Medicare Supplemental help

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Jags4186
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Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:12 pm

Medicare Supplemental help

Post by Jags4186 »

Hi Folks,

My father-in-law recently passed away and, unfortunately, did not leave a well-organized situation for my MIL. I'm doing my best to stay out of it, but my wife was telling me about her mother's confusion about Medicare and I thought that might be something I could help with. And now, in turn, I turn to you all for help :happy .

From what I understand, my MIL and FIL were covered under a retirement healthcare plan through my FILs employer. However it was set up, now that he has passed away, my MIL can continue to stay on the plan, but at a cost of almost $800/mo.

How would you proceed in this situation? Where do you shop for Medicare supplemental plans (Medigap?)? How do you know if you're getting a good deal? What things should one lookout for when shopping for a supplemental plan?

Thanks in advance
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arcticpineapplecorp.
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Re: Medicare Supplemental help

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. »

contact your local SHIP (state health insurance program):

https://www.google.com/search?client=fi ... e+of+aging

they helped us immensely get a supplemental plan for my girlfriend's father.

stay away from an advantage plan if they can afford a supplemental plan. They should be cheaper than $800. My mom's 78 and she pays around $170 a month I think.

You may need to show proof of creditable coverage if she's enrolling in a supplemental and over 65 years of age. Hopefully she won't need medical underwriting (this is not required the first time signing up with supplemental).

Oh, and Part G is the one that's recommended because it covers the most so there's the fewest surprises.

She will need a Part D plan (for drugs) as well. SHIP can help with that as well.
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egrets
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Re: Medicare Supplemental help

Post by egrets »

I have AARP Medigap Plan F. I think that is no longer available but Plan G is the same except it has a deductible. The total premium for me for 2021 is $3210.00. I am in my late 70s, so maybe the premium varies with age or location.

It has worked fine for me all the years I have had it, Medigap plans are hands off, the doctor etc bills Medicare which pays 80% then hands the info off to the Medigap plan which pays the other 20%.

I got AARP because my slightly older neighbors liked it. It is administered by United Healthcare, which is dreadful (United NoHealthcare) when it runs other plans, but UHC can't mess with this plan because Medicare sets the rules. So occasionally I have to remind an alarmed office person that it is Medigap not UHC.
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JoeRetire
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Re: Medicare Supplemental help

Post by JoeRetire »

Jags4186 wrote: Tue Dec 15, 2020 4:39 pm My father-in-law recently passed away and, unfortunately, did not leave a well-organized situation for my MIL.
Sorry for your loss.
I'm doing my best to stay out of it, but my wife was telling me about her mother's confusion about Medicare and I thought that might be something I could help with.
Do you have any familiarity or expertise with Medicare?
Where do you shop for Medicare supplemental plans (Medigap?)?
Start at https://www.medicare.gov/

If you haven't already done so, you should consider Medicare Advantage plans as well as Medigap plans. Depending on her needs, MA plans could be far less expensive for your mother-in-law and many are almost exactly like employers' health insurance plans.

If you and your mother-in-law can't figure it out by yourselves, you can get help by clicking the "Find local help" link. It takes you to https://www.medicare.gov/Contacts/ where you'll find a form to try as well as other useful links. It also has a link to State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs)

SHIPs have experts available to answer questions or help guide your search.
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Stinky
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Re: Medicare Supplemental help

Post by Stinky »

Going to your state SHIP site is a great idea.

You will find sharply divided opinion on this board concerning Medicare advantage plans. We are enrolled in Medicare advantage, and love it. Our Medicare advantage plan is provided by our local Blue Cross, with whom we were insured prior to my retirement. Our Blue Cross network includes 99% of the doctors, and 100% of the hospitals, and our state. Also, We travel very little outside of our state.

As noted above, Medicare advantage is very similar to the medical insurance you might’ve had prior to retirement. Our Medicare advantage plan provides the regular part D drug benefit and all that other benefits for no monthly premium.

Not all Medicare advantage plans are as good as ours. The most common complaint that I see on this board is that the network of doctors and specialists is severely limited. That’s an important consideration as you make your decision.

Again, I encourage you to go to the state SHIP site to explore the options.
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Broken Man 1999
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Re: Medicare Supplemental help

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

Stinky wrote: Tue Dec 15, 2020 5:27 pm Going to your state SHIP site is a great idea.

You will find sharply divided opinion on this board concerning Medicare advantage plans. We are enrolled in Medicare advantage, and love it. Our Medicare advantage plan is provided by our local Blue Cross, with whom we were insured prior to my retirement. Our Blue Cross network includes 99% of the doctors, and 100% of the hospitals, and our state. Also, We travel very little outside of our state.

As noted above, Medicare advantage is very similar to the medical insurance you might’ve had prior to retirement. Our Medicare advantage plan provides the regular part D drug benefit and all that other benefits for no monthly premium.

Not all Medicare advantage plans are as good as ours. The most common complaint that I see on this board is that the network of doctors and specialists is severely limited. That’s an important consideration as you make your decision.

