There are five very important things that every senior should know about their Medicare plan.

  1. WHAT PLAN TYPE DO I HAVE? There are two types of Medicare plans. The first one is called a “Supplement” plan, which allows you to go to any doctor or any hospital in the country, that accepts original Medicare. With this plan, you may or may not have a de- ductible or co-pays, depending on the plan. With a Supplement plan, you will also need a separate prescription drug plan. The Part D drug plan and the Supplement plan each have a monthly premium.

    The second type of plan is a Medicare Advantage plan. Most of these plans INCLUDE the prescription drug coverage in the plan and have a small or no monthly premium, but you will have co-pays for each type of service you receive - doctors visits, hospital stays, surgeries, tests, etc. With these types of plans you choose a primary care physician and you work within their networks of specialists and facilities (i.e. Sharp, Scripps, etc.)

  2. WHICH DOCTORS CAN I SEE? A Supplement plan allows you to go to any doctor or any hospital in the country, that accepts original Medicare. With this plan, Medicare remains your primary insurance, and the Supplement plan covers any costs that Medicare doesn’t cover (except prescription drugs).

    With an Advantage plan you choose a primary care physician and you work within their network of specialists and facilities (i.e. Sharp, Scripps, UCSD, etc.)

  3. DOES MY PLAN COVER VISION, HEARING OR DENTAL? When it comes to Medi- care think of it covering everything “from the neck down”. Most Supplement plans do not have this coverage, but a few do have vision coverage as an added feature. With an Ad- vantage plan it depends on the insurance provider, but many cover vision and hearing to a degree, and some have dental coverage as an optional rider. Check with your agent if you are unsure.
  4. CAN I CHANGE BETWEEN THE TWO TYPES OF PLANS? Yes . Each year you can make changes from one plan to the other during the Open Enrollment period between October 15th and December 7th. You may be able to make changes during other times of the year based on a Special Election reason - a change of address, losing employer coverage, etc.
  5. WHAT DO I DO IF I HAVE QUESTIONS? Call us now (858) 753-1920, and I will make sure you know exactly what you have and how it works for you.

New Medicare Numbers Coming – Starting 2018


We at Bridlewood have been telling clients for years, that if you have an Medicare Advantage plan, put your Medicare card in a safe place - at HOME! That’s because, as most of you know, your Medicare card uses your Social Security number followed by a letter to identify you. This presents a real threat to your identity if the card is ever lost or stolen. In the past, if you have a Medicare Supplement plan, you had to present both cards to your doctors office for billing purposes. That is all about to change . . .

Medicare is preparing to stop using Social Security numbers for identification next year and will send new cards to patients with Medicare ID numbers. The move is required by a law enacted two years ago to discourage identity theft.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently updated its web page to help health care providers prepare for the change. The agency plans to begin mailing the new cards with Medicare beneficiary identifiers (MBIs) in April 2018. During a transition period through 2019, providers can use the MBIs or health insurance claim numbers (which are based on Social Security numbers) on transactions such as billing and claims.

The 2015 law, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, requires CMS to remove Social Security numbers from Medicare cards by April 2019.

“We're now figuring out the best way to mail the cards,” the agency advised providers. “We'll keep you posted about critical information so you can be ready to ask your Medicare patients at the time of service if they have a new card with an MBI.”

CMS plans a “wide-scale outreach” to let beneficiaries know that they need to bring their new Medicare cards when they get care and how to get MBIs if they lose their cards.

AARP’s Fraud Watch Network ambassador, Frank Abagnale, advises consumers not to share Social Security numbers unnecessarily. “And don’t carry your Medicare card unless you are on your way to a health care appointment,” he wrote last year. “Instead, make a copy and black out all but the last four digits.” The new Medicare cards using a random set of numbers, will eliminate the need to take such safeguards, and provide seniors peace of mind that they won’t need to worry about this threat to their identity any longer.