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Archive for the ‘Medicare Supplement Coverage’ Category

4 Tips for Your Transition to Medicare in North Carolina

Wednesday, May 19th, 2021

As Medicare agents, we understand that transitioning to Medicare can be overwhelming. Here are a few quick tips to help simplify this process:

Tip #1Don’t Wait

Did you know you can apply for Medicare 3 months before your birth month? This is called your Initial Enrollment Period. As you approach Medicare eligibility, we recommend applying when your Enrollment Period starts so you are not left having to make last minute decisions. This also helps avoid any gaps in coverage and helps facilitate a seamless transition off of your current plan. Those that are already receiving Social Security benefits will be automatically enrolled in Medicare and will receive your Medicare card in the mail several months before turning 65.

Tip #2- Know your Options

When you are Medicare eligible, you can choose between several types of Medicare plans. The two most popular options in North Carolina are Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage plans.

Medicare Supplement plans are designed to fill in the holes or gaps in coverage that exist within original Medicare (parts A and B). Out-of-pocket costs with Part A and Part B can pile up, especially if you have a chronic health condition or a medical emergency. Medicare Supplement plans help cover those out-of-pocket Medicare costs and minimize what you pay on medical expenses. These plans do not include drug coverage, so you will need a separate Drug plan (part D) to go along with your supplement.

Medicare Advantage plans (also known as Part C) are an “all in one” alternative to Original Medicare. These plans are offered by insurance companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. If you join a Medicare Advantage Plan, you still have Medicare.  These “bundled” plans include benefits for Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance), and usually include Medicare drug coverage (Part D).

Tip #3- Aim for a Smooth Transition

Once you secure your Medicare plan, it is important to avoid any gaps in your health coverage. Do not cancel any existing coverage until your new plan has begun. If you are enrolled through the Health Insurance Marketplace it is important to remove yourself from that plan once your new Medicare coverage starts. You will not be eligible for any Federal Subsidies through the Marketplace if you are eligible for Medicare.

Tip #4- Seek Help

We know that making decisions on Health Insurance and understanding the Medicare market can be extremely confusing. Seeking help from a licensed agent can be your biggest asset during this transitional period. At NC Health Plans, our Medicare specialists are able to break down your options and simplify these confusing topics. We are just a phone call away! Please call 888-765-5400 to speak with one of our Medicare Specialists today.

Introducing New North Carolina Medicare Agents

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020

NC Health Plans / Jerry Ballard and Associates would like to introduce its two newest Medicare Agents, Emily McLaurin and Savannah Clark. Emily and Savannah have grown with the team by recently obtaining a North Carolina Medicare License. These two agents are eager to broaden their service to include North Carolina’s Medicare beneficiaries. As one of the top NC Medicare Agencies for Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC, our team strives to help people understand the changing Medicare market and ease the process of choosing a plan that protects both their health and savings.

Countless Medicare plan options and vast amounts of information, often create a sense of confusion and overwhelm consumers that are forced to make decisions about healthcare coverage. While there are numerous Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement options available, understanding the difference in these options is key to making decisions about which plan best meets your needs. Speaking with one of our licensed Medicare agents will help you understand these differences and simplify the enrollment process. In turn, you will have peace of mind knowing you are choosing a plan that is right for you. To get started, you may CLICK HERE to generate your personalized Medicare quote.

For more information on North Carolina Health Insurance coverage, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.

HOW CAN MEDICARE ADVISORS HELP YOU!   

Thursday, October 17th, 2019

HOW CAN Medicare Advisors HELP YOU!       

Medicare Annual Enrollment Period started October 15th and ends December 7th, 2019.  As one of the top leading Medicare Advisors for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina we are here to help and guide you.  With so many Medicare plans to consider and countless Medicare Supplement Insurance companies to compare, choosing the right coverage can be difficult. Fortunately, finding and purchasing a Medicare Supplement plan is easier with the help of a Medicare Advisor.

Whether your health care needs are straightforward or complex, Medicare and its various options can be extremely confusing. Simply browsing through Medicare Supplement options can be overwhelming.  When you talk with an independent Medicare Agent your options will become more clear.

