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Is there a cost with Medicare?
Old 12-10-2008, 08:54 PM   #1
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Is there a cost with Medicare?

Is Scott Burns talking about supplemental insurance in this article (like Humana Insurance)? He speaks of saving on the cost of Medicare, but I didn't think Medicare had a cost.

Expect exodus of broke retirees | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Scott Burns | Personal Finance | Business Columnist | Dallas Morning News
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Old 12-10-2008, 09:09 PM   #2
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For part B of Medicare which covers doctor visits and anything outside a hospital there is a $94 a month charge.

The free part of Medicare is part A which covers hospitalization I think.

Part D is the drug coverage and costs according to what your plan covers.

DW is covered under part B and we have a compliment plan that covers drugs and things Medicare does not cover, that is an extra $75 a month.

So for us it's $169 a month for DW's coverage. And there are some things Medicare doesn't cover or will only cover part of so there are extras that get added to the costs.
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Old 12-11-2008, 07:58 AM   #3
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For part B of Medicare which covers doctor visits and anything outside a hospital there is a $94 a month charge.

The free part of Medicare is part A which covers hospitalization I think.

Part D is the drug coverage and costs according to what your plan covers.

DW is covered under part B and we have a compliment plan that covers drugs and things Medicare does not cover, that is an extra $75 a month.

So for us it's $169 a month for DW's coverage. And there are some things Medicare doesn't cover or will only cover part of so there are extras that get added to the costs.
Agree.

The big variation is among the "wrap around" or "supplemental" policies - they have various degrees of coverage, deductibles, etc. Medicare part b coverage is well defined and specified.
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Old 12-11-2008, 09:48 AM   #4
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Thanks. You can tell I haven't even looked into Medicare yet.
I get what Burns is suggesting if the cost of insurances is $169 a month, but how risky that could be for some American going to Mexico to live--without ever having lived there before. Not sure how wise that move would be for someone.
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Old 12-11-2008, 10:01 AM   #5
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Thanks. You can tell I haven't even looked into Medicare yet.
I get what Burns is suggesting if the cost of insurances is $169 a month, but how risky that could be for some American going to Mexico to live--without ever having lived there before. Not sure how wise that move would be for someone.
Medicare won't help you in Mexico. So far at least it is US only. If you are not too far from the border you could visit US docs if really sick.

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Old 12-11-2008, 10:08 AM   #6
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Medicare won't help you in Mexico. So far at least it is US only. If you are not too far from the border you could visit US docs if really sick.
This is what I thought, as well. Also isn't Part B optional?
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Old 12-11-2008, 01:36 PM   #7
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What Burns suggests is just signing up for the basic Medicare (I'm guessing..I mean it is free, isn't it?), shucking parts B&D and not signing up for them, and living in Mexico where medical care is cheap and oftentimes better in the major cities than in the U.S. For me, that would be like making a lifetime commitment without checking out the country at my age...not sure I have the guts for that one.
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Old 12-11-2008, 02:04 PM   #8
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Part A is automatic when you turn 65 and there is no cost. Part B is optional and can be delayed if you are covered under another plan at work, even though you are over 65.

The rub with Part B comes if you delay it past 65 and are not covered under another plan and then later want it, the cost will be more than the current rate for 65 year olds.

When I retired I had to submit a special form to Medicare since DW was 67 and had not started Part B when she turned 65. The HR people at work had to certify she had been covered under another plan.

When I turn 65 (2 years) I have to switch to Medicare Part A & B since my retiree group plan through work will end. I will still be able to get the Medicare Compliment plan (Part D) through work, I hope.
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Old 12-11-2008, 06:31 PM   #9
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Medicare won't help you in Mexico. So far at least it is US only. If you are not too far from the border you could visit US docs if really sick.

Ha
My impression is that Medicare doesn't even cover emergency medical costs in foreign countries so if you are traveling, you need a plan B.
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Old 12-16-2008, 06:34 PM   #10
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Part A is automatic when you turn 65 and there is no cost.
This isn't exactly true. Part A is only automatic if you are receiving Social Security when you turn 65. (BTW, I signed up for Medicare earlier this year.) In my case, the age at which I become eligible for full SS benefits is 66. I have decided not to take SS before I turn 66. From here on out, automatic Medicare will only happen for people who decided to take SS early.

You can sign up for Medicare up to three months before your 65 birthday. This was the route that I took: I showed up at my local SS office and signed up.

