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Medicare Supplements and Medigap

Medigap Plans New Jersey – New Jersey Medicare Supplement Options

By | Medicare Supplements and Medigap | 5 Comments

This will be a resource post to New Jersey residents that are shopping for a Medigap Plan in NJ. These plans are also referred to as Medicare Supplement plans in NJ.

 

If you already know what a Medigap Plan is, feel free to skip ahead to the section on the rates for Medigap Plans in New Jersey

The fastest way to get the information you need is to go ahead and send me a quote request. I usually can respond within the hour or will get to you as soon as I can. Quotes are always free and I’m happy to give you my opinion on all the Medigap plans. 

What is a Medigap policy?

A Medigap policy (also called “Medicare Supplement Insurance”) is private health insurance that’s designed to supplement Original Medicare. This means it helps pay some of the health care costs (“gaps”) that Original Medicare doesn’t cover (like copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles). If you have Original Medicare and a Medigap policy, Medicare will pay its share of the Medicare approved amounts for covered health care costs. Then your Medigap policy pays its share. A Medigap policy is different from a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO) because those plans are ways to get Medicare benefits, while a Medigap policy only supplements your Original Medicare benefits. Note: Medicare doesn’t pay any of the costs for you to get a Medigap policy. Every Medigap policy must follow Federal and state laws designed to protect you, and the policy must be clearly identified as “Medicare Supplement Insurance.” Medigap insurance companies in most states can only sell you a “standardized” Medigap policy identified by letters A through N. Each standardized Medigap policy must offer the same basic benefits, no matter which insurance company sells it. Cost is usually the only difference between Medigap policies with the same letter sold by different insurance companies.

What do each of the different Medigap Plans in New Jersey Cover?

New Jersey Medigap Coverage Chart

See chart

Medigap NJ Chart

 

What is the best Medigap Policy to Buy in New Jersey?

Most people will purchase either Plan F, Plan G or Plan N.

Plan F: Plan F will cover all of your expenses except for prescriptions 100%. It is the easiest plan to work with because you will never have to pay a copay or worry about a bill. This means it is also the most expensive plan.

Plan G:  Plan G is identical to Plan F except you need to pay your annual Part B deductible. in 2016, the Part B deductible is $162. Once you meet that deductible, this plan will work exactly like Plan F with everything covered 100%. You can typically expect to spend about $20 less per month compared to Plan F. You will save roughly $240 and only need to pay your deductible.

Plan N: The lowest plan we usually look at is Plan N and will fall right around $40-$50 less per month than Plan F. Just like Plan G, you will need to pay your Part B deductible and then also once that is met, you will need to pay a copay of $20 at your doctor. For emergency rooms, you have a $50 copay. One last thing to note is that Plan N does not cover excess charges. Excess charges can happen if your provider does not accept Medicare assignment and it gives them the right to bill you a little extra. It is 15% above what Medicare would allow for that expense.

Which is Best?

I personally would choose Plan G, followed by Plan N and lastly Plan F.

From what I have seen for at least the five years, Plan G has much lower increases over time when compared to Plan F. You are also guaranteed to save in premium when compared to Plan F. Since plan G can only be purchased by those that are in their initial enrollment or can medically qualify, it has a healthier pool of people and thus has lower claims over time keeping the prices more stable.

 

Best Medicare Supplement for Couples

There are a few companies in NJ that offer discounts for spouses and even for people that are in the same household. My favorites are Aetna and Mutual of Omaha. If you are turning 65 and your spouse isn’t too far behind, I would look at one of these companies first. When you add in the discounts of up to 7%, it brings the prices down and puts them at the top of the list for best pricing.

 

Best Medicare Supplement Company in NJ

I often get asked which company is the best and ultimately the company doesn’t matter a whole lot. I would personally pick one of the top three for pricing, look at how recently their rates changed and factor in a few other options. I would not put any weight in the company name. AARP, Horizon and others are well known but they will not process your claim any differently than a no name company. Those two may still be your best choice at the time of enrolling, but I wouldn’t seek out anyone in particular with the exception of the companies that have the spousal/household discounts. The great thing about Medicare Supplements is that they are very easy for consumers to use. I have never received a service call for a plan from any company we sell. They are very easy.

 

What insurance companies sell Medigap Plans in New Jersey? And how much do the Medigap plans in NJ cost?

Please reach out to me with the contact form on the right for up to date quotes.

