Maximizing Your Medicare BenefitsAt The McGriff Burrus Alliance, we are always looking for ways to help you protect your assets. As the fall season approaches, a lot of time and attention is given to football and that is understandable.

But for our clients that are on Medicare for their health insurance, the fall season also ushers in Medicare's Annual Election Period which runs from October 15th through December 7th. This is a window of opportunity to devote some time and attention to consider making changes to make sure you are protected in the best way possible as it relates to Medicare, a Medicare Supplement, and a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. And remember, the Roman poet Virgil said, "The greatest wealth is health."

While it is true that Medicare Supplement policies are standardized, the government's mandate for standardization is only in relation to the core benefits. We have discovered that insurance companies can add additional benefits to make their Medicare Supplement policy more attractive.

Below are some things we have researched that may be helpful to you as well as examples of things to look for:

Your doctor says, "Medicare does not pay for that preventive service."

Some Medicare Supplement policies will pay 100% for preventive services even if Medicare rejects the claim because they don't cover it. We feel it is important for your doctor to be unrestricted when it comes to prevention.

Your doctor says, "Medicare only pays for additional testing if you are symptomatic."

We have found that some Medicare Supplement policies will pay for any type of prevention test if your doctor orders it—whether you are symptomatic or not.

Your current Medicare Supplement contract says, "No, we will not pay for you to go to M. D. Anderson out in Houston, TX. We have cancer treatment centers here in our network that you have to use."

Our research shows that M. D. Anderson is the best cancer treatment center in the country, and M. D. Anderson accepts Medicare. We have also found out that some Medicare Supplement policies are not limited by geographic networks of doctors and networks of hospitals and clinics. In other words, you don't want a Medicare Supplement policy that has geographic limits on where you can go for treatment.

You have to pay a co-payment every time you go to the doctor.

We have found that some Medicare Supplement policies will totally eliminate co-payments.

Your current Medicare Supplement says, "Medicare pays for the first 20 days of post-hospital skilled nursing rehabilitation. Starting on day 21, Medicare pays all but a co-payment of $161 per day and we do not cover that co-payment."

Some Medicare Supplement policies will pay for an additional 100 days of post-hospital skilled nursing and/or rehab care.

You are paying $150 or more per month for your Medicare Supplement.

Some Medicare Supplement companies offer a High Deductible Medicare Supplement that could save you $100 or more per month on your Medicare Supplement premium. If you like to be rewarded with a lower premium in exchange for carrying a deductible, this is a strategy you might want to explore. We can help you redirect your premium savings into an investment strategy so you can manage the High Deductible yourself. And, by the way, most Medicare Supplement agents don't even mention the High Deductible option because it reduces their commission!

You are paying $50-$75 per month for your Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plan.

Some Medicare Supplement agents are also contracted with certain Prescription Drug companies and they steer you toward their drug plan so they will make a commission. In our opinion, this is unethical. The fact is the Medicare Part D prescription drug plan arena is very competitive. You can shop for your drug plan yourself every fall (i.e. the aforementioned October 15th through December 7th window) and see if there is a better plan for you, possibly saving your money. We can help you.

You are 65 or older, still working, still covered by your plan at work, but your plan at work has deductibles and co-payments that add up to a huge out-of-pocket expense before the plan pays anything.

It is a good idea to at least consider what Medicare plus a good Medicare Supplement could do for you. In doing so, we have found that oftentimes you can get better coverage at a lower premium and more control over your own health care management.

Put October 15th through December 7th on your calendars, and don't let another year go by without maximizing your Medicare benefits. Give us a call today at (205) 991-4448 and we'll connect you with the resources you need to educate yourself on this very important aspect of your healthcare.

Sent from the Land of Possibilities!

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