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Wenatchee, WA 98801

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How Do I Enroll in Medicare?

Medicare Advantage questions answered by Suzie at Wenatchee Insurance

Hello, North Central Washington from Wenatchee Insurance!

Today, we’re tackling a question that’s as popular as free Costco Samples: “How do I enroll in Medicare?”

It doesn’t matter if you are turning 65 or qualifying through other means like a disability determination, Suzie with Wenatchee Insurance going to help you walk through the process with ease.

Suzie McColm has been assisting people pick plans in Wenatchee for over a decade. Before that, you may have encountered her when she was a Pharmacy Technician. Seeing the struggles first hand, she took on Medicare to improve the lives around her in our Valley and state.

Medicare Enrollment: Your Golden Ticket

We are going to talk about the basics first. Medicare enrollment typically happens in one of three ways:

  • Automatic Enrollment
  • Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)
  • Special Enrollment Period (SEP)

Automatic Enrollment: The Easy Street

If you’re already receiving Social Security benefits when you turn 65, you’ll be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. It’s like finding a surprise gift in your mailbox! You should receive your Medicare card three months before your 65th birthday along with a ton of marketing materials.

Yes, you will get a forest of envelopes from Medicare salespeople trying to sell you their plan. Suzie is here to walk people through the choices to make an informed decision.

 If you want Part D (prescription drug coverage) or a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll need to enroll separately.

Enrollment Medicare Example!

Imagine Mike, who has been receiving Social Security benefits for a couple of years. He doesn’t need to lift a finger – her Medicare card arrives just in time for her 65th birthday bash.

Medicare Advantage  and health questions answered by Suzie at Wenatchee Insurance

Initial Enrollment Period (IEP): The First-Time Fun

If you’re not automatically enrolled, don’t worry! The IEP is your chance to join the Medicare party. This period starts three months before your 65th birthday, includes your birthday month, and extends three months after. That’s a seven-month window to sign up for Medicare Parts A and B.

Enrollment Medicare Example!

Picture Tom, who’s turning 65 in July. His IEP runs from April to October. Tom decides to sign up in June to avoid any last-minute rush. Smart move, Tom!

Special Enrollment Period (SEP): The Backup Plan

For those who miss the IEP or have specific circumstances, the SEP is a lifesaver. We see many folks with an employer health plan that can delay Medicare without penalty. Once your employment ends or you lose coverage, the SEP kicks in, giving you eight months to enroll in Parts A and B.

Enrollment Medicare Example!

Meet Linda, who’s been happily working past 65 with employer-provided health insurance. When she retires at 68, she has an eight-month SEP to enroll in Medicare without facing late penalties.

Step-by-Step Enrollment Guide

Online: Visit the Social Security website and follow the steps to apply online.

By phone: Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.

In person: Visit your local Social Security office.

You will want to have a couple of things on hand before you start. Gather these documents before enrolling:

Social Security number

Birth certificate

Proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residency

W-2 forms or self-employment tax returns for the previous year

Final Thoughts

Whether it’s automatic, during your IEP, or through a SEP, enrolling in Medicare is your ticket to comprehensive health coverage. Suzie with Wenatchee Insurance is here to guide you through every step, ensuring you understand your options and make the best choice for your health needs.

Remember, enrolling in Medicare doesn’t have to feel like Rocket Science. With Suzie and Wenatchee Insurance by your side, you will have guidance every step of the way to make an informed decision. Stay tuned for more helpful tips and friendly advice!

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Topics: Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Suzie, Wenatchee Insurance, SSDI, ESRD, Hospital Insurance, Prescription Drug Coverage, Part D, Medical Insurance, Disability,

How Is the Value of My Home and Personal Property Determined?

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The Home Insurance Price Is Right!

Welcome to “The Home Insurance Price Is Right!” where you don’t have to guess the price, but you do need to understand how it’s determined. Let’s dive into the thrilling world of replacement costs and actual cash value with Wenatchee Insurance.

They don’t teach us the difference between Replacement Cost and Actual Cash value in High School nor when you were home eating crackers and sipping tea. We like to go over it because we don’t like surprised clients.

Replacement Cost: The High Roller’s Choice Imagine winning a fabulous new dining room set on our show. Replacement cost coverage means you get a brand-new version of your old stuff. No depreciation here, folks! It’s all shiny and new, just like the day you bought it.

