If you have a South Carolina Medicare Supplement plan, now is the best time to compare plan to make sure that the plan you have is still the best plan for your unique situation. Many of the plan have undergone rate changes/increases for 2010, and since coverage is standardized, it is important to do a periodic comparison to ensure you are getting the best “bang for your buck”.

With the introduction of two new plans, M and N, in June 2010, many of the companies are positioning themselves to take advantage of what will surely be a large number of shoppers during the 2010 calendar year. What this means for you is that premiums are more competitive than ever.

To do a full comparison of your options with a computer-generated rate quote analysis, visit South Carolina Medicare Insurance quotes or call 877.506.3378.

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When you are turning 65 or otherwise going on Medicare after age 65 (coming off of employer-type insurance), the choices can be overwhelming. Not only do you have the broad choice of Medigap vs. Medicare Advantage, but within those categories, you have many, many diverse choices among companies and plans.

While all of this can be overwhelming, it is a choice that you need to get “right”. And, what’s “right” for someone else, may not be “right” for you. It should always be based on your own physical and financial condition.

Here are some questions to consider when you are looking at your options:

  1. How is my overall health? And, what is my realistic projected future health (a guess based on your lifestyle and family risk factors, etc)?
  2. Do I prefer to have known upcoming expenses or variable expenses that could be either higher or lower than the known expenses?
  3. Am I on any medications currently and how expensive/inexpensive are those medications?
  4. Do I fully understand the “Open Enrollment” period and the ramifications of either a. not signing up for any plan or b. not keeping traditional Medicare (i.e. choosing a Medicare Advantage plan)?
  5. Lastly, do I want to buy insurance based on my current situation only or based on the worst-case scenario of what could happen?

I believe that the answers to these questions should all be considered as part of weighing a decision between a SC Medigap policy and a South Carolina Medicare Advantage plan.

While both options have some definite benefits, there are negatives to each decision. Regardless of how you are choosing to make the decision or weigh the options, it is highly recommended that you do so with the help of a qualified broker, particuarly ones that works with both types of plans. A brokerage can give you unbiased information/comparisons of all of the plans, both Medigap and Medicare Advantage so that you can make an informed and “right” choice to choose what’s best for you.

Secure Medicare Solutions is a leading, independent brokerage that specializes in South Carolina Medicare Supplement plans and South Carolina Medicare Advantage plans. For more information or to talk with a qualified broker that specializes in your specific situation, fill out a South Carolina Medicare Insurance Quotes request.

The 2010 South Carolina Medicare Advantage plans are upon us. Most of the plans are being released shortly and individuals who have Medicare Advantage coverage currently are beginning to get their notification of plan changes for 2010. This information is sure to open some eyes!

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan now, make sure that you review your plan information for 2010. Some of the formerly $0 premium plans are jumping to $60, $70, even $90/month. Also, some of the plans that are not changing their monthly premiums, are greatly reducing the amount of benefits that they offer. This is NOT the year to decide not to review your coverage.

Cuts to the Medicare Advantage program have “forced” some of the companies to change the way they think about funding their plans. Whereas before, plans did not necessarily need to collect a premium from the insured because of Federal funding, the reduction in funding has led to the plans relying more on customer premiums.

That said, there are still some very good Medicare Advantage plans in all areas of South Carolina for 2010. The best way to compare these options and choose the one that is the best fit for your specific county is through a qualified brokerage. Whether that is Secure Medicare Solutions or another brokerage, doing this comparison can insure that you get the best value for your money for 2010 South Carolina Medicare Advantage plans.

The South Carolina Medicare Advantage enrollment/disenrollment period (AEP) is coming up – it begins November 15. This year’s AEP is projected to be the most active ever.

Medicare Supplement companies are bracing for what they expect to be a huge influx of new customers, due to the changes in Medicare Advantage plans for 2010. Most projections estimate that Medicare Advantage plan premiums will increase by, on average, $40-70/month. This will probably do away with most (or all) of the popular $0 premium plans. Also, in response to Federal funding cuts, many of the Medicare Advantage plans will also, most likely, be reducing their services and coverage levels also. 

On top of the Medicare Advantage plan changes, the last couple of years have seen more and more retirees being dropped from employer coverage, which adds to the number of people seeking new coverage during this time period.

With those two things in mind, the load for the Medicare Supplement companies, agents, and Medicare itself is expected to be larger than ever. It is more important than ever to do your Medicare Supplement comparison early to make sure that you have issued coverage and proof of coverage by the January 1 date.