2015 NJ Medigap Plans and Rates

*If older than 65 please contact me for a quote on your medicare supplement

1) NJ Medigap Female Non Tobacco Rates

2)NJ Medigap Female Tobacco Rates

3)NJ Medigap Male Non Tobacco Rates

4)NJ Medigap Male Tobacco Rates

Keep in mind that the tobacco rates are only applied if you are not in a guaranteed issued period. If you are 65 then this is likely the case.

 

 

Amerihealth NJ Medigap

Amerihealth Medigap plans were new for this year so I didn’t have a chance to work them into the intial post. Please reach out to me for a quote. They are in the top for best prices and are the only company I know of that offer a gym reimbursement and some other great benefits. Amerihealth is a subsidiary of Independence Blue Cross out of Pennsylvania and have been offering great group and individual plans for years.

These are rates from the past.

Please contact me or the insurance company for most up to date quote and the Medigap quote for your specific age. I will also assist in comparing each of the plans.

 

Medicare Supplement Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do I need referrals?
    1. No. All Medigap plans are no referral
  2. Do I need to use certain doctors and do I need to make sure my doctor takes my Medigap plan?
    1. No. The only thing your doctor needs to know is that you have Original Medicare. That is your network. The supplement company, regardless of who it is, will pay the claim automatically if Medicare pays. If Medicare denies the claim, they will follow suit.
  3. How much do these plans go up every year?
    1. We usually see somewhere around 4% but Plan G has been 0% pretty often. There is a base rate that changes as you get older.
  4. Does Medicare and Medigap cover dental?
    1. No unfortunately not unless it is something medical in nature.
  5. When I do need to sign up?
    1. You can get onto a Medigap plan 3 months prior to your enrolling in Part B and 3 months after with no medical questions. You can change your plan anytime after that but you will need to go through medical underwriting.
  6. I’ve had the same plan for a while and its getting expensive, can I switch plans?
    1. Yes, just ask me for a quote and we will see what looks best. You will need to medically qualify and once you are accepted, you will cancel your old plan. Its a very easy process and most people can qualify.
  7. What if I apply for a plan with underwriting and I get denied?
    1. If you already have a plan, they can’t cancel that based on your current medical status. Other than that, nothing will happen.
  8. What if buy a plan in NJ and I move to another state?
    1. Depending on the company, they will transition you to your new state’s rates. Not all companies operate in every state though so you may keep the same rates.
  9. Do these plans cover prescriptions?
    1. Nope. Some prescriptions are covered under Part B, but you will need to purchase a Part D plan and I can help you with that.
  10. I’ve had Part B for a while but was covered under a group plan through my employer or my spouses, now what?
    1. You have 63 days to purchase a plan with no medical underwriting. The carriers restrict the plan though and you can get Plan F with no medical questions. If can move quickly, I would apply for Plan G with the best company and if you can’t qualify, then do Plan F.
  11. I thought Obamacare said an insurance company can’t deny coverage based on your health?
    1. You are correct, but these don’t follow those new affordable care act guidelines.
  12. I have Medicare Advantage now, but want a supplement?
    1. About two to three months before January 1, we will want to try and get you qualified for a supplement plan. If you are accepted, we will have the plan start January 1st. We will then enroll you in standalone Part D plan for January 1. That new Part D enrollment will terminate your Medicare Advantage plan.
  13. Can I pay for supplement through my social security?
    1. Unfortunately not. Most companies will require auto pay through your checking account if you pay monthly. If that is not ok, you can pay quarterly or we will put you with a company that allows paying monthly by check ( Amerihealth ideally or AARP)
  14. How long will it take to get my cards?
    1. Each company is a little different but for Aetna has been the fastest and will approve you in 24-48 hours with cards issued shortly thereafter. If you need to go through underwriting, it can take a few weeks.
  15. What else do I need?
    1. If you don’t have any money set aside for final expenses or wish to leave money to charity, let me know and we can quote a final expense life insurance policy or something that will fit your needs. There are plans that have no medical questions so its very easy to get started. You can get these plans any time but the sooner the better since the prices go up quite a bit as you get older and into your 70’s or early 80’s.
  16. Why would I go with you and not some other broker or direct to the company?
    1. I don’t think I’m better than anyone out there, but I promise to give you my best and will make sure you understand the process and exactly what you are buying. My goal is to answer everything upfront so you are completely comfortable with your decision.  I know when I am buying something new, I am uneasy about the unknown. When I work with you, I take that into consideration and map the whole thing out for you so that you can put your mind at ease. My prices will be identical to other brokers and the companies direct so I try to make your buying experience as easy as possible. I do face to face meetings, online enrollments, fax, webinars, regular mail or will work with you however it fits into your schedule.

