retiredjg wrote: ↑
Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:05 pm
Victoria, I switched to BCBS Basic a couple of years ago (from the more expensive version) when I learned from posts here that the Standard option was not offering anything extra once on Medicare. I pay $159.74 per month (single) this year but I get back $600 a year in my BCBS premiums.
I also have Medicare Part B at the lowest rate.
They integrate perfectly with each other. Medicare pays it's part then sends the rest to BCBS and I get paperwork saying I don't owe anything. All happens in a timely manner and no mistakes that I'm aware of (however, I never see the actual bills, so I would not know about mistakes there).
I do not pay any medical bills except prescription co-pays. I don't pay co-pays at the doctor, or for lab work, or tests, or x-rays, or anything. I am very satisfied and will not change unless something better comes along.
I believe it covers international travel, but not positive. As I'm sure you know, Medicare does not.
No problems with doctors and hospitals in network. Don't have to use a primary care system etc. Doctor just has to accept Medicare assignments (and most here do).
I was previously happy with GEHA (I think before medicare) but left them because they pushed the CVS pharmacy so hard - our local CVS is crowded, slow, and has made several mistakes and I just got tired of dealing with them.
Thank you very much for sharing your experience!
I spent the past two days reading about Medicare and combining it with either Blue Cross Blue Shield or GEHA. Based on my reading, apart from your personal experience, BCBS-Basic comes out better than GEHA-Standard. GEHA is a little cheaper per month, but BCBS's $600 more than compensate for it.
One reason I like GEHA is that it's not for profit. It turns out that CareFirst, a BCBS provider in the Mid-Atlantic region, is also not for profit.
Medical expenses outside the U.S. are covered by both BCBS and GEHA. BCBS has interesting provisions:
- they recommend Overseas Assistance Center (provided by GMMI, Inc) to help coordinating healthcare abroad, and
- if one receives medical services at a military installation the expenses are handled as in the U.S.
From the brochure: "For inpatient facility care you receive overseas, we provide benefits at the Preferred level under both Standard and Basic Options, without member cost-share, for admissions to a DoD facility, or when the Overseas Assistance Center (provided by GMMI, Inc.) has arranged direct billing or acceptance of a guarantee of benefits with the facility."
One question I have not been able to resolve is as follows:
In the BCBS brochure they make distinction between "preferred" providers and "participating" providers. Those with BCBS-Standard may go to "participating" providers that are not "preferred," at reduced coverage. But those with BCBS-Basic are not covered for participating providers at all. When I searched the BCBS database of providers, I did not see any distinction between "preferred" and "participating." If the database contains only preferred providers, I am curious where "participating but not preferred" providers are listed. Most likely, this is a non-issue. But I am well aware that the most reasonable assumptions sometimes backfire.
BCBS offers a curious benefit: DIY Docs:
"Members also have the opportunity to purchase a Do-It-Yourself Documents (DIY Docs) package for a low annual subscription rate. DIY Docs members receive online access to over 350 interactive, state-specific
legal documents that can be customized by the member. These documents are authored and reviewed by attorneys
for accuracy and to ensure they are legally valid in all 50 states. Available DIY Docs include a will, powers of attorney
, bill of sale, contract, residential lease, and much more."
I don't know that the "low annual subscription rate" is, but doing one's own will and powers of attorney is a significant financial benefit.
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