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Jan 2

Had Enough of Joe Namath Yet?

Posted on Thursday, January 2, 2020 in Uncategorized

Namath2WOW! There was probably a million TV commercials about Medicare during Open Enrollment this past Fall, and I think Broadway Joe was in half of them!

You probably saw more than I did, as I was working 15 hour days in October, November and December, but I heard about it at appointment after appointment.                            You may have wondered, “What is he talking about? You don’t get all this stuff for free!” And you weren’t about to call an 800 number to find out!

He was referring to Medicare Advantage Plans. Medicare Advantage is Part C of Medicare. It can be considered somewhat of a replacement for Original Medicare, as Medicare itself does not process your claims, the INSURANCE company you signed up with does. As such, the insurance company decides what your out of pocket costs  for hospital and medical services will be. Rather than deductibles and co-insurance, like Original Medicare, many Advantage plans have fixed costs for services in the form of co-pays.

“But Joe says everything is FREE!”

I think the idea behind the ads was to get the specific attention of those whose income is low enough to qualify for a particular segment of Medicare Advantage Plans, ones geared for those on Medicaid as well as Medicare. Those with incomes below the Federal Poverty Level for their household size may be eligible for a “Dual Eligible” plan, in which case, many services are at no cost. This may include a fair amount of dental, vision and hearing coverage at little or no cost as well. I’ve been told that only half of the individuals who would qualify for such a plan, actually have one…so the insurance companies are aggressively reaching out to this segment of the Medicare population.

By calling the 800 number to see, “IF YOU QUALIFY,” it opens the door for the agent on the other end of the line to not only see if you fit the strict guidelines for a Dual Eligible plan, it allows them to offer many, many other options to you IF YOU DON’T QUALIFY.

I have nearly 900 clients on a Medicare Advantage Plan. And it’s true, most do not pay a premium for their plan. (probably 90% of my Advantage plan clients pay ZERO premium). They still have to pay for Part B of Medicare, which is $144.60 a month in 2020, but no additional cost for the plan.

Medicare Advantage is one of the main “paths” to take when you are on Medicare. The other main path being Medigap, the insurance that supplements Original Medicare. When I meet with clients, we talk about both approaches. There is no single “right path” that fits everyone. But which one is right for you? I don’t know! That’s why we get together and figure it out!

I don’t have an 800 Number. I have a local number. (717) 468-0130.

And the only thing I can promise you for FREE…is my time. You’ll never pay me anything. And I come to see you. Plus I’ve done it probably 4000 times, so I can’t guarantee a Super Bowl victory, but I feel safe guaranteeing I know what I’m talking about, and a safe bet I know more than Joe Namath!

 

Apr 19

Did You Google Me?

Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2018 in Uncategorized

What’s one of the first things you do when you want to learn more about a person, place or thing? Go to the internet and see what you can find out!If you were expecting a super duper slick and fancy website, sorry! I’m just a simple guy who does one thing, all day, every day…meet with people to explain Medicare itself, and the options that are available with it. I use this blog to introduce myself, give a little bit of info about Medicare, and just try to show you I’m a regular sort of guy.

 

Mar 21

My Favorite Medicare Myth!

Posted on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 in Medicare

There are many myths about Medicare, or maybe just misunderstandings.  My favorite, or probably just the one I hear most of all is:

“You have to sign up for Medicare 3 months before your 65th birthday, or you get penalized!”

Oh boy, where do I begin to debunk this myth? As long as you have “creditable” coverage elsewhere, typically from your own employment or your spouse’s employment, there will never be a penalty for signing up for Medicare later, even well past your 65th birthday. So, you do not have to sign up for Medicare. Not even Part A, the “free” part.

When you are approaching the age of 65, you’re mailbox gets stuffed with promotional offers about Medicare Insurance Plans, like Medigap Supplemental Insurance, Medicare Advantage Plans and Prescription Drug Plans. (None are as informative, clever and humorous as mine, of course) The funny thing is, none of these mailings are from Medicare, unless you are already collecting Social Security.  That’s right!  If you are not yet collecting your monthly retirement benefit from Social Security, you will not receive a single thing in the mail from the Government, telling you what you have to do (or don’t have to do) regarding Medicare! Weird, right?

Myths are widely held beliefs, or false ideas.  Medicare has been around for over 50 years.  I don’t know who started this one, but it’s spread around for decades, “You have to sign up for Medicare 3 months before your 65th birthday, or you get penalized!”  There CAN be a penalty, it’s just that few people end up owing it.  If you wait to enroll in Medicare past age 65, for every 12 month period you did not have Part B, and did not have creditable coverage, you will pay 10%  more for Part B for the rest of your life. But, as previously stated, the likely reason to delay taking Part B, is because you DO have creditable coverage.

And…NO…you do NOT have to let Social Security or Medicare know that you are NOT going on Medicare at 65.

If you are still puzzled by what you HAVE to do with Medicare as you are nearing 65, call me (717) 468-0130, call Medicare (1-800-MEDICARE) or call Social Security (1-800-772-1213).

Mar 2

Did You Get A Letter From Me?

Posted on Thursday, March 2, 2017 in Medicare

Brian Weems Williams Letters About Medicare