Informed on 
Senior Health Insurance

Paul Cholak - Principal
Licensed Insurance Agent
November 2017 - In This Issue:
We Offer:
  • Medicare Supplement Plans
  • Medicare Advantage (Part C) Plans
  • Part D Prescription Drug Plans
  • Supplemental Health Insurance
  • Health Insurance for Individuals and Families (Affordable Care Act)
  • Dental and Vision Plans
  • International Travel Medical Plans
  • Life Insurance
  • Pre-planned Funeral Arrangements
  • Final Expense Insurance
  • Life Insurance for Diabetics and Other Hard-to-Insure Individuals
  • Annuities
  • Prepaid Legal & Identity Theft Plans
About our Principal,  
Paul Cholak

Paul holds resident (Florida) and non-resident life, health and annuity licenses in 31 other states.  He also has a Florida Pre-need sales agent license.

He's certified to sell Medicare Advantage and Part D Prescription Drug plans and offers Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans, as well. 
He also offers Prepaid Legal Expense and Identity Theft Plans.
He has many years of benefits experience and has been Director of Employee Benefits for large companies, as well as a benefits consultant with major consulting firms. He negotiated the first "reasonable and customary" health plan reimbursement programs in labor contracts and also implemented the first group dental insurance plan.  

He knows all aspects of individual and family health insurance and has extensive experience with group plans, as well.
He's available 24/7 and continues to stay in touch with his customers after they've made their insurance purchase.  He's always available to help customers who have claims or other problems with their coverage or have any questions about their policies.

He's a recipient of the prestigious Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and been listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who Registry of Business Leaders and Who's Who in Finance and Industry. 
He's a member of Phi Beta Kappa and other national honorary societies and organizations such as Omicron Delta Kappa. He's a graduate of certificate programs from a number of prestigious institutions, been invited to speak at corporate  and university training programs, been featured in articles in national books and magazines, and is also a published author.   

Highest Social Security Increase Since 2012 Announced
The Social Security Administration recently announced that Social Security payments will increase 2% next year. The increase is referred to as a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). This is the highest increase since 2012 but is slightly lower than the2.2 % increase the Social Security trustees recommended over the summer.

Because Social Security payments will be increasing, this also means that premiums for Medicare Part B will be increasing. That increase will be announced in November.

Please click here to read an excellent blog from Ritter Insurance Marketing that contains further details, as well as an explanation of how this will impact Part B premiums for 2018, as well as Income Related Monthly Adjustment (IRMAA) for those making over $85,000 (single) or $170,000 (joint returns). (Those who are affected by IRMAA pay more for their Part B premiums and also have a surcharge on their Part D drug premium, whether that is included with a Medicare Advantage plan OR is a stand-alone Part D plan.)
Medicare Deductible and Co Pay Increases Will Be Announced In November
Medicare Part A and B deductibles will be increasing for next year (the 20% coinsurance rate that applies after the Part B deductible is met will not change).

The deductible for HIF Medicare Supplement plans (currently $2200) is expected to increase slightly for next year as well (maximums on Medicare Supplement Plans K and L will also change).

Assuming the announcement is made in time, we'll explain these changes in the December newsletter.
These changes will have NO effect on Medicare Advantage (MA), Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD) or stand-alone Part D plans, as these plans have already been announced and are contractual agreements between the insurance carriers and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS).

Changes in IRMA will affect Medicare Part B (provider) premiums and the surcharge that will apply to prescription drug plans, whether included with a Medicare Advantage plan or purchased on a stand-alone basis.

If you have a Medicare Supplement plan, any increases that affect an item covered by your particular Supplement plan will be passed on to that plan. (For example, a Plan F fully supplements Medicare deductibles, co pays and coinsurance. This means that Plan F benefits will increase to account for the Medicare Part A and B increases, and that those with Plans C or F will have no out of pocket requirements for any service covered by Part A or B of Medicare.

Except for the increase in the Part B deductible (which is not covered in these plans), benefits for Plans G and N will also be adjusted accordingly. The only change that individuals with these plans will see is that their deductible for medical services will increase (that amount is $183 for 2017).
Star ratings are measures (the measures change annually) of items such as customer satisfaction, outcomes, utilization of preventive care programs, etc. and are announced each year shortly after the Annual Election Period begins (2018 ratings are based on measures taken in 2016).
Ratings vary between plans and carriers and can be compared between carriers. If a plan receives a 5 star rating, that plan is permitted to enroll beneficiaries year-round, and if a plan receives less than a 3 star rating three years in a row, plan participants have a Special Enrollment Period to change plans once during the period starting December 8, 2017 and ending November 30, 2018.
Star ratings also affect reimbursements to carriers for their Medicare Advantage and Part D plans. If a carrier receives at least a 4 star rating, reimbursements are increased, and plans with 4.5 and 5 star ratings receive higher reimbursements. Carriers pass on part of these increases to beneficiaries, but any reimbursement changes received as a result of an increased rating (or decreases due to a poorer rating) will not be recognized until 2019 plans are announced.
Agents are required to replace 2017 star ratings with the 2018 ratings in enrollment kits no later than November 1. Please make sure you ask for and receive information about the new star ratings. You can also find the new star ratings on and on your carrier's web site. 
Paul Cholak