Monthly Archives: January 2013

Medicare Information : Critical

Health Insurance Education for Lee and Collier County Seniors

We will not attempt to re-create the basic Medicare information. There are plenty of resources, starting with the official Medicare.gov (http://www.medicare.gov/  Medicare is great, but as about everyone who has ever used it knows, it has many “gaps” in coverage. To say the least, it does not cover everything. For starters,  if you need to be admitted to the hospital, there is a deductible of $1,184 you are responsible for. Then if you need to see a doctor, before any “doctor” fees are covered, you have another deductible ($147), and after that, you are only covered for 80% of the allowable charges and your 20% has no ceiling or cap on it.

In addition, Basic  Medicare does not cover prescriptions you have filled outside a hospital.

Again, there is plenty of information in addition to the official and basic medicare information site, and it’s generally provided by insurance companies.

As you would expect, different companies treat insurability coverage in different ways, and virtually no company has all the contingencies

Most people only see or talk with agents of one or two companies and then these agents, when working  for a certain company (as most agents do) are first not going to tell you of the options that their competitors offer that they don’t… .even if the competitor policy would work better for you. Fact is, they might not even know the competitor line and even if they did, if they are not appointed as a sales agent for the competitor company.. they are not even   allowed to tell you as it would imply representation.

So what is a person to do?  In a word, get educated on medicare insurance company offerings. Now this is not as easy as it sounds, because you may not even be prepared to know what questions to ask!

Here’s a starting point: Ask yourself: “What is the purpose of health insurance.. or insurance in general?”   The answer is that health insurance is here to protect one’s financial assets from sudden and unexpected financial disasters.  And what might those be?  These are things in the critical illness family such as cancer, stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and the sort, or from accidents.

Insurance is often thought of as to cover things like doctor visits, tests, etc. This is not insurance.. it’s essentially the prepayment of things that ARE expected and not necessarily sudden.   As we age, we EXPECT that we are going to have more frequent doctor visits; more frequent prescriptions, and more frequent tests.

Can insurance help pay for these?  Sure, but you are going to have a share of those costs one way or the other.

So this is what you need to do: Once  you review and understand what insurance is about, you start about evaluating what the various options would cost  you in a “bad medical year”. In other words, you are preparing for the worst case situation. Again, this is what health insurance is about.

Think about and write down what your worst case health year might be. Not the year you had last year if you were healthy; not the year you hope or expect to have with maybe just a couple of tests or doctor visits to check  you blood pressure medicine or cholesterol prescription. What would a worst case year be?

OK.. now you look at the two general families of insurance for seniors: Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Supplement Plans.  You want to see what your probable out of pocket would be in a worst case year  with these two general categories.

But now you run into a road block, because while you recognize the categories, you can’t name the plans because….. you have only been provided the information on maybe the pricing and costs from “Company A” and or “Company B”   OK, you are a shopper.. so lets say also “Company C”.

Some Medicare Supplement Concepts to know

When it comes to Med Sup comparisons… the task is relatively easy (or so you think) because you have learned that the benefits from each company for each plan are totally identical and standardized. It’s the law!   But here’s what maybe you did not know: Not every company has to offer every plan, and when they do, they are free to charge and set their own rates!

Many people are “sold on the idea” of choosing a lower cost plan N than an F because they know they can change plans. Sure.. IF… (1) You are not so ill or incapacitated when you need the    F that you can’t make the change, and (2) If the insurance company will let you without regard for pre existing.

But had you ever heard of the High Deductible Plan F and how to use it to totally reduce costs?

HINT: This is one thing you need me for because I represent most major Medigap companies and can help you in the education process. Note I did not say the “buying ” process. We are quite well regulated as to “selling” or pressure. But we are also charged with the senior ethics responsibility or providing the best help, education, and training to enable our clients to make the decision best for them.. and without a good base of information, you can’t possibly do this. You need me, or another experienced, ethical, and senior agent to help you.

Evaluating Medicare Advantage Options

First, we should be aware of the total annual max out of pocket costs, and we think of the whole body, so we must evaluate not only prem options and copay options but the value added benefits offered by a plan. These range from gym memberships to cash reimbursements to OTC drug benefits. As long as a Medicare Advantage plan covers all A and B mandated requirements, there’s no limit as to what else they can give! But “give” is a misleading word, for to “get” you probably are giving up something. Do you know what it might be?

As agents, we can only discuss benefits of companies we are authorized to represent and we can not even solicit your business! In many cases, we are not allowed to voluntarily even give you a business card!  But you can contact us and ask us for an appointment, but it has to be YOUR choice. We can teach these rules but not ask for  your businesses, make a call to a referral or anything.. Supposedly this protects seniors from harassing sales calls, and maybe it does, but it makes you responsible for getting and absorbing information.  I happen to know an agent who is responsive to requests and he’s the webmaster.

