Posts Tagged ‘medigap policies’

Medigap Policies – The Baby Boomers’ Future Is Now

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

It wasn’t too long ago when Baby Boomers, or Americans born immediately after the Second World War, were at the cutting edge of business, government and other industries.  Those idealistic children and youth of the ’60s and ’70s had become the country’s decision makers, and become a part of the Establishment a good number of them had opposed so fervently back in their salad days.  But in about ten to twenty years, a lot of Baby Boomers will be eligible for retirement, with about 30 million needing to enter nursing homes and about 12 million needing long-term medical care.  With a lot of uncertainty hovering around regarding Medicare benefits, it may suddenly become a good idea to focus more on Medigap policies.

What is Medigap in the first place?  A Medigap policy is a supplement to standard, or Original Medicare coverage, and aptly fills in the gaps in the existing Medicare coverage.  Currently, there are twelve different types of Medigap policies available, ranging from Plan A to Plan L, and the health care coverage increases as you go up in plan.  Two new plans are set to be introduced on June 1, 2010 – Medigap policies M and N, while Medigap policies E, H, I and J are due to be phased out.  Still, there are a lot of options available for anybody wanting to take advantage of Medigap.

For those who wonder when the right time would be to subscribe to a Medigap policy, it would be best to do so in the first six months after you turn 65.  Open enrollment period would remain active during this period.  Enrollment in Medicare Part B is a prerequisite, and during this six-month open enrollment period, no insurance company can decline to offer a Medigap policy in any case.  But regardless of when you decide to subscribe to a Medigap policy, it is always best to consult with a Medigap or insurance professional to come up with the policy that would best suit one’s financial and health needs.  And with a wealth of online resources available, the Internet could serve as a good guide for Medigap policies as well.  All it takes are a few clicks of a mouse and you can get all the information you need online.

Historically speaking, it was indeed a great time to be young back in the prime of the Baby Boomers’ lives.  Changing technology and culture made the ’60s and ’70s a turbulent, though nonetheless exciting time to grow up, and the experiences of the past combined with ever-changing trends helped Baby Boomers in becoming productive members of present-day society.  And speaking of trends, we believe that today’s technology and variety of options would make it easy for the soon-to-retire or retiring Baby Boomer to select the right Medigap policy to help him or her enjoy the rest of his or her years without having to worry about a lack of funds or a lack of coverage.

Medigap Changes Effective June 1, 2010

Friday, May 7th, 2010

New laws passed this year have necessitated a change to current Medigap policies.  Said Medigap changes are effective June 1, 2010, and included in this article are key changes to look out for if buying a new policy on or after the first of June this year.

Hospice Part A Coinsurance – This benefit is now a standard feature for all Medigap plans effective on or after June 1, 2010.  Medigap Plan K will cover 50% of the costs while Plan L will cover 75% of the costs for Hospice Coinsurance.

Part B Coinsurance – All Medigap policies pay Part B coinsurance and copayments at 100%, except for Plans K, L and N, which now require policy holders to pay a portion of Part B coinsurance and copayments.  This may result in lower premiums for these three plans.

Discontinued Plans – Medigap plans E, H, I and J will be removed effective June 1, as the Preventive Care Benefit and At-Home Recovery Benefit have both been removed.  With the current Medicare structure, plans E, H, I and J have become identical to other Medicare Supplement plans, and are no longer necessary. 

Changes to Plans D and G – Plans D and G effective on or after June 1, 2010 now have different benefits from pre-June 1, 2010 Plans D and G. 

New Plans – Plans M and N – Medigap plans M and N make their debut on June 1, replacing Plans E, H, I and J.  Both Plans M and N are similar in several ways to the existing Plan D, with a few changes to the coverage and payment schemes.  However, while Plans M and N may help you save money, it must be noted that the $135 deductible normally included does not apply for these new plans, nor do they cover excess charges allowed by most states.  Currently, it is very uncertain how consumers would react to the launching of these two new plans.

As you can see, the new laws have resulted in a lot of changes to the existing Medigap structure, but experts believe this would mostly be a good thing for those wanting to take advantage of a Medigap plan on or after June 1.  Plan M, for instance, is expected to be approximately 85% of Plan F’s cost, and 92% of the current Plan D, so one interested in the new plans may end up saving more money compared to if he or she would take advantage of it right now.  But again, one must be wary of the deductibles and excess charges not covered by the new plans.

Plan A is a mandatory policy for insurance companies who sell Medigap.  If other plans are offered, then Plan C and Plan F are mandatory for these insurance companies.  Not all types of Medigap policies may be available in your state, so it is highly recommended that you call your State Insurance Department or State Health Insurance Assistance Program for more details.

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