(502) 742-4979 | info@ImagineInsAdv.com

Link for our Youtube video on changing your Medicare Supplement

We had some online seminars in May about how if you feel your Medicare Supplement premium is getting too high, what are your options? In case you couldn’t attend one of our live sessions or would like to watch it at your leisure, the link to our Youtube video is below.

To change your Medicare Supplement, even if you stay with your same insurance carrier, you have to go through underwriting (health questions and a three-year lookback at your medical records.)  If you are willing to reduce your benefits to lower your premium, you have that option as long as you can pass underwriting.

Click this link to learn about the underwriting questions and if you could pass to change your plan, and what the coverage differences are between your plan options.

https://youtu.be/Rua16ZypK2I

BCBS Class Action Suit: what we know

You may be receiving a letter from Anthem about a class action suit. You will get this letter if you have Individual coverage or were on an Anthem Group plan from Feb 7, 2008 to Oct 16, 2020. Apparently, two different Blue Cross companies agreed to not compete in certain markets which violated anti-trust laws. You need to fill out a form to participate in the settlement. If you have questions about filling out the form, call the toll free number below.
MEMBER RESOURCES:
• The settlement website, at www.BCBSsettlement.com
• A toll-free inquiry number, which is 888.681.1142
• An email address, which is info@BCBSsettlement.com
To learn more and to file an online claim, visit www.bcbssettlement.com. Although we anticipate that policyholders will receive a notice regarding the opportunity to participate, you don’t need to wait to receive that notice before submitting your claim.
Here’s what you’ll need to file:
• Company information:
o Company name
o Primary address
o Name and title of company contact
o Phone number and email address
• Plan information:
o Plan name (Anthem Indiana you will choose Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. d/b/a Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield)
o BCBS group number
o Coverage start date
o Coverage end date

A Medicare Advantage Plan will pay my Part B premium? What’s up with that?

There have been a number of ads on TV about a Medicare Advantage plan paying your Part B premium. This is known as the “Part B Premium Giveback.” These plans vary by state and county. Not all areas will have a Giveback plan. In KY, there is currently only one plan that offers this. As you know if you’ve met with us, a Medicare Advantage plan is where a private insurance company is paid money by the government to provide your Medicare benefits (outsourcing Medicare, essentially.) They receive a fee each month for each member of the plan. These plans’ benefits can vary each year as they are a one year contract with Medicare, but they must cover at least what Original Medicare does. Advantage Plans have copays for all visits and services up to a maximum-out-of-pocket.

The way the giveback works is that the amount that Medicare is deducting from your check is reduced. So, if the giveback on a plan is $50, then your Part B premium they take from your check will not be $148.50 but will be $98.50. If the state is paying your Part B premium because you have the Medicare Savings Plan (a form of Medicaid), then this type of plan will not benefit you. You will not get an extra $50 from Social Security.

If you think this sort of plan is appealing, you need a valid Special Election Period to enroll in the plan outside of the Annual Enrollment Period (Oct 15th – Dec 7th.) During the Annual Enrollment Period, you would have a chance to enroll in a Giveback plan if it is available in your area.  If you have a Medicare Supplement, you must drop it in order to enroll in the Advantage Plan. There could be consequences to getting your Supplement back in the future.

We are familiar with all the plans available in this area. If you would like to review your options, please give us a call. We are here to help you determine if an Advantage Plan is right for you. There is no obligation or pressure to chat or meet with us and as always, there is no fee for our assistance.

Imagine’s Covid Guidelines

Our Office’s Covid Guidelines

Per the CDC and KY Commonwealth guidelines and for the safety of everyone, we are changing the way we physically do business. We offer, and prefer virtual appointments via Webex, Zoom or a phone/e-mail appointment at this time and the intermediate future.

We are taking every precaution to keep you, our clients and ourselves healthy. Since some of our clients have vulnerable health conditions, we are taking protection seriously.

These are the things our office is doing to ensure we do not contribute to the spread of the virus:

  • Employees take their temperature before they come to the office every day.
  • All employees have been provided masks to wear.
  • We disinfect all surfaces (like the employees’ desks, conference room, chairs, copiers, door knobs, and light switches) at the end of every day.
  • No one (except our employees) are allowed beyond the waiting area. Clients are only permitted in the conference room and restroom. This has been our protocol since March 18th.
  • Our office is fully cleaned every week.

