Story and photo by Van Mitchell. Staff Writer
The Medicare enrollment period runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, and with that comes to changes to some enrollment plans and options.
Ginny Curtis-Gillespie, Licensed Insurance Agent, and owner of Navigating Medicare, located at 2232 West Hefner Road, Suite A in Oklahoma City, said this year Medicare recipients will have broader plan options available to them.
“In the past, we have had two or three companies that have had really good plans, and this year all of the plans have beefed up and have really exciting benefits,” Curtis-Gillespie said. “It is almost difficult to pick a plan that is better than another one from this year.”
There are three options for coverage: Original Medicare (which is Part A and Part B) plus a prescription drug plan, Original Medicare plus a Supplement (Medigap plan) plus a prescription drug plan, or a Medicare Advantage plan which combines all three.
Medicare Part A and Part B is offered by the federal government. It provides basic inpatient and outpatient health coverage. Part A is for inpatient or hospitalization coverage and Part B is for outpatient or doctor visit coverage.
U.S. citizens or permanent residents living in the U.S. for at least 5 years who are age 65 or older qualify for Medicare Part A and Part B if they have paid taxes for 10 working years. Those under 65 might be eligible to enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B if they have a qualifying disability.
Curtis-Gillespie said Navigating Medicare has offices in Guthrie, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Ardmore and Shawnee.
She said so much of insurance these days is made to seem complex, difficult, and tricky. She said her agency is built on our family values which are a commitment to Honesty, Integrity, Togetherness, and Support.
She said they work to help clients understand all of their plan options.
“Our experienced team of agents are licensed and appointed with several insurance providers offering a variety of policies,” Curtis-Gillespie said. “This means our agents are here to work for you. We work to ensure that the plan you end up with is the one that fits your needs and not try to make you fit into a plan. What we do is we look at the client’s drugs and doctors, and then we select the top three plans we think will work the best. The biggest takeaway we are trying to get people to understand is, no matter what their plan is, they should be comparing their current plan with plans that are available from those (insurance) carriers for next year.”
Curtis-Gillespie said Medicare enrollment is also a time of scam phone calls and Medicare enrollment commercials.
“Most of those plans they are marketing, very few people qualify for them,” she said. “When you see the advertisement on TV, it is for the low-income, low subsidized.”
Curtis-Gillespie said her team of insurance agents don’t call to solicit business.
“With what we do, no one should be calling them (resident) directly,” she said. “Their phones are blowing up, and people are calling them 24/7. If they didn’t ask them to call, then they shouldn’t answer the call.”
Curtis-Gillespie said residents should also not give out their personal information when contacted about Medicare enrollment.
“When someone calls a client, they should not ask for their Social Security number, Medicare number,” she said.
Curtis-Gillespie said another Medicare enrollment change this year is that insurance agents are required to tell customers their conversation is being recorded.
“These plans change every year,” she said. “Everyone should be reviewing their plans every year regardless whether it is great for them or not. “It is our belief that if they understand Medicare, they will make a better decision when they pick their plan. We sit down with them and explain all the parts of Medicare, and we explain their options.”
Curtis-Gillespie said integrity is a core foundation of her business.
“We are not afraid to say that we love referrals,” she said. “Having integrity means sometimes telling you that your current insurance is better than anything we can offer or that we are not able to help you. We believe this builds the kind of relationships that will lead to people telling others about us. We are there to give you the support you need through the various seasons of life. Whether you need to change your plan, reacquaint yourself with your current benefits, or do a plan comparison, we are there to give you the support that you need.”
For more information about Medicare enrollment plans call Navigating Medicare at
(405) 842-0494 or visit: www.navigatingmedicare.com