Affordable Senior Health Insurance Articles

Affordable senior health insurance starts with Medicare. From there you have some choices: Medigap or Medicare Advantage(MA). MA tends to be more affordable but check out the articles below to see if it's right for you.

Blue Shield Medigap

Originally Posted August 31, 2015. Updated June 1, 2017

What Blue Shield Medigap plans are offered

Blue Shield currently offers Plan A, C, D, F, High F, K or N.

How to Apply for Blue Shield Medigap Online

Applying for a Blue Shield Medigap plan is easy. It is now available 100% online with no printing or faxing required.  Just click here to apply for Blue Shield Medigap.

Blue Shield Medigap Overview

Before we delve into Blue Shield Medigap, we want to first clear up some confusion. Blue Shield offers both Medicare Advantage plans and Medigap plans. What’s the difference?

    Medicare Advantage plans offer equivalent benefits as traditional Medicare Part A (hospital coverage) and Medicare Part B (doctor coverage). They can offer additional benefits such as prescription drug coverage or dental. Medicare Advantage plans are low cost but they have a limited HMO doctor network and offer very little coverage beyond the minimum requirements.

    Blue Shield Medigap plans offer additional benefits not covered under traditional Medicare. You will want to think of Medigap (which sometimes is referred to as Medicare Supplemental plans) as insurance you buy to cover all things that traditional Medicare does not cover. It is supposed to fill in the Medicare GAPS!

What are Medicare’s Expense “Gaps”?

 
Before selecting a Medigap plan, learn what traditional Medicare does not cover.

With just traditional Medicare you would still have to pay the following:

    1) Your Medicare Part A Hospital deductible: ($1316 or each admission every 60 day benefit period. You could be forced to pay this multiple times in the same year.)
    2) $329 to $658 per day for days 61-150 of a hospital stay.
    3) All costs for each hospital stay beyond 150 days
    4) Skilled_nursing per day for skilled nursing facility for days 21 through 100
    5) Your Part B deductible ($147)
    6) 20% doctor’s fees and 100% of fees over the Medicare-approved amount for services
    7) The first three pints of blood per calendar year
    8) Medical expenses incurred while traveling abroad.

Now that you can see the medical expense “gaps”  not covered by Medicare, you can see why someone would want to purchase a Medigap plan. The most comprehensive of these plans is Blue Shield Medigap Plan F.  While we refer to is as Blue Shield Medigap plan F, remember that it is the exact same plan as any other insurance company who offers the federally regulated plan F. That means that Blue Shield’s plan F offers the exact same benefits as United Health’s plan F.

Here is what Blue Shield Medigap Plan F Covers:

    1) Your Medicare Part A Hospital deductible (see list above for exact amount)
    2) All the hospital stay costs during days 61-150 that are only partially paid by Medicare (see list above for exact amount)
    3) All the hospital stay cost from 150 days-365 that are not covered at all by Medicare (see list above for exact amount)
    4) All the skilled nursing cost from 21 through 100 that are not covered by Medicare (see list above for exact amount)
    5) Your Medicare Part B deductible (see list above for exact amount)
    6) Both the 20% of normal Doctor fees that Medicare makes you pay plus 100% of any fees your doctor may charge beyond the Medicare reimbursement rate
    7) The first three pints of blood per calendar year
    8) Up to $50,000 of foreign medical expenses

.

Medigap Plan F does a very good job of filling in most of the potential medical expenses that are not covered by Traditional Medicare. It is the most comprehensive and most popular of all the Medicare Supplemental plans we sell. It is also usually one of the most expensive. The cost of Plan F depends on your age and where you live. To get a Blue Shield Medigap quick quote here.

Alternatives to Blue Shield Medigap Plan F:

You have a couple of options if you don’t want to go with the most comprehensive Medigap plan:

  • Select a Blue Shield High Deductible Medigap Plan F
  • Select a Blue Shield Medigap plan such as Plan A, C, D, K or N that covers less additional benefits at a lower monthly premium

Blue Shield High Deductible Plan F is the exact same plan as F but carries with it a deductible that you must first pay before all the benefits kick in. To learn more about high deductible or to get quotes and details on all other Blue Shield Medigap plans available, visit our new Medigap site called Senior65.com..

After you have signed up for Medigap you are not done

Medigap plans only cover medical expenses at the doctor and hospital and do not cover prescription drugs or dental coverage. Blue Shield of California will offer you senior dental right in the application. You will want to purchase a Rx plan as part of Medicare Part D prescription plan. To get started with your RX coverage visit Senior65.com section on Medicare Part D prescriptions.

Enrolled in another Medigap plan, but want Blue Shield?

Not a problem! Blue Shield has extended their Special Enrollment for those who currently have a Medigap plan and want to switch! You don’t have to wait until your birthday, you can do it now.

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Blue Cross Medigap Supplemental Insurance

Anthem Blue Cross Medigap

Before you purchase a Medigap policy from Blue Cross you need to know a few things:

1) Blue Cross Medigap programs, like all Medigap programs, are intended only for people who are enrolled in both Parts A and B of Medicare, and in some states only for those over 65.

2) As you know, Medicare Supplement Insurance plans (often called Medigap) are regulated, so, Blue Cross has to offer the exact same benefits as all other senior supplement insurance providers. 

3) Which Medigap plans Blue Cross offer (and more importantly at what price) can vary dramatically from state-to-state.

Available Blue Cross Medigap Plans

While Blue Cross is technically allowed to offer the whole alphabet of Medigap plans, most states only offer Plan A, F, G and N. To learn the exact plans, benefits offered and prices available in your state, get a quick quote below.

Blue Cross Medigap Quote in your State

Use this link to find Blue Cross medigap plans in your state. Here you will get a quote and a list of what benefits are covered under each plan in your state. If you are ready to apply for Blue Cross Medigap click on the arrow below.
apply for Blue Cross Medigap

For a Great Medicare Overview:

If you don’t already have Medicare you may want to check out this Medicare and senior supplemental insurance website. It explains Medicare Part A and Part B (required before you can purchase Medigap),Part D prescriptions as well as Medigap.

Here is a general list of the kind of benefits offered under the Blue Cross medicare supplemental plans.  Make sure you get a medigap quote to see the exact benefits.
Part A Deductible ($1316)

    365 Additional Hospital Days
    Skilled Nursing Facility Coinsurance
    First 3 pints of a blood transfusion
    Part B Annual Deductible ($147)
    Part B Excess Charges at 100%
    Part B Coinsurance
    Home health care
    Hospice
    Additional Preventive Medical Care
    Foreign Travel Emergency

Click here to compare Medigap plans.