 

Medicare Supplement Resources

Medicare Supplement Guide 2015

 

 

Medicare Supplement Plan G

By | Medicare Supplements and Medigap | One Comment

Cheapest Medicare Supplement Plan G  in NJ

Medicare Plan G is my number one choice for a Medigap Plan in NJ. We sell the most of the Medigap Plan F but that is because a lot of people feel most at ease with that plan.

 

Medigap chart plan f vs plan G

 

 

Medicare Supplement Plan G Benefits

As you can see in the chart above, Plan G is identical to Plan F except that you have to pay your $162 Part B deductible.  After that, everything is covered 100%.

 

Plan G Rates for Female Age 65 Absecon, NJ 08201

cheapest medigap plan g in nj for female age 65

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plan G Rates for Male Age 65 Absecon, NJ 08201

cheapest medigap plan g for male age 65 in south jersey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like all of the supplement plans, Plan G is portable so you can take it with you throughout the country. Also since Plan G picks up excess charges, there is no worry about your physician accepting Medicare assignment. In addition, Plan G also has some limited Foreign Travel Emergency Benefits.

 

Medicare Supplement Plan G vs Plan F

Many people buy Plan F thinking it is the best option. In many ways it is but Plan G is usually the best buy when comparing the two. As long as the annual premium for Plan G is at least $140 less than the cheapest Plan F, I would buy G every time.

Another thing to consider is that there is a lot of adverse selection in Plan F. That plan tends to draw in people that have higher claims on average so the pool of individuals will tend to have higher rate increases over time. You can potentially sidestep some of that adverse selection by taking Plan G instead.

 

Medicare Supplement Plan G Drawbacks

Since Plan G is one of the best options, it is also the second most expensive. Before purchasing this plan you must be prepared to pay increasing prices as you get older. These plans are medically underwritten when you are out of your guaranteed issue period so there is the possibility that you won’t qualify for other coverage later if you find you can’t afford this plan.

If you are coming from a group plan and you are offered guaranteed issue rights, Part G isn’t part of that offer. You can only get Plan F. My suggestion to most people, is to apply for Plan G right away and go through medical underwriting. If you qualify, you are all set, but if you can’t then you still have time to purchase F before your guarantee period expires.

 Comparing Plan G to Plan N

When I run quotes for Medicare beneficiaries, I will usually also show Plan N to compare everything out. Plan N will be a bit cheaper than Plan G so is a good option but it does have some notable differences. Just like G, you need to pay your upfront Part B deductible, but then instead of your physician visits being covered 100%, you will pay a $20 copay. At the urgent care or emergency room, you will pay $50.

The last notable difference is that Plan N, you are not covered for excess charges. Excess charges don’t happen very often but if your provider doesn’t accept Medicare assignment, they are within their right to charge an additional 15% over the Medicare allowable amount. Again this doesn’t come up very often, but it does from time to time.

If you don’t mind the possibility of the excess charges or the copays here and there, I would also take a long look at Plan N. Either of the two plans will serve you well over time.

 

Insurance Companies selling Plan G in New Jersey

Here is my list as of 3/1/2016 from the New Jersey State Health Insurance Plan site. (NJ SHIP)

  • Aetna
  • American Progressive
  • Americo
  • Bankers Life
  • CSI
  • Colonial Penn
  • Combined
  • Genworth
  • Gerber Life
  • Horizon BCBS
  • IAC
  • Loyal American
  • Manhattan Life
  • Shenandoah Life
  • Sterling Life
  • United of Omaha

Of the list above, some of my favorites are Aetna and United of Omaha because they are very fast to issue policies, have some of the best rates, offer spousal discounts and are very easy to work with.

 

 

Request More Information On Medicare Supplement Plan G

If you are interested in Plan G, I would love the opportunity to earn your business. Please contact me for your:

Medicare Supplement Plan G Quote

Read more about NJ Medicare Supplement Plans

 

Medicare Supplement Quotes In NJ – Shopping Tips

By | Medicare Supplements and Medigap | 2 Comments

Medicare Supplement Quotes should be easy to get, but sometimes your head can spin with all of the different options. New Jersey has eleven companies that sell Medicare Supplements so I’d like to share some tips on getting  the best plan.

