the value of different plans. For example; there are eight states can call MOM states MOM is Medicare Override Measure. These eight states have adopted of a ruling that adjusts how Medicare can do its job; how Medicare can bill. It actually for the Medicare override measure prevents of any doctor from charging was is called Part B excess charges. Plans F and Plan G, for example, both offer coverage with insurance against part B access charges. If you’re in a state where that’s forbidden, then you’re paying for insurance that you don’t need. Another eight states are Community Rated. What does Community Rated mean? It means that the price of your policy is not adjusted by your age. Everybody who’s in a Plan G is going to pay the same price regardless of age. Everybody in Plan N, the same price regardless of age. There is more important to find the right plan that the that is for you, rather than just shop for the price. You will be also find that the community rating plans are tend to be more expensive for people who are under 75 and 80 and in less expensive for those over 80. There are also four different states that are issue age states and the issue age means that the price cannot change as you get older. It’s stuck at the the age you were when issued or when you purchased the policy. If you purchase a plan at 65, the plan can go up in prices due to inflation but not just because the next year you get to be the 70, or the year after that There are several states where other rulings have altered the value of different plans. There are three states that do their own thing and make everything that we’re looking at here irrelevant to them as far as Medicare supplements are concerened. That is Wisconsin, Minnesota and Massachusetts. They have their own plans completely. If you are a resident of one of those states and really want to get online two your insurance department for your state and online they have got the the plans that are available to you and the prices. #6 is understanding that if you have a Medicare Supplement plan you have the full control and full freedom in your plan. Remember, with a Medicare Supplement there are no changes in the plan. You don’t need to have an annual election period (AEP). you don’t have to worry about what your plan is going to look like in the next year. It’s not going to change and it cannot be canceled unless you stop paying your premium. You don’t have to worry that if a company has raised the price that you have to stay with the plan. They have to give you 45-day notice, the insurance company does, of of a plan price change. to give you time to shop so that you can look around and see if there’s a better priced plan. Since they are all the same, you can shop it anytime, any time of year to find a better price you can go to any doctor, any hospital. You are not limited to a Network, you do not have to worry about referrals. So with the Medicare supplement plan, one of the biggest difference is that it has with vs. a Medicare Advantage is that you have more control and you have more freedom. #7 is understanding that there are two different markets for Medicare Supplement plans. What do we mean by that? I mean that the company that offers the best value when you’re 65 or 67 and new to Medicare is going to be different, on most occasions, than the company that offers the best value when you’re over 70. Why is that? Well, when you’re new to Medicare you have a guarantee issue period. any one can get any plan that they want at the best price available. That is typically from 65 to 67 as people are new to Medicare Part B. Some are older, but the average is 65 -67 years old Your health history is not a concern. Some insurance companies say we want to get that market and build a business that because we know that as people get older and are comfortable with their plans they won’t shop them. Because they are aggressively marketing and pricing towards that guarantee issue regardless of health, they tend to have a pool of seniors that have a less healthy history and are requiring more medical expenses. As a result the prices tend to rise more, or at a faster rate than other plans. The second group are those who intentionally overpriced their plans for to 65-68 year olds. They want to avoid people new to Medicare purchasing the policy. Instead, they focus the over 70-years old market. They want policy holders that have gone through underwriting. Underwritting questions include asking about cancer, heart attac, stroke and major issues For those seniors that are healthier, you find these to be a much better priced product than they would then when they were 65 are 66 and so on. Those companies intentionally overprice themselves for those ages typically involved in the guarantee issue periods. So they can get only a healthier pool of seniors and their company have a lower prices for those typically over 70. And less price increases as time goes on. That means that once you’re in your Medicare supplement policy, you don’t think that you’ve got the best value for the rest of your life. That’s just simply not the case. you want to be able to shop your plan, it costs nothing take a look at least if you’ve had the Medicare for four five years or if its the first Medicare policy you have. At least shop every three or four years to fined out if you can save. If you end up with a large price increase of 9% -10% or more definitely take a look because you will want to be able to save money that point to. # 8 is Medicare is covered by Social Security law. This is important but specific to snowbirds and people that spend a lot of time in two different states during the year When you sign up for Medicare, in your application you are supposed to use your home state. Your home state is defined as the state where you vote and you pay taxes It is suposed to be the same state used to sign up for Social Security are and are accepting your social security income payments. If they are different it opens you up to liability where you could loose your plan when you need it the most. When you look for and shop for Medicare supplement plan you use your home state that should be the same state that have as your home state for Social Security. # 9; an advisor or a salesmen? This is important. There is as a big difference between an insurance agent and an insurance broker. Can you do Medicare alone? Sure you can do- it-yourself, although it’s not ncessarily an easy thing toget to know. But, it’s also important know is that good advice doesn’t cost you anything. You don’t pay for people like us. It is important to understand when you’re being sold something or when you’re being given good advice. An insurance agent is an employee of an insurance company. Talking to them is the same as calling up the insurance company They are not going to offer all the plans that are available to you, and they can only represent the insurance company’s best interest. By contract, they are not allowed to represent yours. An insurance broker should have access to all the plans from all the major carriers that are available so that when you talk a Broker you can see immediately what the prices are and the features of each and every plan, of all your options so that you can make an informed decision # 10! last but not least the knowledge is power When you look at the Choosing a Medigap Policy guide it has a very simple set of steps for you to follow You decide first of course which plan fits your needs. Identify the insurers that offer that plan. Then you shop price. Once you’ve found the best price the best plan and policy you are set. It’s a simple process, but the thing here is having the knowledge to do it is nothing if you don’t follow the directions and then follow the process. Lastly, as a bonus! How to evaluate which is best when you compare a Medicare Supplement with Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan. Or even comparing between Medicare supplements, is to know what we call your MOOP Your MOOP is your Maximum Annual out-of- pocket risk. when you look at some Medicare supplement plans, they bring your maximum out of pocket annual expense to zero. Some to just the Medicare Part B deductible of $166, and some slightly more than that. When you look at a Medicare Advantage plan, look at your maximum out of pocket risk. It’s often between $6,700 and $10,000 per year. That’s how you compare which has more coverage. How much are you financially at risk for if you need it and you are in the Hospital. We hope you found this information useful. Of course, if we can help in any other way give us a call and 1-(800)-847-9680 or please visit the website browse through the other resources and the articles the videos that we have available to you, We are insurance brokers, we deal with all the plans. We can show you all the prices for everything that’s available to you. and talk about the different features and the pros and cons of the different choices that you have based on our experience as well. So thank you very much for watching this video I’m Matthew Claassen at MedigapSeminars.org. We’ll see you next time.