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 Р$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

Obamacare 2014 – What Happens Next?

Obamacare 2014 finally sputtered out of the gate and we are 13 days into a new way of doing things. What next? If you don’t like your new plan, can you change? Did you lose your doctor(s) in the transition? Is the obamacare 2014premium affordable but the deductible too high? Did the plan you get match what you thought you were buying? Do you feel like Private Benjamin (Goldie Hawn)? “I did join the army, but I joined a different army. I joined the one with the condo’s and private rooms”.

First the good news. For now at least, you are not “married” to your Obamacare 2014 plan. You can still make a change and live to see another day.

 

Can my Obamacare 2014 plan be returned for a different model?

In most cases yes. In some situations it takes 10 minutes. But if you bought on the exchange and you want a DIFFERENT subsidized plan the answer is, forget it. You may be able to exchange one subsidized plan for another but getting there won’t be easy or a lot of fun.

Moving from a subsidized plan to one OFF the exchange (no subsidy) should be simple. Moving from a non-exchange plan to another non-exchange plan can be accomplished in 10 minutes.

 

Why would I want to change my 2014 Obamacare plan?

Many reasons.

Maybe you just came out of the ether are realized the plan you bought has no copay’s and you have to fund the first $6000 or more before the plan pays. Or you bought a plan with an HMO network and there is only one hospital in the network. If you bought a Blue Cross plan (on or off the exchange) and thought “Everyone takes Blue Cross” you need to understand about 70% of the docs and many hospitals in the Blue HMO are not included in your plan.

We have several carriers and plans off the exchange that may be a better fit for you. One 2014 Obamacare plan that is only available outside the exchange limits your out of pocket expenses to $950 per year. If you are one that will be using their plan a lot you really should consider this one. We have several people that use over $1000 per month in prescription drugs and this plan is a perfect fit. After January they will never have to pay for another Rx or doctor visit.

What a country!

We will be glad to discuss options or you can go through the drive through and use our free and easy quote engine to shop and compare rates at ACA Health Insurance Georgia.

 

Did you lose your doctor(s)?

It happens. Many doctors are not participating in Obamacare 2014 and especially if you bought on the exchange. But there is a wide range of options outside the exchange and most of these plans (except Blue Cross) have most of the doctors and hospitals in Georgia. Even if you wander into a doctors office that is not in network you still have coverage for most non-emergency care situations.

If you did lose your doctor because you signed up for an HMO it is not too late to get back into a PPO. Shop and compare!

 

Can’t afford your high deductible?

High deductible plans are great as long as you are in good health. But if you normally use your plan a lot, with doctor bills, hospital stays and high prescription drug costs you may actually come out ahead with a lower deductible plan.

We have plans off the exchange with $0 deductibles, $950 and $1000 deductibles. It is so fast and easy to shop and compare plans and rates on ACA health insurance.

 

Did you get what you wanted and needed?

If your Obamacare 2014 plan isn’t a good fit exchange it now before it is too late. You only have a few weeks left to still get a 2014 Obamacare plan that works the way you need it to.

Family Life Medigap Rates

Medicare supplement plans from Family Life are raising renewal rates by 25%. If your Family Life Medigap policy is more than 12 months old you can expect a significant increase at your next renewal.

The Michigan Department of Insurance has approved new rates for Family Life for policies renewing in October, 2011 and later. New business applications for September, 2011 and later will reflect the new higher rates.

Medigap carriers in other states are passing out rate increases up to 17% so this adjustment is the highest so far.

We have yet to see such dramatic increases in Georgia but it may not be long before we join the other states with higher Medicare supplement rates.

Bob Vineyard of Georgia Medicare Plans has some of the lowest GA Medigap rates in the state. Compare your plan to our rates and save.

When Medicare Falls Short

Georgia Medicare supplement plans are offered through a private insurance carriers. Medicare only pays 48% of medical claims, "gap" plans help pay for the 52% of medical care bills not covered by Medicare.

Congress created Medicare as a solution to help seniors pay for thei health care needs but it was never intended to pay for everything.  That's where Medicare supplement plans come in to play.

These Medigap plans consist of 11 modernized plans offered by a variety of insurance companies. Medicare supplement plans offset the gaps where Medicare approves a claim but does not cover the entire cost of your treatment.

It is important for you to keep in mind that a Georgia Medicare supplement plan is NOT the same as a  Medicare Advantage plan .

Medicare supplement plans are standardized by CMS (Center for Medicare Services) and offered by private insurance companies.

