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Medicare Choices
Old 06-14-2018, 10:24 AM   #1
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Medicare Choices

Today, my to-do app told me to "Apply for Medicare" (three months until my 65th birthday). (Lena (DW) is 63.)

Is it me, or are there a lot of complicated choices that need to be made?

Given that we have a lot of money "in the bank," and we never use insurance to cut costs (only to eliminate catastrophic expenses), my initial assessment is that I should choose Medicare Parts A & B and add drug coverage (Part D).

There's only one Part C plan with drug coverage in our area, and that is a more expensive option.

Here's an example of the 21 drug plans available in my zip code:



If I were to select that plan, my total monthly premium would be

Plan A: $0
Plan B: $134
Plan D: $22.50
----------------
Total: $156.50

Is that correct?

Concerning the drug copay of $1-$4, is that only relevant after I've paid the $405 deductible? IOW, do I pay full price until I've paid $405, or do I pay $4 per purchase right from the start?

Thanks for the help!

Al
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Old 06-14-2018, 11:12 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post

Concerning the drug copay of $1-$4, is that only relevant after I've paid the $405 deductible? IOW, do I pay full price until I've paid $405, or do I pay $4 per purchase right from the start?

Thanks for the help!

Al
Al,
Yes you pay what the plan negotiated with the pharmacy benefit manager for the cost of the drug. That is not full price - what you would pay if you had no insurance at all. The co-pay doesn't come into play until you have spent $405. The Medicare site can show you what you will pay for a drug because they are the ones who are buying the drugs aka the pharmacy benefit manager.


As for your other question, I need more coffee before I consider the answer.


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Old 06-14-2018, 11:18 AM   #3
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Al, have you considered a MediGap plan to cover the 20% not covered by Medicare? You might find an F - Hi Deductible option in your area.
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Old 06-14-2018, 11:42 AM   #4
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+1 to MichaelB's suggestion to consider MediGap Plan F-HD
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Old 06-14-2018, 11:46 AM   #5
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Also, if you were to choose a "Plan C" it would be a Medicare Advantage choice. Once you go into an advantage plan, it is difficult if not impossible to "go back".
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Old 06-14-2018, 12:45 PM   #6
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Medicare.gov tells me "No Policies were found for your search criteria," so at least that cuts down on the complexity of the decision making.
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Old 06-14-2018, 01:17 PM   #7
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Medicare.gov tells me "No Policies were found for your search criteria," so at least that cuts down on the complexity of the decision making.
Perhaps call a Medical supplemental insurance guy to confirm this^.

I've had great luck with Chris Westfall https://seniorsavingsnetwork.org

Chris found me a well-priced Plan G. He also saved my friends (who were already on Medicare) some serious money over what they'd been paying for their Medigap policies.

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Old 06-14-2018, 01:27 PM   #8
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Medicare.gov tells me "No Policies were found for your search criteria," so at least that cuts down on the complexity of the decision making.
Are you referring to MediGap or Medicare Advantage?
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Old 06-14-2018, 01:34 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Concerning the drug copay of $1-$4, is that only relevant after I've paid the $405 deductible? IOW, do I pay full price until I've paid $405, or do I pay $4 per purchase right from the start?
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Originally Posted by Gotadimple View Post
The co-pay doesn't come into play until you have spent $405.
From the plan documents.

Annual Deductible: $405.00
Deductible Drug Tier Exclusions: $0 Deductible on copay Tier(s) 1, 2;
$405 Deductible on co-insurance Tier(s) 3, 4, 5

Source: https://expressscripts.destinationrx...re/PlanDetails

"The Saver plan offers...a $0 deductible on tier 1 and tier 2 generics. Copays are $1 for tier 1 generic medications and $4 for tier 2 generic medications when filled at one of more than 8,000 CVS pharmacies or more than 2,000 Kroger pharmacies nationwide. The copays for a 90-day supply of tier 1 or tier 2 generic medications are just $2 and $8, respectively, via home delivery by the Express Scripts Pharmacy."