This page is designed to provide you with information on supplemental medicare plans offered by Anthem Blue Cross. If you require more information about other providers’ supplemental programs, call us at 800 930-7956.  To get at 10 Second Medigap Quick Quote, type your zip code in the box on the top of this page for an immediate quote of top supplemental plans. No agent will contact you unless you request it by including your contact information.

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Medigap vs Medicare Advantage: Which is the Best Medicare Supplement?

The first thing that most seniors considering health care ask us is, “Which is best: Medigap vs Medicare Advantage.”  Before we can answer the question, however, we want to discuss how each product works because they are drastically different.

What is Medigap and What is Medicare Advantage?

MEDIGAP
Medigap refers to a group of supplemental insurance plans that work in conjunction with your regular Medicare benefits. They cover many expenses not covered under Original Medicare such as additional hospital days or international travel.  Also Medigap plans often cover expensive deductibles or copayments that are charged to Medicare patients without Medigap. These cost can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars should you have a major illness or accident.

The benefits of Medigap plans are standardized by the federal government, meaning that plans sold by different insurance companies all offer the same benefits. The most popular Medigap Plan is called Plan F. Click here to visit Senior65.com to get a quick Medigap quote

Medigap does not cover prescription benefits so most people purchase additional Rx coverage through Medicare Part D.

Now that you know a little more about Medigap, learn does Medigap cover dental?

MEDICARE ADVANTAGE
In contrast, Medicare Advantage plans replaces Original Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans are run by private companies and must provide the same coverage as Medicare A and B, but vary beyond this minimum set of benefits. Medicare Advantage can still leave open the gaps that Original Medicare leaves in case of major medical issue. Some Medicare Advantage plans offer dental, vision or prescription coverage. Most Medicare Advantage plans are HMOs, therefore have a smaller network of doctors than those that accept Original Medicare.

Medicare Advantage plans are usually cheaper than Medigap plans. So, if you’re willing to deal with the restricted network (i.e., you don’t plan on traveling the country) and your funds are limited, the Medicare Advantage plan may be the best choice for you. 

One nice thing about Medicare Advantage is that each year there is an Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) where you can switch companies. The AEP is from October 15 to December 7 each year. If you are looking to get a quote visit Senior65.com’s instant Medicare Advantage quote

Medigap Medicare Advantage
Typically More Expensive Typically Less Expensive
Offers significant additional coverage to Medicare Usually offers same coverage as Medicare
Larger Network of Doctors Smaller Network of Doctors
Does not cover RX Can include RX coverage
Recommended for those who can afford it Recommended for those on a tight budget

       

Making the Choice of Medigap vs Medicare Advantage

At the end of the day, only you can determine which is the correct type of plan for you. We like to say that the decision comes down to “pay now or pay later.”

Pay Now Medigap plans are usually more expensive each month but will save you a significant amount money if you need extensive medical services.  If you budget can afford a Medigap plan, they will usually be the best way at protect your wealth.

Pay Later Medicare Advantage will almost always be less expensive in the short run because their monthly premiums are usually lower than Medigap.  Out-of-pocket costs for many services such as hospital stays, however, are often much more expensive with Advantage plans than they are with Medigap plans. Seniors considering a Medicare Advantage plan should be aware that their annual out of pocket maximum could be as high as $6700.  You should also contact your physicians to ensure you can keep seeing them if you go with Medicare Advantage.


If you are still unsure you might want to check out this simple wizard to help you decide if Medigap or Medicare Advantage is right for you.

If you need help along the way contact our licensed agents at 800-930-7956.

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Senior Health Plan: The Keys to Medicare and Medigap Coverage

The senior health plan landscape can be split into two main categories: Medicare and Medigap. All seniors age 65 and older are eligible for Medicare, but because Medicare doesn’t cover all of the services that many seniors need, Medigap (also called Medicare Supplemental Insurance) exists to fill in the gaps. Following are the main points to consider when researching senior health plans.

Keys to the four parts of Medicare

Part A: After turning 65, seniors are eligible for premium-free Medicare part A as long as they paid enough taxes into Medicare while working; a good gauge is if you’re eligible to get Social Security, then you’re likely eligible for premium-free Medicare part A. But part A only covers hospital services such as inpatient care in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities.

Part B: More general medical services such as doctor’s visits and outpatient care are covered by Part B, but it comes with a standard premium of $96.40 per month. This premium is more for seniors with above average incomes.

Part C: Also called The Medicare Advantage Program, Part C offers seniors an alternative by skipping Part A and B and instead going with private insurers. The benefits offered in Part C include those from Parts A and B, as well as other benefits such as additional medical, dental and vision coverage.  Some Part C plans require policy holders to pay a separate premium in addition to the premium for Part B.

Part D: The final part of Medicare helps offset the cost of prescription drugs. To enroll, seniors with Medicare choose a separate Medicare-approved plan offered by a private insurer, or select a Part C plan that includes Part D coverage.

Keys to Medigap Senior Health Plans

Medigap plans are offered by private insurers as a supplement to parts A and B of Medicare. While the premiums for Medigap plans are usually more than those for Part C Medicare Advantage plans, the copayments and deductibles are usually less.

Tip: Because Medigap plans and Medicare Advantage plans are both designed to fill the gaps left by regular Medicare coverage, you should NOT consider purchasing both.

Like the parts of Medicare, Medigap plans are identified by the letters of the alphabet. There are 10 different Medigap plans: A through D, F, G, and K through N. Additionally, the benefits for all Medigap plans are standardized, so all same-lettered plans include the same benefits. This makes it easy to compare plans sold by different insurance companies because the only difference is often cost.

It’s also important keep in mind how Medigap plans are rated, which effects how the costs rise over time. There are three ratings: (1) Issue-Age-Rated, in which the premiums are set based on your age at the time of purchase, (2) Community-Rated, in which the premiums are the same for everyone in a defined community, and (3) Attained-Age-Rated, in which the premiums change to reflect your age as you get older.

Now that you understand Medigap a little better, you will want to learn if Medigap covers dental.

Once you’ve processed the above, click here to learn more about how Medigap plans are rated and to get a Medigap quote

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Medigap Cost: Finding the Right Price for Medicare Supplemental Insurance

What does Medigap cost? Figuring this out requires a little education, and some old-fashioned research. Below you will find a breakdown of how all Medigap plans are priced, and how to find the best price where you live.

Medigap Cost Basics

The first thing to understand about Medigap plans, also called Medicare supplemental insurance plans, is that the benefits for every plan are standardized. This means that the benefits for Medigap Plan A offered by one insurance company will be the same as the benefits for Plan A offered by any other insurance company. 

Tip: All Medigap plans are named by letter. Currently, there are 10 Medigap Plans: A through D, F, G, and K through N. This chart summarizes the benefits of all Medigap plans.