Actual Cash Value: The Bargain Hunter’s Delight For those who love a good deal, actual cash value coverage considers depreciation. It’s like buying a gently used couch from a thrift store – still great, but not quite brand new. Your payout reflects the current market value of your items.

Sometimes Actual Cash Value is the only option available. It is worth the conversation if you see this valuation on your home owner’s policy.

Spin the Wheel of Claims! When it’s time to file a claim, Wenatchee Insurance uses their magical wheel (or more likely, some sophisticated calculations) to determine the value of your home and belongings. Don’t worry, they’re experts at making sure you get the right amount.

So, come on down to Wenatchee Insurance and find out how much your home and personal property are worth. It’s always a win when you’re properly covered!

Finding Medicare Advantage Plans with Suzie at Wenatchee Insurance

assistance in understanding and enrolling with Medicare with Suzie

Mary, a resident of North Central Washington, was approaching her 65th birthday and wanted to select a Medicare Advantage plan. She was overwhelmed by the numerous options and unsure how to compare them. She decided to contact Suzie at Wenatchee Insurance for guidance.

Understanding Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Part C, offer an alternative to Original Medicare. These plans are provided by private insurance companies and often include additional benefits like vision, dental, and prescription drug coverage. Each plan is rated based on preventive care, management of chronic conditions, member experiences, and customer service.

Mary’s Experience

When Mary contacted Wenatchee Insurance, an Suzie helped her understand the different plans available in her area. They discussed the star ratings of various plans and compared their benefits. Mary learned about the top-rated plans and how they cater to specific healthcare needs.

Choosing the Right Plan

With the Suzie’s help, Mary selected a Medicare Advantage plan that was highly rated and included comprehensive benefits suited to her health requirements. Wenatchee Insurance made the process straightforward by providing clear comparisons and expert advice.

Mary was relieved to have found a plan that offered excellent coverage and fit her budget, thanks to the assistance from Wenatchee Insurance.

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Does My Policy Cover Natural Disasters Like Wildfires or Earthquakes?

Let’s look at coverages in a light hearted manner. Imagine your home insurance policy as a superhero squad, each member ready to tackle different villains. Wenatchee Insurance brings together a team of coverage options to protect you from the most dastardly natural disasters.

The Disaster Superhero Squad

Wildfire-Woman She’s fierce, she’s fiery, and she’s here to save your home from going up in flames. Wildfire coverage ensures that if a firestorm hits, you won’t be left in the ashes.

Flood-Fella He’s always in his waders, ready to combat rising waters. With flood coverage, your home will stay dry even when Mother Nature tries to turn your neighborhood into a lake.

Flash Floods are not uncommon in the Canyons and can be deadly.

Earthquake Enforcer When the ground shakes, he stands firm. Earthquake coverage helps rebuild and repair after seismic activity shakes things up.

Being earthquake prepared is an advantage when we have locations like Earthquake Point that highlight the dangers.

Windstorm Warrior Defending against gale-force winds, this hero ensures that your roof stays where it belongs and your windows remain intact.

Hailstorm Heroine Fighting against the icy pellets from the sky, she makes sure your home isn’t left looking like Swiss cheese after a hailstorm.

Beware of percentage deductibles not everyone expects them and can make for a rude surprise.

Disaster Summary:

Join forces with Wenatchee Insurance’s Disaster Superhero Squad and ensure your home is protected from nature’s most chaotic villains.

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Topics: Home Insurance, Wenatchee Insurance, Independent Insurance Agency, Wind Damage, Fire Damage, Wildfire, Flood, Deductible,

Help, my Medicare Advantage Plan is leaving.

original medicare, medicare advantage and part d

Every year, some Medicare Advantage plans may leave the Medicare program by Dec. 31. You should receive a letter from the plan by Oct. 2 explaining your options. It is always a shock.

Suzie has been around long enough that she worked with Soundpath Health Medicare Advantage Customers when that Insurance Plan left in 2019. Suzie has worked with various insurance companies from around the state and we built out action plans over the years to make these transitions as easy as possible.

When can I join a new Medicare Advantage plan?

The three most common Medicare Advantage plan enrollment periods are the:

  • Initial Coverage Enrollment Period when you first join Medicare Parts A and B usually around your 65th birthday.
  • The Annual Enrollment Period, Oct. 15 – Dec. 7.
  • Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, Jan. 1 – March 31 each year if you have a Medicare Advantage Plan then you can change to another plan.

