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Old 09-23-2011, 09:24 PM   #41
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Oldtrig, that's really good to hear and I hope this allows you to stay to your 65th bday, when you are Medicare eligible.

As for more info on Medicare, I have been learning from REWahoo's posts and Kaneohe's thread, but it seems it is easier to help when specific questions are asked. When does your wife become Medicare eligible?
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Old 09-23-2011, 09:29 PM   #42
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I'm not sure that I understand the conversation about VA healthcare. I assume we are talking about the Department of Veterans Affairs and not something else. Here is the direct link to the VA eligibility page - Copays and Charges (VA Health Care Eligibility & Enrollment). The VA no longer allows enrollment for non-service connected care for what they call high income veterans. For free healthcare in 2011, a family of two would have to earn less than $35,284 and have less than $80K in assets. I can't imagine that too many early retirees on this board fit that demographic.

I do agree that, if you are eligible due to compensable service connected conditions, then you should, by all means take advantage of it. I am retired military and use TRICARE in coordination with regular insurance and have no compensable condition, so the VA is not an option for me - which is just by sheer luck.
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Old 09-23-2011, 09:35 PM   #43
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WR2, you people are great. Sometimes we all need a little support. I got to thinking about all of this and decided I liked my job enough to take a chance. I really had nothing to lose. I am sure come Monday I will be called in and asked why I did this and I am prepared to tell him. I know my boss has many problems and when stress is added on him he passes it on to me. Not any more. He knows I am in good enough financial shape to walk now and now he knows I no longer will put up with his crap. He is right the opposite, owes $100,000 on his home and just bought a new car which he makes payments on so he has got to work. He is also 7 years younger than me. I talked to my wife last night and was ready to retire today but you would not believe how the meeting went. I guess you could say I was fed up. I am in management but did not have the people to get the job done. I will have that in the next few weeks. The big boss even said he would help if I would stay on. I sure hope things work out to where I can at least work until age 65 which is only 10 months away. Then I will decide on what takes place after that. I really enjoy reading all the posts people make here. So much talent is this forum. oldtrig
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Old 09-24-2011, 12:32 AM   #44
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................. I really had nothing to lose............. He knows I am in good enough financial shape to walk now and now he knows I no longer will put up with his crap................. I guess you could say I was fed up. . oldtrig
Actually, don't you feel a little bit of sympathy for your boss now? Your situation reminds me of DW's when she was working at her post-retirement job. In our state, employers are required to post conspicuous signs in buildings where toxic materials of any kind might possibly be used to warn innocent visitors. I often thought DW and others in her class should have been required to wear T-shirts w/ a coiled serpent and a "Don't Tread On Me" logo to warn innocent supervisors that they were dealing w/ dangerous folks.
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Old 09-24-2011, 09:08 AM   #45
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Hopefully my previous post was not misinterpreted (altho in the clarity of morning the next day, I can see how it might have been) because of the use of the words "toxic" and "dangerous". I was just pointing out I felt a little bit of sympathy for DW's and OP's bosses who had no leverage on their
"dangerous" employees anymore and who probably didn't know what hit them when it did...........

oldtrig........happy for your encouraging outcome and congrats for having the guts to pull it off.
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Old 09-24-2011, 01:27 PM   #46
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I'm not sure that I understand the conversation about VA healthcare. I assume we are talking about the Department of Veterans Affairs and not something else. Here is the direct link to the VA eligibility page - Copays and Charges (VA Health Care Eligibility & Enrollment). The VA no longer allows enrollment for non-service connected care for what they call high income veterans. For free healthcare in 2011, a family of two would have to earn less than $35,284 and have less than $80K in assets. I can't imagine that too many early retirees on this board fit that demographic.

I do agree that, if you are eligible due to compensable service connected conditions, then you should, by all means take advantage of it. I am retired military and use TRICARE in coordination with regular insurance and have no compensable condition, so the VA is not an option for me - which is just by sheer luck.
You're right; that should be made clear.
In my case, I was able to enroll several years ago, since I was in Priority Group 3.
Enrollment Priority Groups (View All) (VA Health Care Eligibility & Enrollment)
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Old 09-24-2011, 03:56 PM   #47
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MichaelB, my wife is 63 and only 18 months from Medicare. I work on weekends in the summer and I can tell you since I mentioned retiring they are treating me much better. I think they took me serious this time which I was. I know it would be much better if I waited until my wife is 65 but I did not want to do that if work conditions remained the same. I think I shocked everyone when I told them I was retiring at the end of the year. I will wait and see if things get better because I do like what I do. I am hard headed though and I had decided to take money in my saving and pay for the group insurance if it came to that. Old T
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Old 09-24-2011, 04:54 PM   #48
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MichaelB, my wife is 63 and only 18 months from Medicare. I work on weekends in the summer and I can tell you since I mentioned retiring they are treating me much better. I think they took me serious this time which I was. I know it would be much better if I waited until my wife is 65 but I did not want to do that if work conditions remained the same. I think I shocked everyone when I told them I was retiring at the end of the year. I will wait and see if things get better because I do like what I do. I am hard headed though and I had decided to take money in my saving and pay for the group insurance if it came to that. Old T
Oldtrig, your wife is eligible for Cobra even if you work to Medicare age, so she will have access to health care insurance and the 18 month coverage period brings here straight to Medicare as well. That's good, because it is "just" a matter of policy cost. Still a big issue but one you've already assessed.