An Advantage plan is a private HMO or PPO insurance plan that is an alternative to supplements. Advantage plans often have a lower premium than Medigap plans but usually will only pay a portion of your medical bills. Advantage plans have copay's and coinsurance (much like original Medicare) that could result in out of pocket costs of $3,000 or more.

A good Medicare supplement plan, such as Medigap plan F, pays the balance of approved claims covered under Medicare Part A and B.

Medicare is never going to be enough coverage on its own. Unless you are extremely healthy or extremely wealthy, you cannot afford to go without a GA Medicare supplement plan. Gap plans pick up where Medicare leaves off, giving you the peace of mind and financial protection regardless of your medical or financial situation.

Georgia Medicare Plans can help you find an affordable Medicare supplement plan to fit your needs and budget.

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.

Medicare Death Panels

Georgia seniors on Medicare have reason to worry about the government directing their health care. The "death panels" are very real and have almost unlimited authority.

 

Medicare panel bad for seniors

 

 

 

 

 

6:59 p.m. Thursday, June 9, 2011

 

Seniors should be especially concerned about a provision of last year’s health care overhaul that would create a panel of unelected federal bureaucrats to oversee Medicare costs: the Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB.

Here’s how it works: The president selects 15 health care experts and tasks them with finding ways to keep Medicare’s total spending from rising beyond certain targets.

The board then proposes changes to the program each year Medicare is projected to cost more than the targeted amount.

If Congress does nothing, they become law automatically. The only way Congress can stop the changes is by passing a package of equally large cuts or with a three-fifths override vote in the Senate — an extremely high bar.

The result is that a small board of unelected bureaucrats has a surprising degree of control over the entire system.

Duly elected members of Congress whose job it is to look out for their constituents’ interests, meanwhile, have relatively little influence over the board’s decisions.

Don’t like it? Too bad: IPAB’s recommendations are not subject to judicial review, either.

IPAB’s only limits come from rules about how it’s allowed to keep Medicare’s costs in line.

Among other restrictions, it’s not allowed to bring in more tax revenue, and hospitals are exempt from cuts until 2019.

All told, IPAB is limited to essentially one avenue for savings: arbitrary payment cuts and eliminating the most cost-effective providers, such as doctors and mental health professionals for seniors’ services.

For the 1.2 million people in Georgia who rely on Medicare, that’s a problem: Cutting out health providers and cutting doctors’ Medicare pay means cutting seniors’ Medicare access.

A third of the state’s counties have been recognized as short on primary care physicians — and specialists are getting harder to find as well. Georgia already ranks a dismal 39th among U.S. states in terms of doctors per capita, and if IPAB cuts reimbursement rates, it’s likely to make the situation worse.

In late 2010 the president of the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians warned that if big Medicare reimbursement cuts came down the line, 10 percent of family practices would be forced to shut down.

At this time, mental health professionals, licensed professional counselors, are still not included in Medicare, leaving mental health and physical health on a downward spiral.

Georgia’s seniors are understandably concerned about the state of health access already. In a November 2010 survey, 83 percent of the state’s AARP members said they were worried that they wouldn’t be able to find a new doctor if their current physician stopped accepting Medicare.

In this fiscal climate, they have good reason to be worried, and IPAB will only make it worse.

 

Gale Macke is the executive director of the Licensed Professional Counselors Association of Georgia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Find this article at:

 

http://www.ajc.com/opinion/medicare-panel-bad-for-972535.html

Georgia Insurance Shop has the lowest rates on affordable Medicare supplement plans in Georgia.

 

 

 

 

Piedmont Job Cuts

High unemployment and many without health insurance in Georgia lead to layoff's at Atlanta Piedmont Hospital. A combination of Obamanomics and Obamacare is putting pressure on GA health care providers.

Piedmont Healthcare cutting 5 percent of workforce

 

 

 

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

8:54 p.m. Thursday, June 9, 2011

Faced with a rising number of uninsured patients and unknown impact of the new health care law, Piedmont Healthcare announced Thursday evening plans to cut 464 jobs as part of an effort to save an estimated $68 million.

Totaling roughly 5 percent of its workforce, the cuts include 171 positions that were vacant or altered because of scheduling changes. Layoffs are coming from across the board, including Piedmont’s four hospitals, physicians group, heart institute and corporate division, spokeswoman Nina Day said.

“This is heart-wrenching,” Day said. “This is not easy stuff when you’re talking about people.”

The move is, in part, a reaction to hurdles many hospitals are facing, including a growing number of uninsured patients, a new state hospital bed tax, anticipated cuts to Medicare reimbursements and the Medicaid expansion in 2014, Day said.