Source: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-rele...300528990.html
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Old 06-14-2018, 02:56 PM   #10
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Also, if you were to choose a "Plan C" it would be a Medicare Advantage choice. Once you go into an advantage plan, it is difficult if not impossible to "go back".
CA allows switching during your birthday month, for whatever reason with no underwriting. DH recently changed insurers due to cost.
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Old 06-14-2018, 03:09 PM   #11
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I'm fairly familiar with health insurance in my real life j*b, and I was totally and utterly confused when DH turned 65. I found a Farmer's agent who also specializes in health care insurance, both ACA and Medicare. No charge - he gets a cut from the companies he places us with.


We ended up with A & B (obviously) and Plan F and a Silver Scripts Part D. DH needs some things done so we went with the Cadillac Plan F, and at the end of the year we'll go do the High Deductible Plan F, @ $65 a month. Right now it's $200.


In retrospect, I feel like I made things way too complicated, but he's covered now, and that's all that matters.


Congrats on becoming eligible for Medicare!
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Old 06-14-2018, 04:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DatumPoint5 View Post
Also, if you were to choose a "Part C" it would be a Medicare Advantage choice. Once you go into an advantage plan, it is difficult if not impossible to "go back".
CA allows switching during your birthday month, for whatever reason with no underwriting. DH recently changed insurers due to cost.
The CA Birthday Rule allows a person with a Medicare Supplement to switch to another supplement of equal or lessor benefits. The rule does not apply when switching from Advantage to Supplement.
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Old 06-14-2018, 04:46 PM   #13
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Al,You need either a supplement or a medicare Advantage plan which includes part D . You may have no medical problems now but crap happens . I had the flu last year which ended up being a $61,500 medical bill( a hospital stay and three months of rehab ) . Luckily I had a supplement that paid for most of it .
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Old 06-14-2018, 04:55 PM   #14
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Al,You need either a supplement or a medicare Advantage plan which includes part D . You may have no medical problems now but crap happens . I had the flu last year which ended up being a $61,500 medical bill( a hospital stay and three months of rehab ) . Luckily I had a supplement that paid for most of it .
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and 60K is nothing.......if you have a serious illness that requires continuing care, you could easily see 100-200K or more.
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Old 06-14-2018, 05:00 PM   #15
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Also, if you were to choose a "Plan C" it would be a Medicare Advantage choice. Once you go into an advantage plan, it is difficult if not impossible to "go back".
I was under the impression that during open enrollment one can switch to any of the Midicare gap plans or advantage plans one chooses. Well, at least until 2020 when Plan F won't be available to new people.

Or, am I mistaken?
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Old 06-14-2018, 05:03 PM   #16
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I was under the impression that during open enrollment one can switch to any of the Midicare gap plans or advantage plans one chooses. Well, at least until 2020 when Plan F won't be available to new people.

Or, am I mistaken?
Guaranteed issue for Medicare supplemental plans only exists when one is first eligible for Medicare. After that, only if one's plan leaves the market. So, choose carefully.
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Old 06-14-2018, 05:06 PM   #17
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The CA Birthday Rule allows a person with a Medicare Supplement to switch to another supplement of equal or lessor benefits. The rule does not apply when switching from Advantage to Supplement.
Was not aware of that...received erroneous info. Thanks for posting the correction.
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Old 06-14-2018, 06:32 PM   #18
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Are you not planning on getting a supplement? To not get a supplement would seem to be a serious error. You need the supplement in case of catastrophic expenses. If you are getting traditional Medicare you will have a coPayment which has no maximum.

You need to look carefully at supplements and decide which one you want. This is something you need to get now as you may not be able to medically qualify for it in future if you need it.
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:05 PM   #19
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Are you referring to MediGap or Medicare Advantage?
Medigap.
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:19 PM   #20
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Are you not planning on getting a supplement? To not get a supplement would seem to be a serious error. You need the supplement in case of catastrophic expenses. If you are getting traditional Medicare you will have a coPayment which has no maximum.

You need to look carefully at supplements and decide which one you want. This is something you need to get now as you may not be able to medically qualify for it in future if you need it.
So, Supplement = Medigap?

Medicare.gov just told me that there aren't any Medigap plans available in my zip code. That must be wrong.

I'm still just learning about this stuff (started this morning), and I have Medicare for Dummies on hold at the library.

Any great resources on the web?

It's a mess. A lot of the problem comes from nomenclature.

For example, "Part A" should be called "Hospitalization." The letter system is arbitrary, and implies a progression that isn't true.
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