This blog section contains information on Medicare Advantage plans. Learn about Medicare Part C and discover when you can change your plan during the Open Enrollment Periods. Moreover, find out about Silver Sneakers, Dental Plans, and compare Supplement plans to Medicare Advantage plans.
Which Medicare Plan is better for you?
Depending on your situation, Medicare Supplement or Advantage maybe better for you. First, we look at benefits of Medicare Advantage plans and whether this maybe right for you. Then we look at Medicare Supplement plans and who best benefits for them. After reviewing Medicare Advantage and Supplements Plans, you will have a good idea which is best for you.
Medicare Advantage Plans
Many relatively healthy seniors prefer Medicare Advantage plans for three main reasons:
- Low monthly premium and covers prescription drugs
- HMO costs less and covers only in-network doctors and hospitals
- PPO costs more and covers both in-network and out-of-network doctors and hospitals
- “Pay as you go”, you will have copay’s for Medical Services: Doctor visits, Hospitalization, Lab Work, Advanced Imaging, etc…
Is a Medicare Advantage Plan right for you?
Medicare Advantage Plans are more affordable, costing you less in premiums and deductibles when you don’t get sick or need hospital or medical services. However, when you do become ill and require hospital or doctor’s services, you could have expenses up to your maximum out-of-pocket limit of $6,700, depending on your plan. For example, with Medicare Advantage Plans, you will have copays whenever you use your plan. A Medicare Advantage Plan may be a good fit if you are willing to pay less every month at the risk of paying more when you need health coverage.
Discover the benefit and cost differences between PPO vs HMO. View our PPO vs HMO infographic.
Enroll or Change Medicare Advantage Plan
You can enroll or change Medicare Advantage Plan during Medicare Open Enrollment. This Annual Election Period is from October 15 through December 7. Furthermore, you can also switch MA plans or disenroll during Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment between January 1 and March 31.
Senior Healthcare Direct can help you find the right Medicare Advantage Plan. We can help you find an Advantage Plan that includes your doctors and medications. Discover how to change your Advantage Plan and get the most cost-effective price.
Medicare Supplement Plans
Many seniors with underlying health conditions or otherwise need regular medical service prefer Medicare Supplement Plans for three reasons:
- Fixed monthly premiums makes your expenses more predictable
- A nationwide network of doctors and hospitals gives you more flexibility
- Does not cover prescription drugs (separate Part D plan required)
- Plans may cover all hospital and medical expenses without copays or coinsurance
Is a Medicare Supplement Plan right for you?
Many seniors who use their health insurance prefer Medigap Plans. When you add up the cost of hospital deductibles $1484 in 2021, which all Medicare Supplement Plans pay, a Medigap Plan could save you thousands over an Advantage Plan. For seniors who have known health conditions, Medigap Plans allows you to budget your healthcare expenses and make the costs more affordable.
For seniors who are fortunate to have both health and money, you may want to pay for a Medicare Supplement so you can avoid medical underwriting should you become ill and want to upgrade your coverage later.
Best Medigap Plan for 2021
In a MedicarBob video, Robert Bache gives his recommendation for the best Medicare Supplement Plan for 2021. Discover a Medigap Plan that saves you on monthly premiums and is a better value than Plan F. Furthermore, learn how the Best Medigap Plans compare and which plan is best for you.
Helping You Choose a Medicare Plan
Senior Healthcare Direct can help you choose a Medicare Plan. You can speak with a licensed agent to discuss which Plan is best for you. Call us toll-free at 1-855-368-4717 or get a quote.
Can you enroll in Medicare Advantage with ESRD?
In 2021, people with ESRD will be able to join Medicare Advantage Plans without any restrictions. Before 2021 you could only join a Medicare Advantage Plan with ESRD in certain situations. Starting in 2021, anyone with End-Stage Renal Disease can join an Advantage Plan.
What is ESRD?
ESRD is End-Stage Renal Disease. In other words, it is a medical condition in which your kidneys stop functioning, and you need regular long-term dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain life. You will need dialysis when you lose about 85 to 90 percent of your kidney function. In end-stage renal disease, your kidneys do not get better, and you will need dialysis for the rest of your life or a kidney transplant.