Once you know which plan has the right benefits for your needs, you simply need to find the insurance company that offers the best price. But there are a few things to keep in mind about how the prices for Medigap plans are set.

How Medigap Plans are Priced

While the benefits of all Medigap plans are standardized, the costs are not. Insurance companies are free to set the price for premiums for their plans however they see fit. They can also determine if the costs will rise as you get older. There are three ways that insurance companies rate their plans that determine how the costs rise over time:

  • Community-Rated (also called No-Age-Rated): Everyone in the community with the same Medigap plan pays the same monthly premium, regardless of age.

  • Issue-Age-Rated: The monthly premium is based on your age when you buy the plan. Premiums are more for older purchasers.

  • Attained-Age-Rated: The initial premium is based on your age when you purchase the plan, AND, the premium goes up as you age.


As it turns out most all plans are Attained Age. Those that are Community-rated almost always offer a “discount” to younger members so at the end of the day most all Medigap plans cost older individuals more than younger.  To learn more or get a quote check outSenior65 Medigap Plan

Other Factors Affecting Medigap Costs

Medical Underwriting: This refers to the practice of insurance companies using your medical history to determine the cost of your plan, or in some cases, deny offering you coverage. More health problems = higher costs. However, everyone is offered an open enrollment period, during which insurance companies cannot use medical underwriting. For most people open enrollment lasts for six months after the day they turn 65.

High-Deductible plans: Insurance companies in your area may offer high deductible options for Plans F and J. This means your monthly premiums will be lower, but you’ll have to pay more for medical services before your Medigap coverage kicks-in.

Medicare Select: This is a type of Medigap plan with lower costs, but that requires policy-holders to use a pre-defined network of hospitals, and sometimes doctors. Medicare Select plans are not available in all states.

Now that you know the factors affecting Medigap costs, the next step is to see what plans insurance companies are offering in your area. Get a quote to compare Medigap plans now.

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Medigap Compare: A Quick Comparison of Medigap Plans

Doing a Medigap compare can be tricky, but a little basic information can illuminate the key differences in all Medigap plans. Understanding these differences will allow you to make an informed purchase of the Medigap plan that fits your needs.

First, a little general info on Medigap plans

Medigap plans, also knows as Medicare supplemental insurance plans, are designed to fill the gaps left by Medicare coverage. Each plan is identified by a letter, either A through D, F, G, or K through N. Even though Medigap plans are sold by private insurance companies, the federal government has standardized what all Medigap plans must cover, so while different health insurance companies may offer a different price for, say, Plan A, the coverage and benefits for every plan A are the same no matter which company you choose.

You will also want to learn, does Medigap cover dental?

 

Compare Medigap Benefits

Because the benefits for all Medigap plans are standardized, you need not worry about searching exhaustively among insurance companies for the benefits you need from Medigap. Compare the plans in the simple chart below to see the range of benefits that each plan offers.

View a chart highlighting the differences in all Medigap plans.

On the left side of the chart, mark the key benefits that are important to you, and see which plans include these benefits. Once you identify the lettered plan that fits your needs, the next section will explain how insurance companies price their Medigap plans, so you can determine which insurer offers your plan at the best price.

 

Medigap Costs

The cost of Medigap plans can vary widely among insurance companies. This is because, while the benefits are locked, insurance companies can still set the cost of premiums. So, in general, your best bet is to go with the insurance company that offers the best cost—but there is one caveat: insurance companies can also set wether or not the premiums will rise over time based on age. Each plan is rated as such by the insurance company in one of three ways:

  • Community-rated (also called No-Age-Rated): Everyone in the community who has the same Medigap plan pays the same monthly premium, regardless of age.
  • Issue-Age-Rated: The monthly premium is based on your age when you purchase the plan. Premiums are higher for older purchasers.
  • Attained-Age-Rated: The initial premium is based on your age when you purchase the plan, AND, the premium increases as you age.

Note: With all three ratings, premiums may rise over time because of inflation or other factors.

So what’s the main difference between these ratings? Plans rated with the first two options have premiums that will not rise over time based on age. Plans with the third option, Attained-Age-Rated, have premiums that will rise over time based on age, and even though they will likely be less expensive when you purchase, they will ultimately be more expensive as the monthly premiums rise. For this reason, it is recommended that you purchase Community-Rated or Issue-Age-Rated plans. Always make sure to check how the plans are rated when comparing Medigap plans. To sign up for Medigap go the the Medigap Home Page.

Get a quote and start a Medigap compare.

 

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Medicare Supplement Comparison in 4 Easy Steps

If you want to run a Medicare supplement comparison right now, visit our quote engine, enter your zip code (all other info is optional) and click on the “Next Step” button.  You’ll get a list of Medicare supplemental plans available in your area, along with their prices.

If you want to educate yourself a bit first, read on.

People often feel overwhelmed at the prospect of selecting a health insurance plan to supplement their Medicare for one reason:  it’s confusing territory.  But with a little background information and some guidance, you’ll be able to run a Medicare supplement comparison and make an informed decision about which is the right Medicare supplemental plan for you.

Step 1:  Know the Definition of Medigap Insurance.

Medicare supplemental insurance is commonly referred to as Medigap because it was designed to fill in the gaps left behind by Medicare.  Medigap is different from Medicare Advantage Plans, which are a way to receive Medicare plus additional benefits.  Medigap plans were designed to help you pay for things that Medicare does not, such as Medicare coinsurance and copayments or skilled nursing care.  Medigap plans are sold by private insurance companies, but standardized by the Federal government and they are named for the letters of the alphabet.  The PDF table below shows a summary of the plans for sale starting on June 1st, 2010.

Medigap-June-2010.pdf

Step 2:  Set Your Priorities.

As you saw in the PDF table above, Medigap plans cover a specific set of benefits.  The way to choose the right for you is to know which benefits you value and which you can do without.  Print the table above and circle those benefits you value most.  Then check to see which lettered Medigap plans offer the benefits you want.  Cross off the plans that don’t offer the things you care about most.

Step 3:  Understand Medigap Pricing.

Medigap plans are generally priced in one of three ways as outlined below.

  • Attained Age:  these plans are priced based on the subscriber’s age at any give time.  That means the premiums go up over time as you age and they can quickly get expensive.
  • Issue Age: these plans are priced based on the subscriber’s age at the time they first enroll in the policy.  Premiums do not go up as you age, but only moderately in the event of health care inflation.
  • Community Rated:  these plans are priced based on where the subscriber lives and like the issue age Medigap plans, they do not increase over time because the subscriber has aged.



If possible, we recommend that you select an issue-age or community rated plan.  Though these may appear to be more expensive in the short run, they tend to be much less expensive in the long run because the premiums are locked in and do not continue to steadily rise as you age. Click here if you’re ready to sign up Medigap Overview Page.