 

Medicare Supplement Quotes– Step 1 – Brief Review

Evaluate your options. The State of NJ has put together some nice resources and I also have put together some of my own. You can read about Medicare Supplement Plan F,  and Medicare Supplement Plan G here.

The plans I think you should focus your time on are Medigap Plan F, Medigap Plan G, Medigap Plan N and Medigap Plan F High Deductible.  Take a look at the chart below to get a feel for what each plan will cover.

medicare supplement

Medicare Supplement Quotes – Step 2 – Get Quotes

Now that you have a feel for what plan you may want to consider, it is time to start getting some quotes.

You can get Medicare Supplement Quotes from me by using my online request or calling me directly at Glenn Insurance at 609-641-3000.

You can also contact the insurance companies directly or use the local insurance agent that you are comfortable with.

If you are doing most of your research online, try to only send your information to insurance agencies and not “quote farms”. Some sites will take your contact information and sell it to many agents so that they may contact you.  (My site does not and will never do this).

Medicare Supplement Quotes – Step 3 – Analyze and Purchase

You have now done your review in step 1, gotten your Medicare Supplement Quotes in step 2 and now are ready to buy.

I like to compare each of the plans by making a spreadsheet and compare the prices between all of the plans and also take into consideration the company I am dealing with.

Some things to consider before buying:

  1. What is the reputation of the company I am looking at?
  2. Does my local agent work with them? If that matters to you.
  3. Who will I turn to for help if and when needed? Company directly or my agent?
  4. Do they offer discounts for spouses who purchase together or for other reasons?
  5. Do they have a history of high rate increases?
  6. Do they use medical underwriting and will I be able to get a policy approved?
  7. If I am choosing Plan F or Plan G, will I be able to afford the premiums in the future?

Go through your review and buy your plan. If you have followed the three steps, you will have made a sold choice for your Medicare Supplement Plan.

 

I would love the opportunity to earn your business.

Please contact me for your Medicare Supplement Quote.  609-641-3000

Read more about NJ Medigap Plans Here.

Why Most Brokers Don’t Sell Horizon BCBS Medicare Supplements

By | Medicare Supplements and Medigap | No Comments

Horizon BCBSNJ has some great plans in the group and individual health market, but I want to share a few things about the Horizon Medigap plans and why most brokers, including myself, don’t sell them. I have a long history with Horizon and their other plans(individual health, group health) and they are typically one of my top choices, but not for their Medicare Supplemental options.

Horizon Blue Cross Medicare Supplements

Horizon BCBS of NJ sells six of the standardized Medigap plans to include plans A, C, F, G, K and N. Like all other carriers, the plans will vary in price and coverage.

BCBS Medigap Pricing

Horizon is a bit different than the other NJ carriers in how they work their pricing. They use a five year rate band so depending on when you join the plan, your rate will be the same as everyone else in that band.

Current Rate Bands

They don’t post these on their website anymore but from memory it was:

65-69

70-74

75-79

80+

So if you are 66, you pay the same price as someone who is 69.

 

BCBS 2016 Pricing

I pulled the rates from the NJ SHIP website to show the current prices of the most popular Medigap plans F, G, N and then compared them to the lowest price plans that I can offer in NJ. See chart.

horizon medigap comparison

As you can see, the Horizon Plan F is 26% higher for a female age 65 than the cheapest alternative. If the other carriers were run with a spousal discount, the disparity would be even larger. Does this mean you shouldn’t buy Horizon? No.. But in my opinion, there is no reason to spend any more than necessary for the plan you want. They are all identical in their performance with claims.

The prices are more competitive as you get closer to the top of the rate band, for example age 69, but then the next year your price shoots back up.

Let’s just say the average annual premium is $150 a month for plan F.. You are going to pay somewhere around $500/more per year for every year you have the plan. Not a good bargain.

 

BCBS Underwriting

To their credit, Horizon does not underwrite like the other carriers do, so you would expect their prices to be a bit higher. People who have guaranteed issue coverage(just enrolling in Part B or coming from a group) never need to answer medical questions, but Horizon extends that same offer to anyone regardless of their situation. What that means to you, is that you could never have bought a Medicare or group plan and at age 75 after being diagnosed with cancer, you can purchase a plan with no questions asked. They do impose a 6 month pre existing condition wait, but after that, the plan will work perfectly. That is +1 for Horizon but only if you can’t qualify with other carriers or are outside of your guaranteed enrollment.

