Thursday, April 28, 2016

Question: Is Medicare Supplement Plan G a Better Deal Than Plan F?

Is Medicare Supplement Plan G a Better Deal Than Plan F?

This is a common question for seniors in the market for Medigap coverage and/or turning 65. If you take into account that Plan G is often $20-40 a month less than Plan F, It is certainly a question worth considering.

Please understand that Medigap plans are standardized. Medigap plans from all companies go by a standardized Medigap coverage chart dictated by CMS. So, a Plan G with one company is exactly the same as a Plan G with any other company. Some companies do offer a few extra benefits.

Here are three great reasons why you should consider Plan G:

1) In most cases you could save money. The only difference between a Plan F and a Plan G is coverage of Medicare’s Part B doctor’s office/outpatient deductible. In 2016, this deductible is $166 a year. The premium difference between an ‘F’ and a ‘G’ is generally greater than that $166 a year amount. Occasionally, there is as much as $300-400 difference annually, which would mean a couple hundred dollars savings a year for you.

2) Medigap Plan G rates are historically more stable over time. This means that, over time, there could be fewer and or smaller rate increases.

3) Lastly, recent legislation has impacted the “first-dollar” coverage plans (Plan F and Plan C) but not Plan G. Plan G has not been impacted by these changes. So, Plan G appears to be the better long-term choice.

If you have any questions about Medicare Supplement Plans or simply would like to get a Texas Medicare Supplement comparison of the plans for your age and zip code, you can Sonia Ashford at 817-689-3536. 

Sonia Ashford


Sonia Ashford is an independent insurance agent in the Medicare field, and has delivered hundreds of speeches about turning 65, Medicare Advantage and Medicare supplement insurance to consumers in Tarrant County. A respected agent within the Medicare insurance industry, she is the owner of Ashford Insurance Services. Visit Sonia's agency website to learn more about how she can help you with your Medicare decisions.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Buying Travel Insurance 101

Buying Travel Insurance 101

  • Luke Armstrong
Aug 25, 2015

Travel insurance is a broad term that encompasses insurance against four major types of losses: medical, trip/flight cancellation, loss or damage to baggage, and evacuation.
While each of these coverage's are useful in their own right, travel medical insurance should be the core of any traveler's concern. Below are some preliminary considerations to help you get the right coverage.

1. Why do I Need to Buy Travel Health Insurance if I Already Have Health Insurance?

When I worked for a foreign charity and oversaw 500 volunteerism travelers annually, our organization required everyone to purchase Trip Protection Insurance by Seven Corners. We didn't care if they already had health insurance because we knew a lot of these plans would not provide the level of coverage we felt was adequate.
Mandating that travelers have travel health insurance is standard policy for tour companies and charities. They know that unless you have the most spectacular of health plans, odds are you'll want to get temporary trip insurance. Find out from your current provider what they cover and find a good insurance provider to fill any gaps.               

2. Where Should I Buy Travel Insurance?

According to Captain Obvious, you should buy your travel insurance from a good insurance provider. But we could fill volumes about what this means. So here are some clues to look for:
  • Ask around. When travelers ask me what I do for trip insurance, I recommend to them the company I’ve used for many years.
  • Choose a travel insurance company you can talk to. I choose to do business with Seven Corners because, in addition to proving themselves the time I broke my ankle in Belize, they never put me on hold and I leave every phone call with the answers I need from the call.

3. Should I Get Extreme Sports Coverage on my Travel Health Insurance Plan?

I wouldn't consider getting trip insurance without an Extreme Sports Coverage Plan. Not because I practice any extreme sports, (my high school dreams sob to see me type this) but because many things that could happen to anyone are considered extreme sports by travel health insurance companies — like riding a motorcycle.
Unless you have the most insular of itineraries, you never know when you need to take a motorcycle taxi or, in more exciting fantasies, have to hang glide off a mountain to rescue a prince or princess. Either way, you want resulting injuries to be covered. The cost is usually minimal to add, and for my trips, I consider it absolutely worth it.               

4. Should I Get Cancellation and Curtailment Coverage?

If there are any doubts or possible occurrences that could cause you to cancel your trip, then this option is a no brainer.
I don't personally purchase cancellation insurance. However, I’m a freelancer, my family is in good health, and I’m without dependents or serious managerial duties at the moment, so there is not much that would curtail my plans.

5. Admit What You Do Not Know

Insurance lingo can be hard at first and then it gets easy. In the buying travel insurance arena, you can't fake it. Be open with insurance agents if you don't understand something. Getting the wrong insurance may give you a false security, but it won't help you when you need it. Review your policy in writing and understand what's written before you sign the dotted line.
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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Announcing Seven Corners Travel Insurance : Protection for the Unexpected

Protection for the Unexpected

Travel insurance is an easy and affordable way to protect yourself and your trip when things don’t go the way you planned. We offer a variety of travel products with different types of benefits, so you can choose the best plan for your situation.
Click on this Banner:
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Monday, April 18, 2016

Question: Does Medicaid Help Medicare Enrollees?

Question: Does Medicaid Help Medicare Enrollees?

Yes, Medicare has four basic forms of coverage:
  • Part A: Pays for hospitalization costs
  • Part B: Pays for physician services, lab and x-ray services, durable medical equipment, and outpatient and other services
  • Part C: Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO) offered by private companies approved by Medicare
  • Part D: Assists with the cost of prescription drugs
Medicare enrollees who have limited income and resources may get help paying for their premiums and out-of-pocket medical expenses from Medicaid (e.g. MSPs, QMBs, SLBs, and QIs). Medicaid also covers additional services beyond those provided under Medicare, including nursing facility care beyond the 100-day limit or skilled nursing facility care that Medicare covers, prescription drugs, eyeglasses, and hearing aids. Services covered by both programs are first paid by Medicare with Medicaid filling in the difference up to the state's payment limit.

