Redlands Market Night – New Health Insurance Kiosk

Redlands Market Night - Litchfield InsuranceAfter more than 18 years of service at this weekly, premier Inland Empire venue, we’ve expanded and added a 2nd booth. Located directly in front of our offices in the CitiBank Building in beautiful downtown Redlands.

Because of all the confusion over Health Care Reform aka ObamaCare we’ve had several dozen individuals over the last two weeks approach us for assistance when the new health insurance marketplace opens on Oct. 1st. You may ask me, ” George, do you think it’s gonna work?”. I’m glad you asked.

No one knows for sure how the new federal health care law is going to pan out. All I know is our commitment to help our Valued clients get the coverage and protection they need and desire has never been greater, Whether it’s in regard to Medicare or individual health and life insurance, we’re here for the long haul.

2013-07-17_1121We are also excited about this new Dental Plan we’re offering now, with low copays, that also includes Vision and RX benefits. ( Medicare Open Enrollment is still Oct. 15- Dec. 7th ).

On a personal note, some of you met our wonderful granddaughter Payton at our open house this year. Well, she starts school this month. Wow!…do they grow up fast!!…Enjoy these “Dog Days of Summer”…You are much appreciated.

 

All the Best,

George
GeorgeLitchfield.com

 

Five Tips: Managing your Loved One’s Medicare Benefits

Are you caring for a Medicare-eligible loved one? Or do you expect to care for a loved one in the coming years? Even if your loved one does not yet need a caregiver, it’s a good idea to start planning before the care is necessary. Here are five ideas that may help you fulfill this challenging, rewarding role.

1. Medicare requires written permission in order to share personal information with a caregiver. Discuss filling out the permission form with your loved one. It’s called Medicare Authorization to Disclose Personal Health Information and you can download the form here.

2. Assess your loved one’s health care needs, current coverage and financial situation, and talk about his or her preferences. Document important information your loved one shares: his or her medications, health care provider’s contact information, and any medical conditions and a calendar for care giving tasks. If you share care giving Lotsahelpinghands.com, where you create a private community and share information with individuals you invite.

3. Make sure you understand your loved one’s Medicare plan(s), and think about any changes that might improve your loved one’s health coverage or care. If, for example, you review health care receipts from last year and see that your loved one could benefit from additional coverage, you may want to look at your loved one’s Medicare plan choices and consider helping them switch plans or add a rider. Or perhaps your loved one qualifies for financial assistance, but hasn’t yet applied to receive it.  Where can you learn more about your love one’s plan(s), options, and learn how to make changes? Medicare.gov explains how Medicare works, and explains financial assistance programs. If your loved one has a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement plan, contact the provider to learn the details.

MedicareMadeClear.com can help you learn about plans, coverage, financial help, and what you need to do to make a change. The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) offers one-on-one counseling and advocacy for Medicare beneficiaries.

4. Take advantage of additional care giving resources. Eldercare can help connect you to organizations in your loved one’s community, like adult day care, respite care, training programs and support groups. Call Eldercare at 1-800-677-1116, TTY 711, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

5. Take care of yourself, and get the help you need to stay well. “Respite care” – care provided by others to allow caregivers to take a break – can help you get the rest you need while ensuring that your loved one gets quality care. Short term or long term, in home or out of the home, learn more about respite care options respite care options.

What Will You Pay for Medicare Part A and Part B in 2012?

What will be your out-of-pocket costs in 2012 for Medicare Part A and Part B? Read this blog post to find out more.

 

Medicare provides many benefits, but it isn’t free. You will have out-of-pocket costs, and it’s a good idea to learn what they are to help you avoid unwelcome surprises.

Your Share of Medicare Part A Costs

Medicare Part A covers care received in a hospital or skilled nursing facility. It is premium free for most people. However, you do pay a deductible for each benefit period. In 2012, the deductible is $1,156.00.

After the deductible, Part A pays 100% of covered costs for the first 60 hospital days, and the first 20 skilled nursing facility days, of each benefit period. Multiple hospitalizations may be included in the same benefit period, if they are for the same health problem.

A benefit period begins the day you go into a hospital or skilled nursing facility. The benefit period ends when you haven’t received any inpatient hospital care (or skilled care in a skilled nursing facility) for 60 days in a row.

The table shows your out-of-pocket costs for different services covered under Medicare Part A.

What Will You Pay for Medicare Part A and Part B in 2012?

Your Share of Medicare Part B Costs

Medicare Part B covers doctor visits and outpatient care. You will pay a monthly premium for Part B that is based on your income. In 2012, Part B premiums range from $99.90 to $319.70 a month. The low end rose by $3.50 over the 2011 amount, but most people will see it returned through an increase in their Social Security benefit.

