New Albany Medicare Plans
16.4% of the population of Union county is over 65 and on Medicare, and they have many different options for Medicare. For those over 65 who do not have a group coverage option or a military retirement health plan, a popular option is Original Medicare supplemented by a Medigap policy. There are 62 insurance companies offering 11 different standardized Medigap plans, and 2 Select Medigap Plans. People with Original Medicare have the flexibility to choose between 20 different Medicare Part D Prescription Plans to fit their individual needs.
The most popular choice to supplement Original Medicare is Medigap Plan G, which pays all Medicare Part A and B approved out-of-pocket expenses, except the Part B $183 deductible (2018). The $183 would be the out-of-pocket limit for Medicare approved Part A and B services. Other popular Medicare supplement plans are Medigap Plan N and Plan F. Plan N requires payment of the Part B deductible and also requires a copayment at the doctor and emergency room. Plan F pays 100% of all deductibles, copays and coinsurance, but Plan F will be discontinued as an option for new Medicare enrollees beginning in 2020.
Another popular option is Medicare Advantage, due to its lower premiums and pay-as-you-use-it style copays and coinsurance. There is an out-of-pocket maximum per year – $6,700 as of 2018. A healthy person may have lower total costs with Medicare Advantage, but if a person becomes chronically ill, they could have much higher out-of-pocket expense than they would with a Medigap Plan.
For 2018, Union County has 3 Medicare Advantage Plan options offered by Humana, and Aetna is expected to introduce a new Medicare Advantage Plan in 2019. Medicare Advantage plans in Union County are PPOs, which have lower copays for in-network providers. As of 2018, Baptist Memorial Hospital, NMMC and most of the doctors in the area are in-network for Humana Medicare Advantage plans.
Things to Consider
One thing to consider regarding Medicare Advantage Plans is acceptance by out-of-network providers. One premier cancer treatment center in the region, MD Anderson Hospital in Houston TX, is a network provider for some Medicare Advantage Plans. This could lead to extra costs or refusal to accept the plan at all by some providers, except in emergency. There are many people from Northeast Mississippi that go to MD Anderson, a non-network hospital, for specialized treatment.
Another important consideration is Hospital observation status as opposed to an admission to the hospital. People who are in the hospital on observation and not admitted are subject to copays and a 20% coinsurance. The costs for those people on observation status could potentially exceed the Part A admission copays which are already quite high.
Some people are led to believe that since they are healthy, they can go with Medicare Advantage and change to a Medigap plan later if their health takes a turn for the worse. The catch is, once you become chronically ill you will not qualify for a preferred Medigap policy unless you are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. An example of a special enrollment period would be cancelation of a Medicare Advantage Plan. However, you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan every year during Annual Enrollment regardless of your health with one exception – People with kidney failure cannot enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan.
You Need an Expert to Help Sort it All Out!
With all these options, it is very difficult to choose the right plan, and missing your open enrollment period, enrolling in the wrong plan or enrolling unnecessarily in a plan can cost you a lot of money and the freedom to choose your own doctor. An experienced broker is essential to help understand benefits and navigate the market to find the best value. You should never use a “captive agent” to help you choose, because captive agents only offer plans one company. You need a broker that can help you choose from all available plans.
Brock & Credille Insurance, with our 8 independent brokers and support staff is the leading Medicare brokerage company in Northeast Mississippi. As a full service Medicare insurance agency, we specialize in Medicare plans of every type, including Medigap policies, Medicare Part D prescription plans, and Medicare Advantage Plans. We assist our clients yearly to review and enroll in a new plan if necessary. We have two offices in Northeast Mississippi – 144 S. Thomas St. Suite 106 in Tupelo, and 361A S. Second St. in Belmont.
The brokers at Brock & Credille Insurance use state of the art technology to compare all types of plans. We can assist clients and enroll by phone, via the internet or in our handicapped accommodating offices. You can reach us by phone at 662-844-3300, or visit bobbybrockinsurance.com where you can get valuable information or a quote online.
Article by Bobby Brock, LUTCF
US Census Bureau