Information for you
Who doesn't love a good shot to the arm?! Oh yeah.....nobody enjoys that. BUT we know we've got to do it anyway!
As you age, vaccines become increasingly more important. That is probably why your doctor urges you to get your vaccinations every year! As we get older, our immune systems naturally weaken and make it harder for our bodies to fight off common diseases such as: the flu, pneumonia and shingles. In addition, older people are more likely to have severe complications from these illnesses that can lead to long-term illness, hospitalization, and even death.
Furthermore, if you already have an ongoing health condition, such as heart disease or diabetes, getting vaccinated is especially important! We want you to stay healthy as you age!
Does Medicare cover vaccines for older adults?
Medicare Part B covers vaccines that protect against influenza, pneumococcal disease, and hepatitis B (if you're at increased risk for hep B). It also covers vaccines you may need following an injury (such as tetanus) or coming into contact with a disease (like rabies).
Medicare Part D plans generally cover more vaccines than Part B. But depending on your Medicare Part D plan, you may have out-of-pocket costs for these vaccines.
Yeah, Yeah.....we need them, but WHAT and WHEN?
The shingles vaccine is about 50% effective, if given between the ages of 65-70. Effectiveness of the vaccine begins to decrease over age 70 because the immune system isn't as effective in responding to it.
DISCLAIMER: We are not doctors, and are not giving medical advise or instruction. Information provided in this post was sourced from the Centers for Disease Control website as well as vaccines.gov. Before getting any vaccination or taking any kind of medication or supplement, please consult your physician.
Stay healthy! Wash your hands! And don't cough on your friends and family! ;)
IS IT SPRING YET?!
With this recent period of bitterly cold weather, snow, ice, wind and everything in between, I thought I would make a post about some resources in Central Missouri to help those who are currently struggling to make ends meet. Some of these may be things you're already aware of or currently using, but others may be new to you!
*Did you know that a change in income, a move, or a recent diagnosis could qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period for your Medicare or Affordable Care Act insurance? If you think one of these reasons may qualify you for a special enrollment period, please reach out to us so that we can get you the coverage you need at a price you can afford!
Central Missouri Community Action's (CMCA) Weatherization program-
CMCA's Weatherization Assistance Program assists in achieving a healthy dwelling environment and maximum practicable energy conservation in housing for people with low income. One main goal of the program is to help those persons least able to afford high energy costs conserve energy thereby allowing families to use the money saved for more pressing family needs. In addition, it provides a safer, healthier living environment for the residents and reduces energy demands for the whole community.
CMCA has been operating a weatherization assistance program since 1975. The program is available to all income eligible residents in the agency’s eight counties.
Click here for their application
Alpha Veteran's Disability Foundation
Free Diabetes ID Necklace
Help America Hear
Mid-Missouri Legal Services
For Military Families or Service Members
Military Family Assistance Program
Athletic Services for Veterans, Military Personnel and First Responders
Senior Community Service Employment Program
Military Members, Spouses, and Veterans
Career One Stop
Cleaning assistance for women with cancer
Spouses of Air Force Members
Service Members, Veterans, or Qualified Dependents
Stay warm, Stay SAFE, and BE WELL!
Medicare likes to keep you on your toes! We'll just pretend that's a tie in to last week's blog post! HAHA
Have you noticed that the premiums have changed on your monthly Social Security statement, but you're not sure why? Let us help clear that up for you! No matter whether you have a Medicare Advantage plan, a Medicare Supplement, a Prescription Drug Plan or even just Original Medicare.....you have probably noticed a change since 2021 started! That's because Medicare Part B has a monthly premium and an annual deductible, and Part A has a deductible that occurs every 90 days. Generally, these go up a little bit every year. Those dollar amounts are set by the federal government and don't change based on your Advantage plan or Supplement. For most people the Part B premium for 2021 is $148.50 and the annual deductible is $203 (these numbers can vary based on your income level, but this is what most people pay). Medicare Part A's deductible is now $1,484 per quarter.
We hope this helps to break it down a little for you, but if you are still scratching your head, feel free to give us a call or send us a message and we can give you a more thorough breakdown!
We hope everyone finishes this week out strong and has their stretchy pants ready for Superbowl Sunday! GO CHIEFS!
Well well, it has been a little while since we made a blog post, hasn't it? We're going to be better at that this year, we promise!
Something that we've heard a lot over the last several months, is that people are having a hard time staying active while stuck at home the majority of the time. Many people who attended workout classes, pre-covid, are unable to attend right now and it's EASY to become sedentary when you have nowhere to go! WE GET IT (*ahem* guilty as charged)! Here are a few ideas to keep your body moving and your brain sharp without having to leave the comforts and safety of home!