Step 4:  Get a Quote.

Now that you’re armed with some information (have that marked-up PDF table at your side!), you’re ready to get a quote.  Just visit our quote engine, enter your zip code (all other info is optional) and click on the “Next Step” button.  You’ll get a list of Medicare supplemental plans available in your area, along with their prices.  Any plan that is not available for sale in your area is automatically excluded from your results.

If at any time you would prefer to speak to a licensed Medicoverage agent, just visit our contact page and give us a call.  We’re here to help.

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Medigap Changes Coming June 1st

Several key changes are coming to senior supplemental Medicare or “Medigap” insurance plans, starting on June 1st, 2010.  These changes have often been referred to in the media as “Medigap Modernization” and they are summarized below.

Change 1:  All Medigap plans will cover Hospice Part A coinsurance.

Hospice care is a form of caring for patients whose disease cannot be cured.  Hospice Part A coinsurance is the percentage of costs that the Medicare Part A subscriber (you) would be expected to pay for hospice care.  Starting on June 1st, all Medigap plans will pay some or all of this coinsurance cost as a basic benefit.  Under Plan K, this coverage will be 50% and under Plan L it will be 75%.  For all other plans it will be 100%.

Change 2:  There are new options for Medicare Part B Coinsurance.

Plans K, L and N will require subscribers to pay a portion of Medicare Part B coinsurance and copayments.  All other Medigap policies will cover Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayments at 100%.  Medicare Part B coinsurance is the percentage (or flat dollar amount in the case of copayments) of Medicare Part B expenses that the subscriber (you) would be expected to pay for Medicare Part B insurance expenses.

While this may sound like it makes plans K, L and N less appealing, the opposite could actually be true.  How?  Because these plans will require subscribers to share some portion of Medicare Part B coinsurance expense, it could very well make the premiums for these plans lower.  If you are very healthy and fit and do not expect to have high Medicare Part B expenses, it might make sense to consider one of these plans in order to keep your premiums lower. 

Change 3:  New plans will be offered.

Plans M and N are new choices added to the Medigap plans mix.

    Plan M offers the following benefits:
  • Medicare Part A coinsurance hospital expenses up to an additional year after Medicare benefits have expired.
  • Medicare Part B coinsurance (or copayment)
  • The first 3 pints of blood
  • Medicare Part A hospice care coinsurance (or copayment)
  • Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance
  • 50% of the Medicare Part A deductible
  • Foreign travel emergency
  • Medicare preventative care Part B coinsurance

  • Plan N offers the following benefits:
  • Medicare Part A coinsurance hospital expenses up to an additional year after Medicare benefits have expired.
  • Medicare Part B coinsurance (or copayment) (except up to $20 copayment for office visits and up to $50 for emergency department visits)
  • The first 3 pints of blood
  • Medicare Part A hospice care coinsurance (or copayment)
  • Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance
  • Medicare Part A deductible
  • Foreign travel emergency
  • Medicare preventative care Part B coinsurance

You may have noticed that there are only two differences between plans M and N.  The first difference is the set of limits listed under plan N for the Medicare Part B coinsurance. The second is the percentage of Medicare Part A deductible that is covered:  Plan M covers 50% and plan N covers 100%.

Change 4:  Plans D and G will change.

Both plans will continue to be offered for sale, but plans purchased after June 1st will offer a different set of benefits than those purchased before.  However, if you purchased Plan D or G before June 1st and would like to keep it the way it is, you can.  The PDF table below will show you side-by side comparisons of plans D and G before and after June 1st, 2010.


PlansDandG.pdf

Change 5:  Some plans will be discontinued.

Plans E, H, I, and J will no longer be offered for sale after June 1st.  However, if you already subscribe to one of these plans and you would like to keep it, you can.  You can also purchase one of those plans through May 31st, 2010.

Get a Medigap Quote

To get quotes on Medigap plans, visit our quote engine and enter your zip code in the box at the top of the page.  (The rest of the information is optional.)  Ready to sign up today? Go to Medigap Overview page. Then click the “Next Step” button at the bottom of the page to see a list of quotes for Medigap plans available in your area.

If you prefer, you can get personalized help from a Medicoverage agent who can help you choose the right Medigap plan for you.

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Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plans

Medicare supplemental insurance plans are privately sold insurance policies that have been standardized by the Federal government and designed to fill in the gaps left by standard Medicare coverage.  These policies are commonly called Medigap plans.  There are currently 12 Medigap plans offered for sale and these are named for the letters of the alphabet A through L. 

As you look through the list, it is important to understand that, even though many different companies may sell a Medigap plan D, all Medigap plan Ds offer the exact same set of benefits.  This is true for all A plans, B plans and so on through plan L.  Note that this does not mean that they are all sold at the same price, however!

Basic Benefits Included in All Medigap Plans

  • $267 per day for coinsurance for your 61st through 90th day in the hospital (2009)
  • $534 per day for coinsurance for your 91stA>?,??__150th day in the hospital (2009)
  • Total cost of 365 extra hospital days in your lifetime, after you have used all Medicare hospital benefits
  • All coinsurance and co-payment costs after you satisfy the $135 yearly deductible for Medicare Part B

  • Additionally, all Medigap plans must cover the cost of the first three pints of blood under its basic benefits.

    While all medicare supplemental plans cover the above basic benefits, all but plan A offer additional benefits as outlined below.

    Medigap Plan A

    Medigap plan A only covers those basic benefits listed above.

    Medigap Plan B

  • Basic benefits
  • Medicare Part A hospital deductible: $1,024 (2008) for each benefit period for hospital services
  • Medigap Plan C

  • Basic benefits
  • Medicare Part A hospital deductible
  • Skilled nursing home costs: your cost ($128 in 2008) for days 21-100 in a skilled nursing home
  • Medicare Part B deductible: yearly deductible for doctor services ($135 in 2008)
  • Foreign travel emergency
  •   o 80% of the cost of emergency care outside the U.S.
      o Up to $50,000 during your lifetime
      o You pay a yearly deductible of $250

    Medigap Plan D

  • Basic benefits
  • Medicare Part A hospital deductible
  • Skilled nursing home costs
  • Foreign travel emergency
  •   o 80% of the cost of emergency care outside the U.S.
      o Up to $50,000 during your lifetime
      o You pay a yearly deductible of $250

  • At-home recovery
  •   o Help for activities of daily living (bathing, dressing) if you are already receiving skilled home care covered by Medicare
      o Help for up to eight weeks after you no longer need skilled care
      o Up to $40 per visit, seven visits per week, or a total of $1,900 per year