In addition to these three enrollment periods, because your plan is leaving Medicare, you also get a Special Enrollment Period in which you have two options:

Join a different Medicare Advantage plan from Dec. 8 to the last day of February.


Join a new Medicare Part D stand-alone plan from Dec. 8 to the last day of February (this automatically enrolls you in Original Medicare). This also allows you to enroll in a Medigap (Medicare Supplement) plan within 63 days after your Medicare Advantage plan ends.

The company offering the Medigap plan must take you if you choose a B-N plan and you don’t have to take a health screen.

Note:  If you’re under age 65 on Medicare due to disability, you might not be able to get a Medigap.

Whichever option you choose, your new plan starts the first day of the month after you switch. To avoid a coverage gap you should sign up with a new plan before Dec. 31.

Whenever Suzie sees a large shift Medicare Shift, we recommend setting an appointment as early as possible. We have seen people miss the deadlines and it makes for a tough year. For the appointment, you will need:

  1. Fill out a Scope of Appointment at least 24 hours in advance
  2. Bring your red, white, and blue Medicare Card
  3. Bring any doctor’s names or medications that you would like for us to look up

If you enroll during the Annual Enrollment Period in a Medicare Advantage Plan and discover that it is not a good fit then we change during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment which runs January 1st through March 31st.  Yes, you have options prior to the next Annual Enrollment Period

Topics: Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Suzie, Wenatchee Insurance, SSDI, ESRD, Hospital Insurance, Prescription Drug Coverage, Part D, Medical Insurance, Disability,

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What Are the Different Parts of Medicare?

Hello again, fabulous followers of Wenatchee Insurance’s Medicare blog! Today, we’re diving into the alphabet soup that is Medicare. Grab your spoons, and let’s ladle out some knowledge on the different parts of Medicare: A, B, C, and D!

Part A: The Medicare Foundation

Let’s start with Part A, also known as Hospital Insurance. Picture it as the bedrock of your Medicare coverage. It helps cover:

  • Inpatient hospital stays: If you’re admitted to the hospital, Part A swoops in to help with the costs.
  • Skilled nursing facility care: After a hospital stay, you might need some time in a skilled nursing facility to recover. Part A has your back.
  • Hospice care: For those with terminal illnesses, Part A ensures you receive compassionate end-of-life care.
  • Home health care: If you need health services at home, Part A can help cover those too.

Example Time!

Imagine Grandpa Joe, who had a nasty fall while trying to fix the roof (don’t ask why). He ends up in the hospital for a week and then spends another month in a skilled nursing facility to regain his strength. Part A helps cover these costs, giving Grandpa Joe peace of mind and more time to perfect his roof-fixing skills (hopefully from the ground this time).

Part B: The Everyday Medicare Hero

Next up is Part B, or Medical Insurance. This is your go-to for everyday health care needs. It covers:

  • Doctor visits: Routine check-ups, specialists, and outpatient care.
  • Preventive services: Vaccinations, screenings, and annual wellness visits to keep you in tip-top shape.
  • Durable medical equipment: Things like wheelchairs, walkers, and other equipment you might need.
  • Mental health care: Outpatient mental health services.

Example Time!

Take Aunt Clara. She’s a sprightly 70-year-old who loves gardening. She visits her doctor for regular check-ups and gets her flu shot every year. Part B helps cover these visits, ensuring Aunt Clara stays healthy enough to grow those prize-winning roses.

Part C: The All-In-One Plan

Part C is also known as Medicare Advantage. These plans are offered by private companies and bundle together Part A and Part B, often with additional benefits. Some even include:

  • Prescription drug coverage (Part D)
  • Vision, dental, and hearing services
  • Wellness programs

Example Time!

Consider Cousin Sally, who prefers simplicity. She opts for a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage and vision care. Now she doesn’t need separate plans for her glasses and medications – it’s all in one neat package.

Part D: The Rx Solution

Finally, we have Part D, the prescription drug coverage. This helps cover the cost of medications, ensuring you don’t break the bank when picking up your prescriptions.

Example Time!

Let’s look at Uncle Bob, who has a daily regimen of medications for his blood pressure and cholesterol. Part D helps cover the cost of these prescriptions, allowing Uncle Bob to focus on his favorite hobby – fishing – without worrying about his medication bills.

Wenatchee Insurance to the Rescue!

At Wenatchee Insurance, Suzie understands that Medicare can feel like a jigsaw puzzle with a few pieces missing. But fear not! We’re here to help you fit all the pieces together seamlessly. Whether it’s explaining the different parts or assisting with enrollment, we’ve got your back.