Until next time (sooner, I promise!): stay safe, stay healthy, and stay happy,
Janelle Harris - agent (the really short one) for Invictus Health and Wealth
By now we are several months into this Covid-19 pandemic, and most of you have heard, seen commercials, received letters and more with information on how to meet with your Physicians virtually, if needed. Did you know that you can meet with an insurance agent virtually as well? You certainly can with Invictus. We are able to meet in person, over the phone, virtually through Zoom or Google, or even via text! In this strange time of social distancing and taking every effort to keep everyone safe and healthy, we've had to get creative! Our mall location offers a plexiglass barrier between you and your agent, as well as masks, and the desks are sanitized between each client. We are doing all we can to keep the safety and health of our clients as a top priority, so stop by, give us a call, shoot us an email or Facebook message and set up your appointment your way!
This time of year we get a lot of questions about Medicare, how it works, and what your options are for coverage. Below I'm going to make a list of some of our most commonly asked questions. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to send us an email at email@example.com or call us at (573) 893-2110.
Why would I need more health insurance if I have Medicare?
It’s important to understand that Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, doesn’t include most prescription drug coverage. If you’d like Medicare prescription drug coverage, you can get it from a private health insurance company that contracts with Medicare.
Besides getting prescription drug coverage, you may have other options when you’re first eligible for Medicare.
Here’s a quick rundown of your Medicare coverage options beyond Original Medicare:
You typically continue paying your monthly Medicare Part B premium with any of these options.
If you’re content with Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, and you don’t need prescription drug coverage now, and you don’t want to add Medicare Supplement insurance–then you don’t have to make any coverage changes now. Do be aware that if you go without creditable prescription drug coverage for more than 63 days, you might have to pay a late-enrollment penalty if you decide to sign up for a Medicare drug plan later. Creditable prescription drug coverage is other coverage (such as a state pharmaceutical assistance prescription drug program, some employer group coverage, etc.) that provides prescription drug coverage that is as good as a standard Medicare prescription drug plan. If you have other prescription drug coverage, the company you get coverage from is required to inform you if it is considered creditable.
No matter how you decide to get your Medicare coverage, keep in mind that costs and benefits may change from one year to the next, so it’s a good idea to review your coverage annually to make sure it’s still meeting your needs. Premiums, cost sharing expenses, and specific benefits are all subject to change, whether you’re enrolled in Original Medicare, a Medicare prescription drug plan, or a Medicare Advantage plan.
If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, it’s a good idea to carefully review your plan’s Annual Notice of Change and Evidence of Coverage notices every fall to keep up with any coverage or cost changes. You can make coverage changes during the Annual Election Period (from October 15 to December 7).
What Is a Medicare HMO? What Are the Differences Between an HMO and PPO?
There are four main types of Medicare Advantage plans, but Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans and Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans are the most common types. Here is a comparison of the two varieties:
Should I Apply for Medicare or Keep My Employer’s Health Plan?
If you are turning 65 and still working, you might still be covered by your employer’s health insurance plan. Or, perhaps you get benefits through a spouse’s employer coverage.
Before you apply for Medicare, be aware that you might have several insurance options. For example, you may be able to:
It’s important that you contact your employer-based health plan administrator to find out how the plan works with Medicare.
To get the best value and health insurance coverage for your situation, learn about your employer coverage costs, and your costs if you apply for Medicare. You’ll need to do a little research to determine the best arrangement for you. An agent with Invictus Health and Wealth would be happy to sit down and discuss your options with you.
How Much Is the Medicare Late-Enrollment Penalty?
The Medicare program may charge a late-enrollment penalty if you don’t enroll in certain Medicare programs or plans when you’re first eligible. Delaying enrollment could increase your out-of-pocket costs for your coverage. There are late-enrollment penalties for Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, and Medicare Part D plans.
It’s important to understand the period when you’re first eligible for Medicare. This period is called your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), and if you qualify for Medicare by age, it starts three months before you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends three months later. It lasts for a total of seven months.
Original Medicare refers to Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance). It is the government-sponsored health care program for those who qualify by age (usually 65 and over). You may also qualify for Medicare before age 65 if you receive Social Security disability benefits. Medicare Part D is optional prescription drug coverage, available from private Medicare-approved insurance companies.
Note that another eligibility requirement for Medicare is U.S. citizenship or permanent legal residence for at least five years in a row.