    Medigap Plan E

  • Basic benefits
  • Medicare Part A hospital deductible
  • Skilled nursing home costs
  • Foreign travel emergency
  •   o 80% of the cost of emergency care outside the U.S.
      o Up to $50,000 during your lifetime
      o You pay a yearly deductible of $250

  • Preventive Care: Up to $120 per year for preventive services not covered by Medicare
  • Medigap Plan F*

  • Basic benefits
  • Medicare Part A hospital deductible
  • Skilled nursing home costs
  • Medicare Part B deductible
  • Medicare Part B excess charges: pays 100% of the difference between your doctor’s charge and the Medicare approved amount, if your doctor does not accept assignment
  • Foreign travel emergency
  •   o 80% of the cost of emergency care outside the U.S.
      o Up to $50,000 during your lifetime
      o You pay a yearly deductible of $250

    Medigap Plan G

  • Basic benefits
  • Medicare Part A hospital deductible
  • Skilled nursing home costs
  • Medicare Part B excess charges: pays 80% of the difference between your doctor’s charge and the Medicare approved amount, if your doctor does not accept assignment
  • Foreign travel emergency
  •   o 80% of the cost of emergency care outside the U.S.
      o Up to $50,000 during your lifetime
      o You pay a yearly deductible of $250

  • At-home recovery
  •   o Help for activities of daily living (bathing, dressing) if you are already receiving skilled home care covered by Medicare
      o Help for up to eight weeks after you no longer need skilled care
      o Up to $40 per visit, seven visits per week, or a total of $1,900 per year

    Medigap Plan H

  • Basic benefits
  • Medicare Part A hospital deductible
  • Skilled nursing home costs
  • Foreign travel emergency
  •   o 80% of the cost of emergency care outside the U.S.
      o Up to $50,000 during your lifetime
      o You pay a yearly deductible of $250

    Medigap Plan I

  • Basic benefits
  • Medicare Part A hospital deductible
  • Skilled nursing home costs
  • Medicare Part B excess charges: pays 100% of the difference between your doctor’s charge and the Medicare approved amount, if your doctor does not accept assignment
  • Foreign travel emergency
  •   o 80% of the cost of emergency care outside the U.S.
      o Up to $50,000 during your lifetime
      o You pay a yearly deductible of $250

  • At-home recovery
  •   o Help for activities of daily living (bathing, dressing) if you are already receiving skilled home care covered by Medicare
      o Help for up to eight weeks after you no longer need skilled care
      o Up to $40 per visit, seven visits per week, or a total of $1,900 per year

    Medigap Plan J*

  • Basic benefits
  • Medicare Part A hospital deductible
  • Skilled nursing home costs
  • Medicare Part B deductible
  • Medicare Part B excess charges: pays 100% of the difference between your doctor’s charge and the Medicare approved amount, if your doctor does not accept assignment
  • Foreign travel emergency
  •   o 80% of the cost of emergency care outside the U.S.
      o Up to $50,000 during your lifetime
      o You pay a yearly deductible of $250

  • At-home recovery
  •   o Help for activities of daily living (bathing, dressing) if you are already receiving skilled home care covered by Medicare
      o Help for up to eight weeks after you no longer need skilled care
      o Up to $40 per visit, seven visits per week, or a total of $1,900 per year

  • Preventive care
  • Medigap Plan K**

  • Basic benefits
  • 100% of Part A coinsurance plus coverage for 365 days after Medicare benefits end
  • 50% hospice cost-sharing
  • 50% of Medicare-eligible expenses for the first three pints of blood
  • 50% Part B coinsurance after you meet the yearly deductible for Medicare Part B, but 100% coinsurance for Part B preventive services
  • 50% of skilled nursing home coinsurance
  • 50% of Medicare Part A hospital deductible
  • Annual out of pocket limit of $4,440 (2008).
  • Medigap Plan L**

  • Basic benefits
  • 100% of Part A coinsurance plus coverage for 365 days after Medicare benefits end
  • 75% hospice cost-sharing
  • 75% of Medicare-eligible expenses for the first three pints of blood
  • 75% Part B coinsurance after you meet the yearly deductible for Medicare Part B, but 100% coinsurance for Part B preventive services
  • 75% of Skilled nursing home coinsurance
  • 75% of Medicare Part A hospital deductible
  • Annual out of pocket limit of $2,220 (2008).


  • *Plans F and J also have a “high deductible option.” If you choose the “high deductible option” on Medigap Plans F and J, you will first have to pay a $1,900 deductible (2008) before the plan pays anything. This amount can go up every year. High deductible policies do have lower premiums, but if you get sick, your costs will be higher.

    **The basic benefits for plans K and L include similar services as plans A-J, but the cost-sharing for the basic benefits is at different levels. The annual out-of-pocket limit increases each year for inflation.

    In addition to the A-L standard Medigap policies, Medicare SELECT is a type of Medigap policy that can cost less than standard Medigap plans. However, you can only go to certain doctors and hospitals for your care. Check with your state insurance department to find out if Medicare SELECT policies are available in your state. Click here if you want to learn more or to sign up for Medigap Policies.

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    Medicare Supplement Quotes

    The landscape of Medicare supplemental plans can seem quite confusing at first glance, but if you know a few basic facts up front, you’ll be better prepared to make sense of your Medicare supplement quotes when you get them.

    Basic Medigap Facts

    Fact 1:  Medicare supplemental plans are private health insurance plans, often referred to as “Medigap” plans that are designed to fill in the gaps left by Medicare. Medigap policies can help pay your share (including coinsurance, copayments, or deductibles) of the costs of Medicare-covered services. Some Medigap policies also cover certain benefits that original Medicare doesn’t cover. Click here for more information on Medigap Policies.

    Fact 2:  There are currently 12 different Medigap plans offered and each plan is named for the letters of the alphabet from A through L.  HOWEVER, as of June 1, 2010, plans named E, H, I and J will no longer be sold (but if you already have one of those plans, you can keep it).  Also after June 1, two new plans named M and N will be offered for sale. For a brief summary of the Medigap plans, see our available plans page.

    Fact 3:  These lettered plans are standardized by the Federal government, meaning that, regardless of which insurance company sells them, all the A plans are the same, all the B plans are the same, and so on through the alphabet.

    Fact 4:  Just because the C plan offered by one company is exactly the same as the C plan offered by another, does not mean that the price of all the C plans are the same.  So when you’re shopping for a plan, be aware of what you’re getting versus the price you’re paying.  But before you blindly choose the lowest-cost plan, make sure you look at the company’s customer reviews before you choose.  A Medigap plan is not a bargain if you can’t get the services you need when you need them.

    Now that you know some basic facts, you’re ready to get a Medicare supplement quote. 