“We do have a positive bottom line,” she said. “We would like to keep it that way for the sake of our patients.”

The goal is to not impact services to patients, Day said, adding that while she knew of no clinical service being shutdown, some resources may be cut back in certain areas.

Changes could include areas such as food court hours, room service delivery schedules and even eliminating coffee in certain departments, she said. Piedmont also reevaluated supplies and renegotiated contracts with vendors, Day said.

Piedmont’s push to realign itself with a rapidly changing industry began several months ago. The health system began notifying employees of the cuts last month, she said.

“I think for the most part, hospitals are facing some extraordinary challenges across the board,” said Kevin Bloye, a spokesman for the Georgia Hospital Association.

Hospitals throughout the state have been forced to cut back and lay off workers over the past few years, especially in the wake of the economic downturn, Bloye said. Many people lost their jobs, increasing the number of uninsured and under-insured patients. Others put off elective surgeries, which has had a dramatic impact on hospitals’ bottom lines, he said.

While hospitals will get more insured patients as a result of the Medicaid expansion in 2014, it’s a big trade off with Medicare cuts, he said. State officials have estimated Georgia could add more than 600,000 enrollees to its Medicaid program as a result of the expansion.

“It’s a challenge in time just trying to navigate all of these changes,” he said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Find this article at:

http://www.ajc.com/news/piedmont-healthcare-cutting-5-972387.html

 

It's the economy stupid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Switching Medicare Plans

Yes you can switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to a Georgia Medicare supplement plan and have "guaranteed issue" rights. To bypass medical underwriting certain guidelines must be met as required by Medicare.

GA Medigap Guaranteed Issue Rights

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan you may switch to original Medicare and a Medicare supplement plan while maintaining your GUARANTEED ISSUE RIGHTS provided you do during your trial period. These rights prohibit a Medigap company from denying coverage and require the carrier to issue a policy without regard to your existing medical conditions.

You cannot be denied a policy or charged a higher premium due to existing medical conditions.

Medigap Guaranteed Issue Situations

The following situations trigger a guaranteed issue time frame for changing from a Medicare Advantage to a Medicare supplement plans.

  • Your existing Advantage carrier withdraws from the market (must apply for new coverage within 123 days)
  • You move out of the service area for your Medicare Advantage plan (must apply for new coverage within 63 days)
  • You lose employer group coverage (including retiree or COBRA) that is secondary to Medicare (must apply within 63 days)
  • You applied for an Advantage plan when first eligible for Medicare Part A and opted to switch during your initial trial period (first 12 months)
  • You dropped a Medigap plan to enter an Advantage plan for the FIRST TIME and want to switch back within the first 12 months of your trial period
  • Your Medigap goes out of business or you lose coverage through no fault of your own
  • You leave an Advantage plan because the company misled you about your coverage

If you want to buy a Medicare supplement plan during your guaranteed issuee period, carriers cannot refuse coverage, or charge a higher premium based on your health. If you buy a supplement plan and you are not covered under the guaranteed issue rules, the carrier may deny coverage or charge you a higher than standard rate.

You may change to a Medicare supplement plan or buy new coverage at any age provided you are in good health. Otherwise you may need to apply during one of the guaranteed issue periods.

Georgia Insurance Shop offers affordable Medicare supplement plans for Georgia seniors.

Finding the Best Rate

Overpaying for Medicare supplement plans in Georgia is not necessary. When you pay more you don't get more, you simply paid too much. So how do you know if you got a good rate or not?

Ask an independent agent who has the best rates for your situation.

United of Omaha Medigap in GA

George has Medicare supplement plan G that he purchased from a GA agent last year when he was 66. He bought from a name carrier, United of Omaha, which is a solid Medigap company.

George has been pleased with his plan but he wanted to check out options before his next renewal so he called me. He said he was paying $110 per month for the United of Omaha plan.

We don't know what his renewal will be but I expect it to be in the range of $133 based on current rates for United of Omaha new business. He may also have to pay back premiums to cover the under-payment over the last year.

Paying the Wrong Rate

Whether through agent error or something else, George is paying a rate for a FEMALE. When United discovers the shortage he will have to pay that money back retroactive to the original effective date.

The longer he waits the more he will have to pay.

The best rate we have for plan G at age 67 is $114 per month, slightly more than the $110 he is paying but less than the $133 plus back premiums he will pay if he continues with United.

His agent did not do him any favors last year.

