Medicare Open Enrollment is happening NOW
During this time, you can make changes to your prescription drug plan, enroll in a prescription drug plan, change your Medicare Advantage Plan, or enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan.
What is NEW for 2024
*Part B premium will increase from $164.90 to $174.70.
*Part B deductible will increase from $226 to $240.
*There is now a Medicare Advantage plan being offered for $202 per month with $0 out of pocket expenses.
*Part D deductible will increase from $505 to $545.
*The initial figure needed to enter the donut hole has increased from $4,600 to $5,030. As a reminder, Medicare is keeping a running total of the full cost of your drugs. When you reach this figure, your coverage level (i.e. co-pays) change.
*Part D TROOP will increase from $7,400 to $8,000. This is the amount you are responsible for before exiting the donut hole and entering catastrophic coverage.
*Part D catastrophic coverage will no longer require you to pay a copay or coinsurance for your drugs. This means you will now be covered at 100%!
Medicare Supplemental plan premiums increase each year as you age.
You can change your Medicare Supplemental plan at ANY time; however many carriers will medically underwrite before accepting a new policy. This means the policy can be denied or you can be charged a higher rate due to your medical history.
The Birthday Rule for Medicare Supplemental plans allows you to change your Medicare Supplement plan within 45 days of your birthday without being medically underwritten. You must enroll in a plan of equal or lessor value.
Medicare Advantage plans are guaranteed-issue.
What you need to know about the Basics of MEDICARE
Part A is provided by Social Security and covers HOSPITALIZATION. The deductible is $1,632 and most people do not pay a monthly premium.
Part B is also provided by Social Security and covers DOCTOR VISITS at 80%. In 2024 the Part B premium will be $174.10/month. Most people have the premium deducted from their Social Security. The deductible for Part B is $240. As a side note, Part B premium is based on income. If your income is greater than $85,000 for an individual or $170,000 for those that file a joint return, you will pay a higher premium.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN??? If you only have original Medicare, you will pay 100% of your doctor visits and hospital visits until you reach your deductible. Once you meet the deductible (i.e. $240 per year for doctor visits and $1,632 for each hospitalization outside of 60 days). Medicare will start paying 80% of the bill for doctors’ visits and 100% of the hospitalization for the first 60 days.
It is important to note that not all doctors accept Medicare. You will need to confirm with your doctor that they accept Medicare before making your appointment.
WHAT ABOUT PRESCRIPTION DRUGS??? For those that are Medicare eligible, you are REQUIRED to purchase a prescription drug plan if you do not have credible coverage. Prescription drug plans are provided by private insurers (i.e. Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana, United Healthcare/AARP, etc.), NOT Social Security.
Many people think prescription drugs are included in Part A and Part B…they are NOT. If you choose not to purchase a plan, you will be penalized 1% of the average premium for each month that you do not have coverage. Although this figure sounds low, it does add up over time. The penalty is NEVER removed. Once you are assessed a penalty, it will be added to your monthly premium (i.e. $30/month premium + $20 penalty = $50 monthly premium).
Prescription Drug plans are subject to an enrollment period. The enrollment period is NOW. If you qualify for a special election period (i.e. aging in to Medicare or losing credible coverage) you will be eligible for enrollment based on the date of your eligibility.
Prescription Drug plans have a monthly premium, co-pays are charged based on which Tier your drug falls in to, and some plans charge a deductible. It is important to review your drug list before switching carriers.
Auto and homeowners’ insurance rates are on the rise and sadly, EVERY carrier is taking increases at this time. I’ve provided an explanation for the increases below.
RISING CAR COSTS
Cars are becoming more expensive to repair, in part because replacement parts are becoming difficult to find due to supply shortages. The lack of availability for used and new cars has also increased the typical market value for many cars, which means insurance companies are paying out higher amounts for claims across the board.
Severe storms and hurricanes cause a rise in car insurance claims from cars that are flooded, damaged, or destroyed.
RISING CONSTRUCTION COSTS
With the rise in construction costs, many carriers have increased your dwelling coverage to offset the increase, resulting in a higher premium to the homeowner.
And of course, the number one reason, inflation.
How can I save money or soften the blow???
COMPARE AUTO AND HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE QUOTES
Make sure you are matching coverage’s to your existing policy! You do not want to find out at the time of a claim that you lost coverage for a lower rate.
COMBINE YOUR HOME AND AUTO INSURANCE
When reviewing rates, always review the total package (i.e. home and auto). Often, carriers will have a better rate on one product opposed to the other. I suggest reviewing the total package to determine the best scenario. Carriers will also provide 15-25% discount per product line (i.e. 15% discount on the auto and 25% on the home) for combining.
ADJUST YOUR COVERAGE
Consider a higher deductible. Most people now have a $500 deductible on the auto and $1,000 deductible on the home. Ask to have your home’s replacement cost recalculated. Each year carriers increase the dwelling coverage to protect against inflation. This year the increases to the dwelling coverage have been significant.
LOOK FOR DISCOUNTS
Almost all auto insurance companies will provide a discount for allowing the carrier to track your driving habits. Now you can download an app on your phone. The app will track things like hard stopping, accelerating too quickly, and speeding.
Consider switching to usage-based coverage. Many auto carriers now offer plans based on the miles driven.
Many carriers offer discounts for paying in full, some as high as 18%! Carriers also provide discounts for multiple vehicles and multiple policies. If your policies are split among multiple carriers, it may be time to look at combining them all with one.
Open Enrollment has officially started and will continue through February 15th. Here is what you can expect during this time….
*Some plans purchased before 2014 are still being extended through 2015. Your carrier/agent would have contacted you by now if your plan was being terminated. If you are happy with your plan you do not need to do anything. If you are unsure if your old plan is still the best option contact me for a comparison.
*If you have a 2014 plan without a subsidy (aka assistance) and are happy with this plan you do not need to do anything.
*If you have are receiving a subsidy I strongly recommend that you verify the income information that was originally reported. You may actually qualify for additional assistance!
*Any changes/new enrollment done by December 15th will take effect January 1st. Any changes/new enrollment done after December 15th will take effect February 1st.
1 Your carrier will be mailing a letter to you detailing any possible plan changes. Be sure to note your 14 digit plan ID.
2 Review any possible changes to your Marketplace Account. Log in to your account via www.healthcare.gov and answer any questions to get your 2015 application. You may be eligible for lower costs than last year.
3 While in your account go to the “Enroll To Do List” to compare plans. This is where you can choose a different plan or if you are happy with your existing plan plug in your 14 digit plan ID.
Open Enrollment will be November 15th-February 15th. For a January 1st effective date all changes/plan selections must be received by December 15th.
Life Insurance Awareness Month is coming to an end. This is the time to review your life insurance situations…What will your family do if the primary wage earner dies? What assets are you willing to give up to make ends meet? These are questions that many people don’t think about until it is too late.