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5 Reasons Your Medicare Plan Needs A Check-Up Every Annual Enrollment Period

Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is here again, and, once again, too many Medicare users will make a big mistake — failing to use this opportunity to shore up their healthcare coverage, save money and protect their wealth. Fortunately, you don’t have to make that mistake.

The Annual Open Enrollment Period (October 15 to December 7) is the best time of year to review your Medicare coverage and make the changes you need. To take advantage of it, first, you need to understand all the changes you can make during this time. No other time of year offers so many possibilities.

Here’s what you can do during the Annual Enrollment Period:

  • Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan.
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan to Original Medicare.
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another.
  • Enroll in a Part D prescription drug plan.
  • Switch from one Part D prescription drug plan to another.
  • Leave a Part D prescription drug plan.

If you don’t give your plan a check-up in January you may discover that your current plan raised costs more than you expected or stopped covering one of your prescriptions. That’s why it’s so important to give your plan a check-up and shop Medicare plans every year. (If you’re feeling left out because you don’t even have your first Medicare plan yet, read “New to Medicare? Here’s why everyone’s talking about the Annual Enrollment Period.”)

Here are 5 reasons why your Medicare plan needs a check-up every year:

  1. Medicare plans change every year.
    Your Medicare plan can change a lot from year to year. Your premiums may increase. Your drug plan may introduce new medications and stop covering others. If you have Medicare Advantage, one of your doctors may move out-of-network. All sorts of changes are possible, so you need to be aware of them. Look for the Annual Notice of Change letter from your Medicare plan every year at the end of September. The letter will summarize all the changes to your coverage that will go into effect on January 1. Note: Medicare Supplement Insurance policies (Medigap) do not change from year to year. The coverage will remain the same as long as you hold the policy.
  1. Your healthcare needs change, too.
    The coverage you had last year may not be the coverage you need this year. Have you developed any new medical conditions since you enrolled in your last Medicare plan? Are you seeing any new specialists? Or have you successfully treated a condition so that it is no longer an issue? If so, consider whether your Medicare plan has given you what you need during these changes.  The Annual Enrollment Period is the time to find out if there is a better plan for your current needs; just waiting for you to find it.
  1. You could save a lot of money.
    According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, about half of those who used Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period to explore their plan options cut their premiums by at least 5 percent. Don’t stand on the sidelines. You could be missing out on significant savings.
  1. If you miss the Annual Enrollment Period, you may have to wait to make changes.
    If you discover you are not happy with your drug plan after December 7, you may have to wait until October to switch to another drug plan. You may also have to wait until October if you want to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan.
  1. There are lots of options out there now.
    That’s a good thing. If your current plan doesn’t work for you anymore, you have plenty of alternatives to choose from. Here’s another good thing: you don’t have to sort through all those plans yourself. After all, we could be talking about dozens of Medicare plans, depending on where you live. Just go to Healthpilot and answer a few questions about how you use healthcare. Then we’ll search available plans and recommend a selection of plans that meet your specific healthcare needs.

Give your Medicare plan a check-up this AEP.

Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period is a great opportunity to make sure you still have the right Medicare plan. But too many people pass up this opportunity and end up stuck with plans that are too expensive or don’t provide enough coverage. Make sure you aren’t one of them.

You can take full advantage of this enrollment period every year to make sure you have the right coverage, and you can do it in a matter of minutes. Healthpilot is a free website that makes it easier to shop for Medicare plans without any obligation to enroll. Our technology predicts what coverage you would get from each available plan and what it could cost. We look beyond copays and premiums to factor in things like deductibles and coinsurance, too. You can then review your estimated out-of-pocket costs and savings for each plan compared to Original Medicare, also known as Medicare Part A and/or Medicare Part B.

Once you choose a plan, you can enroll without leaving Healthpilot.com. And if you do enroll in your Medicare plan through Healthpilot, we’ll alert you if a plan that may be better for you becomes available.


Healthpilot.com is free with no obligation to enroll. Healthpilot.com is owned and operated by Healthpilot Technologies LLC, a licensed health insurance agency, also doing business as Healthpilot Insurance Services in the state of California.  Healthpilot is not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program.  This article is a solicitation of insurance.

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Medicare: How to find the right plan.

The way we shop for Medicare plans today is, in a word, nuts. You spend weeks, maybe months, researching Medicare online and making calls. Then, when you find a Medicare plan you want — whether because it’s the right one or because you just can’t search any longer — it takes more paperwork and phone calls to enroll. It’s time-consuming, it’s frustrating, and it can keep you from making the best Medicare choices.

