health insurance information
Medicare Open Enrollment is Oct 15 to Dec 7
For 2021 healthcare coverage, Medicare’s annual Open Enrollment period runs from October 15 to December 7, 2020.
During Medicare Open Enrollment, seniors can:
- Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan
- Change from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare
- Select a different Medicare Advantage plan
- Choose a different Medicare prescription drug plan
Why do seniors need to make changes to their Medicare plans?
Medicare health and drug plans can change each year: costs, coverage, and which providers and pharmacies are in-network.
That means the plan that covered everything your older adult needed this year might not have the same coverage next year.
This is especially true for Part D prescription drug plans.
When the plans change, this could result in significant increases in next year’s healthcare costs.
But often, changing to a different plan could get the coverage your older adult needs without increasing their premium or out-of-pocket costs.
And, there’s always the chance that a plan with a lower premium could provide the coverage they need.
The Annual Notice of Change letter highlights important changes
To find out what’s changing in your older adult’s current Medicare plans, look for the Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) letter.
The ANOC is a helpful summary that highlights any changes in coverage, costs, or service area that will be effective in January 2021.
Medicare plans send their ANOC letters in early October and Medicare Advantage plans typically send theirs in September.
Compare 4 important areas of Medicare coverage
Is the plan premium going up? If the increase is significant, there might be a plan that gives similar coverage at a lower price.
2. Deductibles and co-pays
What are the current deductibles and co-pays? Will these be increasing next year?
3. Prescription drug coverage
Medication that’s not covered is expensive. Paying special attention to prescription drug plans could save a lot of money.
It’s time-consuming, but necessary to find out how changes in drug plan premiums, formulary, and pricing tiers will affect the cost of medications your older adult takes.
Typically, a plan could raise premiums, add or remove drugs from their formulary, change pricing, or move drugs from one price tier to another.
Look up each of your older adult’s medications so you’ll know:
- If it’s covered in the plan’s formulary
- Which pricing tier the medication is in
- How much the drugs in that tier will cost
It’s also important to know if your older adult’s preferred pharmacy is in the plan’s network (prices are lowest in-network) and if there are any restrictions, like prior authorization or being forced to try a certain drug first.
Estimating those costs and taking restrictions into account gives you a clear picture of which 2019 plan will provide the most cost-effective prescription drug coverage.
Note: A plan’s formulary is the list of covered medications. Most prescription drug plans have 5 pricing tiers – preferred generics, other generics, preferred branded drugs, other branded drugs, and expensive specialty medications. Each tier has a different cost.
4. Part C / Medicare Advantage / Managed Care
If your older adult has a Medicare Advantage plan, call their current doctors, hospitals, specialists, and other providers to make sure they’ll still be in the plan’s provider network in 2019.
Changes made during Open Enrollment will take effect on January 1, 2021. And after December 7th, no further changes to Medicare coverage can be made for 2021.
We explain why reviewing and making changes to your older adult’s medical and prescription plans can help them save money and improve next year’s coverage.
We also share how to know which plan changes to focus on, how to compare 4 key areas of coverage, and 4 ways to get help with Medicare decisions.
What is a critical illness policy?
Critical illness cover pays a tax-free lump sum if you’re diagnosed with a defined critical illness during the policy term.
Provided you keep paying your premiums, you should be covered throughout the term. Once the policy term ends, all protection stops.
When you take out a policy you can decide how long it will last e.g. until your children have grown up, or until the mortgage is paid off.
Critical illness cover is often available as a combined policy with term life insurance. In these instances, you can often only claim once.
For example, if you get a cash payout after being diagnosed with cancer, the policy is effectively finished. There is usually no life insurance payout if you die at a later date.
Who needs it?
Different people will need critical illness cover for a variety of reasons.
If you’re single, you might want a policy to ensure your mortgage is paid, and some form of cover is often a requirement of the mortgage application.
If you have children, you may want to ensure your family is provided for if you can’t work due to ill health.
Recovering from a critical illness can also mean extra costs for you and your family e.g. making changes to your home or car. Your payout could be used to cover this.
Should I get critical illness insurance?
Most people could benefit from a critical illness policy, but the impact of the premium and the benefit of the payout will vary from person to person.
It’s a matter of weighing up the monthly cost against the benefits of a payout. If you and your family depend heavily on your salary, it could be exactly the kind of protection you need.
If you have no financial commitments or dependents, critical illness insurance may not be for you.
How much cover do I need?
Traditionally, critical illness plans pay out the full amount regardless of how serious your illness actually is.
Some offer severity-based cover, where the payout depends on how bad your illness is.
When deciding on how much cover you need, think about what you would lose if you were unable to work due to illness.
Also, think about what financial commitments you would still have, such as children or a mortgage.
Try using our life insurance calculator, which can help you figure out how much cover you may need.
Which illnesses are covered?
Illnesses covered will vary between insurers, so it’s important to check the details of a policy before you buy.
Policies commonly cover illnesses such as some types of cancer, heart attacks and strokes, and may include optional add-on illnesses.
Other conditions that could be classed as critical illness include:
- Major organ transplant
- Parkinson’s disease
- Traumatic head injury
- Bacterial meningitis
- Diagnosis of ALS
- End Stage Renal Failure
- Heart Attack
A critical illness and terminal illness are different things – a standard life insurance policy should cover any illness where you are expected to die within 12 months of diagnosis.
How can I this insurance?
There are two ways you can get this Critical illness insurance. First, you can get a stand alone policy to cover this. the premium is vary by the companies. This type of policy usually have some limitations; such as the length of the policy term and the coverage amount.
Second, you may get this policy bundle with your life insurance products. Currently some of the life insurance companies offer the rider that the customer can add “Critical Illness ” onto the policy. So, the premium you are paying to the policy will have not only has the life protection, but also has the Critical Illness protection. This life policy will not have the limit for the policy term and the coverage amount, as long as your policy is active and in force, the customer will have the cover.
Our agency offer free consultation with the client and meet their needs. Contact us today and see which option is good for you.