What is Dialysis?
Dialysis uses a machine to clean your body. A dialysis machine filters your blood and removes waste, salt, and extra water. Hemodialysis treatment usually lasts about four hours and is done three times per week. Dialysis is expensive!
Shop Your Medicare Advantage Plan
Robert Bache advises you to check your ANOC – “Annual Notice of Changes,” which your Medicare Advantage Plan sends you in September. The ANOC includes any changes in coverage, costs, or service area that will be effective in January. If your cost increases, you can shop for a new Medicare Advantage Plan on October 1. If you have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), our office can help you. Shop your Medicare Advantage Plan at Senior Healthcare Direct by calling 1-855-368-4717.
Learn how to find the right Medicare Advantage Plan and keep your doctors and medications. Moreover, we can get you the most cost-effective price! Find out how a Medicare Advantage Plan compares to Medicare Supplement Plan.
Medicare Advantage vs. Supplement
Find out which is better Medicare Advantage vs. Medicare Supplement. Discover our side-by-side comparison chart that shows you the benefits and costs of Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement.
Furthermore, Medicare covers all medically necessary hospitalizations. For example, your doctor diagnoses you with COVID-19. Consequently, you remain an inpatient for the duration of your quarantine.
Likewise, Medicare Advantage plans provide you the same coverage benefits. Moreover, Medicare waives your copays for COVID-19 lab tests.
Whether you have Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage, Senior Healthcare Direct can help you choose and compare Medicare plans from the safety of your home. Call us at 1-855-368-4717 or get your quote.
917 new COVID-19 deaths on April 1, 2020
On April 1, 2020, 917 Americans died from COVID-19. The total number of American deaths is now 4,745. According to CNN, from January until April Fool’s day, President Trump has “minimized the risk of coronavirus.”
Trump has said:
“The virus might well vanish by April with the warmer weather, that the media and Democrats were overhyping the situation, and that this is their new hoax.”
Finally, on April 1, the facts are clear. COVID-19 is not vanishing in April. Moreover, President Trump said (for the first time):
“The situation is ‘bad,’ that the virus is not under control, that the country might well be heading into a recession, and that American life would not get back to normal for months.”
In this video press briefing, President Trump says he wants, “every American prepared for the hard days that lay ahead.” Moreover, Trump says, “It’s going to be a very tough two weeks.” (April 1 – April 14).
Experts Predict Huge US Death Toll
At White House briefing on March 31, 2020, Dr. Debroah Birx, the coronavirus response coordinator, makes a grim prediction. An IHME model by Chris Murray, at the University of Washington, predicts 100,000 to 240,000 Americans will die from COVID-19 in the next two months.
Most importantly, this prediction requires all American’s to engage in social distancing. Otherwise, the American death toll could be in the millions.
You can slow the spread of Coronavirus
To slow the spread of Coronavirus, all Americans must do the following:
- Restrict social gatherings to 10 people or less
- Stay at least 6 feet away from people (Social Distancing)
- Stay at home and shop online for whatever you need
If you ignore these guidelines, millions of Americans are likely to die. Experts predict a mountain of deaths between 1.5 million and 2.2 million if Americans fail to slow the spread of Coronavirus.
Medicare will cover the Coronavirus vaccine
Currently, scientists continue to work on COVID-19 vaccines. The estimated timeline for an approved vaccine maybe 12 – 18 months. When a vaccine becomes available, your Medicare Part D plan will cover it.
Related article: Get Coronavirus Tips to Stay Safe
About Brian Kondas
Brian Kondas writes well-researched, high-quality, and accurate content for Senior Healthcare Direct. Brian writes about Medicare-related topics including the Coronavirus. Moreover, Brian search engine optimizes (SEO) content, so it ranks higher in search engines and drives organic traffic. Furthermore, Brian edits graphics and creates infographics.
Medicare Open Enrollment Period
Once a year Medicare open enrollment period is October 15 to December 7 – also known as Annual Election Period or Annual Enrollment period – anyone with Medicare can make changes to their Medicare health plans and prescription drug coverage for the following year. For example, the next Medicare open enrollment is October 15, 2021 through December 7, 2021. Any changes you make to Medicare coverage during this open enrollment period will take effect in January 2022. Read more about what you can do during open enrollment period.