Again, I encourage you to go to the state SHIP site to explore the options.
I have had HMOs or PPOs provided by MegaCorp for decades. Very satisfied with my current Humana Medicare Advantage PPO plan.

The only caution I would give about getting a Medicare Advantage plan would be IF one is in a rural or small city, your network might be pretty thin. I live near a large metropolitan area, and Humana's network is very robust.

Good luck!

Broken Man 1999
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mhalley
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Re: Medicare Supplemental help

Post by mhalley »

Another option to the SHIP is to use a broker such as Boomer Benefits. I found them helpful when I was deciding on a plan.
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dodecahedron
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Re: Medicare Supplemental help

Post by dodecahedron »

egrets wrote: Tue Dec 15, 2020 5:07 pm I have AARP Medigap Plan F. I think that is no longer available but Plan G is the same except it has a deductible.
Plan F is still available, but only to those folks who turned 65 prior to Jan 1, 2020. In other words, if you were born before 1955, you can still purchase a Plan F.
The total premium for me for 2021 is $3210.00. I am in my late 70s, so maybe the premium varies with age or location.
In some states, Medigap premiums can vary based on age. In other states (e.g., NY), premiums are the same for everyone, regardless of age.

Location can matter a lot, especially across states, but even within a state. In some states, it may be hard to switch Medigap plans. In others (e.g., NY), it is easy to switch.

Early last March, as the pandemic emerged, and I grew concerned about network constraints and unknowns that might be leeming, I decided to switch from a Medicare Advantage back to the simpler and more flexible Medicare Traditional combined with a Plan F-HD (high deductible) with a premium of $57 per month. I contacted a trustworthy and reputable local agent and uploaded the documents he needed (my Medicare card, my previous MA plan card), filled out a simple form with easy stuff like name, address, SSN but NO questions about health or pre-existing conditions. He handled all the paperwork from there and sent me an application to e-sign and voila: effective April 1, 2020 I was covered on the new plan of my choice.

BUT what I did very easily would not be possible in most states.

Hopefully your state has a great comparison-shopping website like mine does. Talking to SHIP may also help. But once you figure out what plan you want, I would highly recommend finding a reputable trustworthy independent agent to handle the paperwork as smoothly as possible. (The agent's services do not cost you anything extra. Premium is the same whether you use an agent or not, and the agent's commission is paid by the Medigap carrier.)
Topic Author
Jags4186
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Re: Medicare Supplemental help

Post by Jags4186 »

Thanks everyone!

I was able to muddle through the websites, and after speaking with a few of my relatives who are on Medicare I was able to advise my wife to recommend the Horizon BCBS plan F (she’s born 1949) and also a United healthcare prescription plan. Premium totals are about $400/mo which is half of what my MIL was looking at.

All was going well until our out of state SIL got involved and decided she needed to do everything over, so I am done with my piece but confident I gave prudent advice.

Ahh, in-laws 😁
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Stinky
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Re: Medicare Supplemental help

Post by Stinky »

Jags4186 wrote: Wed Dec 16, 2020 8:15 am Thanks everyone!

I was able to muddle through the websites, and after speaking with a few of my relatives who are on Medicare I was able to advise my wife to recommend the Horizon BCBS plan F (she’s born 1949) and also a United healthcare prescription plan. Premium totals are about $400/mo which is half of what my MIL was looking at.

All was going well until our out of state SIL got involved and decided she needed to do everything over, so I am done with my piece but confident I gave prudent advice.

Ahh, in-laws 😁
Let us know how the “son in law vs daughter” drama plays out in your household. :twisted:

You made a good recommendation. Let us know how it works out.
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annebert
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Re: Medicare Supplemental help

Post by annebert »

Very helpful thread! I turn 65 this year and just started looking at all the Medigap plans. I plan to move to a new state in a few years and I travel abroad a lot, so already decided against an Advantage plan. Hearing that those on Medicare recommended a gap plan is encouraging, and confirming that G is the best sub for F is great.
ModifiedDuration
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Re: Medicare Supplemental help

Post by ModifiedDuration »

annebert wrote: Tue Jan 12, 2021 5:52 pm Very helpful thread! I turn 65 this year and just started looking at all the Medigap plans. I plan to move to a new state in a few years and I travel abroad a lot, so already decided against an Advantage plan. Hearing that those on Medicare recommended a gap plan is encouraging, and confirming that G is the best sub for F is great.
Consider the Plan G high-deductible version. The “high deductible” is a misnomer, because, under this plan Medicare Parts A and B do pay their shares first and then you pay the $1,408 Medicare Part A deductible (for 2021) if you are admitted to a hospital and the 20% of Medicare-approved costs that Part B does not cover, up to a total “deductible” of $2,370 (for 2021).

If you are in good health, it can be a good value, as the monthly premiums are very low and, over time, your out-of-pocket expenses could be significantly lower than the additional cost of a regular Plan G.

In my case, the Plan G high-deductible premium is $37 a month vs. about $150 a month for the lowest cost regular Plan G, so basically any year that I am not admitted to the hospital I should come out way ahead.
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