Wednesday, June 7, 2017

MEDICARE: Common Myths Debunked

I receive many questions on a daily basis on the phone and in our social media.  Medicare, because of its many unique regulations and rules along with the fact that it is ever changing and evolving, is outright confusing.  Here are some of the top myths/concerns that I hear on a regular basis, to explain the truth to you. Are there any concerns or questions about Medicare that we can answer for you? 


Myth: The cost of Medicare is free

Truth:  Medicare is far from free. You may pay monthly or quarterly premiums, along with deductibles, coinsurance, and co-pays. The amounts for 2017 are as follows:

Part A: Usually there is no premium charge for Part A IF you and/or your spouse has worked and paid into Medicare taxes for 40 quarters (10 taxable years). If you have a premium payment for Part A you may pay up to $413 a month.  Also, the “per benefit period” deductible for Part A is $1316.

Part B: The monthly premium for 2017 is $134. People with income over specific limits will pay more. The annual deductible is $183. After having met your deductible you will typically pay 20% of the “Medicare approved amount” for most of your doctor services, outpatient therapy, and durable medical equipment. 

Part C: Medicare Advantage Plans. The Part C monthly premiums and co-pays varies by plan. 

Part D: These monthly premiums also will vary by plan.


Myth: When I turn 65 I can enroll in Medicare whenever I choose

Truth: For first-time enrollees, it is wise to enroll at age 65. You will have a 7-month Initial Coverage Enrollment Period (ICEP) that begins 3 months preceding your 65th birthday and will cover the month of your birth, and the 3 months immediately following in which to enroll. As far as enrollment goes, the sooner the better. Procrastinating too long could mean facing financial penalties later. 
  
If you are continuing to work past age 65 and have coverage through an employer, or if you are 65 and plan to remain on your spouse’s health plan, you could delay your Medicare enrollment as long as your current coverage is considered “creditable”, meaning it’s as good as Medicare. OR you may elect Part A only (which is usually premium free) and delay Part B until you retire.  Depending on the size of the group health plan, one would pay primary while the other pays secondary. Always consult with your HR department to first make sure your current coverage is considered creditable.  Once no longer employed you will be able to enroll in Medicare within an 8 month period of time.

For existing Medicare beneficiaries, there is an Annual Open Enrollment Period that runs from October 15th to December 7th every year. This is the time when everyone on Medicare can change their Medicare health plans and prescription drug plans for the next year if they see the need to. During this time period, I suggest that you take the time to review your plan, and any changes providers may implement for the upcoming year to make sure your needs will be covered and that you are still in the "RightFit" plan. 



Myth: Medicare Pays for Everything

Truth: There are a number of services that Medicare does not cover. For example, Medicare does not cover standard dental, vision, or hearing care. If these are services that you find yourself in need of, you may want to consider a Medicare Advantage plan that has these extras, or you may wish to purchase separate health insurance plans for these services from a private insurer. If you find that these are needs your current Medicare coverage does not provide and you need some guidance in this area, give me a call and I can provide assistance with that. 



Myth: My bad health will disqualify me for Medicare Coverage

Fact: Sadly, many people think that they can be denied Medicare coverage because of preexisting conditions or are in poor health. However, this is not the case. You can receive Medicare coverage once you qualify for it by either turning 65 or after having been on Medicare disability for 23 months. 


Note, Medicare supplement plans are different when it comes to their acceptance. If you are in your Medicare Supplement (MediGap) Open Enrollment Period- the 6 month period that coincides with your 65th birthday or your Medicare Part B start date, supplemental insurers cannot deny your application for Medigap insurance.  Once outside of this Open Enrollment period, they may be able to deny you coverage depending on your health in some cases.


