Do I Need Medigap?

Do I Need Medigap?

Medigap InsuranceMedicare does a good job of protecting millions of older Americans against the financial catastrophe of high medical bills. But it doesn’t cover everything. Even if you sign up right away for both Medicare Part A (hospital coverage) and Part B (physician’s costs, lab fees and durable medical goods), an illness or injury – or even just the routine costs associated with maintaining your health with a pre-existing condition – can saddle you with significant out of pocket costs. These costs can significantly derail your retirement plan. This is where a Medigap plan can help.

For example: Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) are essentially just bare-bones 80-20 plans that also have significant copays and coinsurance amounts. If you have an injury or illness that results in $100,000 in medical bills, and you don’t have Medigap coverage, you may well find yourself looking at a $20,000 bill – that you must pay out of pocket.

That’s where Medigap comes in. Medigap, or Medicare Supplement Insurance, may  help prevent or control significant and possibly unpredictable health care costs that you would otherwise have to pay out of pocket.

These plans aren’t government plans, per se. Rather, they are standardized plans issued by private carriers designed to work in conjunction with Medicare, and provide coverage for medical treatments and services that Medicare Part A and B do not cover.

Here are some of the reasons you may want or need to sign up for Medigap insurance:

  • You want to protect your pension income or other sources of income against the costs of health care.
  • You want to preserve and protect your financial legacy against the possibility of a serious medical issue – or series of issues.
  • You have assets to protect against the risk of medical-related bankruptcy.
  • You can afford Medicare premiums, but cannot afford a catastrophic hospitalization or expensive dread disease, even with Medicare coverage.
  • You want to be able to use your benefits at any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare, without worrying about insurance provider networks.
  • You want help with co-insurance costs or copays for Part A and Part B.
  • You want or need help with hospice care costs.
  • You want to travel outside the United States and want to be able to access benefits abroad.
  • You want help paying skilled nursing facility care coinsurance payments.
  • You have pre-existing medical conditions or you have a family history of medical issues.
  • You are not already enrolled in Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) or you are unhappy with your plan.
  • You looked at available Medicare Advantage plans but you don’t want to be confined to their network.
  • You don’t want prescription drug coverage or you are getting prescription drug coverage from another source.

If any or all of the above considerations apply to you, Medigap coverage – also known as Medicare Supplement insurance – may be worth considering. But the clock is ticking: To preserve your options, it’s critical that you complete any enrollments during your open enrollment period. That means you must generally sign up for Medigap within three months of the beginning of the month in which you turn age 65 and you have signed up for Medicare Part B. You can actually ‘lock in’ your Medigap rate beginning at age 64 1/2. It would then be locked in for 18 months.

To get the ball rolling and for more personalized service, please contact me today at 888-901-4870, or fill out the contact form below and we’ll respond promptly. We will answer your questions and assist you in finding the right Medigap plan for you.

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Lifelong Insurance

Owner/Agent

Chad Cason

Licensed Agent/Agency Owner

 

 

Tips for Getting the Help You Need on Medicare Purchasing Decisions

SeniorsWhen it comes to making purchasing decisions about how you will get your Medicare coverage, it can be very confusing. It’s not uncommon for seniors to need a helping hand through the process.

Fortunately, there are many resources available to do just this. From free resources to trained & licensed professionals, there are many ways for seniors to find high-quality information about Medicare. Here are some tips for getting the help you need with your Medicare decisions.

Consult free resources

One great place to start is Medicare.gov’s annual “Medicare & You” handbook. This valuable, free PDF resource offers plenty of helpful information about programs, options, and what may be best for you. On that same note, the Medicare.gov website also offers a convenient “Plan Finder” feature that allows seniors to compare plans, drug plans, and supplemental policies according to their geographical location. This can be a helpful way to get state-specific information that will assist you in making a purchasing decision.

Talk to friends

If your friends have recently qualified for Medicare, it’s likely that they have some helpful information to offer. Look to them for tips on what to do and what to avoid. Listening to other people’s personal stories can go a long way toward helping you decide which Medicare options are right for you. Be careful though, what’s right for your family member or friend may not be right for you. For example, if you like the freedom to choose your own doctor and hospital, you would want to go with a Medigap plan, also known as Medicare Supplement insurance. You need to know the difference between Medigap and Medicare Advantage before you decide.

Contact a professional

If you’re still having trouble navigating Medicare after consulting the free resources available to you and talking with your social circle, consider enlisting the help of a professional- as our services are free as well.

One of the best ways to do this is to work with an independent insurance agent. Independent insurance agents generally have the time and expertise needed to do a comprehensive walk-through of your Medicare eligibility with you, which translates into better information and care.

Another benefit of working with an independent insurance agent is that these agents generally have up-to-date knowledge about what’s happening in the Medicare industry and can provide you with real-time information that pertains to your care, your costs, and your plans.

Conclusion

While navigating Medicare for the first time can be overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. There are dozens of free, high-quality resources you can consult to get acquainted with the system and, if that doesn’t cut it, you always have the option of contacting an insurance agent to help you. Independent agencies provide a free service for you by shopping and comparing your options among the leading Medicare Supplemental insurers- to find you the best deal.