    How Do I Get a Medicare Supplement Quote?

     
    Simply visit our Senior Medicare Supplemental Insurance quote engine and enter your zip code in the box at the top.  There are fields for your contact information as well, but these are optional.  Filling them in will be helpful if you’d like personalized help from an agent, but you can get a set of Medicare supplement quotes with your zip code alone.

    Once you get your quotes and are ready to make a decision, be sure to factor in what’s important to you.  Are prescription drugs more important than emergency care?  What about help with paying your Medicare coinsurance?  Are you facing the need for hospice or other long-term care?  Make sure the policy you pick offers the coverage that’s most relevant to your needs.  Conversely, you might choose to save money by selecting a policy that does not cover those things that you don’t anticipate needing in the future.

    And if you need assistance, contact a licensed Medicoverage agent.  We’re here to help.

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    Medicare Part D Insurance

    Medicare Part D insurance is the newest addition to Medicare—it’s the prescription drug coverage that’s got everyone talking.  What’s the big deal?  Probably the fact that this coverage helps to protect seniors against the very real financial risk of needing extremely expensive prescription drugs to maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

    Who is Eligible for Medicare Part D Insurance?

    Everyone who is already enrolled in Medicare.  Even if you need brand-name prescription drugs.  Even if you have very expensive prescriptions for pre-existing conditions.

    How Does this Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage Work?

    You can enroll in Medicare part D insurance as soon as you become eligible for Medicare, which is 3 months before you turn 65, through 3 months afterward.  If you miss this window to sign up, there are open enrollment periods during each calendar year that are updated by the Federal government each year, however you may pay a penalty.

    Your decision about how to obtain prescription drug coverage depends on the kind of health care coverage you have now. There are 3 different ways to enroll in a prescription drug plan:

    1) Join a stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan

    2) Join a Medicare Advantage Plan that includes prescription drug coverage

    3) Join another Medicare health plan that offers drug coverage

    Regardless of how you choose to enroll in prescription drug coverage, having Medicare drug coverage will help you by covering both generic and brand name prescription drugs at pharmacies right in your home town. Ready to get started with Medicare Part D? Click here for Medicare Part D Prescription Plans.

    Just like any other insurance, when you enroll in a Medicare Part D plan, you can expect to pay a monthly premium, which varies by plan, and a yearly deductible. But even once you are covered and pay your premiums, your prescriptions are generally not free.  You can expect to pay at least a part of the cost of your prescriptions, including a copayment or coinsurance. These costs will vary depending on which plan you choose, so pay attention when you shop for a plan. Some plans may offer more coverage and additional drugs for a higher monthly premium. If you have limited income and resources, and you qualify for extra help, you may not have to pay a premium or deductible, but qualifications for this assistance are very specific.  For more information on how to qualify for assistance, visit the social security website.

    What Now?
    If you want personalized help in selecting a plan, contact a Medicoverage agent.

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    Dental Insurance for Seniors

    As we age, much of our body begins to show signs of wear and tear and the teeth and gums are not immune to this phenomenon.  In fact, as of December 2011, a whopping 42% of American seniors had endured some extent of tooth loss and were wearing dentures or implants to compensate.  This is just one measure of oral health, but it does underscore the specific need that seniors have to care for their teeth and gums.  It’s also likely the reason why many have shown interest in finding dental insurance for seniors.

    Get Dental Insurance Before You Need It

    As with any insurance, it’s a good idea to purchase a dental plan before you’re facing a crisis.  By buying dental insurance for seniors before problems arise, you’ll generally get a better rate. However, if you already suspect that you need serious dental work, it still makes sense to apply.  That’s because once you’re approved, the plan may potentially save you some money by allowing you to purchase the dental services you need at the insurance company’s lower, negotiated rates.  But be warned:  you may pay much higher premiums or be rejected outright if dental problems have already manifest themselves.

    4 Basic Steps to Research and Buy Dental Insurance for Seniors

    Purchasing dental insurance for seniors is similar to buying a dental plan for someone of any age.  In fact, some insurance companies have plans designed specifically for seniors, but others allow seniors to purchase the same dental plans as everyone else.  Regardless, the research and purchasing process can be accomplished in the following four basic steps.

    1. Research plans online to narrow them down. Take note that many procedures are covered at low percentages or not covered at all.  Pay attention to the monthly premiums and deductibles.

    2. Make a few phone calls to local dentists.  If you have a favorite or two, find out which plans they accept.  Most insurance plans have preferred providers and if you don’t go to someone on their list, they won’t pay for anything.  Don’t have a favorite dentist?  Ask some friends whose opinions you trust.  If they like the dentist, maybe you will to.

    3. Narrow down your plans to a hand full of selections that offer to pay for services and procedures you value, and that include your favorite or recommended local dentists on their list of preferred providers.

    4. Contact a licensed agent to make your final selection. They can help you understand any remaining points of confusion you may have about the plan’s costs, covered procedures, or any weaknesses that may not have been apparent at first glance. See our Senior65 Contact page to get in touch with a licensed agent who can help.

    Insurance Buyer Beware

    There are all kinds of dental insurance plans for seniors out there and they can be tricky.  For example, some may cover basic cleanings only, but not x-rays or fillings.  Others may offer a straight discount across-the-board on all dental procedures.  Still others may take months to kick in or require you to fulfill a large deductible each year before they pay for anything.  It’s up to you to make sure the plan is cost effective.  But remember, that’s where we can help you sort through the details—at no charge to you at all.  Now that’s worth a big, toothy smile!

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    Senior Medical Insurance

    Recent news that the Federal government may consider cuts to Medicare that could adversely affect senior citizens can be quite worrisome, which may prompt many to explore senior medical insurance plans.


    As it stands, Medicare can be confusing, but it helps to understand Medicare before you shop for supplemental plans.  So let’s start by breaking Medicare down into it’s four parts, which are named, quite simply, Parts, A, B, C and D.

    Medicare Part A

    Covers hospital treatment as an inpatient, hospice care and nursing home care as well as some care in the person’s own home. There is no monthly premium for this aspect of Medicare, as it is covered by taxes.

    Medicare Part B

    Outpatient hospital care and general practitioner costs, including any equipment, as well as occupational and physical therapy. Similar to a regular, individual health insurance plan, you pay a monthly premium and an annual fee for these services.

    Medicare Part C

    This is where you can find what are called the “Medicare Advantage Plans,” which are Federally approved senior medical insurance plans that combine the benefits of parts A and B above, plus additional benefits, such as covering prescription drugs. 

    Medicare Part D

    This is the newer Medicare prescription drug coverage.

    Medicare Has Gaps

    Medicare does not provide comprehensive health coverage.  Senior medical insurance plans designed to fill in the gaps left by Medicare are often called “Medigap” plans. The best place to learn about Medigap is Senior65.com.

