How Much Does Medigap Cost in Georgia?

How do I find affordable Medigap coverage in Georgia? How are Medicare supplement premiums determined? Is Medigap plan F the best? Which GA carriers have the lowest Medigap cost? Isn’t Medicare Advantage much less expensive? medigap cost

 

How much does Medigap cost in Georgia?

It’s all over the boards. A shrewd shopper can find rates less than $100 per month to over $300.

Some rate factors are beyond your control. Things like where you live and your age are what they are. Younger people (age 65) pay less than someone who is 80. Seniors in Macon pay less than someone in Atlanta.

How do you find the best Medigap rates?

  • Consider something other than plan F
  • Don’t fall prey to the “big company” syndrome
  • Never shop direct with a carrier
  • Don’t allow a stranger in your home that wants to “review your options”

We have access to over 170 Medicare plans in Georgia and will always show you the lowest Medigap cost.

medigap cost

 

Isn’t Medicare Advantage much less expensive?

Yes, and no.

Medicare Advantage plans have lower premiums and are great plans until you get sick and need them. If you don’t have a problem with letting an insurance company pick your doctor for you, and telling you which drugs are covered under their plan, you might actually like an Advantage plan.

Healthy people love Medicare Advantage plans.

Medigap costs less when you need health care.

You can buy a Medigap plan at any time, as long as you are healthy or in a guaranteed coverage time limit.

If you like saving money, and don’t mind a small deductible and doctor copay’s but want the freedom to use any doctor you want, we can show you a Medicare supplement plan that might fit your needs and budget.

Let us help you keep your Medigap cost affordable while offering the most flexibility in coverage.

How Much Does Medicare Supplement Plan F Cost in Georgia?

Is Medicare supplement plan F expensive in Georgia? How much should I expect to pay? Who has the lowest premiums? Is Blue Cross a good Medigap company or is Mutual of Omaha better?

 

Is Medicare supplement plan F expensive in Georgia?

Expensive is a relative term. The real question you should be asking is, do you need all that Medigap plan F has to offer and does it fit your budget?

Plan F is the most comprehensive of all plans in Georgia.  medicare supplement plan f

It is also the most expensive.

Perhaps this is why most agents, especially the ones that insist on coming to your home, only talk about plan F. The more expensive the plan is, the more money the agent makes.

There is nothing wrong with that. The agent has bills to pay. But personally I see no reason why an agent should expect to pay all their bills by selling you the most expensive plan in his briefcase without ever telling you about plans that deliver better value.

What do you think?

 

How much should you expect to pay for Medicare supplement plan F in Georgia.

Well, it depends.

Medigap rates are generally based on your age, zip code and the plan you pick. In most cases there are different rates for males vs. females, tobacco use. Some carriers also adjust rates based on your weight and insulin usage.

A female age 65, non-tobacco user living in Macon, GA could find rates for Medicare supplement plan F starting at $127 per month or as high as $250 per month. If she bought a plan from AARP she would pay $166 per month, or $176 from Blue Cross.

What does she get for an extra $39 per month from AARP or additional $49 from Blue Cross?

Nothing.

Medicare supplement plan F benefits are designed by Medicare. Every plan is exactly identical in every way. When you pay more you don’t get more, you simply paid too much.

Who needs that extra $500 – $600 per year more? You,  AARP or Blue Cross?

Are you paying too much? Most of our clients pocket an extra $450 per year or more in savings.

medicareplansgeorgia (1)

 

 

Is Blue Cross Medicare supplement plan F better than Mutual of Omaha or AARP?

Better? No.

More expensive? Yes.

All Medicare plans are the same. You don’t have to believe me, check it out for yourself in the Choosing a Medigap Plan book from Medicare.

Is there any reason to pay more?

Not that I can think of.

 

Why should I buy a Medigap plan from an insurance agent rather than direct from the carrier?

Good question.

When you buy direct from a carrier (or an agent that only offers one carrier) you get . . .

  • Information on that lone carrier and nothing else
  • If you call the 800 number you “Press 1 for English” followed by get voice mail
  • Calling the carrier direct means you talk with a different person every time
  • Buying direct from the carrier gives you the same rates and plans you could have from an independent agent
  • Carriers generally only call you back when it is convenient for them
  • Carriers don’t answer your email questions
  • Carriers don’t provide a spread sheet comparison of their Medicare supplement plan to other carriers

What’s so special about Bob Vineyard and Georgia Medicare Insurance Shop?

  • You get the benefit of my 38 years experience
  • I am a “boomer” who understands your needs
  • We survey the entire Georgia Medigap market, over 170 plans, and show you the best
  • We know which carriers are brand new and offering “low-ball sucker” rates and which ones have a stable history
  • We can show you the plans with the best value, and that is rarely Medicare supplement plan F . . .

