At Senior Services of Utah we often get the question if folks with coverage through the Veterans Administration need additional coverage. The responses often vary based on their proximity to the nearest V.A. Medical center, but it is our experience that they should at least consider it. If one lives close to the V.A. they can often get a Medicare Advantage plan which will allow them access to other doctors and hospitals outside the V.A. at a small copay or cost sharing amount without having to always go to the V.A. and in turn it does not effect that coverage. We also recommend these plans to our more rural folks as well as Medigap/Medicare Supplement plans to help offset the medical costs that can be incurred.
One example we have is a client of ours who lives in St. George. This client has 100% V.A Medical due to his disability because of Agent Orange poisoning. This client was facing numerous heart surgeries due to that, but he would have had to travel along with his wife to Salt Lake to get that care. When he turned 65 he opted for a Medigap Plan F that would allow him to utilize his medicare coverage outside the V.A. and get comprehensive care elsewhere. He was able to have his surgery in St. George and over $100,000 in bills later, the plan picked up everything Medicare did not leaving him with $0 out of pocket. Now we realize not every situation is the same, but we do feel taking a look is certainly in your best interest even with V.A. medical coverage. Feel free to contact us with any questions. 801.979.6365
Utah Medicare Facts And Statistics That May Surprise You
Utah Medicare is an insurance program for seniors age 65 and over and certain other individuals who qualify based on disability, and this insurance is offered by the federal government if you meet the eligibility requirements. The original Medicare plan offers coverage for hospital and medical insurance, also called Part A and Part B, but this insurance has many restrictions, limitations, and gaps. Many residents in Utah who are eligible for Utah Medicare also choose a Utah Medigap, Utah Medicare Supplement, or Utah Medicare Advantage Plan from a private insurance company as well. These private policies are regulated by state and federal government concerning what coverage must be offered, however the premiums for a policy can vary from low to high depending on the specific insurance company that you choose a policy through. Utah Medicare Supplement Plans are standardized and each plan covers exactly the same items while Utah Medicare Advantage Plans may have different co-pays for each service.
Across the USA there are over 44 million people who are enrolled in the Medicare program, and 1 in 5 also have Medicare Advantage insurance coverage. 1 in 4 individuals who have Medicare in the USA will also choose a medicare Part D policy, which offers coverage for prescription medications. It is estimated that 1 in 10 people in the state have Utah Medicare coverage of some type, and this means that more than a quarter of a million individuals in Utah have this type of insurance in some form. More than 70,000 of these residents also pay for a Medicare Advantage policy through a private insurance company. It is estimated that more than 266,000 people have Utah Medicare Part D, which provides prescription drug coverage for eligible individuals.
Utah Medicare Components
Utah medicare offers the same components that are offered in the other 49 states as well. Medicare Part A provides hospitalization coverage and there is no premium charged for this insurance as long as you meet the eligibility requirements. Medicare Part B is also offered by the federal government but there is a premium charged for this medical coverage if you choose to take it. If you are eligible for Part A you automatically become eligible for Part B as long as you enroll and pay the premiums due. Part C involves Utah Medicare Advantage Plans, which are policies that are somewhat standardized regarding coverage, but these policies are offered by private insurance companies and each one may have different co-pay and premium amounts. Each of these policies must meet the standards for coverage set by federal and state laws, and the premiums and co-pays charged by each insurer can vary even though the policy outline of coverage is the same. Medicare Part D offers prescription drug coverage, and this is also offered by private insurance companies.
One of the biggest misconceptions about Medicare Supplement plans or medigap plans are that they are somehow different. Medigap or Medicare supplement plans offer plan letters A-N. Not every company offers every plan, but every plan offers exactly the same coverage from company to company. The way these plans pay is entirely based on Medicare. If Medicare pays the plan will, and if Medicare doesn’t, the plan won’t. It is very black and white.
Page 9 of “Choosing a Medigap Policy” clearly states that “cost is usually the only difference between Medigap policies with the same letter sold by different insurance companies.
All that being said, we are happy to assist you in comparing prices to ensure you aren’t paying too much. Give us a call. 801.979.6365
There is great news on the Utah Medicare landscape. Recently Aetna has lowered their rates in Utah by as much as 20% and are giving a household discount as well if both parties in a house sign up. We would be happy to answer any questions you have or help you compare rates and coverage.
