Tips for Getting the Help You Need on Medicare Purchasing Decisions

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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.

Whole Life Insurance 101

Whole Life InsuranceWhole life insurance is a peace-of-mind measure that’s designed to protect an individual throughout his or her entire lifetime.

While there are dozens of varieties of whole life policies, the shared factor between all of them is that whole life policies offer permanent insurance that provides guaranteed premiums, death benefits, and cash value.

Read on to learn more.

Why Purchase Whole Life Insurance?

People typically purchase whole life insurance for a variety of reasons, including the following:

  • Protection for life
  • Payments that never change
  • The ability to put additional money into the policy in a way that’s favorable to taxes
  • To build cash value that is usable during the policyholder’s lifetime

These things, combined with its many other values, make whole life insurance appealing to many individuals.

The Guarantees of Whole Life Insurance

One of the biggest appeals of whole life insurance is the benefits it offers. These benefits include the following:

  • Death benefits: Death benefits are guaranteed on a whole life plan. With a whole life policy, beneficiaries will receive, at the very least, the face value of the policy upon the death of the insured. This is true as long as there are not unresolved policy loans on the account and the policy premiums have been paid in a timely fashion.
  • Cash Value: With a whole life insurance policy, the cash value of the policy grows on a tax-deferred basis until it matches the policy’s face value. This cash is available through withdrawal and loans during the insured’s lifetime.
  • Guaranteed premiums: One of the most attractive aspects of a whole life insurance plan is the fact that the premiums the insured individual pays will stay the same throughout the life of the plan. This is true regardless of the insured’s age and health. 

The 3 Types of Whole Life Insurance

When an individual purchases whole life insurance, they have a choice between three different policy types:

  • Universal. Universal life insurance is the most common type of life insurance. In these policies, a portion of the premium paid by the insured goes toward a death benefit while another portion goes toward savings.
  • Variable Universal. Variable universal whole life insurance is a mixture between universal and variable life insurance. In most cases, it offers guaranteed death benefits, although the piece of the premium that doesn’t go toward the death benefit can be invested according to the purchaser’s preferences.
  • Variable Life. Variable life whole life policies are more investment-based than many other types of insurance. In these policies, most of the premium amount goes into an investment. Many professionals consider these policies somewhat riskier than other options because death benefits can be directly affected by investment returns.

Final Expense or Burial Insurance is a form of whole life insurance that doesn’t have any confusing, investment aspect to it. These are smaller policies, usually from $5,ooo to $50,000 and they all provide guaranteed premiums, death benefits, and cash value.

Conclusion

For people who want guaranteed benefits and whole life protection, a whole life policy can be a fantastic option. For people who want these policies, though, it’s imperative to shop around and consult with an experienced insurance professional beforehand.

For more information about whole life plans or to find a policy that works for you, contact Lifelong Insurance, LLC today.