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment
Likewise, Medicare Advantage open enrollment period occurs once a year between January 1 thru March 31. Anyone who has a Medicare Advantage Plan can switch to a different Medicare Advantage Plan. Alternatively, you can drop Medicare Advantage and return to Original Medicare. Then you can join a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. For example, read the following story about George.
Why George Switched from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare
George turned 65 last year and enrolled in Medicare Advantage Plan. In 2021, George and his wife Barbara bought a recreation vehicle (RV). Having received COVID-19 vaccinations, they plan to enjoy retirement by traveling across the United States in their new RV. However, George has an Advantage Plan and when he travels outside of his service area he pays higher out-of-network costs. Therefore, George makes a smart move and switches from his Advantage Plan to Medicare with a Part D prescription drug plan.
Now, George and Barbara have peace of mind knowing their health costs will remain consistent wherever they travel in the United States. The good news is you can switch too! Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP) is from January 1 to March 31. If you have a Medicare Advantage (MA) Plan, you can switch to a different MA Plan. Otherwise, you can drop Medicare Advantage and return to Original Medicare and join Part D prescription drug plan. To shop and compare Medicare plans call Senior Healthcare Direct at 1-855-368-4717 or click the get quote button below.
Common Questions About Medicare Open Enrollment
Medicare open enrollment also called annual election period and annual enrollment period (AEP) is the annual period between October 15 and December 7 when people eligible for Medicare can change their Medicare plan.
Annual Medicare open enrollment period is October 15 to December 7. Open enrollment for 2022 coverage ended on December 7, 2021. Next open enrollment will begin October 15, 2021 for coverage starting in January 2022.
Medicare Advantage open enrollment only applies to people who have Medicare Advantage plans. During Medicare Advantage OEP you can switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan. Alternatively, you can switch from Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare including Part D prescription drug plan.
Medicare Advantage open enrollment is January 1 to March 31.
During Medicare Advantage open enrollment period you can not switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage Plan. In addition, you can not join Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. Furthermore, you can not switch from Medicare Part D drug plan to another Part D drug plan.
What is Silver Sneakers?
Silver Sneakers is a health and fitness program for Medicare beneficiaries 65 years or older. Thus, if you are a senior, Medicare Plans may pay for Silver Sneakers. Members of Silver Sneakers have access to thousands of gyms, community centers, and other participating fitness locations across the nation. As a member, you can take classes designed for seniors of all fitness levels led by trained instructors. In addition, you have access to an on-demand video library of classes and workouts.
Furthermore, you can even download the SilverSneakers GO app to get your digital membership card and workouts. The app is free and available on IOS and Android devices. Most important, Silver Sneakers’ community is a place for seniors to find friendly, supportive seniors in person and online.
Why Join Silver Sneakers?
A Silver Sneakers membership can help you stay strong in body, mind, and spirit. Regular physical activity keeps your heart, brain, bones, muscles, and joints healthy. For instance, if you have a chronic condition like arthritis, diabetes, or osteoporosis, safe exercise can help you feel better. Furthermore, staying social in the Silver Sneakers community is vital to your good health.
Silver Sneakers Program
The Silver Sneakers program includes a basic membership at any participating gym. Facilities and amenities vary by location, however, many Medicare Silver Sneaker gyms include the following:
- Cardio equipment, including treadmills and ellipticals
- Strength training equipment, such as weights and strength machines
- Amenities, such as pools and walking tracks
Unlike other senior gym memberships, you can go to all fitness locations in the Silver Sneakers network. You can visit over 17,0000 Medicare Silver Sneaker locations across the United States.
Silver Sneaker program includes many types of exercise classes. You will find a variety of fun exercises classes designed for seniors of all fitness levels. Classes vary by location, but you will often find the following:
- Cardio and strength classes, which often include a chair for support
- Water aerobics classes
- Chair and standing yoga classes
- Tai Chi, boot camp, and many other classes!
