Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plans
If you are about to turn 65 or have recently turned 65 you've, no doubt, been overwhelmed with information and offers regarding your health care options. While Medicare Parts A and B provide basic coverage for inpatient and outpatient care, they leave significant gaps of exposure. Medicare Supplements (Medigap plans) are designed to fill those gaps. The Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage markets are heavily regulated by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Therefore, the supplements offered by each carrier are standardized. For example: A Medicare Supplement Plan F from AARP provides the exact same coverage as Plan F from Anthem Blue Cross, or Mutual of Omaha. The only differences between one carrier's coverage and another's are premium rates and customer service. People covered with a Medicare Supplement Plan may see any doctor who accepts Medicare.
Prescription drug coverage became available to Medicare recipients in 2004. There are around 30 Medicare Part D plans available in Colorado from a large number of carriers. These plans vary tremendously in price, but vary much less in the benefits they provide. The biggest difference from one plan to another is the formulary (or drug list). While each carrier must provide drugs in each treatment category, if you are taking a number of brand name drugs, you'll want to compare these formularies. If you are a Medicare Supplement client of mine, I can run your list of medications through the Medicare web portal's program to give you an accurate idea of what your costs will be. Or, you can go online to www.medicare.gov and compare formularies yourself.
Medicare Advantage Plans were introduced to the market at the same time as Medicare Part D plans. Medicare Advantage Plans may offer lower premiums, but have costs when you use them such as co-pays and annual out of pocket maximums as high as $6,700/year. These plans have limited doctors who accept patients, using doctor networks or HMOs to keep their costs down. Medicare Advantage Plans have also been the subject of political wrangling at the federal level, and I believe their future premiums will be higher while benefits will be reduced.
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Joel Rosenblum is the owner of Insurance for Asset Protection. IAP provides health insurance plans, including individual insurance and Medicare supplement insurance in Colorado.
Joel Rosenblum, Owner
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