Medicare Advantage

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.

Robert Bache

Medicare Supplement OR Medicare Advantage Plan, which is better?

Medicare Supplement vs. Medicare Advantage Plan, which offers better coverage?
A Medicare Supplement Plan works with Medicare to pay the out of pocket costs that Medicare does not pay for. When you have a Medicare Supplement Plan, you will continue to use your Medicare red, white, and blue card, as well as your Medicare Supplement Card.

A Medicare Advantage Plan works in replace of Medicare. Medicare pays a private insurance company to insure you, with the requirement that the benefits are at least as good as what Medicare offers. If you choose a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can put away your Medicare red, white, and blue card because you will only be required to present your Medicare Advantage Plan card to use the insurance.
So which is better?
Good news, there is no wrong answer, they both are good, and both probably offer better coverage than you are used too. Below are the good and the bad for each type of insurance, I hope this helps:

 Medicare Supplement:

The Good:

Flexibility- choice of Doctor and/or Hospital

Predictability- very little out of pocket expense

Pays all hospital bills

You and your Doctor decide your care

Easy to shop and compare the different prices

No referrals are required, no HMO or PPO

Travels with you, same coverage all over the US

Electronic Billing

The Bad:

An additional Monthly Premium ($75-$180)

No dental or vision coverage

Monthly premium increases every year

No prescription drug coverage, you will need Part D

 

In summary, a Medicare Supplement Plan is going to cost an additional monthly premium, but it provides coverage that allows you to choose your own Healthcare Providers, and it is easy to budget because as long as you pay the monthly premium, you will rarely get a bill.

Medicare Advantage Plan

The Good:

Very low monthly premium, sometimes $0.00

Insurance Company helps manage your care

Some dental and/or vision

Includes prescription drug coverage

The Bad:

High out of pocket costs up to $3,500 to $7,500

Doctor / Hospital Network: HMO or PPO

Requires referrals

Annual Contracts, can only change 10/15-12/07

Coverage is limited to your County

Insurance Company decides your care

In summary, a Medicare Advantage Plan operates like group health insurance that most of us have had our whole life, and has a low monthly premium. However, if you are retiring and your income is being reduced, it may be more difficult to have health insurance that is impossible to budget for because you do not know how much you will use the Plan each year.

Candid MedicareBob™: I assist roughly 100 people per month with choosing which Medicare Coverage is the best for them, and 70% of the time, the choice is a Medicare Supplement Plan. This does not mean that I do not like Medicare Advantage Plans, to me it really comes down to the pricing that is available for the Medicare Supplement Plans in your area. If a Medicare Supplement Plan F, G, or Plan N is $100 or less per month, than a Medicare Supplement makes a lot of sense for most people. This being said, I do have clients that cannot afford a Medicare Supplement, this is when I assist them in choosing the right Medicare Advantage Plan for them. As I mentioned previously, both Medicare Supplement Insurance and Medicare Advantage Plans typically offer better insurance than you have had while you were working.

 

You should know: The only time that you are guaranteed approval for any Medicare Supplement Plan is when you first turn 65 years old, or within 6 months of when you start Medicare Part B.

How do I, a licensed insurance agent/broker that sells Medicare Supplements and/or Medicare Advantage Plans make money?

This is a fair question, and I am happy to share this information with you. My services; Medicare education, telephonic enrollment, and customer service, has no additional cost to you. I get paid by the insurance company, not by you.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH A SHORT VIDEO: Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement, which is better?

Medicare insurance question? What quotes from 20+ Medicare Supplement Companies? What a chart of the available Medicare Advantage Plans in you County? Call me, Robert W. Bache aka MedicareBob™: 1-800-525-0299.

Robert W. Bache aka “MedicareBob™”
President / Producer
Senior Healthcare Direct
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Cigna HealthSpring Medicare

Cigna Healthspring and the Medicare market:

Back in 2012 Cigna Cop. purchased HealthSpring of Nashville. Tennessee for $3.8 billion for a larger share of the Medicare market. Cigna has recently announced that they are starting a new marketing campaign branding the two companies together.

Cigna Healthspring Medicare Advantage

This is a good sign if you have a HealthSpring Medicare Advantage Plan, this is an indication that Cigna is going to continue to fund the Plans properly. I do not think that Cigna would co-brand if they thought the HealthSpring Plans were not going to be around for the future.

This really goes along with my previous articles and videos. The smaller Medicare Advantage companies are either going to be purchased by one of the insurance jugernauts, or they are gong to discontinue their Plans.

Cigna HealthSpring Medicare

Robert Bache aka “MedicareBob™”

Medicare Advantage Plans Obamacare

Obamacare includes changes to Medicare Advantage Plans:

The following changes to Medicare Advantage plans will be effective January 2014.

  • Advantage plans will be held to a minimum loss ratio of 85%
  • Requires restructuring the funding levels to Advantage plans in order to reduce payments closer to traditional Medicare (i.e. remove the 14% “overpayment”)

As a result, the following budget changes have been announced:

            1)  Congressional Budget Office estimates this will cut $145 billion over 10 years

           2)  The payment restructuring was designed to be implemented in 2011.

However, CMS had expanded “quality” payments to Medicare Advantage plans in 2012 through a demonstration program (outside of Obamacare).  These payments effectively mitigated most of the impact of the Medicare Advantage funding cuts from Obamacare.  The demonstration program is targeted to continue through 2014, at which time the additional bonus payments will end unless other measures are put in place.

MedicareBob Explains Medicare Advantage Plan Changes

Robert Bache says, “Medicare Advantage Plans are receiving less money from the Government, therefore the insurance companies are going to have to do better with less money. I look for the smaller Medicare Advantage companies to either go out of business, or be purchased by one of the bigger insurance companies.”

For Example, Care Improvement Plus has been purchased by United Healthcare, and Coventry has been purchased by Aetna.

What does Advantage Plan Consolidation mean?

For people with Medicare Advantage Plans, less companies means:

·         Less options

·         Less benefits

·         Maybe more of a monthly premium

Robert Bache says, “The days of paying a $0.00 premium and receiving a rich Medicare Advantage Plan are ending soon. However, when you compare the benefits and premium of a Medicare Advantage Plan to an Employer or Private insurance Plan, Medicare Advantage Plans are still typically going to offer better coverage. Medicare Advantage Plans over the next few years should still offer good benefits for a low monthly premium.”

Medicare Advantage Plans Obamacare

 Robert Bache aka “MedicareBob™”

Medicare and Obamacare Video

Robert Bache asks Twitter followers, “Is Obamacare destroying Medicare Advantage Plans?”

Robert Bache

Medicare Advantage Explanation