The last option on Medicare is the Medicare Supplement world. There are 10 different plans offered and CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) determines the plan design and the carriers decide the premium. With a Medicare Supplement, you also have to get a stand-alone drug plan.
Typically, the Medicare Supplement plans can cost $30-$250 per month depending upon the plan. That’s why a budget is so important. If the broker assisting you asks what your budget is, he/she is just trying to gauge what type of plan would work best for you. When you pick a specific Medicare Supplement plan the pricing could have a monthly swing of $100 between multiple carriers, so why choose the most expensive one? Determining the correct supplement plan is only part of the chore. The other is to pick the company that sells the plan. Choosing the right company is critical to your overall financial situation. Several plans are scheduled to be shut down on 1/1/20 (Plan C, F and High Deductible F). Those that have those plans can keep them. Since insurance works with pools of subscribers; the more subscribers in the pool, the lower the price increases when the carrier raises the rate. When plans shut down sales, the pool shrinks as people die and no new subscribers can be added. That is critical to your future financial health. Conversely, the smaller the pool, the greater risk of future high price increases. Additionally, some plans have price increases until you are 99, while others stop at 75, 77, 80 and 85. Another important factor when considering which carrier to use. That’s where a broker is very important. They can tell you which of the plans have shortened price increases and which one don’t. Why buy a plan that has price increases annually until you are 99 when there are others that stop at age 75 or 77? Choosing the right broker is as important as choosing the right supplement plan.
Consider for a moment that these rules apply to all supplement plans. If Medicare pays their share, the plan must pay. If Medicare doesn’t pay for whatever reason, the plan cannot pay. So, if this happens you need to appeal the claim with Medicare and if approved your supplement will have to pay. A good broker will help you.
There are 23 drugs plans in Nevada and most people don’t have a clue on what will or will not work for them. That’s where the broker earns his/her commissions. They know how to choose the best plan for your needs by going to Medicare.gov and figuring it out for you. Let’s say you had to choose between two RX plans. One had an annual deductible of $400 (2017 pricing) and the other didn’t have a deductible but had a higher monthly premium. How do you choose? The broker can drill down into the plan and determine which the best plan is for you. Several years ago I faced that same problem. My drug plan monthly premium was getting too high and I decided to look at my options. I entered my 3 generic drugs into Medicare.gov and did some investigation. I determined that my current drug plan was going to cost me $53 per month in premium to buy 3 generic medications that cost almost nothing. I found a plan for $33 per month with no deductible and thought I had found a new option. Then I looked at the tier each of my drugs were in and found that 2 of my generic medications were considered brand name drugs on the new plan and would end up costing me more than my old plan. Then I looked at a different plan with the annual deductible (where I would have to spend the deductible before the low prices for the generic drugs would start) I did the math and discovered that the plan with the deductible and lower monthly premium would cost me less than having the higher premium with no deductible. I actually would never hit the deductible because the cost of the drugs would not add up to the deductible. Without the knowledge that a good broker has, how would the average senior figure that out? The truth is they wouldn’t and that’s why a good broker is worth finding.
A good broker will sign you up for a drug plan that meets your needs, even if he/she doesn’t get paid but because it’s the right thing to do.
Lots of choices and options within those choices. Pick a reputable broker who knows the local market and can advise you of the best options for you.
Contact me for a free consultation.
Len Barend, The Barend Agency Inc.