Medicare is important and it’s imperative that you get the information you need to make good decisions. To learn more about your Medicare options or to speak with us further regarding our services, contact Lifelong Insurance, LLC today.

How Dual Medicare and Medicaid Coverage Can Help You

shutterstock_102593651If your 65th birthday is on the horizon, you might want to start thinking about Medicaid and Medicare eligibility. Once your Medicare eligibility period begins, the system allows a 7-month Initial Enrollment Period for new enrollees to sign up. As a general rule, this 7-month period breaks down into the three months before, the month of, and the three months after your 65th birthday.

Here’s what you need to know about dual Medicare and Medicaid coverage and how this system can help you:

Part D Prescription Coverage

Once you are enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid coverage, Medicare will step in to cover all of your Part D prescription drug costs. Under these coverage options, individuals automatically qualify for increased financial assistance for drug costs. People who have restricted income or limited resources may also qualify to receive financial assistance for the Medicare Part B premium expenses and other Medicare-related costs, including coinsurance and deductibles. This program is known as the Medicare Savings Program and is provided for you by your state’s Medicaid program and Medicare as a whole.

The Medicare Savings Programs

There are four separate types of Medicare savings programs available to individuals. These programs offer financial assistance depending upon your level of income and level of need. If you qualify for one of these programs, it’s possible that you can receive help paying for Medicare-related expenses.

  1. Qualified Medicare Beneficiary Program (QMB)
  2. Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary Program (SLMB)
  3. Qualifying Individual Program (QI)
  4. Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals (QDWI) Program

Applying for Medicare Savings Programs

According to Medicare.gov, In order to qualify for Medicare savings programs, you need to answer yes to the following questions:

  • Do you have Part A coverage? If not, are you eligible for it?
  • Is your monthly income for the past year at $1,333 (if you’re single) or $1,790 (if you’re married or living with a partner)?
  • Are your financial resources limited? $7,160 if you’re single, or $10,750 if you’re married or living with someone. “Financial resources” include money in checking or savings accounts, and stocks and bonds. They do not include things like your home, car, furniture, or other personal items.

If you answered yes to all of the above questions, the next step is to contact your State Medicaid Program to learn more about your eligibility for Medicare Savings Programs in your state.

Conclusion

If you’re nearing your 65th birthday, it’s important to start thinking about dual Medicare and Medicaid coverage today. Doing this can ensure that you’re well-equipped to confront the need for coverage when it arises and that you have adequate assistance paying for your health expenses. For more information about applying for and qualifying for Medicaid and Medicare coverage, contact Lifelong Insurance, LLC. We are happy to discuss your eligibility options with you and help you find the perfect care options that work for your individual lifestyle.

Term Life Insurance: What Seniors Need to Know

Term life insurance is an insurance plan that provides an individual with coverage for a fixed period of time at a fixed rate. For seniors, depending on current age, who want an affordable, easily accessed life insurance policy- term life insurance is worth investigating.

Term Life InsuranceTerm vs. Permanent Life Insurance

Unlike permanent life insurance, which pays a death benefit no matter when you die, term insurance provides beneficiaries with benefits only if you die during the term of the policy. Because of this key difference, term life insurance is very inexpensive, compared to permanent. Within in a term life insurance plan, an individual pays the insurance company a premium during only the stated term of the policy.

If the individual dies during the term of that policy, his or her beneficiaries receive benefits. If the individual survives the policy, no benefits are paid. It’s that simple!

With that in mind, here are the four things you need to know about term life insurance policies:

Term Premiums are Refundable: For people who purchase a term life insurance policy, there’s never the concern of not getting your premiums back. Most policies offer an added option called Return of Premium that means that, if you live to the end of the term offered by the life insurance policy, all of your paid premiums will be returned to you. Of course, this will cost you more per month in premium.

Term Life Insurance Policies are Affordable: Seniors know that insurance can be expensive and one of the many benefits of term life insurance policies is that they are generally inexpensive and more affordable. In other words, more bang for your buck!

Term Coverage is Temporary: Unlike permanent life insurance, term life insurance covers an individual for a limited time. Seniors can buy a plan that covers them for a pre-determined period of years and, if they die within that period of time, the beneficiaries receive disbursed benefits. Once you’re over the age of 65, term life periods are much lower- such as a 10- year term. Permanent life insurance may be more attractive at this point.

Term Life Insurance Can Help With Life Event Planning: Term life policies give you the security and peace of mind of knowing that if you were to pass away within the set term of your policy, your beneficiaries could use the allocated funds from your policy to pay for expenses like mortgages or tuition.

The  Case for Term Life Insurance
These policies offer seniors with a very accessible way to provide for their loved ones. By paying death benefits only during a set period of time, term life manages to be substantially less expensive and, in many ways, substantially more practical than permanent life insurance. Ideal for those who want to ensure their family is cared for in the event of their death, term life insurance can be a great option for meeting your insurance needs. Again, depending on your current age and health, term life may be or may not be the right solution for you.

To learn more about term life insurance and whether it’s the correct fit for you, visit Lifelong Insurance, LLC today.