B-Informed Blog

B-Informed Blog

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Enriching your life; informing your health. Life insurance, and other topics.


Taking the Mystery out of Medicare
Taking the Mystery out of Medicare
There are a lot of perks that go along with senior citizenship: discounted meals, senior prices at the movies, and, of course, Medicare eligibility. In the United States, if you are over the age of 65 you are automatically eligible to receive Medicare Part A benefits without having to pay any premiums (according to the Social Security Administration). However, traditional Medicare doesn’t cover all healthcare expenses, so it’s wise to invest in either a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage plan in order to avoid spending more out-of-pocket. The following will help to clarify some of the main differences between the two plans:
Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Medicare Advantage
Certain plans designed to minimize out of pocket expenses & deductibles Designed to cost share out- pockets expenses, and deductibles
Used to supplement traditional Medicare Part A & B Comprised of health plans such as HMO’s and PPO’s
Certain plans cover emergency hospital visits, skilled nurses, doctor fees, travel, etc. Most plans include cost of prescription drugs
Certain plans fill in most gaps left by traditional Medicare Large financial gaps if medical issues arise
10 options of standardized Medigap plans Plans are not standardized
In most cases patients are able to receive care anywhere, anytime without a referral. In most cases plans will not provide comprehensive care when traveling out of network or out of state.

http://www.ehealthmedicare.com/about-medicare/compare-medicare-advantage-and-supplement/

Typically, Medicare Supplement plans are more expensive than Medicare Advantage, but also offer significant additional coverage. The Medicare Supplement plan can potentially save you thousands if serious illness or injury occurs. As CBS News states, “You might be able to realize substantial savings in premiums with a Medicare Advantage plan, but you also need to be aware of the tradeoffs with such a plan.” In a recent interview with Bankers Fidelity’s Medicare Strategy Specialist, Christian Novacek urged seniors to ask the following questions when comparing plans:

  1. If I get sick, which plans will provide me the best coverage with the least amount of deductibles?
  2. Can I afford a high deductible situation on my fixed income?
  3. Is it easier to set aside premium at an earlier age for a comprehensive plan today, or take my chances with out of pocket expenses?

Novacek goes on to state: “[With Medicare Advantage] you initially save on premiums, but the tradeoff is having a high deductible maximum of $3500- 6,700 annually per person depending on your provider. If you would like to minimize your risk, and prefer to err on the side of caution when it comes to your health, finances and the longevity of your retirement plan, then a Medigap plan is the way to go. “

Undoubtedly, the choice between Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage will vary from person to person. Just keep in mind that you can't purchase both; it has to be one or the other, as insurers are forbidden from selling Medigap to someone who has Medicare Advantage. Your insurance representative can help provide you with additional tips to make the best decision.                

Not affiliated with or endorsed by the United States government or the Federal Medicare program. This is a solicitation of insurance and an independent agent/producer may contact you. Medicare Supplement policy form series B 21092 underwritten by Bankers Fidelity Life Insurance Company, Atlanta, GA; Medicare Supplement policy form series B 21492 underwritten by Bankers Fidelity Assurance Company, Atlanta, GA. Limitations and exclusions apply; actual policy provisions control. Rates subject to change on a class basis. Individually underwritten; application to determine eligibility required. Products not sold in AK, CA, CT, FL, MA, ME, MN, NH, NJ, NY, OR, RI, VT, WA or WI. Plan availability varies by state.

Call us today to find medical supplement insurance.


Become A Doctor's Visit Pro
Become A Doctor's Visit Pro

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” might be true, but we’re still going to suggest at least one physical per year. Annual visits let your physician know how you're doing and also where you stand in comparison to people of a similar age. You’ve got a busy schedule,  and with an average 18 day wait time for family practice physicians, you want to make sure you get your doctor’s visit right on the first try. There’s nothing worse than walking out of the doctor’s office and suddenly remembering the foot pain you’ve been having for weeks- the foot pain you forgot to mention to your doctor. The following tips will help you avoid post-visit regrets, and make sure you’re getting the most out of your visit.

 

  1. Be prepared and be early. Showing up at 1:59 for a 2 p.m. isn’t the best game plan- especially when you get handed a stack of forms to fill out. Plan on getting to the office 15-20 minutes before you scheduled appointment,  and make sure you bring all the documents your doctor’s office requires- proof of insurance, driver’s license, etc. If you’ve recently changed insurance providers, plan on arriving 30 minutes early.This way, you aren’t cutting into any of your physical time.
  1. Make a list. As soon as you schedule your physical, start a running list of your physical concerns. Start a health journal where you can record the symptom, when it started, how often it occurs, what makes it better or worse, and how long it lasts. The more specific and detailed you are with your symptoms, the more likely it is that your doctor will be able to diagnose and treat the condition. Bring the journal to the appointment, and express each concern with your doctor.
  1. Mention medications. You're likely taking at least one prescription medicine and your doctor will need to know the type and dosage details, especially if you’ve recently switched physicians. You should also be sure to tell your doctor about over-the-counter pills you may be taking, as well as any supplements, herbal remedies or vitamins.
  1. Follow through with your follow-up. Don’t leave your doctor’s office without scheduling your next appointment! This way, even if you’re unable to make the scheduled appointment, you’ll be reminded the following year that it’s time for your check-up. If your doctor has referred you to a specialist, be sure to make your appointment with them immediately.

Being your own healthcare advocate requires a little effort and some time, but the feeling of walking away from your doctor’s appointment feeling secure, valued, and confident is worth it.

Find supplemental health insurance plans for you and your family today.