 

Horizon Enrollment

As a broker, one of the best ways I can help my clients is with speedy enrollment and quick access to your ID cards. One of the issues that can spring up with the Horizon plans is if you are coming off of group or individual coverage with them. I’m not blaming them for this issue, but it happens all the time so its worth noting. If you are enrolled with Horizon under another plan and apply for a supplement, the new enrollment will be blocked until the old coverage is terminated. Sounds pretty straight forward but it never really works out that easy.

Why?

Brokers generally have 30 days to terminate someone’s coverage and in some cases it can be up to 60 days so there are a lot of brokers who put off your termination and don’t process them immediately. Some employers do the same thing. So if you are proactive with your Medicare Supplement enrollment but they are taking their time with terminating your old coverage, it becomes a mess. Your application will sit while they try to figure out what to do and then you wait… This happens all the time with individuals coming off of group coverage and enrolling in individual health coverage. Once Horizon comes up with a better way to handle people transitioning, it will be a smoother process… It has been a problem for 10 years though so I don’t see it changing.. So if you have Horizon coverage now, I would probably steer away from them with your supplement if you want an easy transition.

The second part of that is we as brokers have no way to check your coverage online like we can with other companies like Aetna and Mutual of Omaha. With a click of a button, I can pull up all of your details on those carriers, but not Horizon.

Commissions

This should not concern you as the consumer, but I’ll be completely transparent.. Horizon does not pay brokers for writing business with them and it doesn’t seem like that will ever change. From our point of view, if we are going to spend the time to educate our clients, and shop the plans, there is no way we would recommend a plan that is potentially 26% more in price and also end up not getting paid by the company. All other carriers in NJ pay their brokers a commission amount for selling policies and it will vary a bit per carrier. For me, I recommend the best choice or at least the top few and let you choose the company. If you really want Horizon, I have decided to not sell it as have the majority of other brokers.

 

What the Horizon Medigap Plans are Best At

Despite what I say, the Horizon BCBS supplement plans may still be the best for you. If you are in any of these situations, I would definitely take a look.

  • Have been on Medicare Part B and don’t have guaranteed issue issue rights AND you have medical conditions where you can’t qualify for another carrier.
  • Are under age 50 and on Medicare. Horizon is the only company that sells in NJ to under age 50.

 

Summary

Horizon is a great company for your group and individual health, but I would pass on them as a consumer and as a broker for their Medicare Supplement plans. They are priced very poorly compared to other companies and you will have trouble getting good advice from brokers because it is very time consuming for us and we are not able to earn anything for providing the service. If you have questions on the Horizon plans or want me to compare them, I am always happy to answer questions. When shopping, its easy to get lured in by the insurance companies you are familier with, but for Medigap, it doesn’t matter all that much. Every Plan F and Plan G in the state will work perfectly, without exception.

Cheapest NJ Medicare Supplement Plan F

By | Medicare Supplements and Medigap | No Comments

New Jersey Medicare – Plan F

 

Monthly premium ranges for Medigap Plan F are from the $150’s for a 65 year old male up to as much as $249.87. How much are you paying?

 

Female age 65 Cheapest Medigap Plan F in New Jersey

 

I just did a quick quote for a female age 65 in Absecon, NJ and these are currently the cheapest rates for Plan F. If you have someone else in the household with a supplement, these rates can go down as much as 7%. Contact me for an official quote.

Che

 

 

 

 

Male Age 65 Cheapest Medigap Plan F in New Jersey

cheapest male age 65 medigap plan f

 

 

 

The above rates are for the South Jersey region. Depending on your zip code the rates could be more or less so you should always contact me first.

More Information About Medigap Plan F

  • It is the most comprehensive plan of any of the Medicare Supplements
  • The coverage is identical regardless of the carrier you choose.
  • I will repeat, that.. The coverage is identical regardless of the carrier. Do not overpay, just because you recognize the carrier name. We’ve sold almost all the carriers and they all work perfectly.
  • Some people like to purchase Plan G instead of F and I think that is also a good idea. Please contact me and I will tell  you why.
  • Plan F is the most popular plan sold because it is easy to use and own. Not that the others aren’t as well, but with Plan F, if  you get a bill from a provider, it is wrong.. Unless Medicare denied the bill and in that case, we need to take a look.
  • You can change your plan at any time if  you see something cheaper. All you need to do is go through underwriting with some simple medical questions. If you don’t get accepted, oh well. Companies can’t terminate your coverage unless you fail to pay the premiums. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!
  • Any other questions, contact me. I usually email back within the hour.