Medicare enrollment penalty: Medicare Part A
Most Medicare beneficiaries get Medicare Part A premium-free. You won’t be charged a premium for Part A if you or your spouse worked at least 10 years (40 quarters) while paying Medicare taxes. And you’re automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A if you’re already collecting Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits when you turn 65 or qualify through disability.
If you don’t qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A, and you’re not automatically enrolled, then you may be required to pay a 10% higher monthly premium if you do not enroll when you are first eligible. You will have to pay this higher premium for twice the number of years that you could have had Part A coverage, but did not enroll. The Part A premium can be as high as $458 in 2020 (without the penalty).
For example, if you delayed enrollment in Medicare Part A for one year after your IEP was over, you could pay a 10% higher monthly premium for two years.
Medicare enrollment penalty: Medicare Part B
Medicare Part B may also have a late-enrollment penalty if you don’t sign up when first eligible, depending on your situation. Your monthly premium may go up 10% for each full 12-month period that you went without Part B coverage after your IEP ended. You may have to pay this enrollment penalty for the remainder of the time that you are enrolled in Medicare.
For example, suppose your IEP ended August 6, 2017, and you delayed Medicare Part B enrollment until the Medicare General Enrollment Period (January 1-March 31) in 2020. This would only include one full 12-month period of delay, so in this case you’d pay a 10% penalty on top of your Medicare Part B premium — but you’d pay this penalty for as long as you’re enrolled in Medicare Part B.
Some people choose to defer enrollment in Medicare Part B — such as beneficiaries who are still working and covered by an employer’s group plan. This is an example of a situation that could qualify you for a special enrollment period for Part B, and you might not have to pay the late-enrollment penalty.
Medicare enrollment penalty: Medicare Part D
Medicare prescription drug coverage (Medicare Part D) is optional. If you decide to get this coverage:
The “national base beneficiary premium” may go up each year, so the penalty amount may also go up every year. In addition to your premium each month, you may have to pay this penalty for as long as you have a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
How Does Medicaid Help People with Low Incomes Pay Medical Bills?
Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that helps pay medical bills for people with low income and limited resources. Eligibility for Medicaid depends on income level and family size.
Medicaid coverage differs from state to state. In all states, Medicaid pays for basic home health care and medical equipment. Medicaid may pay for homemaker, personal care, and other services that are not covered by Medicare. There are Medicaid programs that pay some or all of Medicare’s premiums and may also pay deductibles and coinsurance for certain people who qualify for Medicare and need financial assistance.
What is a Low Income Subsidy (Extra Help) and how do I apply?
Extra Help is a federal program that helps pay for some to most of the out-of-pocket costs of Medicare prescription drug coverage. It is also known as the Part D Low-Income Subsidy (LIS).
Medicare beneficiaries can qualify for Extra Help with their Medicare prescription drug plan costs. The Extra Help is estimated to be worth about $5,000 per year. To qualify for the Extra Help, a person must be receiving Medicare, have limited resources and income, and reside in one of the 50 States or the District of Columbia.
Apply for Extra Help HERE!
I hope this helps clear up some confusion on the complicated topic of Medicare! Please reach out to us if you have any questions!
Here's to an easy and stress free AEP!
We understand that during this time the majority of our clientele is worried about this viral outbreak, and that their portion of the populous is at a higher risk than most. We have heard your concerns and are rapidly coming up with ways to serve you best, while limiting your exposure to potential carriers of this virus. When things are so uncertain and the threat of serious illness is looming, many are worried about what they would do and how they would survive, should this illness infect their family. That's where we come in! We have been working closely with our Insurance Carriers to devise ways to provide our clients with additional coverages without having to come into close physical contact. Thank goodness for the internet! We are able to facilitate all of your insurance needs and concerns online. You can do your part from the comfort of your home! With a looming global pandemic on the rise, there's no better time than the present to assess your life and health insurance coverage, and consider adding the following:
1. a Medicare secondary policy. You may qualify for a special enrollment period. We can help you figure out if that scenario applies to you.
2. a hospital indemnity policy that would replace your income and cover copays and deductibles, if you were hospitalized
3. a life policy, whether it be a term policy or whole life, now is a great time to add some extra coverage just in case the unthinkable should occur.
4. a final expense policy that would cover any and all funeral expenses. These policies are great because they are whole life policies with liberal underwriting and quick approvals.
We hope that not a single one of our clients needs to use any of these, but we understand that it is on the forefront of some people's minds. It is better to be safe than sorry and we are here to walk you through the process! Get in touch with us today and let's make sure you have all of the coverage you need for these trying times and into the future.