If you require an in-person appointment, we have instituted the following process and have installed safeguards to minimize the risk for potential virus spread:

  1. If you are not feeling well, are coughing or have a fever, please reschedule your appointment when you are not sick or opt for a virtual appointment.
  2. Only one client in the office at any time.
  3. Enter the office and stop at the X on the floor. This is 8 feet from our receptionist, Gina.
  4. Let Gina know your name and go back through the door to wait in the foyer for your agent. The chairs in the foyer are disinfected after every appointment.
  5. Your agent will receive you through the opposite door that goes directly to our conference room. We disinfect the table, chairs and pens after every appointment.
  6. You will sit at one end of the table and the agent will sit at the other. This is an 8 foot distance with a plexiglass barrier in the middle.
  7. It is recommended that you wear a face mask while in the meeting unless your health precludes it. The agent will wear their mask as another layer of protection.
  8. You may use the restroom, but cannot go anywhere else in the office. Our restroom is right next to the conference room.

 

We appreciate your understanding and participation in the safety of everyone.

Love us? How to leave us a Google review!

Reading reviews for products or professionals that you want to use is always a wise choice because it gives you confidence backed by other people’s experience.  We work hard to clearly and fully present plan material when you meet with us so that you can fully understand your options and make the the best coverage choice for yourself. We also create take-home papers and packets that reiterate all the points we discussed and an overview of your coverage so that you have quick and easy reference materials if you have questions afterwards.   If you’ve been happy with the service we provide, please consider writing us a review on Google. We would love to know that you’ve benefited from working with us and want other members of our community to know that they are in good, trusted hands when they call us for help.  We appreciate your support and look forward to being here for you in the future if your coverage needs change or if you have questions about your plans.

In the service industry, not always is a professional’s style a right fit for everyone, so we are sorry if we didn’t live up to your expectations, but if you haven’t been happy with our service, please consider reaching out to us to let us know where we fell short instead of leaving a bad review. And remember that if you were unhappy with your insurance carrier, it wasn’t necessarily our actions that resulted in that experience. Prior to recommending a plan for you, we take information that you provided us to choose plans that best fit your actual needs. We do our best to only place you with carriers that we have good experience with and that we feel comfortable recommending to ourselves and our own families. If you have a bad experience with your insurance carrier, we would like to know so that we can be alerted if a particular carrier is more difficult to work with than others. We use that feedback to adjsut our recommendations in the future and to follow up with those carrier’s higher-ups, which helps the organization fix their deficiancies.

Here is how to leave us a review on Google:
  1. You need a Google account to write a review, so sign into Google with your account or create one.   You sign in at www.google.com.
  2. Search for “Imagine Insurance Advisors” in the search bar.
  3. We will appear at the top of the search results. On the right of the search results page will be a box with our information in it.
  4. Look for “Reviews” in that box.
  5. Click on “Write a review”.
  6. You can rate us with stars and leave a comment.
  7. When you are finished, click “Post” and you are done.
  8. Thank you for your review! It’s been delightful working with you.

“I get calls saying there are changes to Medicare.”

Throughout the year, we take calls from clients saying that someone called them saying things along the lines of “there are changes to Medicare and you’re not receiving the benefits you are entitled to,” or “if you have the Plan F, it is going away and you will lose your coverage.”  Today, I want to clarify what these people mean and what they want from you so that you aren’t worried for your coverage or make a change to your coverage that may be irreversible.

“My Plan F will be cancelled?!?!”

Firstly, NO. If you have the Plan F, you can keep it and it will NOT be cancelled or taken away from you. The news you hear about F going away pertains to people turning 65 AFTER 1/1/2020. There are lots of agents and call centers that are using false statements about the F “going away” in order to try to get you to buy something from them. The hard and quick fact is that if you are turning 65 after 1/1/2020, you will not be able to buy the F. That is all. Again, if you have the F, you get to keep it. Some agents and call centers are also assuming that Plan F premiums will skyrocket and are using that as a high-pressure sales tactic. When we look historically at other plans that were discontinued and their rate of premium increase, it does not justify the assumption that the F will “blow up.”  If you have concern for the future of your rate stability, we can discuss with you the option of moving down to the Plan G (same as the F except you pay the Part B deductible) and if you would pass underwriting (health questions/recent medical history) to do so.