    Medigap plans are sold by the insurance companies that many of us have heard of, such as Blue Cross, Blue Shield and United Health.  But what’s different about these plans is that they have been approved and standardized by the Federal government.

    There are 12 different plans to choose from and they are named with the letters “A” through “L.”  While you will find more than one “A” plan offered for sale by the various insurance companies, they’re all the same standardized plan. So when you compare “A” plans between two companies, be aware that they are the exact same coverage but not necessarily the same price. This means that each individual insurance company that offers a certain Medigap A plan must offer the exact same benefits as another company offering a competing Medigap A plan.  The same is true for all of the “B” plans, the “C” plans, and so on. 

    But when you shop for senior medical insurance, remember that price may not be your only factor in deciding which company you want to provide your Medigap plan. Quality matters too, so pay attention to those online customer reviews as well. Also, learn if Medigap covers dental.

    To get quotes on Medigap plans in as little as 10 seconds, visit our Senior Medigap Quote page.

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    Health Insurance:  Medicare Supplemental AKA Medigap

    In recent months there has been quite a bit of discussion around Medicare and health insurance.  Medicare supplemental plans, which are often called “Medigap” plans, are meant to fill the gaps left by Medicare. 

    While post-retirement life is supposed to be at least somewhat of a carefree time, this is is not the case for many. As people get older, their need for medical and hospital treatment increases and can eat away at people’s savings. Medigap plans are health insurance plans that the United States Government introduced to help alleviate the burden of health costs.

    Medicare Supplemental or “Medigap” Insurance

    One of the problems with Medicare was that it did not give older people full health coverage, and an increasing number of them had trouble paying for all of the treatments and services they needed. To help older people with the cost of health insurance, Medicare supplemental insurance plans have been put forward as a means of filling these gaps. The companies that sell this type of insurance provide specific health plans that have been screened and approved by the Government. However, not everyone will benefit from these plans, as the recipient must already be enrolled in Medicare parts A and B in order to be a candidate.

    Medigap Plans

    While there were four parts to the Medicare plans, there are actually twelve different Medigap plans, which are designed to meet different health care needs.  Each offers a slightly different set of benefits to meet the varying needs of different individuals.  To browse the plans and look for the one that suits you, read our Available Medigap Plans page. 

    Companies Filling the Gap

    The companies selling the Medigap plans usually have an insurer acting on their behalf to supply senior citizens with the right, and most affordable plan for them. The guidelines for this health insurance (medicare supplemental plans) are set by the government; however, you should be aware that the cost of these policies will vary because they are set by the individual companies.

    By definition, Medigap plans do not cover all health care requirements, so as you shop for a plan, make sure you pay attention both to what is offered and to what is left off the list. For the most up to date information go to the Senior65 Medigap Page.

    Getting Help Finding Affordable Medicare Supplemental Insurance

    If after browsing through our Senior Health Insurance pages you still have questions, you can contact a licensed Medicoverage agent at any time. We would be happy to help you find the right coverage for you.

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    Senior Health Insurance Programs

    As you grow older, you’ve got more health risks and ailments to contend with, which raises the importance of purchasing a senior health insurance program. However, many seniors often hesitate, presuming that a health insurance policy at their age may simply not be affordable. But it is possible to buy a senior health insurance program at a competitive price, and it may very well be worthwhile.

    Medicare is Not Comprehensive

    Today, there is an increasing demand for health insurance coverage in addition to Medicare, and many reputable insurance companies are offering health insurance policies for seniors at affordable rates. If you are not clear on exactly what Medicare has to offer, you should be aware that Medicare will cover some, but not all of your medical expenditures.

    For example, Medicare Part A is your basic hospital insurance.  It will cover your costs while you are receiving care in the hospital and will also cover skilled nursing services, hospice care and some home health care.

    Medicare Part B functions like basic medical insurance.  It covers doctor’s fees, any medical equipment needed, outpatient hospital care, occupational and physical therapy and other health related expenditures.  You will have to pay both an annual deductible and monthly premium for Medicare Part B.

    Medicare Part C offers what are called “Medicare Advantage Plans” which allow you to buy plans combining parts A and B, plus other additional benefits like prescription drug coverage.

    Medicare Part D is the most recent addition to the Medicare family and it is the stand-alone prescription drug coverage.

    So Why do You Need a Senior Health Insurance Program?

    Medicare does cover many of the more serious health conditions, however other routine expenses, such as the cost of annual check ups are not covered by the program.  These can really add up, especially if you have any chronic conditions. So you may want to consider getting an additional senior health insurance program that will offer coverage over the gaps left by Medicare. These policies that cover medical expenditures not included in Medicare are known as Medigap insurance policies.

    How to Get a Cheap Senior Health Insurance Program or “Medigap” Policy

    In order to enroll in any Medigap policy, you will first have to be covered by Medicare Part A and Part B.  Once you’re enrolled in Medicare A and B, it’s time to research the Medigap policies.  The easiest thing to do is visit a health insurance brokerage website like ours (Medicoverage) to compare plans and prices.  You can get a bunch of quotes in as little as 10 seconds by simply entering your zip code at the top of the page.  You can also browse through our summary of the generic Medigap plan definitions on our Available Medigap Plans page.

    Now that you’ve learned how to get a Medigap policy, learn if Medigap covers dental.

    It’s impossible to predict when you’ll get seriously ill or injured—especially after the age of 60—and many insurers will reject an applicant with a pre-existing condition.  So, it’s best to do the research and purchase the right senior health insurance coverage program for you, before you really need it. For a more comprehensive overview of Senior Medigap visit Senior65.com

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    Medicare Part D Explained

    Medicare Part D is a new drug benefit designed to help seniors pay for the cost of their prescription medications. The program is part of the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003.

    Q: How do Medicare Parts A, B , C and D differ?

    A: See below for details on the 4 parts of medicare.

    Medicare Part A: Covers institutional services - most Medicare eligibles are automatically enrolled.

    Medicare Part B: Covers professional services - requires enrollment and premium; beneficiary portion is typically deducted from the Social Security check.

    Medicare Part C: Full replacement product (Medicare Advantage) for Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B - government pays private health plans what it estimates it would have paid for Parts A and B; beneficiary must enroll in Part B; any additional premium for Part C is collected by the Part C plan.

    Medicare Part D: The new drug benefit designed to help seniors pay for the cost of their prescription medications.  With Part D, Medicare shares the cost of the prescription drug benefit with the retiree.

    Q: How will the Part D program work?

