Medicare

August 19, 2015
healthcare deadlines

Healthcare Deadlines Important to Your Business & Family Are Approaching

Healthcare-related deadlines important to your business and your family are approaching: Mid-September: Group health insurance renewal letters will be sent out to businesses in mid-September. We are expecting an average rate increase of 15% this year, so do not wait until then to prepare. The WIFS Team can help you strategize on the best course of action to manage your increased costs. We have options for you. October 15-December 7: Medicare open enrollment affords policy holders the opportunity to make changes to their Advantage Plan or Supplemental policies. If your health or prescriptions have changed over the last year, or you feel you are paying more than you should, the WIFS Team can help you find the best plan for your current situation. December 1: For organizations that have legacy health plans, December 1 is the final renewal date for those policies. The ACA requires business interested in staying out of the community marketplace to keep their current plan with no changes. Policies that renew this year will be in affect until October 1, 2016 only, so plan for an earlier renewal process in 2016! January 1: Businesses with 51 or more employees will be subject to payroll reporting requirements that kicked in for 100+ employers earlier this year. Click here to read more about these new requirements. Organizations with 2-50 employees are still not subject to these regulations. Questions about how these deadlines affect your business and family? Send us an email or give us a call at 317.663.4138 to set an appointment. We’d be happy to help.
July 22, 2015
applying for medicare

It’s Time to Start Thinking About Your Medicare Options

Although we are in the throws of summer, if you are 64 and older it is time to start thinking about Medicare’s open enrollment period, October 15 – December 7th. With the complexities that come with the Medicare programs, it’s better to consider your options sooner rather than later. Applying for Medicare for the First Time: Your Medicare Part A coverage becomes effective on the first of the month of your 65th birthday. If you are already covered under group health insurance, Medicare will coordinate with your plan and essentially be invisible to you until you are no longer covered. If you do not have separate insurance, Part A will serve as your hospitalization coverage. For those people applying for or receiving Social Security benefits, your Medicare Part B will automatically come into effect as well. If you are not collecting Social Security benefits, you will have to apply for Part B coverage yourself, which addresses your outpatient care. It is important to note that parts A and B provide for your medical care, but come with co-pays, deductibles and unlimited out-of –pocket expenses. At Wharton Insurance, we recommend you either purchase supplemental coverage or join Medicare Advantage (Part C) to help protect you from unexpected medical costs. Drug Coverage: Medicare does not come with prescription coverage. There are a lot of supplemental drug policy options, so it is important to choose one that serves your particular needs. In these plans, most prescriptions are covered, but the extent of that benefit can vary. Gaps in Medicare Coverage Outpatient Care: The 20% co-insurance within Medicare does not have a cap, opening up the potential for unending medical expenses. Supplemental coverage is available to set limits on your out-of-pocket liabilities. Hospitalization: If you are hospitalized for more that 60 days, your out-of- pocket expenses are unlimited as well. You can purchase a policy to protect you from these potentially exorbitant fees. Drug Coverage: Medicare does not come with prescription coverage. There are a lot of supplemental drug policy options, so it is important to choose one that serves your particular needs. In these plans, most prescriptions are covered, but the extent of that benefit can vary. Renewing Your Medicare Supplemental Coverage: Ahead of the yearly open enrollment period, an Annual Notice of Change will be sent to you regarding your supplemental drug coverage or Medicare Advantage plan. It is important to understand how those changes will affect your medical expenses. Prior to open enrollment is also a good time to review your current policies to make sure the coverage is working as expected. Are you spending more than you think you should – either in monthly premiums or medical bills? Have you started a new prescription that is not covered well under your current plan? Knowing your options will help ensure you have appropriate coverage. Our Medicare Specialist, Mark Howard, can help you sort through the different Medicare options, finding the best one for you. There really is no right or wrong choice […]
November 12, 2014
Medicare coverage

Medicare 101

When it comes to Medicare one thing is certain – it is complex. Helping a first-timer understand the various program parts and coverage options usually requires at least an hour-long, face-to-face meeting. Even renewals for Medicare Advantage and drug policies offer great complexities. So, for those of you who are turning 65 soon or are trying to sort out your current plans by the December 7th 2014 renewal date, we thought it might be helpful to provide a basic overview of Medicare: Complete medical coverage with Medicare comes in three parts: Part A, which you automatically receive once you turn 65; Part B, which either comes automatically if you get social security benefits or you have to apply for; and Part D prescription drug coverage, which you must apply for. Parts A & B provide coverage for your medical care, but come with co-pays, deductibles and unlimited out-of-pocket expenses. To protect yourself from the potential high expenses from these gaps in coverage, you will have to decide between either buying Medigap coverage through traditional supplemental policies or joining the Medicare Advantage (or Part C) plan. The main benefit of a traditional supplemental policy is that it offers comprehensive, stable coverage. Your benefits will not change from year to year, but your rates will go up every year. Many people prefer this option for both its reliability and quality of care. However, it can lead to a higher fixed monthly cost. We help our clients through the cost-benefit analysis of each policy to help them find the best option for their medical situation. Medicare Advantage, or Part C, is an ‘all-in-one’ Medicare plan. It offers its own medical coverage, usually with included Part D drug coverage. While Part C plans tend to have lower monthly premiums and place a cap on out-of-pocket expenses, they require co-pays. If you are a healthy person, Medicare Advantage can be a cost-saver, as you most likely will not spend your monthly rate savings on co-pays. These plans change every year, so you will have to review your coverage each fall to make sure it still applies to your medical situation. Drug coverage is the final part of the Medicare mix. As mentioned before, Medicare Advantage usually includes a Part D drug policy. However if you choose the traditional Medicare option and a supplement, you will have to find a separate policy within the Part D portion of Medicare. Even if you feel you do not need this type of coverage, you should carry it. You may run into the situation down the road where you are unexpectedly prescribed a very expensive medication. If you then decide you would like to add coverage, you will be charged a penalty. Fortunately, you do not have to wade through the myriad of Medicare options on your own. WIFS advisors can help you understand the different coverage offerings and choose the right mix for you. For an appointment, send us an email, or give us a call at 317.663.4138.
October 16, 2014
Medicare Changes 2015

Changes to Medicare for 2015

The Medicare Annual Enrollment period began on Wednesday, October 15th and runs through December 7th .  A recent blog post from lifehealthpro.com, discussed the changes subscribers can expect for their 2015 plans: Base monthly premiums for Part D plans have increased by 2.2 percent, from $32.42 in 2014 to to $33.13 in 2015. The number of available Part D plans for 2015 has been reduced to 1,001, a decrease of 14% from 2014. The average Medicare Part D plan will cover 3 percent less than the average plan coverage in 2014. The percentage of drugs that will be covered with use restrictions increased from 34% to 37%. Continuing with the 3% change theme, the number of drugs that will require prior authorization increased from 19% to 22% for 2015. Confused as to which Medicare program is best for you? The WIFS Team can advise you on finding the one that best serves your health situation. Send us an email, or give us a call at 317.663.4138.
August 1, 2014
Trends for Baby Boomers

Emerging Baby Boomer Lifestyle Trends

U.S. News & World Report recently reported on 12 lifestyle trends emerging among the baby Boomer generation. Born between 1946 and 1964, many more enter into retirement each year. How are they spending their time and money? Learn more by clicking here.
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