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MYM Newsletter
December 15, 2018
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Medicare Section

2019 Appearance Schedule

  • Tampa, FL (Jan 2019)
  • Bay City, MI (Feb 2019)
  • Saginaw, MI (Feb 2019)
  • Lansing, MI (Mar 2019)
  • Ann Arbor, MI (Apr 2019)
  • Plymouth / Canton, MI (Apr 2019)
January 1 - March 31: What You Can Still Do
Beginning on January 1, a NEW Medicare enrollment period will begin. It will run between Jan 1 and March 31. People can change Medicare Advantage plans once. People can switch to Medigap (but order will matter, it's vital).

Listen here (click).
Here's your hint: If you have decided that a different Medicare Advantage plan is best for you, then you should change right away, as soon as January 1st. The simple reason is that especially if you change carriers, plans have different deductibles, copays, coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximum levels. If you select a new Medicare Advantage plan, then there is going to be confusion regarding where you stand, especially when attempting to keep track of where you stand on the deductible.
It is already difficult enough to understand insurance, so making a change mid-year is inviting more confusion.

This is certainly going to raise the ire of some. This new enrollment period is certainly going to create some confusion. It does not matter that the topic is health insurance, it does not matter that the government is involved, it doesn't matter that we live in a skeptical society. What matters is that "people like me" are not supposed to be recommending that people make changes to Medicare Advantage plans, but merely informing them that they are able to do so, if they have found out that other plans may fit their needs in a better way. Around and around we go, because to complicate matters, some financial people will be out there, prodding people to change.

Let's leave it this way.
  • Medicare advantage plans have improved across the board, on every last detail. That does not mean that each plan has improved in the same way, that would be impossible.
  • That is a double-edged sword, because not looking can mean that you are leaving a lot of money that should be yours. That can be due to Rx costs, or dental/vision that you wanted to access, or a specific specialist. Again, all of the moving parts are moving, and have moved quite dramatically over the past years, and especially this year.
  • If you have a specific need or situation (like you take prescription drugs, or you need to see a particular specialist), then the improvement in Medicare Advantage plans may (or may not) suit those needs, lower your costs, or improve your benefit.
  • If you require guidance on this, you can reach us. We are not going to be reaching out to anyone in order to begin this conversation. It is entirely up to the policyholder.
Personal Finance
Court Rules ACA Unconstitutional
...Meh

Update: Last night, the ACA was ruled to be unconstitutional. And while this LA Times article is largely true (link), the bottom line is that the deadline for individual health insurance enrollment is today, December 15, at 11:59PM Pacific Standard Time. If you have enrolled, there is no change to your 2019 plan.

2019 has no individual mandate, i.e. there is no longer a tax penalty if you do not have individual health insurance. For those of you that do not want to purchase health insurance, that is your prerogative, with no tax consequences. What readers here know: we are trying to inform readers about the unforeseen consequences and risks that may result.

The Bad
Premiums continue to be all over the map. It very much depends on location and carrier. Since the individual mandate is ending, there is little doubt that people will elect to discontinue their health insurance. There is no other way around the everyday logic: the people that cancel will be those that are in good health, who are precisely those required in order to keep health insurance premiums down. That said, it is not as if this is news to health insurance carriers, who "should've" factored this in, while determining premiums for 2019. Update: not surprisingly, the enrollment numbers on the Federal marketplace are down, according to Health Affairs (one of the most even-handed of information sources): Link.

Adverse Selection
The "logical" way that very healthy people may choose is to cancel health insurance in 2019, and enroll next year. The underlying presumption here is that the "no pre-existing condition exclusion" still exists. The point here is that if you attempt to cancel in 2019 and enroll in 2020, and you have a medical condition, we do not know if the "automatic acceptance" rules will still apply. There is little doubt that that the recent mid-term elections certainly favor the continuation of "automatic acceptance" will still apply. Nevertheless, file this idea under the "you never know..."

The Good
The tax subsidy which allows people to purchase individual health insurance at sharply lower premiums is still intact, if your state has adopted Medicaid expansion. Depending on the state, this may also include lower deductibles and lower out-of-pocket maximums. last point is that the recent midterm elections will likely make it much more difficult to reverse course in the short term.
Dental / Vision Special
Deadline is December 15th

Most who have reached us know, dental and vision are not really insurance. They are "coupons," because you are required to pay premium, and your payouts are limited to fixed-dollar amounts. That makes it entirely different from health insurance.

There is more fine language. Regarding dental, one of the clauses is the idea that the maximum benefit amount is limited, but it increases with the number of years that you are a policy holder. With this specific carrier, you get the full credit for a full year, if you enroll for effective date of December 15. That will mean than beginning on January 1, 2019, the maximum benefit amount will be the same as if you were a member for 2 years, not one.

In addition, there are ways to get higher maximums (up to $5,000 a year, for those big dental bills). For more information, CLICK HERE.
Viable, Standalone Vision Coverage (click the image)
Standalone dental and vision insurance quotes here.
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