Finding the Best Medigap Rate

The best rate last year for a male age 66 was $94 per month which is not only less than the female rate billed by United but is less than the $123 which is the true rate that should have been charged.

Had George called me last year he could have saved over $300 in premium payments.

Georgia Insurance Shop and Georgia Medicare Plans have the most affordable Medicare supplement plans in Georgia.

 

 

Is Your Pharmacist Smart?

There are a lot of things you should ask your pharmacist, but advice on which medication (including OTC) to take is not one of them. They SHOULD know more about drug interaction than your doctor, but they may not be up on how herbs and supplements interact with prescription and over the counter medications.

Consumer Reports wants you to know . . .

How much does your druggist know?

Last reviewed: April 2011
Illustration of pharmacist scratching his head

 

 

 

Illustration by Jason Schneider

 

 

 

 

 

 

An undercover investigation byConsumer Reports suggests that some pharmacists are uninformed aboutpotentially harmful interactions between over-the-counter supplements and prescription drugs.

We sent shoppers to 20 pharmacies in five states to ask the pharmacist or an assistant whether it was permissible to take atorvastatin (Lipitor), a widely used cholesterol-lowering drug, along withred yeast rice, a dietary supplement that is touted as a natural way to reduce cholesterol. Red yeast rice is a rice extract fermented with a strain of red yeast, and laboratory evidence has shown that it contains a substance essentially identical to the cholesterol-lowering drug lovastatin. Consumer Reports has recommended against using it. Moreover, taken together, the two might raise the risk of side effects such as muscle aches and pains and a rare muscle disease that could result in kidney failure. Over time, it might cause liver damage as well.

Twelve of 20 times, shoppers got incorrect or fuzzy advice, sometimes even after the druggist consulted an online medical database. In two cases, a pharmacist said taking both medications was a good idea. One of those pharmacists, in Albany, N.Y., revealed that he and his wife used red yeast rice and said he recommended it to all his customers who take a cholesterol-lowering product. A pharmacist-technician at a Safeway in Richland, Wash., was clearly bothered by our shopper’s questions and directed her to a health-food store for advice. Other pharmacists seemed unfamiliar with the supplement, shrugged, or gave wishy-washy answers.

The responses suggest that many pharmacists might not know enough about supplements, which aren’t subject to the kind of federal regulations that drugs are.

Orly Avitzur, M.D., a board-certified neurologist and Consumer Reports medical adviser, said she wasn’t surprised by the results of our investigation or convinced that physicians know more than pharmacists about dietary supplements. “When more physicians have electronic medical records with fully functioning medication modules, drug and supplement interactions will be flagged automatically, and we hope these problems can be avoided,” she said.

How to avoid medicine missteps

Bad advice is just one reason behind medicine mistakes. You might miss a dose or take it with food or drink instead of on an empty stomach. Other reasons include confusion between similar-sounding medications, poor handwriting on prescriptions, and incomplete information about your allergies. To make sure you get the right medicine in the right dose:

Give the pharmacy your complete history

Include a list of drugs, vitamins, and other dietary supplements you’re taking and information about medical conditions, allergies, and adverse reactions. Some drugstores let you create a secure profile online that you can update with new information.

Understand how to take medicine

Does it matter whether it’s in the morning or at bedtime; or before, during, or after a meal? Can you crush or chew it? Should you avoid any foods, beverages, other drugs or supplements, or activities while on the medicine?

Ask what happens if you miss a dose or take too much. If too much time passes, do you double up or wait? If you suspect an overdose, should you go to the hospital?

Know the side effects

Do any problems warrant immediate attention?

Ask whether you can stop once you feel better

With some drugs, notably antibiotics, if you cut the regimen short, the bacteria might survive and cause the infection to recur.

Know the time frame

Does “three times a day” mean during waking hours or during a 24-hour period?

Store medications properly

In general, select a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. A bathroom medicine cabinet isn’t ideal because of moisture and heat, which can cause some drugs to break down. If you store pills above a sink, they could fall down the drain. Keep refrigerated medications out of the door because of temperature variations.

Remove roadblocks

Sometimes, difficulty opening the bottle, illegible instructions, and bad taste are reasons people don’t take their drugs. Ask for an easy-open bottle, large-print labels, or special flavoring.

http://www.consumerreports.org/health/prescription-drugs/best-drugstores/how-much-does-your-druggist-know/index.htm

The one area where you SHOULD ask your pharmacist for advice is in choosing a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.

In looking for affordable Medicare supplement plans, consider Georgia Insurance Shop, the leading resource for information on health coverage in Georgia.