Join Early Retirement Today
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
A Medicare Strategy
Old 02-17-2016, 08:25 AM   #1
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
imoldernu's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Illinois and Florida
Posts: 3,935
A Medicare Strategy

More properly, "My" Medicare strategy, 'cuz it's what we do to keep our sanity when the medicare statements come in.

We wait... two months... sometime three, for everything to "shake out".

In the early years, (we've been on Medicare for 15 years) when we got the statements... sometimes as many as ten or more pages, panic would set in. Phone calls and looking up unfamiliar terms, and worry... worry... worry. Some statements that detailed tens of thousands of dollars.

So, after the first few years, my older next door neighbor told us to just put the bills/statement, in a pile and not to do anything until a letter comes from the healthcare provider, threatening our credit standing. (Only twice in all of those years, when we got mixed up on the initial $135 co-pay).

At one point, when I was taking care of an elderly friend, I uncovered his cache of Medicare bills (literally thousands of pages)... every month for five years... piled up in a large box. This was before i learned about the "wait" strategy, and I spent days trying to straighten out his doctor bills. The net result was that nothing had to be done. Lesson learned.

Now, your mileage may vary, so I'm not suggesting that YOU do this, but it's the way we stay calm, and so far, it has worked.

imoldernu is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 02-17-2016, 08:44 AM   #2
Recycles dryer sheets
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 74
+1 on this - not just for Medicare but also regular insurance. DW worked for a large health insurance company for 26 years, everything from claims to fraud investigation to new business. What typically happens is:

First bill - "rack" rates (no insurance company negotiated discounts), "unbundled" charges (separating every item on a procedure to charge higher individual rates), no indication of what insurance will actually pay. Just set this one aside.

Second bill - Insurance company discounts applied, easier to see denied charges, maybe insurance payment received. Now is the time to look & inquire about charges they want you to pay because insurance won't. Nope, don't pay it yet.

Third bill - Insurance payments applied, typically this bill has the bottom line you will have to pay. Still worth perusing to look for anything that looks strange or unnecessary. Now you can pay.

BrianB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2016, 08:47 AM   #3
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 1,884
It wouldn't work in our case. I'm still trying to get a particular provider to submit their bills to DH's Medicare Supplement carrier for treatments starting last September. I called and gave them the policy info. On two different occasions the providers have said they've submitted them. They don't show up on the Medicare Supplement carrier's site in the claim listing. Up to now the insurer (United Healthcare) has promptly processed claims from other providers so I don't think they're causing the delay.

Sigh. I think I'm just going to get copies of Medicare's benefits statements for the charges and forward them to UHC myself. I expect to get about $400 from UHC so it's worth it.
athena53 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2016, 08:57 AM   #4
Recycles dryer sheets
Rosie's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: N Cal
Posts: 295

When we became responsible for DH's father's care -- literally overnight, when he was involved in a bad car accident -- we were absolutely clueless about Medicare and Tricare (he was retired military).

The medical bills came pouring in, some marked "final notice" or other dire warning. His Medicare and Tricare statements were pages* long (FIL had chronic health conditions to begin with, but once all his hospitalizations and treatments for the car crash kicked in ... oh my).

(*Ed. to add: one of his monthly statements -- from either Medicare or Tricare, I forget -- was Twenty.Four.Pages.Long.)

In a panic, I paid one of the most persistent bills, for ambulance and EMT services after the crash.

Sure enough, a few months(!) later, pouring over FIL's huuuge Tricare statement, it showed Tricare paid that same ambulance bill. I think we managed to have our payment refunded, but that time was such a blur ...

But I did learn not to panic when the bills came in, it took several months before Medicare and the supplemental policy caught up. In the meantime, some providers billed FIL directly. I just put those bills in a big ol' pile and checked them off when they eventually showed up as paid on the Medicare or the Tricare statement. And IIRC, they were all paid ... eventually.
Doing nothing is underrated.
Rosie is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Total Return Strategy vs. Income and Dividend Strategy for a Nestegg Golden sunsets FIRE and Money 154 01-26-2016 08:45 AM
Question on Medicare vs private Medicare PPO Ready Health and Early Retirement 9 05-20-2014 12:48 PM
Classic Medicare & Medigap vs. Medicare Advantage haha Health and Early Retirement 23 05-21-2011 09:36 AM
Medicare+Medigap vs. Medicare Advantage haha FIRE and Money 2 02-01-2006 08:16 PM
Investment Strategy. New Forum Needed?? TheFIREman FIRE and Money 9 06-14-2003 03:22 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:17 AM.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.