Today, there is a faster, easier way to find a Medicare plan you can be confident in. Healthpilot is a free website that makes finding a Medicare plan easier by recommending the most optimal Medicare plans for your specific needs and letting you enroll in minutes. And there’s no sales pitch for any plan, ever. Medicare Annual Enrollment starts October 15 and runs until December 7. Now is the time to discover Healthpilot and learn more about your Medicare options.

 

First, Some Medicare Basics.

You don’t have to be a Medicare expert to use Healthpilot. But if you’re new to Medicare, learning a little about the program can help you choose the right plan.

Medicare is the health insurance program run by the federal government for adults aged 65 and older and for people with disabilities or certain health conditions. It helps people pay for hospital care, doctor visits, and prescription drugs. Medicare has various “Parts.” They are:

Medicare Part A covers hospital care and services. This includes coverage for in-patient hospital stays, care received in a skilled nursing facility or rehabilitation center, and more.

Medicare Part B covers physician services and other outpatient treatments such as x-rays, lab tests, and medical equipment like wheelchairs and walkers. Part B also covers preventive services.

Note: Together, Medicare Part A and Part B are often referred to as “Original Medicare.”

Medicare Part C, also called Medicare Advantage, is an “all in one” alternative to Original Medicare. This includes coverage from Medicare-approved private insurance companies. When you enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you still have Medicare.  These bundled plans include all the services covered under Part A  and Part B, and may also include Medicare Part D coverage. Some Medicare Advantage Plans include extra benefits — such as routine dental, vision, and hearing exams that Original Medicare does not cover.

Medicare Part D helps pay for prescription drugs. Even if you don’t take prescription drugs now, you should consider getting Medicare drug coverage. It is optional and offered to everyone with Medicare. Part D prescription drug coverage is available through a standalone drug plan or through a Medicare Advantage Plan that includes drug coverage.

Medicare Supplement Insurance, also known as Medigap, helps pay your portion of medical expenses like copays, deductibles, and coinsurance. These policies are offered by private insurance companies to supplement Original Medicare coverage. Some Medicare Supplement Insurance policies also cover care when you travel outside the U.S.

When to Sign Up.

Most people become eligible for Medicare on the first day of the month they turn 65. To make a smooth transition from your employer plan to Medicare, you must sign up during the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), which starts three months before you turn 65 and ends three months after. (If you are collecting Social Security, you will already be enrolled.)

If you want to keep working and stay on your employer’s health plan after 65, you can delay signing up for Medicare with no penalty. When you’re ready to leave your employer’s plan, you must sign up for Medicare during the Special Enrollment Period (SEP). This period starts the month after your employer coverage ends and lasts for eight months.

Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP).

AEP occurs annually from October 15 to December 7. During this time, you can join a Medicare Advantage Plan or leave a Medicare Advantage Plan and get Original Medicare or switch to a new Part D prescription drug plan.

If you want to enroll in a Medigap policy, you can do so at any time of the year.

Medicare Plans Have Costs, Healthpliot Doesn't.

There is no premium for Medicare Part A if you have paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years (40 quarters). If not, you will have to pay a monthly premium. Medicare Parts B and D and Medigap policies require monthly premiums. Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) have costs, but these may or may not take the form of a monthly premium. If you have a high income, you may be subject to IRMAA (income-related monthly adjustment amount) surcharges.

Healthpilot is free to use. When you enroll in a Medicare plan through Healthpilot, we receive a commission from the plan provider.

Make Medicare Easier with Healthpilot.

Medicare isn’t one-size-fits-all. There are different types of plans, a choice of insurance carriers, and flexibility about when you can enroll. But having all those choices doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Healthpilot is a free* website that uses smart technology to assess your healthcare needs, then recommends a variety of Medicare plans in your area to meet those needs. It’s so easy to use. You can shop Medicare plans, select a plan and enroll in about 15 minutes. Plus, help is available at any time by phone or chat.

Unbiased recommendations.

Most Medicare brokers rely on their “gut” for plan suggestions. Healthpilot recommends plans based on facts about how you and others like you use and pay for healthcare. While Medicare brokers often represent a single company and one or two plans, Healthpilot has no bias in favor of any plan, ever.

Free service with no additional plan cost.

Healthpilot is free. You pay the exact same price for your Medicare plan whether you enroll through Healthpilot, another broker, or the insurance company.