Getting Medicare and purchasing a Medicare Supplement plan are decisions you should not take lightly. Whether you are working with a limited budget and you need to keep your costs low or you have growing medical needs and you want to make sure your care is covered, you need the right plan at the right price.  Get your free Medicare Supplement Quote and/or Apply on Line today.

When you work with a Medicare Advisor you will not have to second-guess your decision or worry that you have overlooked important information.  You will have peace of mind knowing you have made the best decision that will protect your budget and your health.

For more information on North Carolina Health Insurance coverage, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 or our local number 252-726-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you ready for Medicare Open Enrollment 2020?

Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

Medicare Open Enrollment starts October 15 and runs until December 7. While that might seem to be plenty of time to weigh your options and enroll, it is actually less than two months.  It is time to act now and beat the rush before the holidays.

As one of the top Medicare Advisors in the State of North Carolina for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, we are here to help you make those decisions.  Whether you are new to Medicare, want to make a plan change or review all available options, we are here to help you.  The Medicare program changes a little bit each year. Knowing what’s new in 2020 could help you navigate the many choices you’ll have during this year’s Open Enrollment.

We can help you apply on line, handle your application through the mail or make an appointment to visit our office for a one on one meeting.  Whatever method is easiest and most helpful to you is what we do to help eliminate the stress and confusion.

To get your free rate quote and/or apply on line, CLICK HERE TO GET STARTED!

For more information on North Carolina Health Insurance coverage, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 or our local number 252-726-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.

All You Need to Know About Blue Cross NC Medicare Supplement Plan G

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

For many years, Medicare Supplement Plan F has been the most popular Medicare Supplement plan. However, many Medicare beneficiaries are now choosing Plan G. Plan G has increasingly become the more popular Supplement plan as Plan F will no longer be offered in 2020 due to the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015.  In many scenarios, Plan G can offer significant yearly savings with very rich benefits.

What is the difference between Plan F and Plan G?

Medicare Supplement Plan G is nearly identical to Plan F except for one difference-the Part B deductible. The Part B deductible in 2019 is $185. The Plan G does not provide coverage for this deductible which means the member would be responsible for paying the Part B deductible ($185 in 2019) out of pocket when incurring Medical expenses for things like doctor’s office visits.  Once the Part B deductible is met, the Plan G pays exactly the same benefits as the Plan F.

Will I save money with Plan G?

Lower premiums are a primary reason why many Medicare beneficiaries are choosing Plan G. In recent years, the monthly premiums for Plan G have been significantly less than Plan F premiums. Plan G has also incurred lower rate increases in recent years.

What does Medicare Plan G pay for?

Medicare supplement Plan G will pay for your hospital deductible as well as other copays and coinsurance under Medicare.

What does Medicare Plan G not pay for?

Medicare Supplement Plan G does not pay for the Part B Deductible.  It also does not include any prescription drug coverage like most other Medicare Supplement plans.  Most Medicare Supplement beneficiaries also enroll in standalone Part D prescription plans for drug coverage.

Is plan G the most popular Medicare supplement?

In recent years, the Blue Cross NC Plan G has become the most popular Medicare Supplement.  Due to Plan F being discontinued for new enrollees in 2020, most insurance companies have strategically made the Plan G a more competitively priced and more attractive plan.

Why should I choose plan G?

Once Plan F is discontinued in 2020, Plan G is going to offer you the greatest benefits under any of the Medicare Supplement plans. Plan G is the most popular Medicare plan because of its wide range of coverage and minimal out of pocket exposure, while offering lower monthly premiums when compared to Plan F.

If you are turning 65 or considering switching your Medicare Supplement plan this year, give us a call and speak with one of our professional Medicare specialists. We are happy to discuss how Medicare Plan G will benefit you, and assist you through the application process. CLICK HERE to request a personal Medicare Supplement quote and discover your Medicare Supplement plan options.

For more information on North Carolina Health Insurance coverage, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.

