Medicare Part B 2018 Update

It is the middle of November 2017 and we are already halfway through the Annual Enrollment Period and there still seems to be a lot confusion relating to Medicare Part B. Some folks have no idea what they’ll be paying, some don’t know when they should start it, some don’t know how to sign up for it, and then some don’t even know what Part B is or what it does.

medicare part b premium 2018

First, Part B is the medical portion of your Medicare, meaning it covers about 80% of your doctor/specialist visits, surgeries, outpatient procedure, x-rays, MRI’s, cat-scans, ER visits etc. To clarify, when you have both Parts A & B you are about 80% covered as far as costs, you then need to make a decision regarding Part C or Medigap supplement insurance to fill in the gap.

One thing I notice a lot is that I meet numerous people who are insured under employer plans because they continue to work past age 65 but have both Parts A & B of Medicare already in place. When you turn age 65 you are automatically enrolled into Part A so you have no choice. However, if you are going to continue to stay covered under your employer’s plan past age 65 you should know you do not need to enroll into Medicare Part B.

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If you do, you will end up paying the Part B premium and you will not even be reaping the benefits of it because your employer plan is still covering your medical benefits. You would be simply throwing money out the window. As long as you are being covered medically under credible coverage you will not incur a penalty of not signing up for Part B.

Now there is a lot of confusion being created when it comes to employers offering Cobra as being credible coverage.

**Buyer Beware**

Cobra is not considered credible coverage and there could potentially be penalties involved so PLEASE reach out to BGA Insurance Group so we can accurately explain your options. If you don’t, you could end up costing yourself a lot of extra money.

Most folks have a good sense of when they are thinking of retiring and start to plan out their options three months ahead of their retirement date, I say, great idea!

If you know your last day of employment will be Feb. 28th, for example, chances are that will be the last day of your medical coverage. Always check with your HR department for confirmation on that because it is vitally important. Let’s use the Feb.28th day as an example, then we know you would want your Medicare Part B start date slated for March 1st, reason being you do not want a lapse in coverage.

That means it is imperative that you call or visit your local social security office so you can fill out the proper paperwork so you can have your Part B date activated. After you’ve done that a BGA insurance agent can sit down with you and discuss all your Medicare supplement options along with the Part D prescription plans.

The exact amount you will be paying for Part B will be declared by Social Security in 2018. You will have to speak with that office for an exact clarification for that amount. Some folks will pay more for Part B than others which is determined on your income. Without getting too political some would argue that is flat-out wrong because we all paid into it with our taxes our whole working-class lives. But it is what it is.

You will pay the normal premium amount if any of the following apply, this is based on 2017 because of course no information is available as of now for 2018 but I am pretty sure the same rules will apply:

  • 2017 is the first time you enroll in Part B
  • You do not receive Social Security benefits
  • You are directly billed for your Part B premiums
  • Medicaid pays any premiums because you have Medicaid and Medicare (therefore your state will pay the standard premium amount of $134)

Your modified adjusted gross income as reported on your IRS tax return from two years ago is above a certain amount. If so, you’ll pay the standard premium amount and an Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). IRMAA is an extra charge added to your premium.

Again, the most important thing you need to decide first, is when you will be retiring and how long you will be covered under credible coverage. Next, get in touch with social security and sign up for Part B on your desired date and find ask what your monthly premium will be. After that, get in touch with a BGA insurance agent and the rest is really easy and stress free.

There are about four weeks left of AEP, anyone in PA, NJ, DE, or FL who is confused, wants to change their Advantage (HMO) plan, wants to pay significantly less for their medigap plan or drug plan, reach out, we’re here waiting to assist you.


Joe Bachmeier is a co-founder of BGA Insurance Group

(855) 494-0097

BGA Insurance Group is licensed to help seniors in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Florida.

The article Medicare Part B 2018 Update originally appeared on BGA Insurance Group


Medicare Part D 2018 Costs

reviewing your annual medicare planHello Medicare recipients. Let me start by quoting one of my agents “It’s that time of year again!” and I just want to take a few minutes here and update all of you on some new costs for 2018 regarding Medicare Part D.

This coming year the deductible phase will be increased by $5 to $405 in 2018. That does not mean every plan has a deductible, all it means is that per Medicare guidelines is that no plan can have a deductible exceeding $405 for the year. Contact BGA about obtaining a deductible free plan.

Next is the initial coverage phase which is also known as the copay or coinsurance phase.

The limit will increase from $3,700 in 2017 to $3,750 in 2018. This is basically where the Medicare member pays a flat copay for his or her prescriptions until the total annual cost of $3,750 is reached.

Next phase once you reach the limit on your copay’s will be the coverage gap also known as the “donut hole.” The TrOOP (true out of pocket) expenses will increase from $4,950 in 2017 to $5,000 in 2018.

