Medicare Supplement Enrollment Continues to Grow

Medicare supplement enrollment continues to grow,
according to marketplacemedicare supplement enrollment data released in 2014 by Mark Farrah Associates. The study found an increase in number of Medicare supplement policies from 10.2 million to 10.5 from 2012 to 2013,  an overall increase of 3.8%. These figures also represent a notable growth in new policies. This entails policies that are issued in the last three years, and this growth is measured at 1.3% from 2012 to 2013.

Most project these study results are a result of two distinct trends in the Medicare marketplace. One, they represent the increasing numbers of Medicare eligible individuals as Baby Boomers turn 65 at a clip of 11,000 per day. Secondly, most suspect these numbers reflect a move away from other coverage types, both by choice and necessity, as there are fewer Medicare advantage plan options and more employers are reducing or eliminating coverage for retirees. Overall, the last five years have seen an overall growth in the Medicare market of over 11% in number of issued policies.

The study also found that Plan F was purchased by 52% of people purchasing Medigap plans, a large number when you consider that plan F is not always the best “deal”. These numbers, I believe, also are affected by the fact that several of the larger Medigap insurers “push” plan F as their primary option. Plan G and Plan N did also grow, according to the study, in number of Medigap enrollees. Early evidence suggests that, once 2014 data is available, we will see a leveling off of Plan F enrollments and an uptick in enrollments in Plans G and N.

So, how does all this information affect you? One, it is important to know what the marketplace looks like if you are a participant in the marketplace (i.e. a Medigap policyholder). Also, it gives you an idea of how your choices compare to what the market as a whole is doing.

If you have questions at any time about your plan, your options, or anything else regarding Medicare, please do not hesitate to contact me at 877. 506. 3378 or on our website.

Frequently Asked Question of the Month – What are the Enrollment Periods Associated with Medicare?

Answering questions is a big part of my job. Many people on Medicare have the same general questions. In this section, I answer a question that I’ve recently been asked, for everyone’s benefit:

What are the enrollment periods for the various types of Medicare plans?

This is a very common question that can be easily answered; however, there is a lot of misinformation out about this (through other agents) and just through misconceptions. The easiest way to look at it is to break it down by type of plan:


Medicare Supplement (Medigap): There are NO set enrollment periods. You can enroll/disenroll at any time, as long as you have Medicare A & B.


Medicare Advantage:
Medicare Advantage has a set enrollment period of Nov. 15-Dec. 31 each year. Then, you can also make some changes between Jan. 1-Mar. 31 (some restrictions apply – each case is different).


Part D: Part D is the same as Medicare Advantage. The annual enrollment period is Nov. 15-Dec. 31 then there is an additional enrollment period Jan 1-Mar. 31. During that additional period, you can neither drop or add coverage, only switch Part D plans.

Medicare Supplement Insurance – Five Things 90% of Seniors Going on Medicare Don’t Know

Medicare Supplement insurance is something that everyone that goes on Medicare has to understand. Even if you have employer insurance or are electing to have only Medicare, you still must understand these supplements and the ramifications of having/not having one in order to make an informed decision on whether to get one, and if you are getting one, exactly which one to get. When looking at these supplemental plans, there are a few things to keep in mind that, from our thousands of conversations with individuals going on Medicare, we’ve realized that many seniors going on Medicare simply do not know. For your reference, we’ve listed a few of those things below:

  1. Medicare Supplement plans do not cover prescription drugs.
    Prescription drugs are covered under Medicare Part D NOT Medicare Supplement plans. Since supplemental plans are standardized (see #4 below), NO plans can offer drug coverage as a benefit to their supplemental plan.
  2. Medicare Advantage plans are NOT Medicare Supplement plans. The two are completely different.
    Many seniors make the small terminology mistake of calling Advantage plans “supplement” plans. This is simply not true. Advantage plans do not supplement Medicare; on the contrary, they replace Medicare and ALL benefits are provided through the private company. With a true supplement plan, you still have Medicare A & B, you just have a supplement to fill in some, or all, of the ‘gaps’ in Medicare.
  3. Medicare Part D (Rx coverage) has a “donut hole”. This applies to all plans and there is no way to avoid it completely.
    The Medicare Part D “donut hole” is one of the most troublesome (to many people) parts of Medicare, and unfortunately, there are no ways to avoid it completely. The best way to reduce your prescription drug costs are to ensure that you are on a Part D plan that most thoroughly covers your medications and re-evaluate this on an annual or bi-annual basis.
  4. Medicare Supplements are Federally-standardized and they are portable across state lines.
    All companies must offer the exact same standardized Medicare Supplement plans. There is no variation among these plans. A Plan ‘F’ with one company is the exact same as a Plan F with another. Also, all Medicare Supplements can be used anywhere in the U.S. – there are no restrictions or networks. As long as a doctor/hospital takes your primary coverage (Medicare), they will take your supplemental coverage.
  5. Medicare Supplement rates change over time. All plans go up in rate and there is no way to avoid that entirely.
    Regardless of what a company or agent may tell you, all Medicare Supplement plans do go up over time. There is simply no way to avoid this. They may go up at different time periods or using different methodology for increases, but overall, all companies are going to go up. And the best counsel is to have a plan that is the lowest cost possible when signing up (since plans are standardized).

Secure Medicare Solutions is a leading, independent brokerage that works exclusively with Medicare insurance. You can get a Medicare Supplement quote by visiting Medigap Quotes or Medicare Supplement Quotes. You can also reach us by phone, if you prefer, at 877.506.3378.

Medicare Supplement Rate Increases – Medicare Deductible/Coverage Changes Take Toll on Medigap Rates

Medicare Supplement rates have taken a hit in recent months for South Carolina, with several large companies announcing rate increases. Typically, your rate only increases on your policy anniversary date, so if a company announces rate increases to start on 5/1, for example, the increase affects your rate starting on your policy anniversary date (not on 5/1).

Although reasons for rate increases are complex – one of the main reasons is that most policies go up based on your age – this year’s increases are likely due to two major factors – Medicare changes and the economic climate. Medicare has increased the deductibles from 2009 to 2010, as well as making other changes that enlarge the ‘gaps’ that Medicare Supplemental plans cover. When the gaps that have to be covered are larger, the increased costs are passed on to the end-consumer. With the ongoing uncertainty as far as health care reform and its impact on future Medicare changes, this is something to keep an eye on in future years.

One final factor that is sure to be having an impact on Medicare Supplement companies is the recent influx of people from Medicare Advantage plans and employer coverage, moving over to Medicare Supplement plans. Because of the reduction in benefits/increase in costs with the Advantage plans for 2010, many of those people elected to go to supplemental plans. Also, because many people have lost their retirement health insurance benefits, they have had to elect supplement plans. In both situations, the majority of these people are in ‘Guaranteed Issue’ situations, which means the insurance companies are required to accept them despite any poor health conditions. Unhealthier people equals more claims, which in turn, equals higher rates.

If you are getting a rate increase and want to avoid it, chances are you can do so. Over 85% of people can save money on their Medicare supplement coverage by getting Medigap quotes and comparing supplement options to save money. Visit us at: http://www.securemedicaresolutions.com/medicare-insurance-quote.php to find out if you are in this 85% or the 15% that can’t.

South Carolina Medicare – Blue Cross Blue Shield Supplement is a Great Option for Some

The South Carolina Medicare Supplement through Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina is a great option for some Medicare-enrollees. Although the Blue Cross Blue Shield rates are typically higher than other standardized Medicare Supplement plans in the state, they are a great fit for those who are not in Open Enrollment or Guaranteed Issue periods and can not qualify medically for other lower-priced plans.

BCBS has more lenient underwriting questions, which allows some individuals who would not qualify for other plans to qualify for a BCBS Medicare Supplement in South Carolina.

Keep in mind that, if you ARE in an Open Enrollment (just turning 65 or signing up for Medicare Part B) OR Guaranteed Issue (several situations including moving to a new state, or retiring and losing employer coverage), you have the opportunity to sign up for a plan from any company without being subject to underwriting (i.e. health questions). In that case, it is imperative that you do a full, unbiased rate quote comparison and choose the plan with the lowest (or one of the lowest rates). Since all companies provide the exact same coverage plans and pay claims the same way, rate is, and should be, the primary comparison factor.

For more information about this or to get a South Carolina Medicare Insurance Supplement Quotes, visit Secure Medicare Solutions at South Carolina Medicare Insurance – Medicare in SC.