The right plan this year and every year.

Healthpilot evaluates plans each year to confirm you are always in the right Medicare plan. Healthpilot will alert you if your coverage changes or if a plan that could be better for your needs becomes available.

Ready to find a Medicare plan without going crazy? Shop Medicare plans on Healthpilot. Or learn more about your Medicare options.

*Healthpilot.com is free with no obligation to enroll. Healthpilot.com is owned and operated by Healthpilot Technologies LLC, a licensed health insurance agency, also doing business as Healthpilot Insurance Services in the state of California.  Healthpilot is not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program.  This email is a solicitation of insurance.  

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Medicare Topics To Review With Your Clients

Clients come to you for peace of mind about their financial future. For many clients, the greatest threat to that peace of mind is healthcare. Without the right coverage, a single hospital stay can put all they’ve worked and saved for at risk. But Medicare can go a long way toward protecting their wealth — if they make the most of it. That’s where Healthpilot comes in.

Choosing and enrolling in a Medicare plan is often a frustrating, time-consuming process. As a result, it can prevent your clients from making the best Medicare choices. Healthpilot is a free website that makes Medicare easier for your clients by recommending the best Medicare plans for their specific needs and letting them enroll in minutes, with no sales push for any plan, ever.

With Healthpilot, you can protect your clients from the potential healthcare costs that keep them up at night. The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period starts October 15. So the time to talk to your clients about Medicare and Healthpilot is now.

First, Some Medicare Basics.

You don’t have to be an expert in Medicare to take advantage of your Healthpilot partnership. But here’s a quick overview to help you discuss Medicare with your clients.

Medicare is the health insurance program run by the federal government for adults aged 65 and older and for people with disabilities or certain health conditions. Medicare helps people pay for hospital care, doctor visits, and prescription drugs.

Medicare consists of various “Parts”:

Medicare Part A covers hospital care and services. This includes coverage for in-patient hospital stays, care received in a skilled nursing facility or rehabilitation center and more.

Medicare Part B covers physician services and other outpatient treatments such as x-rays, lab tests, and medical equipment like wheelchairs and walkers. Part B also covers preventive services.

Note: Together, Medicare Part A and Part B are often referred to as “Original Medicare.”

Medicare Part C, also called Medicare Advantage, is an “all in one” alternative to Original Medicare. This includes coverage from Medicare-approved private insurance companies. When your clients enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan, they still have Medicare. These bundled plans include all the services covered under Part A  and Part B, and may also include Medicare Part D coverage. Some Medicare Advantage Plans include extra benefits — such as routine dental, vision, and hearing exams that Original Medicare does not cover.

Medicare Part D helps pay for prescription drugs. Even if your clients don’t take prescription drugs now, they should consider getting Medicare drug coverage. It is optional and offered to everyone with Medicare. Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage is available through a standalone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan or through a Medicare Advantage Plan that includes prescription drug coverage.

Medicare Supplement Insurance, also known as Medigap, helps people pay their portion of medical expenses like copays, deductibles, and coinsurance. These policies are offered by private insurance companies to supplement Original Medicare coverage. Some Medigap policies also cover medical care when traveling outside the U.S.

Still with us? Great. Medicare covers a great deal of healthcare costs and offers multiple ways to supplement that coverage. But how you talk about Medicare to each client will depend on where they are in their Medicare journey.

Different Clients, Different Situations.

A client’s age is key to what Medicare deadlines they have to meet and how you can help them.

Clients who are 64 and 65.

Most of your clients will become eligible for Medicare on the first day of the month they turn 65. For a seamless transition from their employer plan to Medicare, they must sign up during the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), which starts three months before they turn 65 and ends three months after. (If a client is collecting Social Security, they will already be enrolled.)

Clients who are over 65.

For clients who are over 65, there is a good chance they will already have a Medicare plan. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right plan. Their health needs, or the plan itself, may have changed. Or they may not have done enough comparison shopping before choosing a plan. So, we recommend an annual conversation with these clients — a “Medicare check-up” — that ends with a referral to Healthpilot.

Clients who want to work past 65.

For who want to keep working and stay on their employer’s health plan after 65 can delay signing up for Original Medicare with no penalty. When they are ready to leave their employer’s plan, they must sign up for Medicare during the Special Enrollment Period (SEP). This period starts the month after their employer coverage ends and lasts for eight months.