Find your tax filing status and your income in the table to see how much your 2012 premium is.

What Will You Pay for Medicare Part A and Part B in 2012?

In addition to the monthly Part B premium, you will pay an annual deductible of $140 for Part B services in 2012. Some other costs you are responsible for include:

  • 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for doctor services, outpatient therapy and durable medical equipment
  • 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for most doctor services you receive while in the hospital
  • 40% of the Medicare-approved amount for outpatient mental health care
  • Copays or coinsurance amounts for other covered services
  • A coinsurance for most outpatient hospital services

Help Paying for What Medicare Doesn’t

Out-of-pocket costs for a serious illness can mount up quickly. If you have Original Medicare Parts A and B, you can choose to add a Medicare supplement insurance plan (Medigap) to help pay some of these costs. Also, it’s important to know that Original Medicare does not include prescription drug coverage. Many beneficiaries choose to add a prescription drug plan (Part D) to help with the cost of medications.

–This information was provided by Medicare Made Clear

For more answers to your question about the different Medicare upplemental plans call us at (909)790-7748 or 888-891-5557. Visit our website for videos and blogs post with related articles www.Turning65-NewtoMedicare.com

What is the Medicare Part D Late Enrollment Penalty?

Medicare maintains enrollment schedules throughout the year. Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage is optional—you are not automatically enrolled and you are not required to have it. But if you want and need Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, you need to enroll during a formal enrollment period to avoid paying a Late Enrollment Penalty, or LEP. The LEP is a dollar amount added to your Part D premium.

If you did not have creditable drug coverage for 63 days or more and you did not enroll during your Initial Enrollment Period or the Annual Enrollment Period, you will pay a LEP unless you qualify for an exception.

Enrolling during one of Medicare’s formal enrollment periods can help you avoid late enrollment penalties and will ensure that your coverage becomes effective as soon as possible. Here are some tips.

Do Your Research

There are several resources to help you learn about Medicare Part D and Medicare’s enrollment periods.

  • Review MedicareMadeClear.com’s Decision Road Map to see which enrollment periods apply to you, learn what you need to know to enroll, and get a checklist customized by different eligibility criteria.
  • Learn about enrollment windows and timing, and what happens if you miss the windows.

During Your Initial Enrollment Period

If you are becoming eligible for Medicare because you’re turning 65, your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) begins three months before your 65th birthday, runs through your birth month and ends three months after your 65th birth month. If you want to enroll in prescription drug plan, you must enroll during your IEP in order to avoid the late enrollment penalty.

When it’s Time to Enroll

After doing your research with the plan finder, enrolling is easy. In fact, you can enroll within the Medicare Plan Finder by clicking the “Enroll” button. However, if you’d prefer to enroll over the phone, most plans have toll-free contact numbers so that you can speak to a plan representative. If you prefer not to enroll over the phone, just request an enrollment packet to be mailed to you.

How much is the penalty?

The Late Enrollment Penalty, sometimes called “LEP,” is calculated using a national base beneficiary premium (which is $31.08 in 2012*) and multiplying 1% of that by the calendar months that you are not covered (example: .31 x 12 = 3.72 per calendar year).

  • This number is added to your monthly premium. So, for enrolling one year late, you could pay an additional $46.08 per year in late enrollment penalties.
  • Unless you qualify for an exception, you may avoid the penalty if you file a late enrollment penalty appeal with proof of creditable coverage during the late period, but signing up within your enrollment period can ensure you avoid this fee.

If you do your research, keep an eye on your Initial Enrollment Period dates and make sure you enroll on time, you can avoid a Part D late enrollment penalty.

-Posted by Medicare Made Clear – *Source: Medicare.gov

Visit our website to watch our free video and get your questions answeredAre You Looking For a Medicare Plan or Supplement? Are You Turning 65? You want a plan change?

Learn about adding or switching Medicare Advantage or Part D plans

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is Open through December 7. Learn about adding or switching Medicare Advantage or Part D plans.

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) has been open since Oct.15, but it’s closing Dec. 7. Are you interested in adding or switching Medicare Advantage (Part C) or Part D* (prescription drug coverage) for the 2012 plan year? AEP is a time when you can join, switch or drop these plans for an effective date of January 1.

How can I get a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan during AEP?