Well, this should give you an idea. If  you have any questions about the learning and education process, as well as what we can do for you, please contact us.

“Final Expense” or Burial Benefits

Not the easiest topic to write about, but one that is vitally necessary.

The first benefit we want to talk with our readers about is the benefit of peace of mind, particularly for those we leave behind.

Anyone who has had to “help the transition” from life to death for a friend, relative, family member knows the tremendous amount of work done from the moment the person “passes”.  It starts with hundreds of questions that need to be answered for the issuance of the death certificate. It has to do with information for the obituary.   Then starts the process of is the “transition” to involve a full blown funeral? If so, where? Who will be the pallmearers? What is the desired music? Is there an officiating minister? Or is there to be a simple cremation? With or without a viewing? What becomes of the ashes?

All these questions need to be answered in some of the moments of highest stress.But much of that stress can be avoided if this information is prepared in advance and kept updated, and as a senior benefit, we are happy to sit down with you and present you with a nice booklet where you can begin to Get Your House In Order.

At that little “sit down” we’ll also share with you some anticipated costs, and help you evaluate with your current assets how you can manage theee. The  most common way is a specialized type of insurance called “Final Expense Insurance” and it can be obtained by virtually any person, or any age, and regardless of standard or normal insurability for life insurance.. This benefit, when issued, will be issued tax free.

If you have not considered the senior final expense benefit, this is the time.

There are many other topics to consider. Some may be Burial Services, Cremation Services, Funeral Arrangements,  Funeral Ceremonies,Funeral Chapels,  Funeral Expenses, Funeral Financing, Funeral Flowers, Funeral Homes, Funeral Insurance, Funeral Life Insurance, Funeral Planning, Funeral Planning Service,  Funeral Planning Services, Funeral Plans,  Funeral Pre Planning, Funeral preparation, Funeral Preplanning, Funeral Service, Funeral Services,  Life Planning,  Local Funeral Services,  Planning Funeral Arrangements, Prepaid Funeral Plans, Prepaid Funerals,     Whole Term Life Insurance

PS.. We’ll also help you with information on free govt provided funeral expenses and information on National Cemeteries (one just south of Wellington on SR7).

Senior Dental Benfits

There’s two things to consider in the area of Senior Dental Benefits. One obviously is the dentist and the care, but the other thing is how you are going to pay for those benefits.

As we age, so do the fillings we had done 30 years ago and they can crack and quickly lead to an infected root which means an expensive root canal job. Gums recede and this leads to another whole set of problems.

Trouble is that these problems can take major money to correct.

You may think you are covered as you have dental insurance, and as you have not really used it much in the past other than for cleanings, xrays, and possibly an occasional filling… you just are not aware of some of the shortcomings. The first one is that many policies auto cancel or are not in force beyond the age 65.

Another pitfall is that the maximum benefit paid in any given year may only be $1000 or $1500. My friend, for major dental work that gets you nothing!

Then many plans have waiting periods and if you are just thinking of taking a new plan out, you may not have the coverage when y ou need it.

Fortunately here in Fl (one of only 3 states with this plan) there is a good senior dental benefit that has none of these pitfalls. YOu can contact the webmaster for information or get it on your own at http://bestfldentalinsurance.com

This is a benefit every senior should know about, even those with dentures.

Senior Legal Benefits

Legal benefits availability is not commonly on the top of the radar for most seniors, but at very minimum, a checklist of concerns of seniors and or their care takers should include this topic with the goal of at least an initial review on turning 65, and then a yearly update thereafter. Having this done by a conventional attorney can easily run into “3 figures” or more.  Not so with this local senior benefit or senior solution you are going to learn about now..

Topping the list would be a will or possibly a revocable living trust.  The reason is obvious: a change of beneficiaries such as grandchildren may be added; a beneficiary may have passed away; the senior could have become active in retirement in some charitable work and wish to leave something to this cause.

Legal Shield is one exceptionally affordable solution to this need, and while they do  offer the preparation of revocable living trusts, there is a minimal additional charge for that service. However, their services do include will  preparation, as well as access to professional legal counsel that can help the member decide if a RVT is the better vehicle.

Another obvious matter may be in the areas of real estate, particularly if renting. Are there landlord problems? Possibly discriminatory rental increases? Neglect of maintenance matters in the seniors home that truly are landlord responsibilities, but in the past were handled by the renter when physical conditions were better?