Remember, understanding Medicare doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With Wenatchee Insurance guiding you, you’ll be navigating the Medicare maze like a pro. Stay tuned for more tips, tricks, and delightful Medicare insights!

Topics: Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Suzie, Wenatchee Insurance, SSDI, ESRD, Hospital Insurance, Prescription Drug Coverage, Part D, Medical Insurance,

Managing Medicare Supplement Costs with Suzie and Wenatchee Insurance

Mary, concerned about out-of-pocket costs not covered by Medicare, was exploring Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plans. She needed help understanding the costs and benefits of these plans. Mary sought advice from Suzie at Wenatchee Insurance.

The Role of Medigap Plans

Medigap plans help cover costs like copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles that Original Medicare does not cover. Plan G is among the most popular Medigap plans, offering extensive coverage but varying in premium costs by state.

Mary’s Consultation

Mary met with a Suzie at Wenatchee Insurance who explained the different Medigap plans and their costs. They reviewed the benefits of Plan G and other available options, taking into account Mary’s healthcare needs and budget.

Making an Informed Medigap Plan choice

With detailed information from Wenatchee Insurance, Mary chose a Medigap Plan G that provided comprehensive coverage at a reasonable premium. The agent also helped her understand how to manage her monthly premiums effectively.

Mary felt confident in her decision, knowing she had chosen a plan that would protect her from high out-of-pocket expenses, all thanks to the expert guidance from Wenatchee Insurance.

Medicare Supplement plan can be selected year round

When the Medicare Supplement plan increased in cost, Mary was able to talk with Suzie and switch to a lower priced plan. This would reduce inflation for years to come.

Along with the Medigap Plan

Mary selected a Medicare Plan D to cover prescriptions. While she didn’t have many prescriptions now, this prevented a late enrollment penalty and could be changed during the Annual Open Enrollment Period (October 15th through December 7th).

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Why be boring, life is short.

What Risks for home owners insurance should I be aware?

Surviving the Wild, Wild (North Central) Washington

Let’s face it, living in North Central Washington can sometimes feel like you’re starring in our own reality TV survival show. With Wenatchee Insurance by your side, you’ll be prepared for all the unique risks our beautiful home has to offer.

We have some of the greatest parts of the country. Whether it is hiking the Enchantments, to boating Lake Chelan, fishing the Potholes, or horseback riding up in Okanogan. There is plenty of adventure to be had in NCW.

Wildfires: Nature’s Unwanted BBQ You might love a good barbecue, but not when it’s your backyard going up in smoke. Wildfires are a real threat, and you’ll want coverage that doesn’t leave you feeling burnt. This is something that you can not cover up with a bottled sauce.

Flooding: Surprise Water Parks Nothing like waking up to find your living room has turned into an indoor pool. Flooding can strike unexpectedly, so ask Wenatchee Insurance about flood coverage to keep your home from becoming an aquatic adventure park. In town, we are seeing sinkholes, so it is worth the ask.

Earthquakes: The Unscheduled Dance Party When the ground starts to shake, it’s not time for a dance party. While it won’t be the Big One like they predict for the Coast, we do feel them. Earthquake insurance can help you pick up the pieces (literally) after an unexpected rumble.

Windstorms: Nature’s Extreme Blow Dry Hold onto your hats, folks! Windstorms can be powerful enough to turn your patio furniture into dangerous projectiles. Yes, we have had 100 mph winds. Make sure your home can withstand these gusty invaders with the right coverage.

Risk Summary:

With Wenatchee Insurance, you’ll be equipped to handle all the wild adventures that North Central Washington throws your way. Wildfires, Flooding, Earthquakes and Windstorms! Oh my. Stay insured and stay safe!

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Topic: Home Insurance, Wenatchee Insurance, Wind Coverage, Wildfire, North Central Washington, Lake Chelan, Okanogan, Liability, Deductible,

Who is eligible for Medicare and what is it?

original medicare, medicare advantage and part d

Hello, wonderful readers of Wenatchee Insurance’s Medicare blog! Today, we’re tackling a question that buzzes around like a rogue mosquito at a cook out: “What is Medicare, and who is eligible?” If Medicare were a party, who’s on the guest list? Let’s get to it!

Medicare: The Party Planner for Your Health

Medicare is a federal health insurance program that throws open its doors primarily to those aged 65 and older. Think of it as an exclusive club for seasoned citizens! But wait, there’s more – younger folks with certain disabilities or those with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) also get a VIP pass.