There is usually no premium for Medicare Part A, so clients over 65 who still have coverage from an employer may want to sign up for it anyway. However, doing so will make them ineligible to save pre-tax dollars in a health savings account (HSA). In this case, you may want to advise your client to stop contributing to an HSA a few months before they enroll in Medicare. After they switch to Medicare, they can still use what’s left in their HSA for qualified medical expenses.

Clients in their early 60s.

Don’t ignore the youngsters. You both have a great opportunity to plan ahead, so take advantage of it.

A couple of “watch outs.”

Medigap policies are widely popular. So, it’s important to know that the best time to get a Medigap policy is when a Medicare beneficiary is newly eligible for Part B. Eligibility for Part B triggers the Medigap Open Enrollment Period (OEP), which lasts for 6 months from the date their Part B coverage goes into effect. If your client misses the deadline, they can still enroll at any time, but their premiums may go up, or they may be denied Medigap coverage completely due to their health status. It’s important to reach out to clients in their OEP and let them know what’s at stake. Your Healthpilot advisor portal makes it easy to see which clients are entering their OEP.

Clients who do not enroll in Original Medicare on time may face a penalty resulting in higher monthly premiums. Watch out, especially for Part B — the penalty adds 10% to the monthly premium for every 12 months of delay.

Medicare Annual Enrollment Period.

AEP occurs annually from October 15 to December 7. During this time, your clients can join a Medicare Advantage Plan or leave a Medicare Advantage Plan and get Original Medicare or switch to a new Part D prescription drug plan.

Remember, clients who want to enroll in a Medigap policy can do so any time of year.

Medicare Plans Have Costs, Healthpilot Doesn't.

There is no premium for Medicare Part A if your client has paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years. If not, they will have to pay a monthly premium. Medicare Parts B and D and Medigap policies require monthly premiums. Part C (Medicare Advantage) plans have costs, but these may or may not take the form of a monthly premium.

Clients who have a high income may be subject to IRMAA (income-related monthly adjustment amount) surcharges. These are determined by their filing status and modified adjusted growth income from two years prior. Clients who have to pay IRMAA will be notified directly by Social Security.

Healthpilot is free to use. When your client enrolls in a Medicare plan through Healthpilot, we receive a commission from the plan provider and share part of it with you as a referral bonus.

Talking About Healthpilot

That’s enough about Medicare for now. Here’s what your clients need to know about Healthpilot.

Healthpilot is a trusted partner that makes Medicare easier. 

Healthpilot is a free website that uses smart technology to assess your client’s healthcare needs, then recommends the most optimal Medicare plans. It’s easy to use. In fact, clients can compare and enroll in a plan in about 15 minutes. Plus, help is available at any time by phone or chat.

Unbiased recommendations.

Most Medicare brokers rely on their “intuition” for plan suggestions. Healthpilot recommends plans based on facts about how your clients and others use — and pay for —healthcare. While Medicare brokers often represent a single company and one or two plans, Healthpilot has no sales agents and no bias towards any plan, ever.

Free service with no additional plan cost.

Healthpilot is free. Your clients pay the exact same price for their Medicare plan whether they enroll through Healthpilot, another broker or the insurance company. 

The right plan this year and every year.

Healthpilot evaluates plans each year to confirm your client is always in the right Medicare plan—not just this year but every year. Healthpilot will alert your client if their coverage changes or if a better plan becomes available.

There’s no need for you to be a Medicare expert or walk your clients through the Healthpilot process. We’ll take care of that.

How You and Healthpilot Work Together

Healthpilot makes it easy for your clients to find the right plan and enroll. To help with your financial planning, Healthpilot keeps your advisor portal up to date with your client’s estimated yearly savings and out-of-pocket costs with their current plan.

The most important thing is to refer your clients to Healthpilot using your unique referral link. Beyond that, you can be as engaged as you want to be. You can inform your clients about Medicare deadlines, advise them on how to avoid fees and higher premiums, and remind them to evaluate their coverage every year.

For more about Medicare, check out the educational resources in your Healthpilot advisor portal. And remember, Medicare Annual Enrollment starts October 15th, so start talking to your clients about how Healthpilot can make Medicare easier today.

 

This article was brought to you by Healthpilot Technologies LLC.  Healthpilot is not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program.  Healthpilot.com is operated by Healthpilot Technologies LLC, a licensed health insurance agency, also doing business as Healthpilot Insurance Services in the state of California.  The purpose of this article is the solicitation of insurance.