Kennon Wainwright Recognized as Top BCBS Medicare Agent in North Carolina

Wednesday, January 30th, 2019

At NC Health Plans, we strive to assist our customers with their Health Insurance needs throughout every phase of life. One of our top priorities is aiding those in the Medicare, over 65 market and helping this group of North Carolinians understand their options within Medicare. We are very proud to announce that our agency manager, Kennon Wainwright, has now ranked two years straight within the top Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Medicare Advisors. In 2018, Kennon ranked Number 2 in the state of North Carolina for top performance in assisting Medicare Supplement customers.  He also ranked Number 4 in the state for Medicare Advantage. He is now a member of the Exclusive Century Club, due to his top sales and services to Medicare Beneficiaries. Kennon is honored to serve so many North Carolinians as they make these important Medicare decisions. He quickly recognizes this opportunity would not be possible without the support of the NC Health Plans team and the strength of Blue Cross Blue Shield NC products and brand.

If you have not previously helped a parent or spouse with Medicare, then this topic can often be very foreign. We recognize the importance of understanding your transition into Medicare, and meeting your health care needs. We also understand that with so much information to read online, navigating the Medicare market can be overwhelming. Speaking directly with one of our professionals, like Kennon, can make this confusing topic easier to understand. It is important to learn how each part of Medicare will affect you, and discover which plans will meet your needs as you make this transition.

If you are turning 65 or transitioning to Medicare, we would be happy to help you through this process. Give us a call to discuss your BCBSNC Medicare plan options. To get started on this process, CLICK HERE to generate a custom Blue Cross NC Medicare quote.

For more information on North Carolina Health Insurance coverage, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.

2019 Medicare Annual Enrollment Period with BCBSNC

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018

The Annual Enrollment Period for Medicare customers is just around the corner and at NC Health Plans, we want to help you prepare for this important time of year. The Annual Enrollment Period for 2019 Medicare eligible customers will begin on October 15th, 2018 and last until December 7th. Medicare eligible customers are typically over the age of 65, or under 65 with certain disabilities.

During the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, Medicare beneficiaries who have already enrolled in Parts A and B of Medicare will have the opportunity to APPLY FOR A NEW MEDICARE PLAN or make changes to their current Medicare plan for coverage to begin January 1st, 2019. Some actions Medicare beneficiaries can take during this time include:

  • Join a Medicare Advantage (Part C) Plan
  • Change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
  • Change your Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D) plan if you are in Original Medicare
  • Change from a Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare

The deadline for the Medicare Annual Enrollment is December 7th, 2018.  To generate your  Medicare Supplement Rate Quote CLICK HERE to get started.  If you are to miss this deadline, you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period or a separate Open Enrollment Period. Speaking with one of our professional agents would help you identify your eligibility for coverage based on your unique circumstances.

At NC Health Plans, we know this can be confusing and overwhelming. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to contact an agent for guidance on the easiest ways to enroll or make changes to your Medicare plan. You can speak with one of our Blue Cross Blue Shield NC authorized agents for more information or assistance enrolling in Medicare. We would love to assist you!

For more information on North Carolina Health Insurance coverage, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.

Medicare Supplement Plan F vs Plan G

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

For years, the Medicare Supplement Plan F has been the most popular of the Supplemental plans.  The plan is currently the richest benefit Medicare Supplement available in most states.  It provides coverage for all the gaps in Original Medicare.  The extremely high level of benefits has drawn Medicare shopper’s attention and has helped it develop a well-known reputation with consumers of Medicare Supplement plans.  Despite being the richest benefit plan, we often find there is a better plan option when a comparison is made.

The Plan G is almost identical to the Plan F with one exception- the Part B deductible.  The Part B deductible in 2018 is $183.  The Plan G does not provide coverage for this deductible which means the member would be responsible for paying this amount of $183 out of pocket when incurring Medical expenses for things like doctor’s office visits.  Once the Part B deductible is met, the Plan G pays exactly the same benefits as the Plan F.