 

“Changes to Medicare and your plan doesn’t cover them.”

Every single time someone calls you or sends you mail that says there are changes to Medicare’s coverage and that your plan has holes/doesn’t cover new services, they are going to try to sell you a Medicare Advantage plan (MAPD) or a home-healthcare policy.  There have been no changes in Original Medicare’s coverage that a Medicare Supplement would not cover. When Medicare updates its deductibles/copays/co-insurance, your Supplement automatically reflects any changes and your benefits remain the same. Advantage plans and home-healthcare policies are not bad things, but they may not be suitable for your particular situation or be the type of insurance you want because the costs are different.

A lot of marketing callers like to tout the routine vision/dental/hearing and over-the-counter benefits of a Medicare Advantage plan, which are great additional benefits that you don’t get with a Supplement, but you have to make the trade-off of always having copays for visits/services and a network of doctors. Lots of people love their Medicare Advantage plan and the extra benefits that you can access from them, but MAPDs aren’t for everyone and not everyone feels comfortable with the potentially high accrual of copays in the event that a serious or unexpected change happens in your health. If you think that your Supplement is no longer suitable for you and would like to investigate a Medicare Advantage plan, call us because we have been here for you and always look out for your best interest. We want you to receive ALL the pros and cons and be well informed before you make a coverage change because sometimes, depending on your health, changing can have long-term consequences to your options.

What’s the difference between a Supplement and Advantage Plan?

Medicare Supplements and Medicare Advantage plans are very different and this is maybe the most asked question we receive. So what is the difference between a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) and a Medicare Advantage plan?  It’s actually very easy to boil it down and we are going to keep it relatively high-level and simple here.

Medicare Supplements

A Medicare Supplement is a secondary policy that you purchase to cover the deductibles and copays that Original Medicare has. Your doctor bills Medicare first, then bills your Supplement. Depending on which plan you have, you may have no financial responsibility or limited responsibility.  There are several different plans, but the most popular are the F, G and N. The benefits of these plans are standardized by the government, which means that no matter what insurance company you buy the plan from, you get the same exact benefits.  Supplements do not have networks of doctors, so you are free to see any doctor in the U.S. that accepts Medicare and will have the same coverage.

Typically, but depending on your plan, you will have no charges at the hospital or doctor, or will only pay the Part B deductible then be covered 100%.

 

Medicare Advantage w/ Prescription Drug Plans (MAPD)

Medicare Advantage plans bundle your Part A (hospital & skilled nursing), Part B (outpatient services) and Part D (drug coverage) into one plan. These plans are commonly called “Medicare Replacement plans” because it is Medicare’s coverage outsourced to private insurance companies. You are still enrolled in the Medicare program, but Medicare no longer pays your claims or provides benefits; your insurance company does. They must cover all services that Medicare covers, but can set the rules for how you access your care, like having networks of doctors and copays for all visits and services.  Insurance companies can create different plans and make the copays whatever they want, although the copays are typically reasonable and customary. So there are many plans that all have different benefits.

With a Medicare Advantage plan, your monthly premium will be lower than a Supplement, but you will always have some level of cost associated with every visit and service you receive. Each plan has a maximum-out-of-pocket, so there is a cap to your annual financial responsibility.

Scam alert!

We have heard from several clients that they are receiving calls from people pretending to be Medicare saying that their Medicare.gov account has issues.  The scammer is requesting their Medicare Number and/or other personal information.   Medicare will NOT call you about your Medicare.gov account, but they do send you a letter after you have created your account to let you know that your account creation was successful.  If you receive a letter that says there is an issue with your account and has a number to call, do not call it; it is also a scam unless it has Medicare’s phone number on it (see below.)

Do not give out your Medicare Number or any other personal information to anyone who makes a call to you saying they are Medicare or any other agency. If you think there is an issue with your account, just go to Medicare.gov and try to log in. If you login works fine, then there are no issues. If the Username or Password are not correct, just use the “Trouble Logging In” link to reset your password.

