CaraVita Home Care wants all seniors to be safe and informed. We take measures to educate and protect our clients. Medicare is one of the most significant topics families ask about. CaraVita Home Care wants to connect families to individuals who can help them navigate any area of senior living. Medicare consultant, Bonnie Dobbs, is an excellent resource that actively protects seniors in the Greater Atlanta area. The following is a CaraVita Guest Blog written by Bonnie Dobbs:
Did you know? Many people believe that if they are enrolled in an insurance plan to help offset the cost of original Medicare, it is good anywhere in the United States. However, this is NOT true! Even though Medicare is a Federal program, it differs from state to state, county to county, and in some plans, even zip code to zip code! In addition, here are a few other things within your Medicare program that you may not be aware of:
There Are Some "Gotchas" in the
Medicare Advantage Plans and Prescription Drug Plans each have specified service areas. There are three different areas, which can vary by insurer. They are HMO areas, local PPO areas, and regional PPO areas. It is up to you to be aware of these specific boundaries. Unfortunately, most agents don't place enough emphasis on this. As a Medicare Consultant, I understand the importance of placing an emphasis on this, as it is vitally important in saving you money, not to mention, this will give you a peace of mind that you have uninterrupted coverage in your new location.
Did you know that your plan is good in any area of the United States if it is an emergency? You can go on vacation and if there is an emergency, you go to the emergency room and you are charged as if you were in your service area.
Do you know what happens if you use your plan outside of your service area? If you use your plan outside your service area for care other than an emergency, you will have to pay a higher cost if your plan is a PPO and all costs if you have an HMO. That could create a financial burden you do not want to incur.
Do you know what happens if you move outside your service area and try to use your same plan? If you move outside your service area, your plan will be canceled if you have a Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Plan. This leaves you facing two potential problems. You have no coverage, and Medicare will penalize you if you go more than 63 days without coverage.
Did you know once you incur a penalty, it is for as long as you are on Medicare? And how long are you going to be on Medicare? For life.
Medicare Supplement Plans are good anywhere in the United States and most are also available abroad; there is also no coverage issues with relocating. However, it is vital that you update your new address with Medicare when you move.
I know you are probably thinking, " Bonnie, slow down, you are moving too fast!" Please reread this information. Let it settle in. Tell your family, neighbors, and friends. Sometimes when people move, it is because of a crisis. Their thinking is not clear or now someone else may be making decisions about where you are going to live, and may not be aware of service area issues and how Medicare works.
Start spreading the word....
If you are moving, please contact a broker. A broker is an individual who represents many companies. As a broker, I represent most companies and all plans in several states. Remember, if you are moving across the street, to another county or state, please have your plan reviewed and compared to plans in your NEW service area. If not, you might have to pay the entire bill if you need medical care. It would be wise to remain on your current plan, but even wiser to find a plan that is more benefit rich and costs less.
Please feel free to contact me or someone in my agency, Medicare and Other Red Tape. I make sure my agents are knowledgeable about things that affect your care and your pocketbook. My contact email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laughter is the best medicine and it doesn't have a $35 co-pay!
Written by: Bonnie Dobbs
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