In recent years, the monthly premiums for the Plan G have become significantly less than the Plan F premiums.  These lower premiums have made the Plan G a very attractive plan for shoppers.

Comparing the two plans is actually pretty simple.  If the premium savings over the course of the year exceeds the Part B deductible, the Medicare beneficiary will be better off on a Plan G.  For example: If the Plan F is $150/month and the Plan G is $120/mo, the beneficiary will save $30 per month on Plan G.  That is a $360 difference in premium over a year, but then figure in the Part B deductible (which is $183 in 2018) and the total savings over the year equals $177.  Because the math almost always makes the Plan G a better fit, we have seen this plan significantly grow in popularity over the past several years.

It’s important to do this comparison when considering these two options.  Let our Medicare Advisors help you through this process and see whether you could save money by comparing the difference in the Medicare Supplement Plan F vs Plan G.  If you are an existing Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC Medicare Supplement member, you are able to make a change to your Medicare Supplement plan during the month of May without having to answer health questions in order to qualify.

For more information on North Carolina insurance coverage, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.

6 Topics to Consider Outside Open Enrollment

Friday, March 16th, 2018

Whether you are enrolled in Medicare, Health Insurance, or are uninsured, there are some concepts, rules and requirements to consider outside the Annual Enrollment Periods.  Here is a list of a few basics to consider about insurance despite currently being outside the heavily publicized Open Enrollment Periods.

  1. 1095 Tax Forms– As most are filing taxes this time of year, don’t forget the IRS may require you to show proof of health insurance. The 1095 tax forms serve as proof of health insurance coverage.  These 1095 forms can be provided by the Health Insurance Marketplace or by a private insurance carrier, depending on how you are enrolled.  We recommend consulting a Certified Public Accountant for more information on about the need for these forms.
  2. Short Term Health Insurance– If you are currently uninsured and have not recently experienced a Qualifying Event that would allow you to enroll in a qualified health insurance plan, a short term health plan may be an option. Short term plans do not comply with the Affordable Care Act regulations which allows shoppers to enroll in these plan outside the Open Enrollment Period.  You could qualify for coverage to begin as early as the next day.
  3. Medicare Supplements “Blue to Blue”– If you are an existing Blue Cross of NC Medicare Supplement member, you are currently able to make a change to your Medicare Supplement plan during the month of May to take effect on June 1st. See rates for alternative Medicare Supplement plans here.  The capability to change plans during this time frame is through the Blue to Blue program.
  4. Dental Insurance– Don’t forget your smile! Dental insurance plans can be enrolled in anytime throughout the course of the year.  These plans are not regulated like health insurance plans by separate enrollment periods.  Learn More about BCBSNC Dental Insurance
  5. Qualifying Life Events– If you have experienced a Qualifying Life Event, this could allow you to make a change to your health plan or enroll in a new plan. Get a Blue Cross Quote to see whether any of the Qualifying Events apply to you.
  6. Report Income Changes to the Marketplace– If you are enrolled in a health insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace and you have experienced an income change, it’s important to report this change to the Marketplace. Income changes can impact health insurance plan rates and coverage.

For more information on North Carolina insurance coverage, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.

2018 Open Enrollment for Health Insurance and Medicare Plans

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

The Annual Open Enrollment Period is the one time of the year when eligible customers can start new coverage or make changes to existing coverage.  The Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period and the Health Insurance Annual Open Enrollment Period have different dates and serve different groups of eligible customers.

Individual Health Insurance

The 2018 Health Insurance Annual Open Enrollment Period under the Affordable Care Act will begin on November 1st, 2017 and last until December 15th, 2017 for a plan that will take effect on January 1st, 2018.  These dates are different than prior years and the time period is much shorter.  Any new enrollment or change to an existing health plan must be done between these dates unless one has experienced a Qualifying Life Event which could allow for changes outside this window.  If an Individual Health Insurance plan is not required to follow these enrollment guidelines, the plan is likely not compliant with the Affordable Care Act regulations.

