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Prescription Drug Coverage and Medicare Supplement and Advantage Plans


If you are close to the age of 65 then you have probably been researching all of medicare supplemental insurancethe benefits associated with Medicare health insurance. Because there are so many different plans with many advantages, it may be very difficult to decide what plan best fits your needs.

The Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) is one of four different parts of the Medicare health care system. This plan allows those with Medicare parts A and B to receive coverage from a private insurance company that is government-approved. Medicare Advantage Plans consist of plans such as Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans and Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans. The largest and most well-known weakness of the original Medicare plan is that is does not cover the cost of prescription drugs. So, if you would like coverage for prescription drugs then you have a few options to choose from.

The Medicare Part D plan is obtainable to anyone who has original Medicare (Parts A and B). This plan is designed to provide coverage for the costs of prescription drugs. This plan is available through private insurance companies that have been approved by Medicare. If you have a supplemental Medicare insurance policy (Medigap), it may actually cover prescription drug costs. If it does not, then you can obtain a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan with Medicare Part D, but you must notify your insurance company if you choose to do so. It is also important to know what benefits your plan covers because supplemental Medicare plans will not always cover prescription drug costs.

Consider Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage Plan) if you decide not to use Medicare Part D, or supplemental Medicare insurance. At an additional cost, these plans may offer prescription drug coverage through private insurance companies. So, if you obtain one of these plans then supplemental Medicare insurance will only be an alternative. Remember to check for additional coverage choices in your coverage history from past employers. You may have more options if your current or previous employer provided you with prescription drug coverage.

If you already own a Medicare Advantage Plan then it is not necessary to purchase a supplemental Medicare plan. Unless you completely drop the Medigap plan and use the original Medicare, it is illegal to purchase a supplemental plan. In addition, it is very difficult to get a supplemental plan in the future if you ever drop it, so be very careful. Before you ever make a decision that could affect your long-term health coverage, always discuss these issues with your insurance company or your State Health Insurance Assistance Program.

As you age, getting prescription drug coverage is always going to be an important component in any health coverage plan. Because you never know what health situations may arise, it is very important to choose a plan that covers prescription drug costs. So, if you choose Medicare insurance or a Medicare Advantage Plan, make sure to have some form of prescription drug coverage so you will be prepared for any medical situation.

Medicare Supplement Plans – Should You Choose Them Over Medicare Advantage Plans?


There are two choices available to individuals seeking Medicare coverage as well asmedicare supplemental plans the federal health care program. They are known as Medicare Supplement plans and Medicare Advantage plans. Although these plans are somewhat similar, overall, their benefits differ greatly. You must individually consider each plan and determine which has the best options in your situation. In most instances, when you qualify medically and can afford a supplement, or Medigap plan, it is to your advantage to purchase the plan.

The best rule to follow when trying to understand the differences is to remember that Advantage plans pay as a replacement for Medicare coverage, while Supplement plans pay after Medicare coverage. Advantage plans are known as the privatized form of the federal Medicare program, and they replace it altogether. However, you must still be enrolled in the government program, but they do not pay you benefits. Conversely, Supplement plans are available to fill in the "gaps" of coverage that are not paid by the government's program because they are designed to supplement.

There are several reasons why Supplement plans are generally more useful than the Advantage plans. Here are a few good reasons:

  • You can use supplements at any doctor that accepts the federal Medicare program; however, most Advantage plans require that you stay in the network of doctors/hospitals that they are affiliated with. Also, these networks are not fully developed in some areas, so some people may have to drive a ridiculous distance just too see a doctor or go to a hospital in their network. This situation can be very irritating.
  • Medicare supplements generally do not make use of cost-sharing, or deductibles and co-pays. Most supplement plans cover 20% of costs not provided through the federal program, in addition to one (or both) of the deductibles. On the other hand, Advantage plans make use of cost-sharing with deductibles and co-pays as a component in their plans. A great number of the Advantage plans require a co-pay of $15-$40 when you visit the doctor's office. Also, there is a daily co-pay for hospital stays for the first 5-10 days, plus deductibles and/or co-pays for hospital admission.
  • Medicare supplements will not annually modify coverage because they have not changed and they have been federally standardized since 1992. However, Advantage plans are always modified each year, and in recent years, every change has been against the favor of the insured person.