The instructors who lead Silver Sneaker classes are friendly and supportive. If you are new to a class, the instructor can help you learn how to do exercises safely. Furthermore, if you have limited mobility, instructors can adapt exercises for your needs.
Do you want to try something different from traditional gyms? You might like to try Silver Sneakers FLEX classes. The Silver Sneakers program offers more than 70 kinds of classes through its FLEX network. You can visit many different locations such as churches, community centers, or recreation centers. Some FLEX classes meet outdoors and many FLEX class sizes are smaller than gym classes.
Where to Find Silver Sneakers Locations and Classes?
You can find a Silver Sneakers locations and classes near you using the locator tool. You can go to any participating location or class you want in the Silver Sneakers network. For example, you can use weights in one location, go swimming at another location, and take a Silver Sneakers or FLEX class at a third location.
Medicare Plans with Silver Sneakers
You can find Silver Sneakers with Medicare Supplement Plans or Medicare Advantage Plans. However, you are less likely to find Silver Sneakers included in a Medicare Supplement Plans. A few of the Medicare insurance companies that may offer you Silver Sneakers Medigap Plans include:
- AARP (now called Renew Active)
- Bankers Life aka Colonial Penn Life Insurance
- Blue Cross Blue Shield
Depending on your location, Medicare plans with Silver Sneakers may be covered by Medicare Supplement Plan F or Plan G. However, more insurance companies offer Silver Sneakers with Medicare Advantage Plans including:
- Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Mutual of Ohama
- Well Care
You are more likely to find a Medicare Advantage Plan with Silver Sneakers than a Medicare Supplement Plan.
Silver sneakers enrollment
During Medicare Open Enrollment Period, you can switch to a Medicare Advantage Plan with Silver Sneakers between January 1 and March 31. To switch your Medicare Advantage Plan, you must be in a Medicare Advantage Plan now. Otherwise, you will need to wait until Annual Enrollment October 15 thru December 7. However, if you have Medicare Supplement Plan, you can shop a new Medigap Plan with Silver Sneakers anytime all year long. You can speak with a licensed agent about switching your Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Supplement Plan at Senior Healthcare Direct 1-855-368-4717. Otherwise, you can click the get quote button below.
Common Questions About silver sneakers
Unfortunately, Original Medicare Part A and Part B does not offer or include Silver Sneakers.
To be eligible for Silver Sneakers you must be 65 years or older. Some people qualify for Medicare because of disability and are younger than 65.
If your Medicare Supplement Plan or Medicare Advantage Plan includes Silver Sneakers, then Medicare pays for Silver Sneakers.
Dental Plans For Seniors
Original Medicare Doesn’t Cover Dental Care
Original Medicare does not cover most dental care including dental procedures, supplies, and cleanings. Moreover, it does not cover tooth extractions, dentures, dental plates, and dental devices. However, Medicare Part A will pay for certain dental services while you are a hospital inpatient.
Medicare Advantage Plans
There are many private insurance carriers which offer Medicare Advantage Plans. Since these plans are not standardized, the coverage and benefits vary from plan to plan. Therefore, it’s best to shop advantage plans using a broker who can shop and compare a number of advantage plans. Senior Healthcare Direct is a nationwide Medicare Advantage insurance broker. Our licensed agents can shop Medicare Advantage plans so you can choose the plan that best suits your needs. You can speak directly with a licensed agents by calling 1-855-368-4717
Why Are Dental Checkups Important?
Regular dental checkups are essential to keeping your teeth clean and healthy. When you get dental checkups every 6 months, you reduce the chance of long-term dental problems. For example, professional dental cleanings help to get rid of hard-to-remove plaque or tarter which builds up even with regular at home brushing and flossing.
Dental Exams Decrease Your Risk of Disease
When a dentist catches dental issues early, they can be easier and less expensive to treat. However, letting dental problems linger can result in more complex and expensive procedures. Therefore, regular dental exams can save you money!
Furthermore, regular dental checkups helps prevent cavities and gum disease by removing tarter and plaque buildup. During your dental exam, the dentist checks for a number of issues:
- Oral cancer
- Tooth decay
- Gum Disease
- Tooth grinding
- Alignment problems
Moreover, your dentist can detect signs of more than 120 diseases including diabetes and heart disease.