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There are new rates on Utah Medigap plans available now. If you have Regence Blue Cross, United Healthcare/AARP , United of Omaha or many others, we can save you money. There have been recent reductions on Plan F, Plan G, and Plan N. Let us help you navigate all the changes. 801.979.6365
Medicare Supplement coverage can vary greatly from plan A to N, but coverage is the same with every company. Choosing a Medigap Policy. For example, a Plan F with United Healthcare will be exactly the same as a Plan F with Oxford Life. The key when selecting coverage is to find a good lower priced company with a history of reasonable rate increases. There are some big name companies in the marketplace that have seen 20% annual increases, so it makes sense to be careful when choosing coverage. The main point is to find an agent who understands the marketplace and can help guide you toward the appropriate coverage for your needs and budget.
That brings us to our next topic, which is what plan is right for you? At Senior Services of Utah we typically recommend plan G or Plan N because of cost and benefit. By now if you are on our site, you have probably been told that Plan F is the end all be all of plans. That may be true for some folks, but in many cases that is not correct. For example Medigap Plan G is exactly the same as Plan F, other than you the consumer are responsible for the Medicare Part B deductible of $147 annually. ( The highest we have seen is $162 annually) Typically Plan G can be found for $250 to $300 less annually, and sees lower rate increases because of some of the Medicare Guaranteed Issue provisions and the amount of folks who go to plan F under those rights. By that I mean, Plan F typically sees more unhealthy folks, so there is a higher claim history to base rate increases on. We are here to guide you and can do a side by side comparison of cost and benefit as well as help you find the appropriate Part D prescription drug plan as well. Do not hesitate to reach out to us with questions. 801.979.6365
It is an exciting time of year, because Utah Medicare season is almost upon us. AEP or the Annual Election Period is the time of year where most folks can change or adjust their Medicare plan coverage. This period of time runs from October 15th until December 7th. Medicare supplements are different and can be changed throughout the year. There are occasionally times outside of this where Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans can be changed, so feel free to Contact Us Here or call us at 801-979-6365.
You will be receiving your annual notice of changes shortly, so do not hesitate to reach out to us with questions or concerns. There are far too many options available to stay in a plan that isn’t meeting your needs.
There are some new lower priced Medicare Supplement plans available in Utah. Oxford Life Insurance out of Arizona is offering Medigap Plan F rates at some of the best prices in the state. Contact us for more details and see if we might be able to save you money.
Utah Medicare Plans did not see a ton of changes for 2014 and it appears as though things may maintain their status quo for Medicare plans in 2015. With this being a midterm election year, we at Senior Services of Utah ask that you pay close attention to who you are voting for and what their record is concerning Medicare funding and cuts. The folks we elect can have drastic effects on Medicare funding.
Which is better, Utah Medicare Advantage plans or Utah Medicare Supplement Plans?
This has been an oft debated question between amongst consumers and even agents over the years. Some agents feel that Utah Medicare Advantage Plans or Medicare Part C are the greatest thing since sliced bread, yet there are many out there who won’t touch the things. I will attempt to lay out what I feel are the pros and cons of each, so you are able to get a better idea of what may be right for you. Let us first explore Utah Medicare Advantage plans. You can also get more information on Utah Medicare Advantage Plans by clicking on this link.
Advantages of Utah Medicare Advantage Plans
The biggest advantage to these plans is that they typically have a much lower overall premium cost than a Utah Medicare supplement plan, and for those folks who are healthy, this can be a great deal. These plans also have the option of including Medicare Part D or prescription drug coverage within the same monthly premium. Throughout parts of the country these plans can have as low as $0 premium, so there is no additional costs to the Medicare Beneficiary other than their monthly Part B premium. These plans have gotten much better over the years and many of these even offer dental, vision, health club benefits and other great additional features. Another big advantage here in Utah is that folks who are on Medicare and are under the age of 65, due to disability qualify for Medicare Advantage coverage but there is no supplement coverage available.
Disadvantages of Utah Medicare Advantage Plans
There are however some negatives to these Utah Medicare Advantage plans that many people may not like. One major thing is that typically these plans are HMO’s or PPO’s, and folks become tied to a specific network of doctors and hospitals. For those folks that don’t travel extensively this is rarely an issue, but if you intend to leave your home and see the country, you might want to consider a Medicare Supplement plan. A few other complaints some folks have is that when they enroll in Utah Medicare Advantage plans, they are now under the coverage of the insurance company rather than Medicare, which means claims are handled differently. I have folks on many different types of coverage and it really comes down to finding the right plan that works for you.
In our next post we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of Utah Medicare Supplement Plans