During the Open Enrollment Period, applications and changes to plans can be made through numerous different avenues.  For this reason, it’s always a good idea to contact an agent for guidance on the easiest ways to enroll or make changes to your health plan.  You can speak with one of our qualified representatives for more information or assistance enrolling in a plan.  Call our toll free number today 888-765-5400.

Medicare Plans

The 2018 Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period will begin on Oct 15th, 2017 and last until December 7th, 2017 for a plan that will take effect on January 1st, 2018.  This Enrollment Period is set up for Medicare Advantage Plans and Part D Prescription Drug Plans.  Both plans are offered through private insurance companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC.  Medicare also has other Enrollment Periods for times like a 65th birthday or Qualifying Events, which may also enable customers to enroll in Medicare Plans.

Medicare eligible customers are typically over the age of 65 or under 65 with certain disabilities.  If a person is enrolled in Medicare, they would not also be eligible for an Individual Health Insurance plan.

For more information on North Carolina insurance coverage, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.

BCBSNC Medicare Supplement Rate Changes in 2017

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

With BCBSNC Medicare Supplements renewing on June 1st of each year, most existing customers have recently received information about new rates.  The content of these letters will be different this year for many members.  Most Medicare Supplement members will be happy to find the rates will experience very little change unless the individual is having a birthday this year that moves them into a higher age band.  Some plans, like Plan G, will actually see a significant rate decrease which we expect to attract significantly more members in the year to come, especially since Plan G is very similar to our most popular Plan F.

The most important concept to understand is that in May of 2017, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina allows their existing Medicare Supplement members to make a change to their plan if they so desire.  This plan change must be processed during May to take effect on June 1st.  Additionally, the change is processed without being required to answer any health questions to qualify.  This is different than many other Medicare Supplement insurers that only allow their members to make plan changes after answering a series of health questions.  Therefore, the month of May is the best time of the year for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina members to consult with an agent and determine whether they are still enrolled in the best possible plan at the best rate.  As trained and professional advisors, we are here to help.  If you are interested in learning more about other Medicare Supplement plans and prices, call us at 888-765-5400 or use the quote button to view the new rates.

A Better Understanding of Medicare Plans and Parts with BCBSNC

Monday, March 6th, 2017

Enrolling in Medicare is far too often an overwhelming experience.  The various parts and plans are enough to make an educated individual feel confused and frustrated when just trying to understand the new coverage options.  Thanks to technology, there is no shortage of resources available to help with the research.  However, access to information doesn’t always simplify the matter.  Determining the most trusted sources of information and who is best to advise are common additional questions.

These are just a few of the many concerns for new Medicare recipients.  Most people have been covered for years by a familiar health insurance plan.  Whether employer sponsored plans or an individual health plan, the coverage concepts have likely been the same for a very long time.  This sense of familiarity is suddenly gone when entering the world of Medicare.

Medicare is broken down into separate Parts, some of which are provided by the Federal Government and others that are provided by private insurance companies.  Medicare Supplement plans are also available through private insurance companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina to fill coverage gaps that exist within Medicare Part A and B.  This all means Medicare beneficiaries are often blessed with numerous options; however, understanding these options becomes the next important step.

Despite this feeling of confusion and overload, the good news is thanks to the internet and technology, information about Medicare is now more readily available than ever.  From websites like NC Health Plans, you can read about the different Medicare plans and parts, generate free quotes, research at your own pace, and talk with a live representative anytime you have questions or concerns.  This puts the Medicare recipient in the driver’s seat and allows them to make the best decisions for themselves and their specific medical needs.

In conclusion, my advice is simple.   First, don’t let the fear of the unfamiliar overwhelm you.  This is a great time to be making this transition and to learn about your Medicare options.  Next, don’t hesitate to speak with a licensed advisor.  Medicare advisors have been formally trained on the topic and the good ones are happy to help you better understand the options.  Finally, don’t overcomplicate it.  Everyone’s medical coverage needs are different, but just a few Medicare plans are most popular.  Ask which plans are most popular and why.  The answer to this question should help you narrow your search and understand the differences.

For more information on North Carolina insurance coverage, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.

 
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