In 2018, Part D enrollees will get a 65% donut hole discount on the total cost of their brand-name drugs bought while in the donut hole. The discount is a 50% discount paid by the brand-name drug manufacturer and will apply to getting you out of the donut hole (or TrOOP). One thing to note is that the additional 15% paid by your Medicare Part D plan will not count toward your TrOOP.

For example: If you get to the the donut hole and purchase a brand-name medication with a standard retail price $200, you will pay $70 for the medication, and receive $130 credit toward meeting your 2018 total out-of-pocket spending limit.

Part D members can expect to pay 44% for generic costs and receive a 56% discount. For those of you who only take a few generic scripts really don’t have to worry about falling into the donut hole because the retail costs for generics are usually minimal compared to brand name retail costs.

Catastrophic Coverage is the last phase a member could reach once out of the coverage gap. This is where Medicare picks up 80% of the cost, your Part D plan covers 15% and your responsibility is only 5%.

I know this basic outline is still very confusing for most of you but that’s why BGA Insurance Group is here and you should reach out to an agent for guidance and understanding. By contacting us you could end up saving yourself hundreds of dollars for your 2018 Medicare coverage.

We are licensed in the states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Florida. Seniors in any of these states should take advantage of our free Medicare enrollment consultations in order to confirm that their current plan is indeed their best option.


Joe Bachmeier is a co-founder of BGA Insurance Group

(855) 494-0097

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The article Medicare Part D 2018 Costs originally appeared on BGA Insurance Group

Medicare Annual Enrollment 2018

medicare annual enrollment

October is upon us! And the season is here for those of you who need to make changes, and BGA Insurance Group is here waiting for you. Remember that Annual Enrollment runs from October 15th through December 7th, 2017.

As our current BGA clients know it’s that time of year to review your PDP costs for 2018. BGA has thousands of clients who are enrolled in independent prescription plans that need to be reviewed, and we leave no customer behind. Make sure you contact your agent because what was good for you in 2017 may not be best for you in 2018. It’s all about being cost-effective, and you may, in fact, save yourself a lot of money.

As most of you know if you have a Medigap plan you can change to another Medigap plan at any time throughout the year. But since we are already reviewing your PDP plan it’s a good idea to ask if you are still competitive regarding your supplement costs. Keep in mind, although you’re allowed to change your Medigap plan you will still be underwritten when applying for a new plan, and of course, underwriting does not apply to Medicare Advantage clients.

Some great news I want to share with everyone regarding BGA Insurance Group. We are now doing live webinars! That means you can view our Medicare presentation online in the privacy of your own home. This is a great tool if you also have a group of friends who want to get together and learn what your entitlements are.

The system BGA uses is very senior friendly, and we are there online with you to answer all your questions and address your concerns. We have had a lot of positive feedback from people who have already taken advantage of this new feature.

Some folks always ask me about the state of Delaware and how it is different from Pennsylvania. As far as Medigap is concerned, we use mostly the same companies. I know Aetna, Cigna, Trans are major players in Delaware among a few others. When it comes to Medicare Advantage, the plans and companies differ greatly but usually cover the same benefits but differ in costs.

If you live in the state of Delaware make sure to contact BGA for pricing and enrollment information.

I know a lot of BGA clients go out of their way to refer their family members and friends to work with us. We thank you! As you know the BGA agent is very patient and prides themselves as a knowledgeable resource when it comes to Medicare and retirement planning.  We guarantee that we will always work within your parameters of your budget and your health care concerns.

We know there are a lot of confused people who find it difficult understanding Medicare, so I ask you to keep referring your family and friends to us. They will always thank you for it.

If you are reading this blog, you already know where to find us, and you can read past blogs that are posted under our “advice” section. I also want to add that you may want to check us out on where we have some informative videos posted and will continue to post new information on a regular basis throughout the year. Please feel free to give us a thumbs up and add a comment or two and let us know what other information you would like us to cover.

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I also want to add that we are also updating our BGA website site under our “team” section. We are updating that section so everyone on our team will have their landing page when you click on their picture. Each agent will also have their Medicareful link that you can enroll yourself on any of our Medicare Advantage plans we offer just by clicking the link on the plan of your choice.

You will also have a few Part D prescription plans to choose from. Just make sure you speak to your BGA agent first so this way you choose the right plan for you.

And lastly some great news on the horizon, BGA Insurance Group will be celebrating our 10-year anniversary this coming May 2018! Yes, ten years! As an agency, we have been so busy we don’t know where the time has gone. It almost feels we’ve only been here for five years. From time to time I still enjoy reading our company bio to remind myself where we came from and where we started.

I want to thank my business partner, management team and all our agents for a great ten years because without all of them there would be no BGA Insurance Group. I can’t wait what is in store for BGA Insurance Group for the next ten years, and we continue to strive for excellence and assist every senior out there.


Joe Bachmeier is a co-founder of BGA Insurance Group

(855) 494-0097

Please contact us if you live in southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware or Florida.

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The article Medicare Annual Enrollment 2018 originally appeared on BGA Insurance Group