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Making Sense of Medicare

Making Sense of Medicare

There is a lot of confusion out there about Medicare and it can be a daunting task to make the decisions required upon retirement.  However, most of the rules in Medicare are really quite straightforward and any insurance agency worth their salt should be able to help you navigate these waters.  First, a distinction on two separate programs, Medicare is for individuals that are 65 and over or are diagnosed with end-stage renal failure. This differs from Medicaid which is a government run program that is based on income of the household.  That is not to say that people can’t be enrolled in both programs.

Medicare Supplements

The next part of the puzzle in coverage for those enrolled in Medicare is Supplements. We want everyone to know that companies are required by law to offer the exact same coverage based on the letter of the supplement.  Company A and Company B are required to have identical coverage for the Medicare Supplement Part Z plan. The parts of the coverage can vary in deductible, or what is covered. So we like to look at two aspects when working with folks. First, the plan design they would like based on deductible and what is covered. Next, the premium which can be tricky as rates will rise with age; the companies can also do annual rate increases on top of the age increase. We try to partner with companies that have a history of rate stability for our clients.

Long-term Care

The last type of coverage that we feel needs to be brought up is Long-Term Care insurance. As life expectancy grows longer and longer, the need for this coverage is increased. Many folks think that Medicare will pay for nursing home assisted living facilities.  That may be true, but certain things have to happen first, and then it will only be covered for a certain amount of time. Then if that type of care is still needed then it is up to the individual to pay which leads to having to fund it through savings or selling possessions etc. Medicaid will pay for this type of care, but that program looks at all assets and income. Long-Term Care insurance is there to help protect all the assets that folks worked their entire lives to obtain and wish to pay along to their loved ones.


Guest Contributor:  Mike Wilken is President and Agent of Beacon Insurance. He graduated from Class 20 of Leadership Kearney and Class 7 of Leadership Nebraska. Mike graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Nebraska-Kearney in 2005. Raised on a farm in southeast Nebraska, where there is one stoplight in the entire county and it is always red.

Beacon Insurance in Kearney,  is a locally owned agency that is invested in Nebraska. With over a decade of expertise, we specialize in health, life, and voluntary coverage for businesses, families, and individuals. Let our FFM, SHOP, LTC Partnership, and AHIP Certified Agents serve you!  Contact us at (308) 646-0683 or at