For those over 65, the two insurance choices are Supplements and Advantage plans and there are specific benefits offered in each plan. However, if you are medically qualified and can afford a supplement plan, it is in your favor to choose the supplement for comprehensive insurance coverage for those over 65. Make sure to examine each plan and recognize what coverage you will need in your current situation before you finalize your decision. Insurance coverage is a necessity, so why not make the best choice for your health coverage?

New Changes to Medicare Supplements Coming in 2010



Medicare supplemental insurance has been available for awhile but many people in the White House believe it is time for some health care changes. In 2010, there are many new changes being made to Medicare supplements. It is obvious that not everyone will want to accept the new changes, but hopefully these changes will benefit a large portion of those with Medicare health care coverage.

Medicare changes in 2010There are a few changes that have already been discussed. One of these changes is that plans A through G are being phased out into new plans also labeled A through G. However, the old plans will not be totally phased out because those currently under the old plans will be grandfathered in and they will still be covered under those plans.

You must know that those that are just signing up for plans A through G will not necessarily receive the "new" Medicare supplement plans. This is due to the fact that they will be the same as the "old" plans. As you can see, this process is quite confusing, so make sure to have your questions answered before the new changes go into effect. Do your best to keep up to date with reports if you are currently under a Medicare supplement plan by researching on the Internet and reading medical news publications.

Another confusing aspect of the new changes to Medicare supplements is that those currently enrolled in plans A through G by June 1, 2010 will be placed in "closed risk pools." A closed risk pool means that people in the group will probably have to pay higher costs for Medicare supplement insurance.

Obviously, having rates go up may be very difficult for some people-especially those on a fixed income. In any case, after May 31, 2010, the insurance rates will be reset and the new plans will be available. For those that receive the "new" versions of the plans after June 1, 2010, there will be strong competition among insurance companies bidding for Medicare supplement business.

With increased competition, it generally means lower rates, and these lower rates have the possibility to stay in effect longer than we may expect. Frankly, it is difficult to predict how well the Medicare supplement insurance market will do in relation to premium costs. But, we can assume that in order to attract more customers, the rates will be lower in the beginning of these Medicare supplement changes.

Because of the radical policy changes occurring in the White House, we have no idea what else may change in Medicare health insurance. Just remember to stay up to date with policy and rate changes in the Medicare health care system and know that the medical news publications and Internet articles are a quick and easy way to obtain information about new Medicare changes. To avoid the confusion, just stay well-informed and educated on the subject of new Medicare supplement changes.

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The Importance of Disability Insurance


Your earned income is, in all likelihood, the financial footing that you and your family depend on to pay the bills, put food on the table, keep a roof over your head and pay for many other things in your life. What would happen if you could not earn that income because of serious illness or injury? Disability income replacement insurance exists for just such a situation and provides security when you need it most.

The Likelihood of Disability

Chances are high that you or someone close to you will face disability that affects income-earning potential. In fact, today 1 in 8 people will face disability at some point in their life. Out of every 70 car accidents that occur, one will result in either death, injury or disability. Life insurance will take care of those left behind in the case of death. However, injury and disability can permanently change a life and are more common than most people realize.

The Consequences Of Disability

Disabilty insuranceThe results of your income being majorly disrupted by disability are devastating. An overwhelming 48% of home foreclosures are due to disability of the major income provider in the household. Only 4% of foreclosures are because of the death of that person. Your personal savings could be completely eroded in a very short period of time. Even if you were to put away 5% of your annual income for 10 years, major disability could deplete that savings entirely in 6 months.

What You Need In Case Of Disability

If you are a business owner you need to face the fact of what would happen with your business if you were unable to work. Could your firm afford to pay a replacement for 6 months or more? If so, could it pay you also? How much does your firm need to stay in business? Can that amount be generated without you? Is there a plan in place for your business should you be unable to run it?