Stand Alone Dental Plans
If you do not need vision or hearing plan, then you might consider a stand alone dental plan. These plans are network based like a PPO. So you get benefits for seeing providers in the network. You will usually pay a copay at the time of service and your insurance will pay a portion of the usual and customary fee for dental services.
What is the Best Dental Plan for Seniors?
Aetna dental plans for seniors is rated as the best overall plan according to The Senior List. Aetna offers a range of dental insurance policies to help keep your teeth in good condition.
The Best Dental, Vision, and Hearing Plan
Manhattan Life Assurance is a stand alone plan that combines dental, vision, and hearing coverage. This plan has no network restrictions. So you can receive care from your favorite dental, vision, and hearing provider. You choose you own dentist, optometrist, and audiologist. Since you can use this plan at any provider’s office, it is the best dental, vision, and hearing plan. In addition, Manhattan Life Assurance plans also include the following benefits:
- Affordable Guarantee issue for all ages 18 – 85
- Guaranteed renewable for life
- Family rates includes up to 3 children
Manhattan Life Assurance plan has no waiting period for preventive services. For example, you can get a dental cleaning and x-ray right away. Thereafter, you can receive dental cleanings every 6 months. In addition, there is no waiting time for tooth fillings and extensions.
However, you will need to wait 12 months for major dental work. For example, bridges, crown work, partials, and root canals.
Manhattan Life Assurance vision coverage pays for eye exams immediately. In addition, the plan pays for eye glasses, contact lenses, and frames after 6 months. Since there is no network you choose the optometrist you want.
Plan Costs and Coverage
You only pay $100 annual deductible. Plan coverage improves over time. For example, the plan pays 60% in first year, 70% in second year, and 80% after 24 months. Annual benefit coverage of $1,000 and $1,500 is available. In addition, fully insured hearing benefits are a part of all plans.
Learn More about Dental Vision and Hearing Plans
You can buy a dental plan for seniors today and use it tomorrow! You have the option of choosing from a Medicare Advantage Plan or Stand Alone Plan. Find out which plans are available in your state by calling Senior Healthcare Direct at 1-855-368-4717. Otherwise, you can get a quote by clicking the get quote button.
Change Your Medicare 2020 Drug Plan Today
You can get the Medicare drug plan you want in 2020! Here’s the big Medicare Part D and Medicare.gov update: During the last 2019 Annual Enrollment you may have used the new Medicare.gov Plan Finder which was rolled out in October 2019. Unfortunately, there were a lot of errors with this new Plan Finder. Our agents at Senior Healthcare Direct were one of the first to realize that a lot of data from Medicare.gov plan finder was not adding up. For example, the Medicare.gov Plan Finder did not match up with the carriers.
Helping You Get The Right Drug Plan
To help our clients, we cross referenced Medicare.gov and the carrier information. As a result, we helped our clients get the right drug plan. However, other Medicare agencies or individuals who did not know ended up enrolling in the wrong plan. Consequently, there have been a lot of complaints to Medicare. Because there were enough complaints, Medicare opened up a new Special Enrollment Period. So if you used plan finder in 2019 and chose the wrong 2020 drug plan because the information provided was inaccurate, you can change your drug plan. Therefore, you do not have to wait until October 2020. You can get a new drug plan today! Watch the video below for more details.
You Can Change Your Medicare 2020 Drug Plan
MedicareBob, owner of Senior Healthcare Direct, breaks the news about Medicare Plan Finder inaccurate information and how you can change your drug plan today. Watch the video to get more details and learn what to say when you call Medicare to change your drug plan.
MedicareBob’s Big 2020 Announcement
How to Change Your Drug Plan
You can make changes to your Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D plan. If you made the wrong plan choice because of inaccurate information on the Plan Finder, call 1-800-MEDICARE and explain your situation. For other special circumstances, such as you moved or lose other credible insurance coverage, visit Medicare.gov
You can also use our Drug Plan Finder form to enter all your prescription drugs and we can help you find a drug plan that is right for you.