Are you ready to start saving money? Click the image below.

Medicare quote front CW

Affordable Health Care in Georgia Doesn’t Exist in Albany

If you live in southwest Georgia and want affordable health care you are out of luck. The Albany area, served by Phoebe Putney hospitals, has some of the highest prices in the nation. This means Albany are residents pay more for their Obamacare health insurance than just about anyone else.            affordable health care in albany georgia

But wait. It get’s worse.

If you have a Blue Cross #Obamacare plan, Phoebe Putney is not in their HMO network. In fact, there are no BCBSGA participating hospitals within 100 miles of Albany, Georgia. Blue Cross charges more than most other carriers for a similar plan and gives you fewer hospitals.

How do you save money on your health insurance premiums and still have affordable health care in southwest Georgia? We have a solution but you need to understand why health care in Albany is so expensive.

A report from Kaiser Health News details the high cost of affordable care in southwest Georgia and points the blame clearly at Phoebe Putney hospital. But first a little background on their research.

If Lee Mullins lived in Pittsburgh, he could buy mid-level health coverage for his family for $940 a month. If he lived in Beverly Hills, he would pay $1,405.

But Mullins, who builds custom swimming pools, lives in Southwest Georgia. Here, a similar health plan for his family of four costs $2,654 a month.

This largely agrarian pocket of Georgia, where peanuts and pecans are major crops and hunters bag alligators up to 10 feet long, is nearly the most expensive place in the nation to buy health insurance through the new online marketplaces created by the federal health law. The only place with higher premiums are the Colorado mountain resort areas around Aspen and Vail, a high-cost-of-living area unlike Georgia.

The report, while interesting, misses the mark.

Yes, health insurance is high there, partly because of Phoebe Putney, and partially because of Obamacare. But you have options if you want more affordable health insurance coverage and you want to have access to Phoebe Putney hospitals and doctors.

All the dynamics that drive up health costs have coalesced here in Southwest Georgia, pushing up premiums.  Expensive chronic conditions such as obesity and cancer are common among the quarter million people in this region. One hospital system dominates the area, leaving little competition. Only one insurer is offering policies in the online marketplace, and many physicians are not participating, limiting consumer choice.

If want to buy your health insurance on the Obamacare exchange, your only choice is Blue Cross of Georgia.

But if you buy OFF the exchange you have more choices. Georgia Insurance Shop offers consumers in Lee and Dougherty county and surrounding areas several approved ACA health insurance plans that include Phoebe Putney in their network. When you look for affordable health care in Albany you have to know where to shop and compare ACA health insurance options.

We have several health insurance plans with broader networks and much lower premiums than BCBSGA. The Kaiser article implies you don’t have options, but in fact you have several choices. But you need to hurry. Your last chance to sign up for a health insurance plan, or make a change in March 31, 2014. After that your next open enrollment is November, 15.

I bet you didn’t know about that Obamacare requirement. The government considers that a feature, not a bug.

You can have affordable health care in southwest Georgia but you have to think beyond Blue Cross. Click now to find health insurance plans in your area.

Obamacare Plans Block Access to Health Care

Thousands of patients are scrambling to get medical procedures done before the new year. Why? New Obamacare plans block access to health careaccess to health care providers.

Those who were receiving medical care before being forced to sign up to a new plan on HealthCare.gov will, in many cases, be locked out of hospitals and prevented from seeing doctors who they had typically used. The WSJ contends that about 70% of new plans are more restrictive in the range of doctors and hospitals available to patients than their predecessors.

Breitbart

Most ACA Obamacare health insurance plans sold on the exchange in Georgia are HMO policies with limited access to health care from doctors and hospitals. Some plans only have one hospital in network. If you live in rural Georgia you may drive past several hospitals to get to one that is in your network.

If you buy a Blue Cross of Georgia plan your only choice, on or off the exchange, is an HMO. When you have an HMO you have limited access to health care.

If you want unfettered access to health care you need to consider broad network PPO plans available OUTSIDE the exchange. Bob Vineyard at Georgia Insurance Shop can help you choose from up to 80 different ACA health insurance plans that are only available off the exchange.

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act may argue that procedures will continue to be available, the plans severely curb access to health care from certain doctors and hospitals, preventing patients from getting the level of care they are used to at their usual price. In particular, insurers now using the Obamacare system have begun to exclude major academic institutions from their coverage, as these compete with cheaper community hospitals ostensibly providing the same service.

Under Obamacare it is no longer your doctor, your choice, if you buy from the exchange.

If you already bought an exchange plan, or a BCBSGA plan (on or off the exchange) it is not too late to correct your mistake. Let us help you find a plan that fits your needs and budget and gives you full access to health care.