How much money does your family and household need monthly? Do you have an alternate source of income to meet such needs, and additional medical expenses, if you are disabled? Would you be able to meet your family monthly needs on your spouse's salary? How long would it take your spouse to get a job that would completely replace your income? If you could liquidate your assets quickly, how much would you get and how long would it last?

These are all valid points to consider, both in terms of business expenses for business owners and living expenses for everyone. These questions point to your need for disability income replacement insurance. Such insurance would cover these expenses and others when you cannot earn the money to do so. If you are ill or injured, the last thing you need to worry about is where money is coming from to meet your obligations. That's why disability insurance is the financial tool you absolutely need to have to create the kind of security you deserve.

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If You Are Self-Employed Then You Should Choose Disability Insurance


Disability Insurance for the self employedIf you are currently operating a business and you are self-employed, then being without disability insurance can be very detrimental to you financially. In addition, if you have a few employees, your business could easily go into bankruptcy and you would have no way to reimburse them if you became unable to work. Or even worse, you could become homeless and left with nothing.

Disability insurance is the only way to protect you and your business from these horrible scenarios. There are three different types of disability insurance, so learn about each type.

Different types of disability insurance

The three different types of disability insurance available are Own-Occupation Disability Insurance, Income Replacement Insurance, and Gainful Occupation Coverage. The first, Own-Occupation Disability Insurance, is the only form of disability insurance that will not punish you if you return to work in a different occupation while you are under a claim.

This is extremely important if you develop a disability and if you, like most people, do not want to be confined to your house for an extended period of time. So, with Own-Occupation Disability Insurance, you have the ability to return to work at a job where you can perform the duties and not be considered disabled.

Income Replacement Insurance is the second type of disability insurance. This option is the most common disability insurance type offered by insurance companies today. Under this type, you are penalized if you return to work or another income source while under an insurance claim.

The penalty for this situation is usually a decrease in your monthly check, as the insurance company will take off a portion of what they owe you based on your supplemental income.

The worst disability insurance option

Gainful Occupation Coverage is the third type of disability insurance. This option is the worst because it loosely defines the term disability. The trouble with this explanation is that it can be subject to the interpretation of the insurance company. If you believe you are reasonably able work due to education, training or experience-the insurance company may think differently. In theory, the insurance company could deem you unable to be a dish washer at a restaurant when you believe your injury or illness does not prevent you from performing that task. Sometimes these situations do occur, but it is doubtful the insurance company would go that far to prevent you from earning an income.

Once again, if you are self-employed then it is critical that you obtain a disability insurance policy. However, do not be foolish and pick the cheapest policy available because the policy may only cover a portion of the many costs involved with a disability. It is wise to shop around for a policy before you make your purchase. This ensures that you get the most value for your money. Hopefully, you will be able to afford the best coverage with an Own-Occupation Disability Insurance policy because it is undoubtedly the best option available today.

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How To Buy Disability Insurance

Combining Medicare and Medicare Supplements to Fit Your Budget


Retiring from work often results in living on a fixed income, which wasn't the case in years past. The adjustment isn't always easy and it can mean that every day is spent pinching pennies. But when it comes to necessities like health care coverage, you want to feel confident that your health coverage will be there when you need it.

Medicare supplemental insurance plansAlso, you want to ensure that you know where to get the most cost-effective health care insurance and know that you'll be covered for all emergencies. The process of finding health coverage doesn't have to be as complicated as it sounds because you can benefit from health care plans that are provided by the government under Medicare and Medicare supplements. The supplements are intended to fill in the gaps that the original Medicare plan was meant to provide for.

Although you may know and hear a lot about Medicare, because it's in the news more when U.S. debt is discussed, you may not know very much about Parts A - L. These are supplement choices to add to your existing Medicare coverage. With this, not only can you budget your money in advance, but you can save plenty of money on health care coverage.

Another tool to help you save money on health care coverage is available on the internet. It's a little-known resource that will help you save money on prescription drugs by showing which pharmacies in your area are offering the best rates for the prescription drugs you are taking. By using this tool, you can save a great deal of money over the course of a year if you must buy prescription drugs every month. You can find this helpful tool at: On the webpage, look for the title that says "Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Finder." Make sure you have your red, white and blue Medicare card. Also, the best option to choose is Personalized Plan Search.

