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4 hours ago, Barbaraok said:

What you are describing isn't applicable to most Medicare Advantage plans that people purchase on their own.  

Several years ago when we were considering a different supplement, Pam mentioned to our doctor's office manager that we were shopping insurance and she cautioned us that they do not accept patients with Advantage plans. But that was several years ago and much has changed.

From the Medicare website: What is a Medicare Advantage Plan?

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Some of the Medicare Advantage plans offered by some companies are a little better than described here.  We have an Advantage plan that is good anywhere Medicare is accepted.  If the provider doesn't accept it the Advantage plan will pay us to cover the bill.  This has been a terrific benefit!  Sadly these types of benefits are not often available to most people.  

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With Medicare coverage there's not much to worry about, it pretty well takes care of you wherever you go in the USA. But if you have a major medical problem like Congestive Heart Failure like I do your going to need a supplemental coverage plan to go with it. I chose United of Omaha plan "F". And if your also having to take a bunch of heart medicine you'll also need a drug plan like "Silver Script".

And if your full-timing or thinking about it, you just call Medicare and give them your mail forwarding address and your all set. Same with all your other medical insurance. And you can also have your payments drafted every month out of the checking account.

And if your wanting more info on what or how Medicare works, not to worry, you'll be getting a really large book in the mail each year to give something to read.

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On 9/26/2018 at 2:49 PM, D&J said:

For a RX plan I went with a Wall Mart RX, the cheapest one I could find because at this time I take no meds and Wall Mart's are everywhere we travel.

If you do take a lot of meds, the choice of a Part D (Rx) plan is a bit more complicated.  I'm aware that Medicare has an online calculator of some kind, although we use one provided through my previous employer.  The key thing about these calculators is that they take into account not just the monthly premiums but also the prices of your particular meds during the different Medicare phases (Initial coverage, Coverage gap, and Catastrophic) over the course of a year.  The least expensive plan on a premium basis may or may not always be the least expensive on an annualized basis.

FWIW, using a calculator lets you sort through the mysteries of the Coverage Gap a lot easier.  Lots of people are terrified of the "the Gap" and desperately try to avoid it.  In fact, because of ACA (Obamacare) the effects of the Gap have been decreasing each year.  In 2018 even though, on paper, you are in the Gap until you have $5,000 in out of pocket costs, that total includes the discounts automatically provided to you for all your brand name drugs.  Under law, in 2018 you are paying 35% of the cost of brand name drugs while in the Gap and your plan pays 15%; you receive a "discount" for the rest.  In reality you end up paying about ~40% of the $5000 out of pocket total cost (roughly $2k per person for 2018).  It's not as if that's nothing, but it's not nearly as much as it was a couple of years ago. In 2019 and 2020, the discounts will increase each year again, so by 2020 you will end up paying 25% of the cost of drugs in the Gap.

If that sounds complicated that's why using a calculator to model your specific prescriptions is important to ensure that you get the most cost effective plan for you.  Changing plans doesn't cost anything and during Open Season there is guaranteed acceptance.  Last year both my wife and I stayed with the plans had had the previous year, but we'll evaluate it again next month.  One thing that the calculators include is what drugs are covered by which plans.  This can vary among plans even from the same carrier.  For example, this year my wife and I both has AARP United Healthcare Part D plans; hers covered a drug I wanted but mine didn't.

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I contacted my local social security office, they gave me deadlines, how to get a medicare card, and what my monthly amount would be.  Medicare will be your primary insurance, any other insurance you already have will pick up (almost) anything Medicare doesen't  cover.  Best of luck...

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44 minutes ago, Rvnotyet said:

Medicare will be your primary insurance

We don't carry our Medicare cards because that confuses people. We just give them our Medicare Advantage cards. I suppose they get reimbursed by Medicare itself but I don't actually know that. I'm just happy I don't have to figure it out.

Linda Sand

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7 hours ago, sandsys said:

I suppose they get reimbursed by Medicare itself but I don't actually know that.

Medicare pays the premiums to the insurance company and that company pays out all benefits to the medical facility.

