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Archive for the ‘Medicare Supplement Coverage’ Category

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.

Fitness for Seniors – Wellness Visits Matter

Saturday, February 25th, 2017

Good news for older adults, part of the prescription for a healthier, better retirement is exercise. Physical activity protects against declining health and adds years to your life.    Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina offers many choices of Medicare Supplement Plans which offers discounts to gyms and don’t forget those wellness visits each year.

Did you know that moderate intensity physical activity can help you live longer and reduce health problems? Regular exercise helps control blood pressure, body weight and cholesterol levels, and cuts the risk for hardening of the arteries, heart attack and stroke. It conditions muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones to help fight osteoporosis, keep your body more limber and stabilize your joints, thus lowering the risk of everyday injury. Also, it improves digestion and is good for managing lower back pain, arthritis and diabetes. Regular physical activity helps you maintain your independence. Recently, there has been research that suggests an active lifestyle lowers the risk of some cancers. But perhaps the best reason for incorporating regular exercise into your life is that you will feel better. Exercise helps you sleep better and manage stress better, and gives you more energy to enjoy work and play.

A good exercise program includes cardiovascular exercise, muscular conditioning and flexibility exercises. The best cardiovascular exercises for seniors are non-jarring, such as walking, swimming and cycling. Start with a light regimen and gradually build up to a total of at least 30 minutes of activity on most days of the week. Playing with children, walking the dog, dancing and gardening are other ways to incorporate activity into your daily routine.

Strengthening exercises such as lifting light weights help to maintain your muscle mass and promote bone health. Research suggests that adults older than 50 years who do not perform resistance training lose nearly 1/4 pound of muscle mass per year. Since muscle mass is directly related to how many calories your body burns each day, resistance training is important for weight management. End each workout with stretching exercises to help maintain your mobility and range of motion and decrease your risk for injury.

The best way to keep fit is to choose exercises you like. Some older adults like aqua aerobics, yoga, pilates or just walking the dog. Seniors also enjoy group exercise classes, since they offer an opportunity to socialize and develop friendships.  As always, make sure you consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.

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.

Transitioning to Medicare? – Medicare Supplements from BCBSNC

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

If you are transitioning into Medicare either because you are turning 65 or have become newly eligible due to a Senior Couple Using Laptop At Home
disability, you will likely want to consider enrolling in a Medicare Supplement.  Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina can help. Because traditional Medicare, Parts A & B, do not cover some medical expenses, it’s important to understand what other options are available to you to help supplement your Medicare and offset your out of pocket health care costs.

Even before you are eligible for Medicare, you can begin reviewing your options.  Explore Medicare Supplements and begin deciding what plans work best for you.  Consult with a licensed Medicare Agent to discuss available plans and begin thinking about what kind of plan best fits your budget and your lifestyle.  Keep in mind that Medicare Supplements through Blue Cross Blue Shield are accepted by all Medicare providers.  Remember that the best time to enroll in a Medicare Supplement is during your initial enrollment period.

Medicare Supplements are designed to fill the gaps that exist in a traditional Medicare plan and can give you the peace of mind of knowing you will have the coverage you need when you need it most.  Supplements can help pay your Medicare deductibles, coinsurance and copayments and can significantly reduce your out of pocket expenses.

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.

It’s Easy to Enroll a BCBSNC Medicare Supplement!

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

Senior African American couple using laptopAs a Medicare recipient you have choices and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina is a trusted name in Medicare Supplement insurance. If you are new to Medicare or exploring the possibility of making a change to your current Medicare plan, get a free rate quote now and experience the benefits of having an agent just a phone call away.

Enrolling a new Medicare supplement plan or making a change to your existing plan can be stressful, but at NC Health Plans we strive to make the enrollment process as simple as possible.  You can now enroll your Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare plan online from the comfort of your own home, saving you time, money and paperwork! Whatever BCBSNC Medicare plan interests you, at NC Health Plans we offer a convenient, secure online application that will only take a few minutes.  You may also speak with one of our licensed agents to discuss plans, as well as receive prompt and courteous assistance in completing and submitting your application right online.