 

Georgia SHBP Blues

If things go as expected, state and local employee’s enrolled in the Georgia SHBP might be singing the Blues. Cigna and United Health Care may lose their lucrative contract to provide coverage for the state health plan and Blue Cross muscles their way back in.                    Georgia SHBP

An issue that Reese and his staff (at Community Health) face is the new contract for the State Health Benefit Plan (Georgia SHBP), which covers more than 650,000 state employees, teachers, school personnel, retirees and dependents.

Currently, UnitedHealthcare and Cigna hold the contract, with United covering more than 90 percent of members. Community Health had been expected to announce the winner of the new contract early in July. The winner would begin serving members Jan. 1.

Speculation on the winning bidder has centered on a single vendor — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, the state’s largest health insurer.

Georgia Health News

Blue Cross had the Georgia SHBP for years and lost it to United and Cigna about 5 years ago. At the time the transition was not without issues as United scrambled to complete their network in the rural areas of the state. Within a few months hospitals in almost every county were eventually signed up with United and the turmoil subsided.

But some industry officials say they fear that Blue Cross’ reimbursements for services will be lower than the current rates, and lead to a financial squeeze for some medical providers.

Now that it’s mid-July, contract concerns are swirling. Community Health said it anticipates making an announcement on the winning vendor soon. But beyond that, it said, it “cannot comment on open and ongoing procurements.’’

Blue has already thrown their hat in the ring and as of now will be the only carrier offering coverage on the Obamacare exchanges in all Georgia regions.

Individuals seeking a premium subsidy can only get taxpayer assistance if they buy through the exchange and in some areas your choice will be Blue Cross or Blue Cross.

So much for more competition under Obamacare . . .

Doctors and hospitals currently participating in the Georgia SHBP may opt out of the Blue Cross contract if they feel the reimbursements are too low compared to what they have been accustomed to with United and Cigna. This could be bad news for employees who have health insurance through the Georgia SHBP.

 

Washington Needs Your Medical Records

Washington wants your private medical history. Don't worry. It is for the good of the people. Your records will not be used against you. After all, this is Washington and everyone knows they can keep a secret.

The folks in DC want to save Medicare. This will be accomplished with major surgery. Your doctor will be paid less, but so what? He earns more than you and can afford to take a pay cut, right?

Some medical services may no longer be paid for by Medicare, but no big deal. You probably didn't really need that treatement and you have lived a long life already. Your time on this earth can't be that much longer.

Medicare cutsMedical Records No Longer Private

According to U S News the Obama administration will be requiring all doctors to submit your medical records to the government.

You don't have a problem with that do you?

 

HHS is making plans to get its hands on your health care records, one way or another, whether you want them to have it or not.

The department's first choice is to collect them directly. If they can't manage that, Plan B is to require the states to collect the data and take it from there. Plan C is to lean on health insurers, using a new regulatory scheme that would require private companies to crunch the data according to new federal mandates the ways the feds want it.

Does any of this bother you, or is it just me?

Been to the doctor lately? Things are different now.

This is Not Your Father's Doctor Visit . . .

A few weeks ago we were out of town and my wife became ill. I took her to a local doc in a box which was an experience in itself.

As first time visitors, she was required to complete a detailed medical history. About 10 minutes or so with a nurse, answering questions, then sign here.

No, you do not get a copy of this information. We are filing it electronically for your protection.

The entire visit took about an hour, most of that time was wait time even though we were the first ones in when the doors opened.

The entire bill for a routine exam and urinalysis was grossed up to $496. After network discounts it came to $248.

The break out was like this.

Gross charges $61 for professional visit, $40 for lab. Balance was for the medical history and establishing her account as a new patient.

Excuse me?

$395 for medical records that the patient doesn't even get to see but are transmitted to HHS.

At this rate I don't think Obamneycrap is going to save anyone any money.

How is this new government health care plan working for you?

Obamaneycare, a Giant Step Backwards

We were told that Obamacare was necessary because too many Americans were without health insurance—which is not the same thing as them being without medical care when it is needed. Rather than fix the stated problem, however, it has made things worse, even before it is fully implemented. According to some recent estimates more than 1 million Americans have lost their coverage in the period since Obamacare became law.

This is not progress.

No kidding.

Reminds me of the old saw. I am from the government and I am here to help you.

I don't think so . . .

If you think they will stop here you are wrong.

In addition to cutting Medicare benefits, they also think your Medigap coverage is too "rich" and want to cut those benefits as well.

Georgia Medicare Plans can help you find the lowest Medigap rates in your area. We have plans from Dalton to Tifton with carriers such as Aetna, Blue Cross, Humana and more. Ask for a Medigap quote today.

GA Cancer Drug Shortage

If you rely on Taxol to treat your cancer, you may be in trouble. Several Georgia cancer facilities are reporting difficulty in obtaining some cancer drugs.