The great irony in my case is that my medical insurance costs dramatically increased as a result of going on Medicare (part B + part D + supplement plan). Prior to Medicare, I was on retiree medical insurance provided by my former employer that cost $20/month.
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Old 12-16-2008, 07:03 PM   #11
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This isn't exactly true. Part A is only automatic if you are receiving Social Security when you turn 65.
From the Medicare Web site:

Medicare has two parts, Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medicare Insurance). You are eligible for premium-free Part A if you are age 65 or older and you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years. You can get Part A at age 65 without having to pay premiums if:
  • You are receiving retirement benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board.
  • You are eligible to receive Social Security or Railroad benefits but you have not yet filed for them.
  • You or your spouse had Medicare-covered government employment..
Sounds to me like you can get Part A without paying as long as you are eligible for SS - you don't actually have to be receiving SS benefits. So I can start SS benefits at age 66, but start MC part A at age 65.

Just clarifying since I wasn't sure what you meant by "automatic."
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Old 12-16-2008, 07:47 PM   #12
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Sounds to me like you can get Part A without paying as long as you are eligible for SS - you don't actually have to be receiving SS benefits. So I can start SS benefits at age 66, but start MC part A at age 65.

Just clarifying since I wasn't sure what you meant by "automatic."
I did some research on SS prior to my 65th birthday. My main source of information was a Nolo Press book titled "Social Security, Medicare & Government Pensions" by Matthews and Berman, 13th ed, 2008. According to this book, if you are receiving SS prior to your 65th birthday, the government will sign you up and send you your Medicare card before your 65th birthday without you having to do anything. This is what I meant by "automatic." Otherwise, according to the book, you have to go to your local SS office and sign up, preferably in the three months prior to your 65th birthday.

The point that I was trying to make in my previous post is that the age at which one is "fully vested" in SS is gradually being increased on a sliding scale. In my case it's 66. Thus if one makes the decision to delay social security until their 66th birthday, and expects that they will be signed up "automatically" for Medicare, they're in for a big surprise.

Anybody younger than me who decides to delay SS until they're fully vested in SS, will *not* be automatically signed up for Medicare (at least based on my understanding of how it works). I assume that the number of younger people who are going to wait until fully vested in SS to take it is rather large. The latter people are not being well served by being told that they will be automatically signed up for SS.
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Old 12-16-2008, 08:30 PM   #13
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According to this book, if you are receiving SS prior to your 65th birthday, the government will sign you up and send you your Medicare card before your 65th birthday without you having to do anything. This is what I meant by "automatic."
Then we're in agreement about that: in both cases it's free, but if you are 65, eligible for SS but haven't taken benefits yet you have to ASK for your MC. If you are receiving SS benefits before age 65, they initiate it without any intervention on the beneficiary's part.

Gotta wonder why they don't just make it automatic for both situations - obviously their computers can do that.
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Old 12-16-2008, 08:41 PM   #14
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Then we're in agreement about that: in both cases it's free, but if you are 65, eligible for SS but haven't taken benefits yet you have to ASK for your MC. If you are receiving SS benefits before age 65, they initiate it without any intervention on the beneficiary's part.

Gotta wonder why they don't just make it automatic for both situations - obviously their computers can do that.
Where do you get this idea that it's "free." I've been paying 1.45% of my gross pay into it my whole working life.

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Old 12-16-2008, 08:44 PM   #15
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Gotta wonder why they don't just make it automatic for both situations - obviously their computers can do that.
My guess is that it probably has something to do with the Part B premium, and how you will pay it. If you are already receiving SS, they simply deduct it from your SS check.
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Old 12-16-2008, 08:51 PM   #16
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Where do you get this idea that it's "free." I've been paying 1.45% of my gross pay into it my whole working life.
I might add that your employer has matched that 1.45%, and that it applies to all earned income, i.e. it is not capped as SS is.
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Old 12-17-2008, 05:30 AM   #17
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I guess my use of the term "automatic" was more along the line of you have to apply if you are eligible for Medicare but not taking SS at 65.

This was DW's case, she didn't take SS until her FRA at 65 1/2. She was covered under my plan at work so it didn't make any difference. Even after she started to draw SS payments my work plan continued to be her primary insurer until I retired, then she had to switch to Medicare as her primary insurer.

In my case, I'm retired and under 65 and not drwaing SS and am on the company group plan. At 65 I have to switch to Medicare as primary coverage with Part a and Part B. I probably won't be taking SS till my FRA (66) and so I will have to pay for Part B. I think SS bills you in that case, three months at a time. I can hardly wait.
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Old 12-17-2008, 09:12 AM   #18
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In my case, I'm retired and under 65 and not drwaing SS and am on the company group plan. At 65 I have to switch to Medicare as primary coverage with Part a and Part B. I probably won't be taking SS till my FRA (66) and so I will have to pay for Part B. I think SS bills you in that case, three months at a time. I can hardly wait.
They will send you the Part B bill and it is payable (without any fee) via a CC (VISA, etc.,) or check or MO. My fist bill was for 4 months but future ones have been for three month periods. I do not need, or use the Part D so I don't know how they bill that (or even if they do). DW is on her SS and, of course, her Part B is deducted from her monthly direct deposit.
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