What No One Wants To Hear
What No One Wants To Hear

It’s a day I will never forget. Although it was 24 years ago, it’s as clear as what happened this morning. My husband, who was working from home that day, was the one who got the call from my doctor. He immediately called me at work: his voice trembled as he told me the news. I had breast cancer. This was unfathomable to me. I was a registered nurse after all…surely I would’ve had some sort of inkling, some tell-tale sign. But I had no symptoms, no pain, no discomfort, nothing. I was 56 years old at the time, and had put off a mammogram that my doctor had recommended the year prior. It was just a routine check, and well, life is busy, right? So I waited. Finally, on my doctor’s strong urging, I gave in. The mammogram showed a small tumor on the left breast. A general surgeon preformed a biopsy on January 19, 1990 and found it to be cancerous. The next days and weeks were a whirlwind of emotion — a lot of fear, anxiety and uncertainty, mixed with a flood of support, care and love from my friends, family and co-workers. I had a big decision to make. Of the four options the oncologist offered me, I chose the left mastectomy. The hospital stay lasted three days, followed by in-home physical therapy.I was fortunate to have an excellent team surrounding me, which allowed me to return to nursing six weeks later. As an ongoing treatment, I was put onTamoxifen twice a day, a medication I took faithfully for eight years. Two years after my initial diagnosis, my husband and I moved to another city.

A few years passed with no sign of cancer. Then, in 1998, I developed incontinence pain. I was referred to an urologist and again received the news no one ever wants to hear. I had cancer. Again! This time it was uterine cancer. I had a hysterectomy on January 18, 1999, and had preventative radiation of the cervix. I received twenty-eight doses. It seemed like I was destined to be a victim of cancer, in whatever form it decided to take. But my story has a happy ending. I have been cancer free since 1999. And while I’m not immune to the typical ailments that come with aging, I am proud to tell you that at the wise age of 81, I still travel, take care of my own home, work in the yard and live life to the fullest. Cancer isn’t something I would’ve ever asked for, but it has definitely given me a deep appreciation for life. Through the power of faith, family and friends, I know I can overcome any adversity – whatever life wants to bring my way, I’m ready to take it on.

Compare medicare supplement plans with Bankers Fidelity today.


Top Leaf Peeping Destinations for Fall Foliage
Top Leaf Peeping Destinations for Fall Foliage

There’s something undeniably electric about fall: the first hint of crisp air, all the autumnal treats that come from pumpkins and apples, and of course, changing leaves. The United States boasts some of the world’s most beautiful locales for the short weeks between summer and winter when leaves are at their most brilliant. The term “leaf peeper” was coined to describe those who travel to view and photograph the most stunning of the season’s foliage. If you decide to join the ranks of the leaf peepers this season, check out our list of must-see destinations to hit on your fall foliage tour (or just enjoy the pictures!)

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  • Aspen, Colorado. Though the North is best known for its dynamic season changes, Aspen’s dazzling autumn isn’t second-rate by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, the town was named after their famous Aspen trees, which provide a kaleidoscope of colors against the backdrop of the region’s mountains. Hurry though, because in Aspen you only have a small window of time to witness fall’s colors before winter sets in. Experts say that you'll start to see the colors changing by mid-September, but the season really peaks by the end of the month and into the first part of October.

 

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  • The Berkshires. Even if you're not a native New Englander, surely you've heard of the Berkshires, which comprise the western half of Massachusetts and parts of Connecticut. The area is more than 2,100 square miles and is teeming with colorful trees that you'll have to see to believe. Unlike other regions, The Berkshires have a lengthy fall foliage season, bright through late September to mid-October.

 

Fall foliage on Mt. Mansfield in Stowe, Vermont, USA
  • Green Mountain Byway, Vermont. Its nickname may be the Green Mountain State, but come fall, Vermont undergoes a stunningly colorful transformation. The Green Mountain Byway, located in the northern portion of the state, stretches over approximately 11 miles of breathtaking countryside. Besides the bounty of radiant leaves, you'll also be able to see the highest point in all of Vermont, Mount Mansfield. Leaf peeping enthusiasts say to aim for making a trip to the area before the first week of October is out.
 

Switch Up Your Workout
Switch Up Your Workout
There are lots of good reasons to exercise- more energy, increased endurance, better sleep, and stress relief, just to name a few. So, while deciding to exercise isn’t a hard choice, choosing between the countless exercise routines can prove difficult. You can find ten different people who swear by ten different exercise routines, but the key is finding what works specifically for you. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, healthy seniors should strive to get about two hours and 30 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic activity into each day. Men and women 65 and over should also try to fit in two days per week of muscle-strengthening activity, like weightlifting. The following are a handful of popular programs that you might want to consider giving a try:
  • Zumba. If a traditional workout bores you, try hitting up a Zumba class. It’s basically a dance party, designed to target and strengthen your core and work out your lower body muscles. Your core muscles are in the center of your body and help improve balance.  Inspired by Latin American dance, you’ll have a blast (and break a sweat) grooving out with Zumba.
  • Tai Chi. Similar to karate, Tai Chi is a form of martial arts characterized by performing a series of slow, deliberate movements that help heighten mental awareness and relax tension in the body, while also building the core muscles. It’s believed to help reduce joint pain and may even help lower blood pressure.
  • Yoga. This form of exercise has its roots in Hinduism, but its popularity is proof positive that it's gone global. Through positions like "pike," "plank," "downward facing dog" and "cobra," Yogis notice increased flexibility, improved relaxation and improved blood pressure. It may even help you sleep better, and with instructional Yoga DVD’s, you can sun salute from your living room.
  • Walking. Going for a leisurely stroll never goes out of style. You can kick things up a notch by going for a brisk walk, moving fast enough to increase your heart rate without breaking into a jog. Enthusiasts swear by the benefits, which include increasing stamina, toning muscles and keeping the heart healthy. There are even race walking events you can take part in if you're looking for some competition!