Sonia Ashford
817-689-3536

Sonia Ashford is an Independent Insurance Agent in the Medicare field and has delivered hundreds of speeches about turning 65, Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans to consumers in Tarrant, Dallas & surrounding counties. A respected agent within the Medicare Insurance industry, she is the owner of Ashford Insurance Services, LLC and a Member of Agents Legacy Group, LLC. Visit Sonia's agency website: http://ashfordinsuranceservices.com to learn more about how she can help you with your Medicare decisions. Visit RightFitPlans.com to research, compare, select and enroll in Medicare Insurance Plans Online. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Doctors Offices, Retain Your Senior Patients

We help Doctors and Medical Offices with patients who are turning 65. Increase your patient retention by having your Medicare-eligible patients enroll in one of the Medicare Insurance plans you except. This ensures they continue to see you to get the medical attention they need.

We also offer this service at no cost to you or your Patients because the insurance carriers we represent compensate us for each enrollment.  We also offer RightFitPlans.com, an online website platform where Patients can go, research, choose, and enroll in one of the plans you accept. Call today and make an appointment for us to meet with your Office Manager.

817-937-2607




JOHN J. ASHFORD
1600 Airport Freeway Ste. 340

Friday, March 10, 2017

How to Research and Enroll in a Medicare Insurance Plan using RightFitPlan.com's Simple Enrollment Platform

This is a short DIY tutorial on how to research and enroll in a Medicare Insurance plan using RightFitPlan.com's simple enrollment platform. We are currently licensed in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Colorado. Follow these simple steps to get your Medicare Coverage today.

1. Point your browser to "http://www.rightfitplans.com/".


2. Click on "Get Started", "Log In", or "Create Account". For this demonstration, we will just click on "Get Started". However, we recommend creating an account so you can save your search with your medications and pharmacy of choice so you do not have to enter them all over again if you leave. This is optional and not required to get a quote, rates, research, or compare.



3. Here you can click on "Help Me Choose" and you will answer a few questions that will help narrow down the choices and guide you to the "right fit" plan. For our demonstration, we will just click on "View All Plans".



4. Now just enter your home residence "Zip Code" and click on "Submit".


5. Scroll down to see your plan type choices and click on the plan type you are interested in. The choices are; Medicare Advantage with Prescription Drug Coverage, Prescription Drug Plans, Medicare Advantage Plans without Prescription Drug Coverage, and Medicare Supplements, (also known as Medigap or Medsup).


6. Scroll down a little further and you will see the list of available plans. You can sort them by; "Total Estimated Cost",  "Plan Premium",  or "Medicare Star Rating". Please note you may select up to three plans at a time to perform a side by side comparison that will highlight differences in yellow.



7. Please be aware that the "Total Estimated Cost" figures will be much more accurate if you "Add Your Drugs". This will help you select your Prescriptions, quantity, and frequency to get a more accurate "Total Estimated Cost" amount.


8.  At any time you can click on the "Physician Finder" or "Pharmacy Finder" at the bottom of the page under the Helpfull Tools section. This will allow you to see if your Doctor or Pharmacy accepts the plan.


9. Lastly, when you are ready you can select the "Enroll in this Plan" button. This will either allow you to go directly to the plan carriers Enrollment Page or, ask you to phone us on the 1-888-457-1794 (TTY 711) number. If you have to call us we can either fax, email, or post mail you the enrollment kit with a self-addressed return envelope. If you live near the D/FW area we can come visit you with the enrollment kit. You may call us at any time during the enrollment process if you have questions.



Sonia Ashford
817-689-3536

Sonia Ashford is an Independent Insurance Agent in the Medicare field and has delivered hundreds of speeches about turning 65, Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans to consumers in Tarrant, Dallas & surrounding counties. A respected agent within the Medicare Insurance industry, she is the owner of Ashford Insurance Services, LLC and a Member of Agents Legacy Group, LLC. Visit Sonia's agency website: http://ashfordinsuranceservices.com to learn more about how she can help you with your Medicare decisions. Visit RightFitPlans.com to research, compare, select and enroll in Medicare Insurance Plans Online. 






Friday, March 3, 2017

Everyone Should Have Dental and Vision Insurance

Individual dental and vision insurance is one of the most commonly requested items by Medicare beneficiaries and younger individuals. Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover routine dental procedures, such as fluoride treatments, fillings, extractions, crowns, root canals, and teeth cleaning or vision such as glasses and contacts. 