How Do I Get on the List?

To be eligible for Medicare, you generally need to be:

65 or older: Congratulations! You’ve reached the golden age and earned your ticket to the Medicare party.

Under 65 with a disability: If you’ve been receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for 24 months, Medicare raises the velvet rope and  says, “Come on in!”

Any age with ESRD: If you’re dealing with permanent kidney failure and need dialysis or a transplant, Medicare rolls out the red carpet.

Example Time!

Imagine dear old Aunt Martha. She’s just turned 65, loves knitting, and dancing at family weddings. She’s eligible for Medicare because of her age. Now, let’s talk about Cousin Bob. He’s only 45 but has been on SSDI for over two years due to a serious accident. Medicare welcomes him with open arms too!

The ABCs and Ds of Medicare

Medicare has two parts, and then some additional toppings:

Original Medicare

Part A (Hospital Insurance): Covers hospital stays, skilled nursing facility care, and some home health care. It’s like the comfy bed you get to rest in.

Part B (Medical Insurance): Covers doctor visits, outpatient care, and preventive services. Think of it as your day-to-day health care needs.

Medicare Toppings

Part C (Medicare Advantage): These are plans offered by private companies that include Part A and B, and often Part D, plus extra benefits. It’s like getting a combo meal with a little extra sauce.

Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage): Helps cover the cost of prescription drugs. Because nobody likes an unexpected bill for their medications!

health or medicare enrollment suzie makes it easier

How Do I Sign Up?

Signing up for original Medicare is as easy as pie, and Wenatchee Insurance is here to guide you every step of the way! You can enroll:

If you have questions and want to look at toppings, then you want to ask Suzie.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re as spry as Aunt Martha or managing health issues like Cousin Bob, Medicare is designed to help. At Wenatchee Insurance, we’re your trusted advisors, ready to answer all your questions and make the process as smooth as the chicken dance at a wedding. Stay tuned for more Medicare tips and tricks!

Remember, folks, navigating Medicare doesn’t have to be like figuring out Aunt Martha’s Blue Ribbon Cherry Pie recipe. With Wenatchee Insurance by your side, you’ll be saying, “Medicare? Nailed it!” in no time.

Topics: Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Suzie, Wenatchee Insurance, SSDI, ESRD, Hospital Insurance, Prescription Drug Coverage, Part D, Medical Insurance,

assistance in understanding and enrolling with Medicare with Suzie

Saving on Medicare Costs with Suzie and Wenatchee Insurance

Mary was living on a fixed income and was worried about rising Medical costs despite having Medicare. She had heard about Medicare Savings Programs but wasn’t sure if she qualified or how to apply. Mary turned to Suzie at Wenatchee Insurance for guidance.

What are Medicare Savings Programs?

Medicare Savings Programs help pay for Medicare Part A and Part B premiums, deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments for individuals with limited income and resources. Programs like the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) and Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) are designed to offer financial relief.

Mary’s Journey

At Wenatchee Insurance, Mary met with an Suzie who explained the eligibility criteria for these programs. Together, they reviewed her income and resources, and the agent helped her complete the necessary applications.

Achieving Financial Relief

Mary qualified for the QMB program, which helped pay for Medicare premiums and significantly reduced her out-of-pocket costs for medical services. She also received extra help with prescription drug costs, easing her financial burden.

Mary could sign up for a Medicare Savings Program (MSP) at any time during the year; there is no specific enrollment period for these programs. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Eligibility Requirements: To qualify, you must meet income and resource limits set by your state. These limits may vary, but generally, your income must be below a certain threshold, and you must have limited financial resources​.
  2. Application Process: Applications for Medicare Savings Programs are handled by your state’s Medicaid office. You can apply at any time, and your state will determine which program you qualify for based on your income and resource information​.
  3. Medicare Plan Selection: Once the Medicaid Office has processed the application, then any Medicare Plan adjustments could be made.

Thanks to Wenatchee Insurance, Mary was able to understand the complexities of Medicare Savings Programs and secure the assistance she needed.

Medicare, Medigap, Advantage, and Prescription Plan D in Wenatchee

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Suzie Health Solutions

Health & Medicare

For nearly a decade we have assisted with Health & Medicare Solutions. We are proud to be selected by the Washington Healthplanfinder to be one of ten Enrollment Centers located in Washington State.

We work with all ages and charge no fees.

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