According to the FDA:

 

"We are continuing to see these increased numbers for shortages, especially for older sterile injectable drugs," said Valerie Jensen, director of the  FDA Drug Shortages Program. "These drugs are mainly used in hospitals and include cancer drugs, drugs needed for patients undergoing surgery and emergency drugs."

The reasons for the shortages vary. Some drug manufacturers are discontinuing older drugs and replacing them with newer ones, which are usually more profitable, according to the FDA. They are also recalling some drugs because of quality problems.

 

 

Dr. Bancroft Lesesne, chief executive officer and president of Georgia Cancer Specialists, said the drugs affected are most commonly used in breast, lung, lymphoma and colon cancer treatments. "There's a standard treatment we might recommend to a patient based on the disease and the stage," he said. "If the drugs aren't available we have to make substitutions. We think they're just as effective but you can never be quite sure."

"I don't see [the shortages] getting any better," he said. "One drug will become available and then there's a shortage of another. It's seems to be a moving target."

​This is a serious problem for Georgia cancer patients.

Many major medical plans sold in Georgia do NOT cover brand name drugs, including many of the popular cancer medications. If you own one of these plans from Aetna, Blue Cross, Golden Rule or other health insurance companies the time to change your coverage is now. Ask for a free, no obligation review of your existing coverage.

​Georgia Insurance Shop offers competitive health insurance rates in Georgia.

Obamacare Casualties

Five more health insurance companies become casualties in the Obamacare war on consumers. Aetna, Cigna, Guardian, American Community and Pekin will all leave the individual major medical market in the next few months. Together, these 5 insurance companies cover about 10% of those with individual health insurance in the state of Indiana.

Obamacare sinking

As reported by the IBJ . . .

Their major complaint is about the new health law’s requirement that at least 80 percent of premiums be spent on medical bills. That new rule, known formally as a medical loss ratio or MLR, takes effect this year for all individual policies the insurers hold, not just new policies.

The insurers argue that the marketing and administrative expenses on individual policies are so high that they cannot transition so quickly to the new standard.

Even if they could make the change, policyholder services are already suffering due to downsized customer service departments. This means longer hold times and a greater chance of getting voice mail in lieu of a real person.

Many carriers have already shifted their customer service overseas to places like India and Pakistan where wages are lower.

Imposing loss ratio's on company's operating in a competitive market is stupid to say the least. If a carrier spends too much on themselves and it leads to an increase in premium rates they will lose market share.

The idiot's in DC look at pockets where market saturation is dominated by one or more carriers and claim this is proof positive that more regulation is needed. According to the report, Anthem Blue Cross has a 65% market share which politicians use to defend their position.

I look at the same thing and say they must be doing something right, delivering good value, or else their market share would be significantly less.

Golden Rule health insurance is number 2 in Indiana with 10% of the market.

If Blue Cross has 6.5x the market share of Golden Rule one must conclude that Blue delivers a better value than Golden Rule. Their pricing has nothing to do with how much, or how little, either carrier spends internally on administration.

So far Georgia is pretty much immune to the wholesale withdrawal by health insurance companies but our time is coming. I would not be surprised to see Aetna or Cigna pull out of Georgia before the end of the year.

Their products have failed to deliver good value for some time and the same can be said for Golden Rule who have been uncompetitive for over 3 years now.

Bob Vineyard at Georgia Insurance Shop is willing to help GA citizens find affordable health insurance for individuals, families and business owners.

Blue Cross Ends Medicare Guaranteed Issue

Blue Cross of Georgia Medicare supplement plans have been guaranteed issue for anyone who currently has a Medicare supplement plan through another carrier. We have just been notified this practice is ending.

New applications submitted before 6/23/2011 will go through normal underwriting channels and subject to acceptance or decline.

If you are currently covered by a Georgia Medicare supplement plan through another carrier and want a comparison quote we will be glad to provide one or you can quote direct through our website.

If you want to apply for a Medicare supplement plan under the guaranteed issue rules, here is a link to the application. You will need to complete the application and send it to me no later than 6/21/2010.

BCBSGA Medicare supplement plan rates are still competitive in many situations. It is unclear at this point how this guaranteed issue program will impact rates going forward but given the abrupt change in underwriting we anticipate future increases could be harsh.

Georgia Insurance Shop and Georgia Medicare Plans have affordable Medicare supplement plans for almost any budget.

Gerber, United of Omaha Offline

If you are looking online for Medicare supplement plan rates in Georgia, you will not see plans from Gerber or United of Omaha. Currently the only Medigap rates are through BCBSGA.

Nothing official, but this usually means a rate increase is coming and possibly one or more plans will no longer be available. We hope to get to the bottom of this very soon.

While Gerber and United of Omaha have been competitive in some situations, we have more affordable Medigap plans offline.

If you are looking for affordable Medicare supplement plans in GA, feel free to run a quote but for the most competitive plan ask us for a recommendation.