Legal  Shield not only covers the senior but also the spouse or significant other at the same base cost. The firm has been in business for 40 years and has over 4 million people as members attesting to it’s value.

While Legal Shield representatives are independent associates, and  there are many to talk with, it is our privilege and pleasure to recommend Joan Quittner right here in Palm Beach County.  Joan is the consummate professional and Legal Shield is her principal and primary profession, and she does it well. This recommendation is based on a personal knowledge of this lady. In addition, she is a senior herself and truly relates to her peers.  Joan can  be reached for a free consultation appointment at 561-307-3687 and definitely tell her Joe referred you to so that you can receive a Free Bonus of a Special Report for Seniors on addressing and solving other senior concerns.

Lastly, seniors are special and often easy targets for identity theft which can wipe out savings in a moment. Legal Shield also offers top Identity Theft protection, so be sure and ask.

Medical and Pain Care… without drugs, surgery, and all that

Aging can be a pain! And there are certain pains that to some extent are unavoidable, such as those associated with arthritis. But even that can be managed in many cases without medication by improving circulation.

Actually, many of our pains are due to the fact as we become seniors, we simply are less active physically on the most part. This means muscles don’t get used and moved that we did when we were younger, and as you don’t use certain parts of your body… pains come to you when you do. Or your body slips “out of alignment”.

For others, physical activity increases. With more free time in retirement, you may be on the golf course 3+ times a week; or you may go hiking or something.

The body in so many cases will heal and correct itself, but the body has to be set up to do that, and the “set up” can be evaluated by a good chiropractor… one who understands and specializes in senior bodies.  One who will not arbitrarily “crunch your bones”, but who will evaluate why you might hurt, and if a chiropractic regimen can alleviate the pain.

You may have begun to accumulate toxins in  your body as our metabolism changes;”crud” may start to accumulate in your colon.

All of these issues can be addressed with the senior benefits of sound chiropractic management. This is used in conjunction with traditional medicine when indicated, but the senior who does NOT include chiropractic management in their staying healthy regimen is missing half of the picture.

We all know that there are literally hundreds of chiropractors to choose from but     on this senior benefits site, we would like to recommend Dr. Ed O’Neill, DC. While there is generally a nominal fee for his initial visit which includes a physical, it’s not one of those “paper history interviews” that many chiropractors advertise as a “first free visit”should he prescribe a regimen of treatment, it may be covered by medicare.(80% coverage per standard medicare terms)  He will work with you and an MD or DO for the prescribing of x-rays and tests so that these also will be covered.

You have nothing  to lose but everything to gain. See the PAGE in this blog for further information.

Financial Benefits for Seniors

As we age, a couple of things dhange. One is our access to, or awareness of many things that occur in the financial area.

Another is that our investment objectives change, starting with tolerance for risk.

What was a good investment plan for us in our 40s and 50s may not be good now. We may be more interested in protecting the assets we have accumulated.

So the the question becomes, “who can you trust” for a no pressure evaluation? Someone who will honestly guide you withoUT their eye on the commission they might make if they change your plan. A person who not only has taken the required “Senior Ethics” courses, but who believes in them.

We believe we know such a person, and you knowing a person like this is certainly a benefit.

Having said that, contact us for the that person’s name  and we will be happy to pass it to you.

Free Prescription Help

Many seniors are fortunate enough to have a good prescription plan, usually a Medicare Part D plan. While these plans look very good, what most people who use them are not aware of is that there are two costs associated with every prescription filled.

The first and obvious cost is the copayment, usually associated with the Tier the medication is in. Simple to understand.

But there is a silent or hidden cost, and this is the cost that the plan picks up, and this is most relevant because as you start to use your plan each year, the clock starts ticking with every prescription fill and each one adding as a user moves toward the gap or donut hole as it’s been known.

Once you are there, until you spend your way out and reach the “catastropic coverage” co pays, your out of pocket cost become very significant.  Your plan propsectus or Summary of Benefits will tell you EXACTLY what to expect… but sadly, many people never read these publications.

Fortunately, the vast majority of seniors don’t routinely have enough prescriptions to worry about this.. but all should be aware of it.

Is there a way to avoid “the gap” or the donut hole?  Yes, and that is to pay for your prescriptions on your own. What y ou do “on your own” does not add up.  But working “on your own” can be very costly in a direct manner.. but there is an option. It is a good free prescription discount card, and you can get yours from us, no strings attached. While you could download and print one from your computer, we’ll do better than that for you. We’ll bring it to you in person and explain thorougly where and how to use it.

To get  your personal free prescritpion discount card in Palm Beach county, just pick up the phone and call us at 561 2214 4709