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Medicare Additional Offerings

Medicare Additional Offerings
Posted May 2024

There are a variety of ancillary (other) services available to Medicare recipients. The most common are dental, vision and hearing. These are not included in original Medicare but do come with most Advantage plans. If you selected to stay on original Medicare with a Supplement plan which covers roughly 20% of medical costs that Medicare doesn’t, you will have to buy separate plans to receive this coverage just like having to buy a prescription drug plan.

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Don’t be an April Fool

Don’t be an April Fool
Posted April 2024

Every day, another 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65. If you’ll be one this year and wonder, “What do I do next?”, one of the first things you’ll want to handle is enrolling in Medicare Parts A and B. If you’re receiving Social Security benefits, you will automatically get your Medicare card, but if you don’t plan to collect Social Security benefits until a later date, you’ll have to request it. This process can be easy for some and challenging for others.

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We’ve Moved!

We’ve Moved!
Posted March 2024

That’s right, Evergreen, we’ve moved our office to Stone House! In February, we started the move from our offices on Meadow Drive to the Stone House at 1524 Belford Court, also in Evergreen.

I will miss the old Bunkhouse, once a home for the ranch hands that worked on the Hiwan Ranch. My office was a walk upstairs and not always convenient for some of my clients. Our new office has plenty of parking, is street level and just off the side entrance. Sharing downstairs is the Evergreen Chamber of Commerce, and there are several other businesses in the Stone House.

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IRMAA’s bite into your Medicare Costs!

IRMAA’s bite into your Medicare Costs!
Posted February 2024

A well-funded retirement can also mean a more expensive one. One reason is that seniors with higher than average incomes are affected by IRMAA, the Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount, and that means higher Medicare Part B and Part D premium fees. This month, I hope to shed some light on how IRMAA impacts Medicare, and help those of you affected make informed decisions regarding these expenses.

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New Year Health Care Review

New Year Health Care Review
Posted January 2024

Welcome to 2024! As time rolls on, things continue to change in our local health care market. In this article, I’d like to let you in on a few changes you may want to have on your radar.

First, if you have an individual plan, you may already be aware that over the past two years we’ve seen two different insurance carriers come and go from the Connect for Health marketplace – BrightHealth and Friday plans. This year, Select Health, a nonprofit health plan established in Utah, Idaho, and Nevada has entered Colorado. Their premiums appear lower than other carriers, which makes them appealing to many. If you’ll be eligible to purchase a new individual health plan outside open enrollment season this year and you’re considering Select Health, be warned that their plans do include a deductible for non-generic prescription drugs.

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Medicare Changes in 2024

Medicare Changes in 2024
Posted November 2023

‘Tis the season for choosing next year’s health insurance plan! Lots of changes are happening next year, and you are going to want to know about them!

The biggest changes coming in 2024 will affect Medicare beneficiaries. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you know the Annual Election Period (AEP), which is the time of year to decide if you’d like to keep your current plan or switch to another one, started on October 15th and ends December 7th. Most years, changes are few and often for the better. This is not the case for 2024. This year, it’s important to review the Annual Notice of Change and check out the changes to your plan for 2024.

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Annual Election Period Starts This Month

Annual Election Period Starts This Month
Posted October 2023

Autumn has arrived! The leaves are falling, the air is chilling, and the year is winding down. Along with our seasonal changes, this time of year offers the opportunity for those of us who are Medicare beneficiaries or get insurance through Connect for Health Colorado to review and re-enroll or make changes to our existing health plans for next year. The first enrollment period of the season, called the Annual Election Period (AEP), runs October15 - December7th. AEP is for Medicare beneficiaries, and where we will focus attention for this article.

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Health Insurance Updates

Health Insurance Updates
Posted September 2023

August turned out to be a very busy month for insurance! When Friday Health Plan announced it was leaving our market this summer, expectations were that changes were not imminent, but that changed! As physicians around the state started getting nervous about being reimbursed by Friday through the end of 2023, the Department of Insurance decided to open a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) and close out Friday Health Plans as of August 31st. If you had a Friday plan, you’ve been well informed, and hopefully you had the opportunity to switch carriers by the end of August for a September 1st start date. If you had a Friday plan and have not enrolled with another carrier, you would be without health insurance as of September 1st. You can still enroll in September for an October 1st start date, or October for a November 1st start date. If you need help, please give us a call!

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Healthcare, Better or Worse?

Healthcare, Better or Worse?
Posted July 2023

Most days, I drive from home to my office in Evergreen. Due to the abundant rain, I marvel at the beautiful wildflowers and how green everything has become. This got me thinking about the “greening” of healthcare – is healthcare getting better?