Medicare only covers dental and vision care for medically necessary reasons such as injury or damage to your jaw, cataract surgery or dental care related to radiation for oral cancer. For this reason, most people on Medicare choose to purchase an individual dental or vision insurance policy.

It is important to note that some Medicare Advantage policies have dental and vision benefits or dental discounts built in. There are other Medicare Advantage plans that offer a dental or vision add on rider you may purchase with a monthly premium. 

Individual dental and vision insurance plans vary in price and type. There are inexpensive dental HMO plans which often require you to use dental networks made up of franchise dental chains. It could be difficult to find your preferred dentist on one of their networks. Then, there are dental PPO options which offer a bit more flexibility but are also often a bit more expensive. 

There are also dental and vision savings plans that are not true insurance. These just offer discounts on any needed dental or vision services. Members pay an annual membership fee which allows them to pay discounted rates only at participating dental or vision providers at the time services are rendered. The small savings you might see from a discount plan probably is not worth the extra time it takes to shop for one.

Are there any dental and vision plans for seniors out there? You bet! Fortunately, we have many options for affordable dental and vision insurance for younger individuals and seniors alike. One of our favorite and most popular plans is the Ameritas PrimeStar Dental and Vision insurance policy. We have used their vision policy ourselves and are very happy clients.

You can get free quotes here:





Sonia Ashford
817-689-3536



Sonia Ashford is an Independent Insurance Agent in the Medicare field and has delivered hundreds of speeches about turning 65, Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans to consumers in Tarrant, Dallas & surrounding counties. A respected agent within the Medicare Insurance industry, she is the owner of Ashford Insurance Services, LLC and a Member of Agents Legacy Group, LLC. Visit Sonia's agency website: http://ashfordinsuranceservices.com to learn more about how she can help you with your Medicare decisions. Visit RightFitPlans.com to compare, select and enroll in Medicare Insurance Plans Online. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

RightFitPlans.com Medicare Insurance Plan Online Enrollment Platform

RightFitPlans.com, (Agents Legacy Group, LLC), recently launched a self-service, no cost, Do It Yourself Medicare enrollment platform for seniors. They currently serve Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and New Mexico. Seniors can now compare, choose and enroll in Medicare insurance plans online without having to be tech savvy. Seniors eligible for Medicare may now enroll from wherever and whenever, (with a valid enrollment period), it is convenient for them. Using a home computer, tablet or phone they are now just a click away from enrolling in a Medicare insurance plan.

Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage Plans are necessary policies for seniors to consider. By helping policyholders pay for the various “gaps” (coinsurance fees, copayments, and deductibles) found in Original Medicare, a Medigap or a Medicare Advantage policy allows seniors to manage and secure their finances in a much more organized and cost conscious manner. Senior citizens now have the ability to educate themselves on the RightFitPlans.com enrollment system. Unlike most Medicare plan comparison sights their platform not only lets you compare and chose a plan, but, it also lets you fluidly enroll online in that plan as well.

By comparing Medicare Insurance plans and rates, seniors can find which insurance plan is the “right fit” plan for them. Rightfitplans.com is a Bedford Texas company that has launched an online platform to provide seniors with a way to do plan by plan comparisons, including prescription drugs, of Medicare insurance plans. This includes Medicare Advantage, Medigap, and Prescription Drug Plans. The website was designed to empower seniors by informing them of their options to go along with Medicare. This includes plans, pricing, and online enrollment.

Rightfitplans.com helps seniors find the “right fit” Medicare insurance plan for their lifestyle and budget. This Medicare plan will be responsible for helping them with their medical bills and medication costs. Senior citizens are more likely to have higher medical and medication costs. With those high costs comes the importance of making an informed decision. If they were to choose the wrong plan, it could potentially cost them hundreds or even thousands of dollars more a year. Choosing the plan that is the “right fit” will ultimately not just benefit their health but also their pocketbook as well.

