Medicare Insurance Advisors offers services at no cost, no obligation
By Scott Thoma
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Paul and Patricia Hamilton of Medicare Insurance Advisors of Sartell have placed a top priority on making sure their clients stay informed in a safe and healthy way.
“We are very concerned about COVID and the impact it is having on our clients that at mostly 65 years old and over,” Paul said. “We are taking measures to minimize contact while providing excellent service to our clients.”
Paul and Patricia will be calling each of their clients, as they do every year, to discuss options for the coming year.
“We will schedule in-person or Zoom appointments if changes need to be made for next year,” Paul said. “We are currently scheduling appointments, so if someone is getting close to 65 or retiring soon and wants to learn about their options, please call us to reserve an appointment.”
The Hamiltons have been in the senior market for over 20 years, specializing in products that assist seniors mitigate risk while also relieving them of any stress they have in trying to determine what steps to take. They maintain a valuable relationship with their clients.
“We really love what we do and enjoy getting to know each of our clients,” they said.
Adding Zoom meetings this year provides a safe option for those clients who wish to discuss their Medicare options from the safety of their own home.
“We will still be helping clients in person at our office and we have implemented safety precautions, including the use of masks and sanitizing the office after each appointment,” Paul said. “We are also conducting telephone appointments to make it easy for seniors to discuss their Medicare options. We are still offering in-home appointments as well, if needed.”
There is no cost and no obligation to use services from Medicare Insurance Advisors of Sartell.
“We shop the market for you,” said Paul. “There is no upcharge to work with us. And we work with all major carriers.”
Medicare is the government-run health insurance coverage for those 65 and older or those with certain disabilities and conditions. It can be difficult to understand because of its complexity of different plans. To some, the options can read like alphabet soup, including Parts A and B (Original Medicare), Part C (Medicare Advantage), and Part D (prescription drug coverage). And every year, Medicare beneficiaries have the chance to change coverage during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). Choosing the right plan can not only improve your health, it can also allow you to have financial and emotional peace of mind.
“We want to help seniors understand this complicated situation and sort through things based on their needs,” said Patricia.
Medicare Annual Election Period
Also referred to as the Medicare Fall Open Enrollment Period or Fall Annual Enrollment Period. Although those in the Medicare business are unable to accurately predict or forecast what will happen in the upcoming year, the Hamiltons suggest just taking it one year at a time.
You have the opportunity to change your Medicare Advantage plan or Part D drug plan each fall. And while these plans can be confusing or overwhelming, Medicare Insurance Advisors of Sartell are happy to help in any way they can.
The following are the most common reasons why you may want to change your plan during the annual election period:
• You do not like the plan changes for the next year.
• Your monthly plan premium in increasing.
• You may have learned your physician will no longer be in the network.
• The plan is dropping one of your medications for next year.
• You want the more comprehensive coverage provided by a Medicare Supplement Plan.
“The best Medicare Advantage plan is generally the one that includes your doctors in the plan’s network and your medications on the plan’s formulary,” said Patricia. “You can find Advantage plans from major carriers like United Healthcare, Aetna, Cigna, UCare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana, Medica, and quite a number other carriers.”
Medicare Insurance Advisors of Sartell want you to know some important steps to take in order to prepare for the Medicare Annual Enrollment period.
(1) Talk to your doctor about your current plan: If you are enrolled in Original Medicare and a Medigap plan, ask your doctor if you will still be taking Original Medicare next year. If the response is “yes,” your current coverage will continue to serve you well. But if you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan that changes benefits, premiums, networks and formularies yearly, check with your every year, ask if your doctor is still in network and whether or not he or she plans to leave the network. Doctors can change networks at any time of the year.
(2) Be on the lookout for the Annual Notice of Change packet: You should receive an Annual Notice of Change in the mail by Sept. 30 for your Part D drug plan or Medicare Advantage plan, if you are enrolled in one. This notice will inform you about what will be changing with your plan next year. If something in the packet shows major change is coming, you will want to know about it so you can contact an agent to make any necessary changes. You should thoroughly review the packet before the Annual Enrollment period begins. If you do not receive the handbook, you can call 1-800-MEDICARE. It is also available online at www.medicare.gov.
(3) Know your Medicare Annual Election Period time frames: The Annual Election Period is from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. Any changes made occur on Jan. 1. This is a different time frame from a few years ago.
(4) Make a list of your medications: If your prescriptions have changed since last year, you should re-evaluate whether your current drug plan is still the best one for you. Keep a list of your medications, including the medication name on the prescription bottle, dosage, and frequency you take these medications. If you have never enrolled in Part D before and you are using the Annual Election Period to sign up for the first time, be aware that you may be subject to a late penalty.
(5) Medicare Part D and Insulin: According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), for the first time, Part D will include coverage of “a broad set of insulins” that will cost Medicare beneficiaries no more than $35 a month per prescription.
Starting Jan. 1, 2021, Medicare beneficiaries who select Part D Senior Savings Model plans will save, on average, $446 per year, or 66 percent, on their out-of-pocket costs for insulin, CMS said.
Medicare enrollees with diabetes will pay $35 per each 30-day supply of a covered insulin prescription until they reach the catastrophic coverage phase, during which they will pay 5 percent co-insurance. In addition, the CMS says insulins covered by participating plans will not be subject to the deductible or donut hole. phases of Part D coverage. Medicare beneficiaries who select Part D Senior Savings Model plans will save, on average, $446 per year, or 66 percent, on their out-of-pocket costs for insulin, CMS said.
Paul said the open enrollment period that runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7 will be a good time for people who use insulin to review plan options for 2021
Individuals and couples who have sought help with the aforementioned from Medicare Insurance Advisors have been pleased with the results.
“I have been well satisfied with my experience with Medicare Insurance Advisors,” said Paulette H. “I have always had a quick response and helpful answers to all my questions. I would, and do, highly recommend them.”
“I have found that Medicare Insurance Advisors truly act in my best interests,” said JoAnn D. “They review my policy and prescriptions annually to make sure I’m getting the best coverage and rate. They are always more than happy to answer my questions, too.”
Medicare Insurance Advisors won’t pressure its customers into purchasing a Medicare plan, nor will they recommend a particular plan. What they offer is unbiased, easy to understand information about various Medicare options, enabling a customer to choose the plan they feel suits them best.
Medicare Insurance Advisors has several locations in Minnesota with the home office located at 2107 Troop Drive in Sartell.
For more information or to set up an appointment, call Medicare Insurance Advisors at 320-654-6100 or toll free at 888-611-2200, or visit their website at www.MedicareinsAdvisors.com.
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