Sunday, May 31, 2015

Do I pay more when I have an agent?

I was recently asked, "Will it cost me more if I go through an independent agent rather than shopping online or through an 800 phone number?"
You'll be happy to know that you will not pay any more for your insurance if you purchase your policy through an independent insurance agent like me rather than purchasing it online or through an 800 phone number.
In fact, going through an independent agent may save you money. As an independent agent, I can show you a number of options from many of the nation’s most respected insurance carriers to ensure that you are getting the policy that suits your needs and budget the best. In your case, I would be able to help both you and your wife find the best plans to fit your individual circumstances.
Working with an independent agent offers you other advantages as well, including:
Unbiased Advice: As an Independent insurance agent, I have a good understanding of the insurance industry and the benefits of the different insurance plans. I can help you choose a plan that covers the doctors, health care providers and hospitals or clinics that you prefer to use. Because of my experience, I also have a good idea of which companies have the best track record when it comes to pleasing their customers.
Help when you have questions: When my clients have questions, they call me instead of an 800 number where they reach a different customer service representative every time they call. Some clients prefer talking face to face rather than over the phone and they have the option of coming to my office. That’s something you won’t get when you purchase a policy online.
Help with claims: As an independent agent, I help my clients navigate the rules and regulations. I am able to provide assistance when they need help filing a claim or an appeal.
Information and Updates: I work hard to keep my clients informed about changes going on in the insurance industry. Whether it’s through our quarterly newsletters, personal contacts or annual meetings, my goal is to make sure my clients have access to the most timely information and options available to them.

There is never a charge for any of these services. They are all a part of the ‘package’ you get when you choose me as your agent. For other questions on Life, Health, Dental, Vision, Annuities or Medicare Advantage Plans, please contact me at 440-255-5700 or email me.
I'll be happy to help you.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Does Medicare cover me outside the U.S?

Planning to take a cruise where you will be stopping at ports outside the U.S.? Before you go on your trip, ask your agent about your coverage.

You may be surprised to learn that Original Medicare does not pay for health care services or supplies you get outside the U.S. except in very limited situations. Medicare considers the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa to be a part of the U.S. 

On your cruise for example, Original Medicare may cover medically necessary health care services you receive on board the ship within the territorial waters adjoining the land areas of the U.S. However, Medicare will NOT pay for health care services you get when a ship is more than 6 hours away from a U.S. port when you receive the services, regardless of whether it’s an emergency.

Original Medicare will provide coverage for out of country travelers only if their situations meet very specific exceptions as outlined in your Medicare & You Handbook. If your circumstances do not match the allowable exceptions, you will be responsible to pay the full cost to the health care provider. If your situation matches one of the allowable exceptions, you still pay the coinsurance or copayments and deductibles you would normally pay if you received these services or supplies in the U.S.

Medicare drug plans (Part D) cannot cover prescription drugs you buy outside the U.S. so be sure to bring a sufficient supply of your prescription medications with you.

If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Supplement, you may be entitled to additional coverage for health care services you receive outside the U.S. Advantage Plan coverage may vary so it’s best to give your insurance agent a call and ask them about your coverage before you begin your trip.

While I make every effort to provide you with up to date, accurate information, these are general guidelines. Your situation or circumstances may be different. For answers to your life, health or Medicare plan questions please contact me at Mutsko Insurance Services, LLC, 440-255-5700 or email me today

Monday, May 25, 2015

Does Medicare cover expenses the same as my health insurance?

Although Original Medicare is comparable to traditional health insurance, there are some very important differences that many people are not aware of. For example,

1.     Each Part of Medicare has its own separate deductible. Part A covers you in the hospital, Part B covers medical expense outside the hospital, and Part D covers your prescription costs.

2.     In general, Part B pays 80% and you pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for the doctor or health care provider services. The Part B deductible also applies.

3.    Original Medicare does not limit the amount you may have to pay out of your pocket for your share of medical services each year.

4.    Deductibles for Part A are not tied to a calendar year like traditional health insurance. It’s tied to a benefit period that starts when you go to a hospital and ends when you haven’t received hospital care for 60 days in a row.

5.    Original Medicare doesn't cover prescriptions unless you pay extra to purchase Part D coverage. 

Your share may be different if you choose a Medicare Advantage Plan (Medicare Part C) instead of Original Medicare. Advantage Plans are offered by private insurance companies but regulated by the government. They must provide the same coverage as Original Medicare and will often offer additional benefits such as an annual cap on out-of-pocket expenses, prescription drug coverage, vision and dental coverage, health club memberships and more. Some Medicare Advantage plans cost nothing more per month than original Medicare, while others come with a higher monthly premium. Contact me and I can help you find the Medicare Advantage Plan that meets your health care needs and budget.

For more answers to your questions on Medicare, please join me for my class, Getting Started with Medicare. This is an opportunity for you to gain a basic understanding of Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Supplements. For a list of all my upcoming classes, visit my website at (Pre-registration is required. These events are only for educational purposes and no plan specific benefits or details will be discussed.)

Medicare mistakes like these can cost you for years to come

The decisions you make about enrolling in Medicare now will have a lasting impact on your future health-care costs. Before you delay signing up, you should be aware of the consequences.
It is important to enroll in Medicare Part A during your initial enrollment period. Part A is premium-free if you or your spouse worked and paid taxes for ten years or more. If you do not qualify to receive it premium-free, the penalty for waiting to enroll is 10% of the Part A premium for twice the number of years you delay enrolling.
If you don’t enroll in Medicare Part B when you’re first eligible or you drop it and enroll at a later time, you may have to pay a penalty of an additional 10% of the Part B premium for every 12 months that you put off enrolling. In most cases, you will have to pay this penalty every month for as long as you have Part B coverage.
You can delay enrolling in Parts A and B without a penalty if you or your spouse are still working at age 65 and have health insurance through a current employer. Once your qualifying insurance ends, you and your spouse would be able to sign up for Part B without a penalty.
The Medicare Part D late enrollment penalty depends on how long you go without Part D or creditable prescription drug coverage. Medicare calculates the penalty by multiplying 1% of the "national base beneficiary premium" ($33.13 in 2015) times the number of full, uncovered months you didn't have Part D or creditable coverage. You will pay this penalty for as long as you’re enrolled in a Medicare Part D plan.
You may delay enrolling in Medicare Part D without penalty if you have other prescription drug coverage at least as good as Medicare. The penalty may also apply if you go for more than 63 days without creditable coverage.
If you have limited income and assets, you may be eligible for assistance through the state with your Medicare Part A, B & D coverage.

Got questions on health, life or Medicare plans? Contact me at 440-255-5700 or email. I’ll answer your questions and help you find the right insurance plan for you.