There are a variety Medicare Advantage plan types. All Medicare Advantage plans offer medical and hospital coverage. Some offer additional benefits, like eye, hearing, or prescription drug coverage. Once you’ve researched plans available in your area (Medicare.gov’s plan finder tool is a good place to start), you just need to contact the private insurer who provides the plan you want for details on how to enroll.

How can I add drug coverage during AEP?

You can add a Medicare Part D plan to certain types of  Medicare Advantage plans that don’t already include it. You may switch from your existing plan to a Medicare Advantage plan that has prescription drug coverage built into the benefits. Or, if you are using Original Medicare (Parts A and B), you may join a Medicare Part D plan for prescription drug coverage. See “It’s time to act” below to learn how.

Switching or Dropping Plans

If you’re an Original Medicare beneficiary joining a Medicare Advantage plan:

Medicare Advantage plan members remain enrolled in Original Medicare (and continue to pay their Part B premium), so there is no need to drop Original Medicare when you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.

If you have a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan, you should drop your Medicare Supplement Insurance plan once enrolled in Medicare Advantage by contacting your plan’s provider.

If you’re switching from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan – or from one Part D plan to another Part D plan:

You need to enroll in the new plan you’ve selected by contacting the private insurance company that administers that plan. You can often enroll online, by phone or by filling out forms and sending them in. You do not need to drop your existing Medicare Advantage or Part D plan. The plan you were previously enrolled in will end automatically when your new plan begins.

– This information was provided by Medicare Made Clear

http://www.turning65-newtomedicare.com – Turning 65 ? Looking for reliable Medicare Insurance? or Looking to get better rates. The Litchfield Insurance Agency assists the Beaver Medical Group in Redlands.

What Do Medicare Plans Cost?

The most noticeable out-of-pocket cost for a Medicare plan may be the monthly premium, but it’s not the only one. When researching plan choices, it’s important to count all the costs. Even plans with no premium have some associated costs that the member must pay. This is called “cost sharing.”

Medicare plans use these cost-sharing methods:

  • Premium – This is a monthly fee that you pay the plan provider to purchase the plan coverage. Original Medicare Part B also charges a premium. Part A is premium-free for most people. Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans are offered by private insurance companies. Some of these plans charge a premium and some don’t.
  • Deductible – This is a pre-set, fixed amount of your medical expenses that you alone pay, each calendar year, before the plan begins to pay. Original Medicare Part A and Part B each charge a deductible. As with premiums, some Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans charge a deductible and some don’t.
  • Copay – This is a set amount you pay for each doctor visit, clinical service or prescription at the time that you receive it. Original Medicare Parts A and B require copays, and so do many Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans. Copays are typically $10 to $20.
  • Coinsurance –This is the amount you pay on a percentage basis for the covered care and services that you receive. A typical coinsurance is 80/20. The plan pays 80% and you pay 20%. Original Medicare Parts A and B each charge coinsurance. Again, Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans vary, and each plan provider determines its coinsurance terms, if any.

Original Medicare is a federal health insurance program. The same cost-sharing terms, as well as coverage, apply to all beneficiaries, regardless of where one lives. Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans are offered regionally by private insurance companies. Cost-sharing and coverage vary from plan to plan and region to region. However, by law, every Medicare Advantage plan must offer all the same benefits that Original Medicare does. Many include added benefits as well, such as prescription drug coverage, often for no additional premium.

It’s important to note that Medicare Advantage plans are required to have a maximum annual out-of-pocket spending cap for in-network services—those services a beneficiary receives from providers within a plan’s contracted network. In 2011, the maximum cap allowed is $6700. That’s the most a Medicare Advantage plan member can pay out-of-pocket all year, regardless of the plan. Plans may, however, have a lower out-of-pocket limit. There is no cap on out-of-pocket spending with Original Medicare.

It can be confusing when comparing costs and weighing this against the coverage that different Medicare plans provide. It’s a good idea to research the plans you’re interested in thoroughly and to pay attention to total out-of-pocket costs. When you look at the complete picture, you can see that the monthly premium, if there is one, is just one consideration.

– This information was provided by Medicare Made Clear

Visit our website www.Turning65-NewtoMedicare.com to watch our free video and get your questions answered or call us at (888)891-5557Are You Looking For a Medicare Plan or Supplement? Are You Turning 65? You want a plan change?

Medicare – It’s Time To Review Your Plan – Redlands, Yucaipa, Banning, Beaumont

Ready…Set…Go!  It is time to review your Medicare plan.  You can make changes between October 15 and December 7. So if you are turning 65  or are already 65, we can help you in finding the right options for you and your needs.