As for work, it looks like things are improving, and it doesn't seem hard headed at all to me.
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Old 09-24-2011, 07:50 PM   #49
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Thanks for that info MichaelB. I did not know I could use that with my wife. I will check on that Monday and see what it will cost in case I need to use that option. I know once I drop my group coverage I cannot pick it back up. Thanks again. oldt
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Old 09-24-2011, 09:20 PM   #50
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The VA information might prove useful to servicemen at or nearing retirement age that had "boots on the ground" in Vietnam. Those vets are given access thru Priority Group 6 without means testing. Some vets that meet this guideline aren't aware of this option. It's nice to share information like this, as healthcare costs seem to be an issue with almost everyone.
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Old 09-26-2011, 07:31 PM   #51
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Medicare supplement vs Medicare Advantage: I've been researching this subject a little and decided to make a phone call today to Extend Health. They are pretty much in the know about Medicare plans and was highlighted in post #2 of this thread. A few years ago I switched to a Medicare Advantage plan and now I can't switch back because of "preexisting conditions". I thought this was going to go away with Obamacare but that may not be until 2014. I can go back to Medicare any time but Extend Health said no body would touch me with a supplemental plan. I'm not worried about it yet but I'd consider switching back seeing what is going on with the Advantage plans.
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Old 09-26-2011, 08:28 PM   #52
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The VA information might prove useful to servicemen at or nearing retirement age that had "boots on the ground" in Vietnam. Those vets are given access thru Priority Group 6 without means testing. Some vets that meet this guideline aren't aware of this option. It's nice to share information like this, as healthcare costs seem to be an issue with almost everyone.
Yes, this is very important for eligible folks to know. DH had the honor of spending time in areas associated with Agent Orange which gave him access through Priority Group 6. I only learned about it by doing a lot of reading. A lot of those eligible will be getting close to retirement but they can sign up any time.
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Old 09-28-2011, 10:41 AM   #53
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Yes, this is very important for eligible folks to know. DH had the honor of spending time in areas associated with Agent Orange which gave him access through Priority Group 6. I only learned about it by doing a lot of reading. A lot of those eligible will be getting close to retirement but they can sign up any time.
Do Vietnam veterans that have an AO disability need to sign up?
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Old 09-28-2011, 11:35 AM   #54
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Do Vietnam veterans that have an AO disability need to sign up?
Yes...

VA’s Guide on Agent Orange Claims (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)

Just because you served in SEA and had AO exposure (everybody who had "boots on the ground" did so) does not mean you are eligible for automatic VA rating/care at level 3, but level 6 (a non-disability rating). Be aware that over the years, the VA has cut the lower level for services so while level 6 may have some coverage, it is subject to change. Here's the rating list:

Enrollment Priority Groups (View All) (VA Health Care Eligibility & Enrollment)

You also need to claim a disability, based upon the link I posted and the following list of medical conditions:

Agent Orange: Diseases Related to Agent Orange Exposure - Public Health
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Old 09-28-2011, 03:15 PM   #55
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Yes...

VA’s Guide on Agent Orange Claims (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)

Just because you served in SEA and had AO exposure (everybody who had "boots on the ground" did so) does not mean you are eligible for automatic VA rating/care at level 3, but level 6 (a non-disability rating). Be aware that over the years, the VA has cut the lower level for services so while level 6 may have some coverage, it is subject to change. Here's the rating list:

Enrollment Priority Groups (View All) (VA Health Care Eligibility & Enrollment)

You also need to claim a disability, based upon the link I posted and the following list of medical conditions:

Agent Orange: Diseases Related to Agent Orange Exposure - Public Health
So if someone is already getting VA disability for a AO disability, are they automatically in the system at level 3 or do they need to apply independently of the VA disability program? (Sorry, I asked the question ambiguously before.)
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Old 09-28-2011, 03:20 PM   #56
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So if someone is already getting VA disability for a AO disability, are they automatically in the system at level 3 or do they need to apply independently of the VA disability program?
They are in the system (want to see my VA ID card? )...
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Old 09-30-2011, 11:32 AM   #57
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When I researched this subject in earlier years, Medicare Advantage plans were by far more economical than Supplemental insurance. There are a lot of $0 Medicare Advantage plans (at least here in midwest) and their copay's, out-of-pocket maximums, and included Rx prices seem reasonable. I don't recall if I could come up with any combination of potential health problems where going with one of Supplemental plans was better than some of these Advantage plans.

So, to answer original question, $0 on top of the standard (2011 part B) ~$115 monthly premium deduction from SS.
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Old 09-30-2011, 11:41 AM   #58
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I don't recall if I could come up with any combination of potential health problems where going with one of Supplemental plans was better than some of these Advantage plans.
...provided your doctor is a member of the Advantage plan.
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Old 09-30-2011, 12:16 PM   #59
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...provided your doctor is a member of the Advantage plan.
The calculator on the medicare website would also indicate otherwise, too.

I can very much understand why the low, low cost policies are attractive and can't say I blame a person for going with them. They offer an immediate savings, whereas the added expenses are only incurred IF you use the policy (and most folks probably feel that is a fair deal).

It's tough and complicated, to say the least.
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Old 09-30-2011, 01:40 PM   #60
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While medicare may provide subscribers with protection (in some cases excessive protection) from excessive billing practices, it appears bent on penalizing many who made sacrifices during their working lifetime in order to put together adequate resources for a decent financially independent retirement.
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