    A: Medicare will offer the Part D benefit by contracting with private companies, also referred to as Prescription Drug Plan Sponsors (PDPs) or Medicare Advantage Drug Plan Sponsors (MA-PDs). Medicare beneficiaries will have the opportunity to purchase the Part D benefit from a PDP in their area. This is similar to the process that Medicare used to offer the Medicare-approved drug discount card program.

    Q: What are Medicare Part D’s key advantages?

    A: The Medicare Part D benefit is expected to reflect the following:
    1.  Access to a wide pharmacy network, including national chains as well as independent pharmacies
    2.  Competitive discounts
    3.  Point-of-sale drug claim processing
    4.  Mail service
    5.  Medical therapy management programs

    Q: Who is eligible for the Part D drug benefit?

    A: All individuals entitled to Medicare Part A or enrolled in Part B will qualify for Part D coverage. Ready to sign up for a Prescription Plan? Go to the Medicare Part D Prescription Overview.

    Q: Will late penalties apply if customers do not immediately enroll in Medicare Part D?

    A: A late penalty will apply when Medicare-eligible individuals without creditable coverage do not enroll in Part D during their initial enrollment period. This penalty was designed to encourage beneficiaries to sign up for Part D drug coverage at the youngest possible age, keep overall program costs more affordable and to remain consistent with the penalty used for delayed enrollment into Medicare Part B.

    Q: Is enrollment in Medicare Part D mandatory?

    A: In general, Medicare Part D is a voluntary prescription drug benefit and will not automatically be added to a customer’s Medicare benefits. However, individuals eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare will be automatically enrolled.

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    LTC: Insurance when you need it most

    A recent insurance industry survey indicates the odds of an individual experiencing a disability or illness requiring extended custodial or medical support are 120 times greater than losing a house due to fire or some other catastrophe. At the same time, while advances in medicine and technology are extending people’s lives, the cost of long-term medical care is rising at an alarming rate. Put all this information together and it seems clear enough that long-term care (LTC) insurance seems like a very good idea.

    What is it: LTC is the kind of care a person, young or old, needs when assistance is required to perform normal life activities such as bathing, dressing, eating or just moving around. The need for such care can result from a variety of circumstances, ranging from old age to sickness, accidental injury or any disability that prevents an individual from performing these tasks. Sometimes this care is provided in a nursing home, but it may surprise you to know that approximately 85% of LTC is provided at home or in assisted-living facilities.

    Medicare may provide short-term coverage for stays in skilled nursing homes, but it is not intended to cover custodial or assisted-living care, nor does it cover extended home health care. As a result, the United States Government Medicare guidebook suggests that Americans should not count on Medicare as their primary source of LTC funding.

    Fortunately, the tax law provides benefits to encourage individuals to purchase LTC insurance.

    Tax deductions: If you purchase a qualified LTC policy, you may be able to treat the premiums as medical expenses, assuming you itemize your deductions. You may be able to claim a deduction to the extent your total medical expenses (including LTC premiums) exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. There is a dollar limit, however, on the amount of the premium that can be treated as a medical expense.

    Self-employed taxpayers, meanwhile, can deduct 100% of their health insurance premiums, whether or not they itemize their deductions. And for this purpose, health insurance includes qualified LTC insurance. However, the deduction for LTC insurance premiums is subject to the dollar limits mentioned above.

    Caveat: In order for an LTC policy to be a “qualified” plan certain requirements must be met. For example, policy must be guaranteed renewable and the policy generally cannot provide for a cash surrender value or other funds that can be paid, assigned, borrowed or pledged as a loan. And the policy issuer must inform you that the policy is intended to be a qualified policy.

    For your consideration: As LTC policies covers you for long-term care, Medicare Supplemental, AKA Medigap, fills in the gaps of what Medicare doesn’t cover for extended stays -protecting seniors from healthcare financial burdens. To learn more about Medigap or to apply today go to the Medigap Policy Overview for Seniors Page.

    Final point: There is legislation pending in Congress that would create additional benefits for purchasers of LTC insurance. Refer back for any late breaking tax developments affecting LTC policies.

    Please note that this is not tax advice. Please consult a tax professional.

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    Discovering Affordable Senior Health Insurance Options

    Not knowing where and when to find affordable senior health insurance can be frustrating for many people. The fact that insurance information is confusing and full of industry jargon only further serves to aggravate the situation. According to the Kaiser Foundation, lack of affordable senior health insurance is restricting patients’ ability to get the proper care and medical treatment they need. This is a problem that can be addressed, to a large degree, with proper education. 

    Here are some easy to understand facts and information that pertain to affordable senior health insurance plans. This information can help you choose the right coverage for yourself, your parents, or other seniors that you care about.

    The first step is to see if you qualify for Medicare.  Medicare is intended to be used by people who are 65 years of age, or older. There are provisions that also provide Medicare health benefits to specific individuals who are younger than 65.  People who suffer renal diseases or have become disabled generally who are not yet 65 can meet the qualifications for Medicare. If you are not sure if you qualify, visit www.senior65.com and start on step 1.

    After you sign up for Medicare you then want to consider additional options. Although Medicare provides a moderate amount of health benefits to nearly 50 million people in the US, it was never meant to be used as a standalone health package. If this is the only health care benefits that you currently have, you most likely do not have enough coverage to take care of all your medical needs. Even using low cost health clinics that are in your community is not enough help to make up the difference.

    If you are concerned that Medicare will not meet all your health care needs you will need to select one of the following: A) Medicare Advantage Plan or B) Medigap insurance.

    A) Medicare Advantage Plan

    With Medicare Advantage, qualified individuals can sign up for plans that often offer more health care benefits and extended coverage options. Medicare Advantage is handled through private insurance companies and provides health care services covered under Medicare Parts A and B and may offer additional services not covered under Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans are usually HMOs but some are PPOs.  These plans can even include prescription coverage.  Medicare Advantage plans are typically only good within a local coverage area and not all doctors accept these plans.  In general Medicare Advantage plans premiums are lower than Medigap plans but copayments for certain health benefits can be much more expensive. While this is often an affordable senior health insurance plan that helps you lower health care costs, it can end up costing more if you have many health insurance needs.

    B) Medigap

    Medigap is a popular term used for Medicare supplemental insurance. When you sign up for this type of plan, the policy will help bridge the difference (gaps) between actual health care charges and the amount of money that Medicare pays. Like Medicare Advantage, Medigap is also offered by private health insurance companies but is highly regulated. Each private company must offer the same exact benefits so it makes comparing Medigap plans very easy.  Medigap plans are PPO plans and often have national networks of doctors.  Medigap insurance is the best way for you cut your out-of-pocket expenses and protect you from the high cost of procedures not completely covered under Medicare.  A new site, Senior65.com, was recently created to help seniors figure out and purchase Medigap insurance.

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