We all knew it was coming, but hoped it wasn’t – the decreased payments to Medicare Advantage insurers for 2010 which will affect health insurance quotes.
While many in the nation hoped that they had heard wrong about funding cuts to Medicare, the recent announcement in late July 2009 sealed the deal. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services put their mouth where their money is and confirmed cuts in funding to Medicare Advantage insurers by as much as 4 to 4.5 percent starting in 2010. This move will put many insurers out of business and the additional costs will likely be handed down to seniors. This will also mean that affordable health insurance may become difficult to find.
While it’s not clear yet how the lower rates will impact senior’s private health insurance plans, it’s likely the lower reimbursements will impact earnings for private insurers who, in turn, will fob the higher costs of premiums for health insurance plans to their customers. The upshot of this could very well be much higher premiums being paid for fewer benefits in the Medicare Advantage plan. The other very real concern is whether or not the Medicare Advantage plan will even survive in the long-term.
When changes like this loom on the horizon, education comes into play. There is a critical need for seniors to understand the differences between Medicare Advantage and Medicare supplement plans (Medigap). In order to evaluate what they have and what they may need for the future, knowing the differences will help them make more informed decisions about whether or not they are getting affordable health insurance.
In a nutshell, if a senior has Medicare supplement insurance, they have the ability to choose their own doctors and hospitals; however there are no referrals to specialists. The Medigap policies have monthly premiums, but Medicare actually covers up to 80 percent of health care costs. Medigap then picks up the rest of the costs.
In the case of Medicare Advantage, many seniors pay either a really low premium or no premium at all which means it is definitely affordable health insurance. If that is the case, then the plan “is” the primary insurance. Most of these plans insist that their members only see physicians that are in a specified network. The conundrum is what precisely will work in each individual case, and this is where it makes sense to talk to an expert insurance agent to get sensible health insurance quotes.
Local insurance agents make the most sense because they know the existing networks, what doctors are in those networks, who pays their claims and who doesn’t, and what hospitals are the best for certain medical problems. Knowing what your local networks offer allows you to make the best choice for your circumstances. In any case, it is vital that those over the age of 65 find out about the variety of plans from which they may choose, prior to buying anything. Affordable health insurance is a critical issue for seniors.
Clelland Green is with Benepath.com, a leader in providing health insurance quotes. Benepath provides individuals, families, and businesses with affordable health insurance quotes in just a few mouse clicks. To learn more about Health insurance quotes, affordable health insurance, affordable health insurance quotes, health insurance plans, visit Benepath.com.