When you know where to find the best price for your prescription drugs, you have more room to enjoy the rest of your life. For many, prescription drugs are essential for living because there is no option to live without them. So whether you receive your prescriptions through a mail-order drug company or an approved pharmacy, it makes cost-effective sense to know where the best prices are. This is also a way to discover the other choices you may have in terms of generic, less expensive drugs that will work just as effectively for your health condition.

In addition, knowing as much as possible about your Medicare options will always save you money and time. So many Medicare recipients spend extra money on options that they really don't need. The best way to get the most out of Medicare and Supplement plans is to choose a health insurance representative who understands your situation and will assist you in choosing the plan that works best for you.

Learn the Differences between Medicare Supplements and Medicare Advantage Plans


Medicare Supplemental insuranceInsurance company health plans that have a contract with CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid) are known as Medicare Advantage Plans. Anyone with Medicare Part A and B is eligible to receive a Medicare Advantage plan. For people with certain health conditions, Medicare also offers specialized plans; but the general plans are not allowed to reject a person based on a health condition except for very specific reasons.

If an individual is enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, they will not lose their Medicare. If they want to end their Medicare Advantage plan then they can re-apply for original Medicare after a month has passed. Instead of using a Medicare card, they must use the insurance card that is provided by the Medicare Advantage plan while they are enrolled.

Having a Medicare Advantage plan may cost recipients nothing, or a small fee; although many require the Part B participation amount. Instead of having a portion of tax money go to original Medicare, the plans receive a payment from CMS every month. This tax money pays for a high percentage of the Medicare Advantage Plans.

By tradition, Medicare Advantage Plans were believed to be like HMO plans, where an insured person could only use certain doctors, hospitals, and other medical providers under the plan in order for expenses to be covered. Surprisingly, many Medicare Advantage Plans are actually HMO plans; however, PPO plans are also available with Medicare Advantage. Often, Fee for Service Medicare Advantage Plans are marketed aggressively because these plans will cover any medical providers that accept the insurance.

To figure out which plan works best for you, you must assess your own medical needs and preferences. If your current medical providers have a contract with a Medicare Advantage Plan's HMO, then you may be very pleased with comprehensive coverage that has few extra payments. If you would like to have more choices, and doctors in your area will accept a Fee for Service plan, then an "Any Doctor" plan would be a good fit for you. Keep in mind that not all doctor's offices will work with the Fee for Service plans, although many insurance companies claim that all offices accept the plan. With PPO plans, you can receive the greatest coverage at a low price inside your insurance network, and you will still be covered even if you use a different medical provider.

The Part D plan of Medicare (prescription drug coverage) is included in most, but not all, Medicare Advantage plans. Also, beyond their normal Part B premium, most Medicare Advantage plan recipients may have a minimal, or nonexistent, monthly premium. Some Advantage plans will even refund the Part B premium altogether. If you are an applicant in poor health, you must know that Medicare Advantage Plans are not permitted to do a lot of risk selection based on health condition, so one of these plans may be the best choice for you.

Medicare Supplement Plans

The traditional Medicare Supplement plans are very different from Medicare Advantage plans. With Medicare Supplements you are able to still use your original Medicare card, in addition to the health card provided by the Medicare Supplement plan. Also, these plans are provided through insurance companies, but the insurance companies only supplement the coverage "gaps" and deductibles that original Medicare Part A and B do not cover.

If you already have Medicare Part A and B, then by having a Medicare supplement plan you will be able to pay any portion of your medical bill that is not covered by Medicare. Obviously, each Medicare supplement plan will differ from one another so you need to understand exactly what a Medicare Supplement plan will cover before you sign up. For example, Medicare may pay 80% of your hospital bill and the supplement plan will cover the remaining 20%. Medicare supplements generally provide the widest access to health care.

Choosing a Medicare health plan can be one of the most important decisions anyone eligible for Medicare can make. Because this decision is so important, choose someone skilled to help you find the right plan to fit your needs, lifestyle, and budget.

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