You should only ever give your Medicare Number out if YOU made the call TO Medicare’s number 1-800-633-4227.

Update – Our AEP Progress During Week One

Week one of the Annual Enrollment Period is underway and we are so excited to say that Medicare has corrected the biggest issue in the Plan Finder Tool (what we use to compare drug costs) to now calculate Premium + Drug Costs.  This means that the most concerning setback to reviewing plans has been eliminated and all of the plan costs’ are being calculated properly.

The Plan Finder Tool still will not allow you to set the quantity of a drug to once per year. This is an issue for those of you that use expensive creams/etc that you rarely fill. This means that your total cost is being grossly inflated because the calculator must assume that you fill it every month. We are using our years of professional experience and knowledge to work around this issue.

 

How are we doing and how can you help?

We have hit the ground running since Tuesday and are completing reviews and returning calls as quickly as we can.  Although, what we are realizing is that it takes us much longer to do a review than in the past because of the numerous additional steps. Please be patient as we work as accurately and quickly as possible. We still want to be sensitive to your questions and give you the time that you may need while we discuss plans.  We cannot work on a first-come-first-serve basis or alphabetically and choose clients at random as we go along.  If you call for an update on your status in our process, we may not be able to return your call for these reasons.

While we are here to answer your questions, we also need to manage our time wisely so that we can help as many of you as possible during this time. If you have questions regarding your current plan, consider calling the Member Services number on your card or sending us an email.  Also, as a reminder, our administrators (Gina & Meagan) cannot answer benefit related questions.

If you would like to request a review, please check out our Resources page for the forms that you need to complete.   You need to create your personal www.Medicare.gov account and return our forms to us in order to join our review process.   Following our instructions ensures that everyone has a fair opportunity for a review and allows us more time to be efficient.
If you can edit your drug list in your Medicare.gov account, it helps us help you by completing one of the steps we have to take.   If you find it difficult to edit your drug list, it’s okay.

If you would like to review your own plan, please contact Gina (extension 5) or Meagan (ext 6) to request our Plan Finder Tool Guide.  We have almost completed our Guide and it should be ready next week. If you review your own plan and decide you would like to change plans, if you want us to be the agent (so that we can provide assistance/answer questions next year), just let us know which plan you want and we will send you the application paperwork and complete the enrollment like we always have.

 

Thank you so much for your business and friendship. We treasure chatting with you during this time and care for you and your wellbeing.
Again, we are working as quickly and accurately as possible while being mindful of our own health and limitations.

How to create your Medicare.gov account

The Medicare website’s Plan Finder Tool is what we use to compare prescription drug plans and the drug component of Medicare Advantage plans.  It is the easiest and most efficient way to compare your plan to other plans and determine if it would be beneficial to change.  In order to view drug costs specific to your medications, you need to have a personal www.Medicare.gov account.  Here, we will provide step-by-step instructions.

1. Go to www.Medicare.gov.    Only go to “.gov”, NOT “.com”
2. Click “MyMedicare.gov Login” in the top-right.
3. Scroll down and select “Create Account”
4. You will enter the following as it appears on your Medicare card:
4a. Medicare Number.  Do not include the dashes or spaces. Enter it as one unbroken sequence.
4b. Name exactly as it appears on your card.  If you go by another name or suffix, such as Jr, but it is not on your card, do not enter it that way. It must match your card.
4c. Email address, if you have one. You do not have to have an email or include it. Just select the “I don’t have an email address” box.
4d. Birthdate.
4e. Resident zip code.  This is the zip code for the address that Social Security has for you.
4f. Part A effective date.   If you do not have Part A, select “I don’t have Part A” and it will prompt you to enter your Part B effective date.
4g. Click both boxes to agree to the Terms & Conditions.
5. A security warning will appear. It states that you cannot use the Medicare site for fraud. Select “OK”
6. The next page asks you to create a User ID.  This can be whatever you want it to be. You can use your email address.
7. Then create a password.  The guidelines for password creation are on the right side of the screen.
8. Finally, you will choose a security question and answer. This is used to reset your account if you forget your User ID or password.

Make sure to write your User ID and password down and secure it safely!!

9. Select Done.  It will redirect you to the log-in screen and tell you that your account was successfully created.   Log in with your credentials to make sure it works.

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