Their plan comparison website makes it so easy to read and compare, it is easily understood. This makes their website better than competing sites and presents the information on the various rates and plan choices in a simple manner. Seniors can even compare plans and rates without having to make an account. There is no need to worry about them contacting you without your permission and they will not give out your information to anyone else. Clients using RightFitPlans.com online enrollment platform can be their own agent.

Rightfitplans.com is there to assist by providing seniors with relevant and updated Medicare insurance plans and pricing. Along the way, if someone needs assistance they have experienced, licensed, Agents standing by on the phones. These professional Agents will help, guide and answer any questions a client has. If a client prefers to enroll the old fashioned paper and ink way, with their permission, they will go over the information over the phone and mail out an enrollment kit with directions and a return addressed postage paid envelope. They are just a toll-free phone call away.

Again, all these services are provided to seniors at no cost. The insurance carriers compensate them when someone enrolls in a plan they offer.

For Medicare insurance plan inquiries, pricing, and enrollment visit rightfitplans.com or call toll-free (888) 457-1794.



Sonia Ashford
817-689-3536


Sonia Ashford is an Independent Insurance Agent in the Medicare field and has delivered hundreds of speeches about turning 65, Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans to consumers in Tarrant, Dallas & surrounding counties. A respected agent within the Medicare Insurance industry, she is the owner of Ashford Insurance Services, LLC and a Member of Agents Legacy Group, LLC. Visit Sonia's agency website: http://ashfordinsuranceservices.com to learn more about how she can help you with your Medicare decisions. Visit RightFitPlans.com to compare, select and enroll in Medicare Insurance Plans. 


Monday, January 30, 2017

Why not a Medicare Supplement Plan D?

Why not Plan D?

All the talk these days about the Cadillac of Medicare Supplements Plan F and it's comparable little brother Plan G, but what about their cousin the economical Plan D? Plan D has Great Medicare Supplement coverage with affordable rates and is certainly worth considering.  
      
Medicare Supplement Plan D is an underutilized option that many seniors don't know enough about to even consider.  So, here are some highlights:

Lower rates and household premium discount available with some carriers.

The only difference between Plan D and Plan G is the Part B excess charges.

There are almost no Part B excess charges if the provider accepts Medicare assignment.

96% of providers who provide Medicare-covered services accept Medicare assignment.

99% of all Medicare-covered services are paid on assignment.*

It is EASY to confirm if your providers accept Medicare Assignment, go here: https://www.medicare.gov/physiciancompare/search.html

So, maybe it's time to consider a less expensive alternative.

Source: http://kff.org/medicare/issue-brief/paying-a-visit-to-the-doctor-current-financial-protections-for-medicare-patients-when-receiving-physician-services/

Medicare Supplement Comparison Chart:



Source: https://www.medicare.gov/supplement-other-insurance/compare-medigap/compare-medigap.html
  
* Plan F also offers a high-deductible plan. If you choose this option, this means you must pay for Medicare-covered costs up to the deductible amount of $2,200 in 2017 before your Medigap plan pays anything.

** After you meet your out-of-pocket yearly limit and your yearly Part B deductible, the Medigap plan pays 100% of covered services for the rest of the calendar year.


*** Plan N pays 100% of the Part B coinsurance, except for a copayment of up to $20 for some office visits and up to a $50 copayment for emergency room visits that don't result in inpatient admission.














Sonia Ashford
817-689-3536

Sonia Ashford is an Independent Insurance Agent in the Medicare field and has delivered hundreds of speeches about turning 65, Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans to consumers in Tarrant, Dallas & surrounding counties. A respected agent within the Medicare Insurance industry, she is the owner of Ashford Insurance Services, LLC and a Member of Agents Legacy Group, LLC. Visit Sonia's agency website: http://ashfordinsuranceservices.com to learn more about how she can help you with your Medicare decisions. Visit RightFitPlans.com to compare, select and enroll in Medicare Insurance Plans.