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I was offered the chance to pay and continue my insurance after I retired. $400 month. My doctor said AARP seems to work well for his patients. I used them for two years when my union offered their supplement. A bit less money. Most plans are based in age, with some fewer based on location. Mine goes up a bit on my birthday, not much. Medicare takes $130 from my check. At 73,  Plan F costs me $122 month. The Doctors like it as they are assured of payment without having to chase me down. Plan F will go away and no plan will cover the annual deduction. I understand that I can keep my Plan F as I will be grandfathered in. That could change. The web site; www.medicare.gov  has lots of information. I get everything on internet but still get a Big Book from medicare each year.

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1 hour ago, Sehc said:

Plan F will go away and no plan will cover the annual deduction. I understand that I can keep my Plan F as I will be grandfathered in.

Please explain what you mean by this? Nothing that I have read indicates that the plan F programs are going to end. Many of us here have had plan F or plan G (exactly the same except for the Medicare deductible) for a long time. We have not been notified of any such change.

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5 hours ago, Kirk Wood said:

Please explain what you mean by this? Nothing that I have read indicates that the plan F programs are going to end. Many of us here have had plan F or plan G (exactly the same except for the Medicare deductible) for a long time. We have not been notified of any such change.

What I've read is the same as what Sehc posted.  I'm not sure what the date's going to be, but those who have Plan F can keep it but those who don't will have to opt for Plan G. 

I think something similar happened over the past few years with Part D prescription plans.  For the first year or two when we had Medicare there were plans with no deductibles.  These days I don't see them.  I think the philosophy is that  making people pay a deductible reduces "frivolous use" and for some people that might keep them from incurring any costs in a particular year.  If you don't have to pay anything to go a doctor you're more likely to go when you might have been able to get well on your own.

 

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I found the information, but it isn't this year. This comes from the Medicare website.

Quote

Is Medicare Supplement Plan F being discontinued?

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) passed by Congress and signed into law on April 16, 2015 changed the law on various aspects of health care, including some Medicare Supplement plans. The new law states that on or after January 1, 2020, a Medicare Supplement policy that provides coverage of the Part B deductible may not be sold or issued to a newly eligible Medicare beneficiary.  You can read more here. That means that people whose birthday is December 31, 1954 (turning 65 on December 31, 2019) may be the last group able to enroll in Medicare Supplement Plan F. After January 1, 2020, you will not be able to enroll in Medicare Supplement Plan C, one of the closest alternatives to Plan F, either, since it also covers the Part B deductible.  If you already have Plan F, you can keep it. The law only affects new enrollees.

 

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I don't understand the purpose.  If the only difference between F and G is that you pay the deductible through premium on F and pay the deductible directly to the provider on G, how does that change the incentive to the insured?  I have the Plan F, but only because I know I will always have to meet the deductible anyway and I'd just as soon pay it up front for convenience.

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You are trying to make sense of a piece of legislation.  It came about as an offset.  Since I didn’t have the legislative intent, I’m surmising that  since a lot of people get their supplemental insurance through their previous work place, and the money that would have been a tax deduction for each company will now be the responsibility of the individual and not the company.  Since most retirees don’t itemize, that would mean a net gain in revenue for the government. 

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I did not say it was this year. Yes it is true for 2020. That leaves one year to go. The information was very clear in the new Medicare for 2019 book. The advantage is not always to paperless. As for income taxes. I have itemized my 1040 every year. My income is much less than most of the retires I know, but I save many dollars by itemizing.  We will see if I do better with Republicut taxes. 

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We haven't itemized since 2007, without mortgage interest, property taxes, large medical bills, we just don't have enough to deduct that would be more than the standard deduction.   

You don't need to get the Medicare book in paper form, it is all in the PDF you can download.  

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I am turning 65 in Jan and have contacted Gerald Heinrich of Heinrich Associates. They are a Escapees Corporate member. His number is 512-686-0460 or 866-558-3577. He has been very helpful and we are processing an application for a Medicare Supplement and a Part D Prescription plan. 

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