At NC Health Plans, we understand that your time is as valuable as your health and we work hard to help our customers enjoy the best possible enrollment experience.  For your free rate quote visit www.nchealthplans.com, call 888-765-5400, or click the button below.

Medicare Open Enrollment Ends Dec. 7 – Enroll BCBSNC Medicare Now!

Friday, December 2nd, 2016

Closing Soon Clock

 

 

The Annual Open Enrollment Period for Medicare is coming to an end on December 7th.  If you need to enroll a Medicare Supplement plan or would like to make changes to your current plan, there’s still time!  Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina offers Medicare Supplement plans with added benefits such as Silver & Fit, and also provides Medicare recipients with many choices for Medicare supplemental coverage.

At NC Health Plans we strive to make the Enrollment Period as simple and stress-free as possible and offer a variety of Medicare Supplement plans through Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.  Your application can be submitted right from the comfort of your home and our licensed NC health insurance agents are available to help you make changes to your existing plan, compare plans or enroll a new plan.

Don’t miss the Medicare Open Enrollment period!  Call 888-765-5400 or visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com.  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.

NC Medicare Supplement – Is a Medigap Policy Right for Me?

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

Senior student in classA Medicare Supplement, sometimes called Medigap, is a health insurance policy designed to “fill the gaps” in Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B).  Basically, a Medigap policy picks up where Original Medicare leaves off.  These plans are sold by private insurance companies, like Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC, and the policies are federally regulated, meaning they must cover basic benefits and pay for most of the original Medicare coinsurance and copayment amounts.  There are 11 standardized Medigap plans (Plan A – Plan N) and Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC offers all of them.

The “core” benefits of all Medicare Supplement plans include:

  • Medicare Part A coinsurance for days 61-90 of a hospital stay
  • Coverage of up to 365 additional days of a hospital stay during a member’s lifetime after Medicare hospital benefits have been exhausted
  • Coinsurance or copayment amount for Medicare Part B services after meeting the yearly deductible
  • The first 3 pints of blood per calendar year
  • Hospice benefit

Medicare Supplements help eliminate any unexpected costs you might incur should you have only Original Medicare.  Keep in mind that Medicare Supplements are different from Medicare Advantage plans, often referred to as Part C and pay benefits very differently.  To be eligible for a NC Medicare Supplement plan, you must reside in the state of North Carolina, be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B, and be age 65 or older OR disabled as defined by the Social Security Administration, be on kidney dialysis or transplant eligible.

There is an open enrollment period for Medicare Supplement plans.  You have six months to buy a Medigap policy with guaranteed issue and this period begins the first day of the month in which you are BOTH age 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B.  During this period, you cannot be denied coverage based on health history.  The Open Enrollment period is usually the best and simplest time to purchase a Medicare Supplement plan.

Transitioning into Medicare can be a confusing process, but the more you know about Medicare and what types of supplemental insurance are available to you the more equipped you will be to make the best decision for you and your health care needs.  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.

Enrolling your Blue Medicare plan just Got Easier!

Friday, November 18th, 2016

Mature Couple Sitting On Sofa At Home Using LaptopEnrolling a new Medicare supplement plan or making a change to your existing plan can be a headache, but at NC Health Plans we strive to make the enrollment process as simple as possible.  You can now enroll your Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare plan online from the comfort of your own home, saving you time, money and paperwork!  Whatever BCBSNC Medicare plan interests you, at NC Health Plans we offer a convenient, secure online application that will only take a few minutes.  You may also speak with one of our licensed agents to discuss plans, as well as receive prompt and courteous assistance in completing and submitting your application right online.

As a Medicare recipient you have choices and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina is a trusted name in Medicare Supplement insurance. If you are new to Medicare or exploring the possibility of making a change to your current Medicare plan, get a free rate quote now and experience the benefits of having an agent at your fingertips or just a phone call away.

At NC Health Plans, we understand that your time is as valuable as your health and we work hard to help our customers enjoy the best possible enrollment experience.  For your free rate quote visit www.nchealthplans.com, call 888-765-5400, or click the button below.

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