You can do this rate quote comparison at: South Carolina Medicare Supplement quotes or North Carolina Medicare Supplement quotes.

South Carolina Medicare Supplement Plan G is NOT the most popular or common plan in the state. However, it can be the best value for you in some cases.

Plan G is very similar to the more popular Plan F; however, it does not cover the Medicare Part B deductible (which is $135/year in 2009). Also, it offers the additional benefit of “At Home Recovery”. The third and final difference in the two plans is that Plan G covers 80% of Medicare Part B Excess charges, whereas Plan F covers 100% of these charges.

So, let’s talk about these differences. First, we’ll look at the Part B Excess charges. These charges occur when a doctor does not accept Medicare “assignment”. In most, if not all, areas of South Carolina, doctors do accept assignment, which negates the importance of this benefit. Always check with your physician to make sure, but if your doctor does accept Medicare’s fee schedule, then you can omit this benefit from consideration in your comparison.

Secondly, the “At Home Recovery” benefit is only offered by a couple of the Medicare Supplement standardized plans. It is not used by everyone or in a lot of situations; however, it is, obviously, better to have it then to not have it.

Last, there is the Part B deductible, which is not covered under Plan G. This comes down to simple math. If you can get a Plan G for approximately $12/month less than Plan F, then Plan G would be a better value on the basis of this benefit. Unless you are determined to eliminate your out of pocket costs altogether (with Plan F or J), Plan G may be a better value for you.

For more information about Plan G or any of the other Medicare supplement plans, visit South Carolina Medicare Supplement Insurance or North Carolina Medicare Supplements.

The South Carolina Medicare Advantage plans are expected to look completely different in 2010 than they have in 2009 (and recent years). According to recent reports and surveys of the companies that offer these plans, premiums are expected to rise as much as $40-70 per person, and some project companies will also strip away or reduce benefits by the same or comparable amounts (http://health.usnews.com/blogs/on-health-and-money/2009/04/07/medicare-advantage-premiums-may-rise-40-to-70-monthly-in-2010.html).

What this means for the average South Carolina Medicare Advantage policyholder is that they can expect to have less money per month in their pocket in 2010. This comes in addition to the announcement recently that there will be no cost-of-living increase with Social Security for 2010.

The likely cause of these Medicare Advantage plan premium increases/benefit reductions will be the reduction in Federal funding to the plans. The government pays approximately 14% more for a beneficiary in a Medicare Advantage plan than those in traditional Medicare, and (I think, rightly so) this practice is being revamped for 2010.

While Medicare Advantage plan enrollees are used to comparing plans every year, due to the plan changes that occur during the annual election period each year, this year’s comparisons may need to be more thorough and more varied. The best way to do this is to start early, as plan summaries come out in October usually and you only have until the end of December to compare plans and make any changes.

With new Medicare Supplement plans coming out June 1 of next year, plus the competitiveness in the South Carolina Medicare Supplements marketplace, an individual will likely be able to get a Medicare Supplement plan with no out of pocket doctor/hospital costs for the same price as Medicare Advantage coverage.

South Carolina Medicare Supplement plans can be compared and replaced at any point during the calendar year. However, many people choose to re-evaluate their options annually during the Annual Election Period. This period actually does not apply to South Carolina Medicare Supplements, only South Carolina Medicare Advantage plans and South Carolina Medicare Part D plans, but many people use this time to make changes, or at least consider changes, to all current coverage. So, what can you do to prepare for this time of year, which is only a few short months away?

Here are a couple of very easy ways that you can prepare for this end-of-year coverage analysis:

  1. Make a complete list of current medications. Include exact names, dosages, frequency, and use of medication. It is best to have this filed electronically for easy use.
  2. Be on the lookout for your Part D or South Carolina Medicare Advantage plan (if you have one) ‘Summary of Benefits’. The companies are required to send this to you, and when you receive it, you will be able to see how your coverage and/or premium is changing for the next year. This will be the first step in doing a thorough comparison of your plan options.
  3. Find a qualified brokerage to work with on your Medicare insurance needs. Regardless of who you use, the main thing is to use a broker. A broker allows you to compare all plan options in an unbiased way. At the end of the year, they can provide you with a comprehensive rate quote comparison of all plans in your area, as well as a prescription drug analysis based on your current medications.