Call us today at 909-790-7748 or visit our website at www.Turning65-NewtoMedicare.com

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Turning 65 and New to Medicare – Open Enrollment Begins October 15, 2011

 

Call us at 909-790-7748 or visit www.Turning65-NewtoMedicare.com if you have any questions. Can’t make it to us? We can come to you! We serve Redlands, Yucaipa,Banning, Beaumont, Loma Linda and many other cities in the Inland Empire

Choosing a Medicare plan that fits your needs can be a daunting task, but we can make it simple.

Turning 65? New To Medicare? Redlands, San Bernardino, Banning, Beaumont

Turning65-NewToMedicare.com

Have you seen us driving around Redlands, Yucaipa, Loma Linda, San Berndino, Banning, Beaumont?

When you do text MEDICARE to 99000

Turning65? New to Medicare? We are here to make things simple and easy for you when choosing the right Medicare Supplement Plan. Call us at 909-790-7748 or visit our website www.Turning65-NewToMedicare.com

 

George Litchfield
Medicare Plan Specialist
CA Insurance License # 0B56846

New Survey: Beneficiaries, Boomers Remained Confused By Medicare

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) and UnitedHealthcare recently released the results of a study that revealed that a large percentage of baby boomers and seniors ages 65 and over do not understand Medicare and are unaware of important recent or impending changes to the program.

The study results confirmed the need for more education regarding the nation’s largest health insurance program, even more so because over the next two decades tens of millions of people will be added to the program. Over the next 20 years, an average of 10,000 boomers a day will turn 65 and become eligible.

 

UnitedHealthcare and NCOA surveyed 1,000 seniors ages 65 and over and 500 “leading-edge” baby boomers ages 60 to 64 to gauge their understanding of the Medicare program. The survey was conducted as part of an ongoing partnership between the two organizations to help Medicare beneficiaries, their caregivers and baby boomers learn more about their health-care options now and in the years ahead.


The Results

More than half of survey respondents find Medicare confusing or do not understand it at all, and most do not understand the program’s structure. Only a third correctly identified Part A as helping to cover the costs of hospital care. Less than 25 percent knew that Part B helps cover the costs of a doctor visit, and more than two-thirds did not know what Part C covers. Only 12 percent were aware that Part C helps cover the costs of hospital care, doctor visits and prescription drugs, and even fewer, 7 percent, knew that Part C is synonymous with Medicare Advantage.

The confusion about Medicare is not limited to the program’s structure. Nineteen percent of respondents who reported being enrolled in Medicare said they do not know what type of coverage they have.

 

There was also confusion found dealing with the dates of Annual Election Period (AEP). In previous years, the AEP began November 15 and ended December 31. This year, it starts a month earlier, on October 15, and ends December 7. Only 9 percent of survey respondents were able to identify the new start date, with even fewer respondents (3 percent) correctly identifying the new enrollment deadline. The majority (63 percent) believe beneficiaries continue to have until Dec. 31 to make an enrollment decision.

One of the most important findings was the respondents were unaware of the new cost-saving opportunities. More than a third of respondents ages 65 and over who are enrolled in Medicare are spending $1,000 or more out of pocket each year on their health-care costs. The survey found that a significant portion of respondents (29 percent) are worried about their ability to pay out-of-pocket health-care costs, yet most who are enrolled in Medicare are not taking steps to save money on their coverage.

 

Although the majority of respondents (58 percent) described their ability to evaluate and choose the best Medicare coverage to meet their health and financial needs as excellent or good, nearly half reported that they have never shopped around to find the best coverage for them. About another 25 percent of respondents have not shopped in two or more years.

The survey also found that the majority of potentially eligible Medicare beneficiaries are not taking advantage of important programs that could help them better afford their health care. Of the 36 percent of  respondents ages 65 and over who would qualify for assistance with their Medicare costs based on their income, more than two thirds (68 percent) had never heard of the Medicare Savings Programs, which help people with limited income pay some or all of their premiums, deductibles and coinsurance.

UnitedHealthcare and NCOA are leveraging their partnership to help simplify the often complex nature of becoming a Medicare beneficiary. UnitedHealthcare and NCOA are hosting a series of educational meetings at senior and community centers across the country and distributing public service announcements for TV and radio stations nationwide to raise awareness of resources to help boomers and beneficiaries learn more about Medicare.

Complete survey results and more information about the partnership between UnitedHealthcare and NCOA can be found at www.NCOA.org/Medicare .

This information was provided by The National Council on Aging (NCOA) and UnitedHealthcare

If you would like more information on the different choices you have with Medicare call us today at 909-790-7748 or visit our website at www.Turning65-NewToMedicare.com