How to Apply:

Sonia Ashford



Thursday, April 14, 2016

Question: Is there Help Available for My Prescription Costs?

Question: Is there Help Available for My Prescription Costs?

Yes, in 2016, if you qualify for Extra Help, your co-pays for drugs will be $2.95 for generics and $7.40 for brand names. There is no coverage gap and all drugs on the Medicare formulary are included.
To qualify, you cannot exceed certain income and resource limits.
  1. Yearly income must be less than $17,820 year / $1,505 month for an individual and $24,030 year / $2,003 month for a married couple living together.
Some items that WOULD NOT count as income:
  • Food stamp assistance
  • Home energy assistance
  • Medical treatment & drugs
  • Housing assistance
  • Disaster assistance
  • Victim’s compensation
  1. Total resources must be limited to $13,640 for an individual and $27,250 for a married couple living together.
Total resources WOULD include:
  • Money in a checking or savings account
  • Stocks
  • Bonds

Total resources WOULD NOT include:

  • Your home
  • One car
  • Burial plot
  • Up to $1,500 for burial expenses if you have put that money aside
  • Furniture
  • Other household and personal items

If you think you might qualify for LIS and want apply, click here: Social Security
Most of the questions on the application deal with income and resource limits. Social Security will not ask for documentation to support the information you provide, but will match your information with data available from other federal agencies.
Even if you do not have all of your information or cannot find the right documents, you should file for the extra help if you think you will be eligible.
Once you have an LIS letter, call me. I will help you get the right plan for you  so you can start saving money.
Sonia Ashford


Monday, April 11, 2016

Question: Am I covered if I go out of the United States?

Question:  Am I covered if I go out of the United States?
In general, health care you get while traveling outside the US isn’t covered by Medicare. The 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa are considered part of the U.S.
Medicare Part A may pay for inpatient hospital, doctor, or ambulance services you get in a foreign country in these rare cases:
  • You’re in the U.S. when a medical emergency occurs, and the foreign hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat your medical condition.
  • You’re traveling through Canada without unreasonable delay by the most direct route between Alaska and another state when a medical emergency occurs, and the Canadian hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat the emergency.
  • You live in the U.S. and the foreign hospital is closer to your home than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat your medical condition, regardless of whether an emergency exists.
  • In some cases, Medicare Part B may cover medically necessary health care services you get on board a ship within the territorial waters adjoining the land areas of the U.S. Medicare won’t pay for health care services you get when a ship is more than 6 hours away from a U.S. port.
Medicare drug plans don’t cover prescription drugs you buy outside the U.S. Medicare doesn’t cover dialysis you get when you travel outside the U.S. unless it’s an emergency in which you get dialysis at a hospital.
Medicare Plan F & G supplements cover 80% of certain medically necessary emergency care outside of the US after a $250 deductible. Care must begin during the first 60 days of your trip. The lifetime limit is $50,000.
Some Medicare Advantage plans offer Worldwide Emergency Care.
If you want to be covered when traveling out of the country, I highly recommend buying a travel policy. You can get an IMG policy here: AIS IMG

Sonia Ashford


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Question: How do I Eliminate Hospital Co-Pays?

Question: How do I Eliminate Hospital Co-Pays?

Medicare Advantage plans are very popular because they have low premiums and low co-pays for doctor visits. However, hospital costs could add up fast. In the last few years we’ve seen hospital co-pays rise dramatically. In D/FW the advantage plans average  hospital co-pays are $250 per day, so a week  in the hospital would cost you as much as $1,734.
With that in mind, I’m offering the GTL Hospital Indemnity plan. The purpose of this plan is to pay your hospital co-pays should you be admitted to the hospital. With this plan, a hospital stay of any length won’t cost you a penny!
The GTL plan is not guaranteed issue and not subject to any Medicare enrollment restrictions. You can enroll any time, but there are some medical questions you must be able to answer “no.” For example, if you’ve been in the hospital recently, you must have been out for 12 months or more. If you know you are going in the hospital soon, they won’t accept you, so you must purchase this plan before you need it. There is a one-time $20 application fee (one per couple) and premiums can only be made monthly by drafting your checking account.
The premiums for this plan usually range from $25 to $40 per month, based on your age.
Call for an appointment,

Sonia Ashford


Monday, April 4, 2016

Question: How do I sign up for Part B of Medicare?

Question:  How do I sign up for Part B of Medicare?
Go to your local Social Security Office and fill out the paperwork. Or, go to the official government Medicare website by clicking here:
  • Sign up for Part B of Medicare by clicking the “Apply for Medicare” button on the home page.
  • When the site asks if you want to sign up for Part B, check “yes.”
  • When the site asks if you will have group coverage, check “no.”
Call me for an appointment,

Sonia Ashford


Saturday, April 2, 2016

Turning 65 Workshops Near You

 Attend a RightFitPlans Turning 65 Workshop 

Hosted by Sonia Ashford  

At Po Melvin's in Irving Tues April 19, 2016 6:30 pm.
The Dixie House Cafe in North Fort Worth Wed April 20, 2016 6:30 pm

Call to RSVP 817-689-3536