buy one's own medigap or ex-employer group

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Topic Author
bowtie
Posts: 363
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2014 11:41 am

buy one's own medigap or ex-employer group

Post by bowtie » Thu Mar 14, 2019 1:47 am

Hi,
I've been reading the forum about Medicare issues ....
I'm in the midst of researching options. I know I want original plus medigap, but is it generally better to stick with one's present insurance administrator (thru former employer) who offers supplement, or to buy it on one's own? If anyone has some thoughts on this you can let me know. I will be comparing plans and options etc. TIA.

dbr
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Re: buy one's own medigap or ex-employer group

Post by dbr » Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:56 am

Do you mean your former employer is subsidizing the plan? Or is this just an opportunity to buy a plan from that particular insurer.

One thing that can and is happening is retiree insurance plans from companies get terminated and then you are on your own. It is ok because you had legal coverage and can then buy Medigap, but it can be more settling to just get on a plan you want from a real Medigap insurer.

But the devil is in the details. I have an acquaintance who has excellent supplementary coverage from the Federal Employee Health Benefits plan as a Federal retiree. That is not going to go away. My employer offered post Medicare age supplementary coverage or an option to take the benefit as a Health Care Reimbursement Account, then they terminated the supplementary plan anyway. I went to the HCRA from the get-go.

Also, it certainly made sense to me to shop the plans within the authorized Medigap plans in one's state. For me choosing the carrier was a factor.

vested1
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Re: buy one's own medigap or ex-employer group

Post by vested1 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:33 am

The only way to determine this is to look at the cost and coverages of all options. My wife's retiree insurance from her previous employer covered us both post Medicare for $100 a month, until it didn't. They transitioned on 1/1/19 to an advisory service that helps you determine which medigap plan is best for you based on your own health situation, including prescriptions. Our insurance costs went from a little over 4k in 2018 to a little over 11k in 2019, mostly due to outrageous co-pays on a single medication that once the patient reaches age 65 is no longer eligible for a subsidy from the manufacturer. Additionally, our insurance premiums, other than Part B, more than doubled.

Luckily both of our previous employers offer HRA's (reimbursement) that adds up to over 13k a year, with unused portions rolled to the next year and beyond. We have no idea if these HRA's will continue to be offered in the future. If you have expensive prescriptions it's vital to research the coverage and co-pay amounts before making a decision.

I would also find out if Medicare Advantage is available in your area (it's not in mine) as it may be more comprehensive at a lower cost.

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dm200
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Location: Washington DC area

Re: buy one's own medigap or ex-employer group

Post by dm200 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:43 am

bowtie wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 1:47 am
Hi,
I've been reading the forum about Medicare issues ....
I'm in the midst of researching options. I know I want original plus medigap, but is it generally better to stick with one's present insurance administrator (thru former employer) who offers supplement, or to buy it on one's own? If anyone has some thoughts on this you can let me know. I will be comparing plans and options etc. TIA.
Do you (or can you get) any former employer benefit for this? If so, check out all the details.

I have not seen much here about what seems to be a way some employers are providing benefits to retirees on Medicare. A large nearby county provides a version of this to its retirees and that County School system provides a similar one. If the retiree chooses Original Medicare - that retiree gets NO benefits. if the retiree chooses a specialized/customized Medicare Advantage plan, the costs to the retiree are much less AND the normal (for MA plans) out of pocket annual maximum (in the $5,000 - $6.700 range) is very low. A longtime friend/acquaintance retired early from that school system (medical disability) and is now over 65. She is facing several financial challenges (mostly of ill-advised choices she made). I reviewing he financial situation with her, I thought something was wrong with her medicare and health insurance (looked like she paid too much). However, after getting into the weeds of her MA plan, it turns out she is getting a very GOOD deal -- especially since her usage of the health/medical system is high - due to her multiple health issues. The MA plan she has (customized by former employer) seems to have a very, very wide availability of providers.

Topic Author
bowtie
Posts: 363
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2014 11:41 am

Re: buy one's own medigap or ex-employer group

Post by bowtie » Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:17 pm

Thx for the responses.
From what I have looked at so far, it seems that the employer based offering is more expensive. I will keep researching this but so far, it appears that the employer one is charging more money for MA plans than they normally are.
Thx for the input.

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dm200
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Re: buy one's own medigap or ex-employer group

Post by dm200 » Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:34 am

bowtie wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:17 pm
Thx for the responses.
From what I have looked at so far, it seems that the employer based offering is more expensive. I will keep researching this but so far, it appears that the employer one is charging more money for MA plans than they normally are.
Thx for the input.
What the charges are for the employer based offering is only part of the evaluation. The other is the charges (copays, etc.) for services and the max out of pocket annual limit.

btenny
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Re: buy one's own medigap or ex-employer group

Post by btenny » Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:52 am

Do your research on what your former employer is offering. There are some good deals out there via Mega Corps. I get a deal where part of my costs are reimbursed by my former Mega Corp because I buy Medigap insurance through a broker tied back to my Mega Corp. I get the same big companies insurance (Humana and Blue Cross) but I get refunds for part of the premiums.

Good Luck.

dbr
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Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 9:50 am

Re: buy one's own medigap or ex-employer group

Post by dbr » Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:05 pm

btenny wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:52 am
Do your research on what your former employer is offering. There are some good deals out there via Mega Corps. I get a deal where part of my costs are reimbursed by my former Mega Corp because I buy Medigap insurance through a broker tied back to my Mega Corp. I get the same big companies insurance (Humana and Blue Cross) but I get refunds for part of the premiums.

Good Luck.
My company advertised that as well but it turned out they offered the same benefit no matter where you bought the Medigap and they just were neglecting to tell people unless you asked. The actual mechanism to do that was to elect to sign up for their health care reimbursement account. The HCRA is actually better because any otherwise reimbursed cost can be claimed.

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