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Medicare Portability?
Old 01-29-2019, 08:30 AM   #1
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Medicare Portability?

I'm eligible in May, so I was planning to apply in Feb, and planning on meeting with a local broker. I've read quite a bit, though I'm still confused. Medicare for Dummies has been the best resource for me, but hopefully there's a complete but more concise resource I haven't found yet? But that's another topic.

We're planning to relocate to another state in 2019. Could be by May, but I'd guess it will be later this year. Maybe I missed it, but I haven't see Medicare "portability" as it will apply to me addressed very clearly in what I've read so far.

I'd prioritize more choice in doctors/hospitals slightly over lowest premiums/costs. I think I'd be happier with a Supplement/Medigap Plan G over Medicare Advantage even if I wasn't moving, but...

Question 1: Is Medigap more portable than Advantage, e.g. we'd be more likely to find medical services here and another state later this year (where I know nothing about providers yet)? Or will I be forced to sign up for Medicare all over again once relocated anyway (I was hoping to avoid "enrolling" twice in the same year, I'd expect to be living in NC when it's time to enroll for 2020)?

Question 2: I'd ask a broker there, but no contacts yet and no certain date. We plan to move to the Charlotte NC area, but there are suburbs on our radar that are SC addresses. I would not want to be limited to SC doctors/hospitals knowing there will be far more/better choices in Charlotte NC proper if I need a specialist. Am I correct in assuming Medigap (vs Advantage) would probably give us more choices around Charlotte even if we have an SC address? Or asked another way, would a Medigap, or (more likely?) Advantage plan for an SC resident exclude providers just across the border in NC? If so, that might actually influence our decision, e.g. we might just rule out looking in SC at all.

Thanks in advance...
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Old 01-29-2019, 08:44 AM   #2
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Traditional Medicare plus a Medigap policy is 100% portable regardless of where you may move in the US. If the doctor or facility accepts Medicare assignment then the Medigap policy must pay per the policy requirements.

Medicare Advantage usually has a network and is something I would avoid if I was planning to move (or even if I was not).

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Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
I'd prioritize more choice in doctors/hospitals slightly over lowest premiums/costs. I think I'd be happier with a Supplement/Medigap Plan G over Medicare Advantage even if I wasn't moving, but...
No buts, the Medigap route is definitely the way to go.
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Old 01-29-2019, 08:51 AM   #3
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Medicare Advantage usually has a network is something I would avoid if I was planning to move (or even if I was not).



No buts, the Medigap route is definitely the way to go.

Indeed. Our broker did his level best to steer us away from Advantage, and admitted he'd get a better commission when he sold an Advantage plan but just couldn't do it in good conscience.

I had a discussion with a neighbor last night whose husband was recently diagnosed with neck cancer. He has an Advantage plan, and is having a heckuva time getting access to the specialists he needs.

JMHO, of course, and YMMV.
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Old 01-29-2019, 01:17 PM   #4
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Midpack, I am in North Carolina. I have traditional Medicare and Mutual Of Omaha supplement plan G. The way I understand it is that I will be covered if I go to any provider who accepts Medicare everywhere in the United States. Total portability in the United States.

Welcome to North Carolina. PM me if you have any Qs about NC. I have lived in NC all my life and I live in Chapel Hill, NC in the cold weather and the NC mountains in the warm weather, works great for me.
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Old 01-29-2019, 01:38 PM   #5
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We have BCBS in Florida... where we signed on back in 1994, while we were snowbirds.. We've never had a permanent address there... always in Illinois.
In all of those years, we never had a single problem with the company or any doctor or medical facility.

No help on the advantage plan.
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Old 01-29-2019, 02:15 PM   #6
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Because of finances, my relative (early 70s) had not yet signed up for Part B until I insisted they do so last year.

I also had them signup for Plan G...I was willing to pay the ~$100/month premium over having them get stuck in a "free" Advantage plan.
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Old 01-29-2019, 02:19 PM   #7
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Our Advantage Plan (a PPO not an HMO, so no network) is good in all but 4 states, so it's portable as well. Not all Advantage plans are a bad deal.
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Old 01-29-2019, 02:23 PM   #8
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Our Advantage Plan (a PPO not an HMO, so no network) is good in all but 4 states, so it's portable as well. Not all Advantage plans are a bad deal.
As portable as Medigap, choice of hospitals/doctors etc.? Iím asking because we arenít positive which state weíll live in, and I got the impression Advantage plans had more provider restrictions than Medigap in general.
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Old 01-29-2019, 02:26 PM   #9
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Our Advantage Plan (a PPO not an HMO, so no network) is good in all but 4 states, so it's portable as well. Not all Advantage plans are a bad deal.
Absolutely true. I'm just one of those people who prefer to keep as many options open as I can regarding who I can use as a healthcare provider today and in the future. Medicare + Medigap fits that requirement better than an advantage plan.
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Old 01-29-2019, 04:51 PM   #10
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As portable as Medigap, choice of hospitals/doctors etc.? Iím asking because we arenít positive which state weíll live in, and I got the impression Advantage plans had more provider restrictions than Medigap in general.
Most are more restrictive, but not all. Ours is not.
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Old 02-03-2019, 06:18 AM   #11
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We had similar concerns, DW and I have BCBS medigap plans in the state of Iowa, (plan F for me and plan G for DW), but we will be relocating this spring to Florida. Our broker told us the medigap plans work just fine anywhere we move in USA. In our case it worked out well because the rates for Iowa are a little cheaper than in Florida.
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Old 02-03-2019, 07:21 AM   #12
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Other than portability, what is the aversion/downside to the free Advantage plans?
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Old 02-03-2019, 08:05 AM   #13
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A lot of Advantage plans are HMO's .Your medical care is controlled by a primary care physician that is assigned to you .Any referrals to specialists come from him after he exhausts other methods (physical therapy ,medication ,etc.) . If you get a Medicare Advantage plan that is a PPO you pick your primary and all your specialists as you need them.My SO has a Advantage PPO and He has had great care through two total hip replacements and a triple bypass .
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Old 02-03-2019, 08:09 AM   #14
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Other than portability, what is the aversion/downside to the free Advantage plans?
Theyíre not free, you still need to pay the Medicare B premium. The deductible may be considerably higher and the drug benefit, formularies and coverage may differ from Plan D.
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Old 02-03-2019, 08:33 AM   #15
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The biggest downside to advantage plans in my view is that they place restrictions on my choice of medical care providers - some (HMO) more than others (PPO). Plus, once you go with an advantage plan you cannot, with the exception of limited circumstances, return to traditional Medicare and get a Medigap policy without going through underwriting. I'm not interested in placing any additional limits on my medical care options to save a few dollars in premiums.
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