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Medicare Proposed Changes for 2024

Medicare Proposed Changes for 2024
Posted June 2023

Tired of getting calls every day about your Medicare benefits? Turning on the TV and seeing Medicare advertising at every commercial break that lets you know that you may be missing out on free benefits is constant. But is it true? Generally, most folks don’t qualify for the benefits mentioned because they are extras offered for individuals who qualify for dual Medicare/Medicaid plans. Suggesting you might qualify gets you to make a call so they can get authorization to collect your personal information. It's no wonder that people have been complaining.

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Is Medicare Enrollment Easy or Complicated?

Is Medicare Enrollment Easy or Complicated?
Posted May 2023

Are you turning 65 this year? If you will become eligible for Medicare soon, take note. You have a little work ahead of you! The first thing you’ll need to do is enroll in Medicare Parts A (hospital) and B (physicians and services) through the Social Security Administration. If you are already receiving benefits, your Medicare enrollment will be automatic but, if not, you’ll need to enroll in person or online at https://ssa.gov/medicare. You may apply up to three months ahead of your birth month, and I recommend you do so because it can take several weeks for Medicare applications to process. As long as you enroll ahead, you should receive your Medicare card in the mail with a typical effective date at the beginning of your birth month. You will pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part B: $164.90/mo. for most people in 2023. That’s the easy part.

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I'm on Medicare, Now What?

I'm on Medicare, Now What?
Posted April 2023

If you are on original Medicare with a supplement and pre­scription drug plan, most of your medical needs are pretty much covered. What else should you consider? Neither original Medicare nor Medigap plans cover vision, dental or hearing. You may wish to look at getting an insurance plan that provides more robust cov­erage if you need it. These policies are not very expensive and there are many to choose from.

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Losing Medicaid Soon?

Losing Medicaid Soon?
Posted March 2023

Medicaid expansion sparked by COVID-19 pandemic will be rolling back soon. Starting April, states will resume the Medicaid Redetermination process after three years of pause. In our state, Health FIrst Colorado and CHP+ will return to normal eligibility with renewals due in May. Notices will be sent this month.

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Health Insurance Trends in 2023

Health Insurance Trends in 2023
Posted February 2023

Last year’s omnibus spending bill included $14.1 billion for SSA (Social Security Administration) to help solve their customer service crisis. If you have tried to call your social security office, you know what I mean. It is reported that one out of five calls are never answered, and waiting periods have more than doubled.

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Pros and Cons of Medicare Advantage Plans

Pros and Cons of Medicare Advantage Plans
Posted January 2023

Happy New Year! Will you turn 65 in 2023? For people becoming Medicare eligible for the first time, making choices regarding healthcare moving forward can feel overwhelming. To receive comprehensive coverage, for most people, there are two main buckets to choose from: Enroll in Medicare Parts A&B and add a Medigap and Prescription Drug Plan (along with their premiums) to make up for what Medicare does not cover, or enroll in A&B and then switch to a Medicare Advantage plan. As of last year, over 45% of Medicare beneficiaries chose a Medicare Advantage plan, and expectations are that number will rise to more than 50% by 2025. So what are some of the pros and cons of Advantage plans?

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Closing out Enrollment Season for 2023

Closing out Enrollment Season for 2023
Posted December 2022

Happy Holiday Season! It’s time to start cozying up by the fire, spend time with loved ones, and take advantage of the last opportunities to add or switch health plans for 2023!

If you are a Medicare beneficiary enrolled in an Advantage plan, the Annual Enrollment Period for 2023, ends on December 7th. Most folks in our area have kept their current Advantage plans for 2023. Benefits are improving across a variety of Advantage Plans, but not all in the same ways. Depending on what you anticipate your healthcare needs will be in 2023, it may be worth your while to compare plans for next year. If you like the doctor(s) you currently see, they remain in your network and your prescriptions are still covered in 2023, most likely you’ll be staying put. It’s a good idea to verify these things before AEP ends.

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It’s a November Surprise!

It’s a November Surprise!
Posted on November 2022

Welcome to November! This time of year, the opportunity to review and renew or change your Medicare or individual health plan is the thing to do. But this open enrollment period, over 50,000 Coloradoans got an extra surprise: Bright Health insurance company has decided to leave the Colorado market for 2023 and will no longer be offering health insurance here. I have many individual clients on Bright Health plans, and we will be busy moving them to another carrier and plan for 2023. In order to obtain new coverage effective January 1st, you must enroll no later than December 15th, so don’t delay. Enrollment after December 15th will mean your policy won’t go into effect until February 1st. If you need help, please give us a call. If you currently use Bright Health for your health insurance, your plan will stay in effect until the end of the year, but you will need to find new coverage for January first. Just be sure to keep paying your premium in order to maintain coverage through the end of the year.

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