As often happens when I write, I learn things along the way, including things about the current article or post. So it has been the last couple of days. I write about myself, not necessarily as a road map to others, and this article was about MY transition to Medicare. However, I do like to be as accurate and informative as possible. To this end, I have learned that as I read it, those of you in the market place need to resign your medical insurance and move to a Medigap or Advantage plan. Those people who have insurance from other sources outside the market (generally meaning through an employer can keep their current insurance as I have been doing, depending on your employer. While people who have employer based retiree insurance include federal or state employees, there are other corporations who meet that criteria. Hopefully, this is a little more clear when it comes to the general population. As for me, my plans below remain fairly clear.
In September, I turned 64. No sooner did my birthday approach, than I began to receive slews and slews of Medicare information. So much information in fact, that I double checked my birthday and age. I mean, why were all these folks sending me all this stuff???
I now know that this is the norm. In one way it makes sense I guess, because you don't want to wait until the last minute to get your financial ducks in order, after all. Still, a year ahead did seem to be a bit "whack" to me, as the kids say. And of course, many those pieces of mail were medical advantage plans trying to "sign me up".
Even so, I've been doing my due diligence. So far, while I can see how things could be confusing to some, it is nothing compared to the research my adult kids have had to do to get coverage through the state system (These kids are perfect examples of why health coverage should not be tied to employment. One is self employed and the student, and the other only offers care for people who work 40 full hours. My other kid is getting a grad degree in OT and works about 35 hours per week).
Anyway, the bottom line in all of this is that at this point, I will be signing up for parts A and B, ignoring parts C and D, and keeping my current health insurance rather than getting an advantage plan. My current medical premiums will double from 120 to 240 dollars beginning in September.
Confused? Me too. In fact those readers who are a bit older and I probably know much, much more about this process than I do. If so, feel free to share opinions and your experiences with medicare-please.
I used two primary reference sources as I began my journey. First, I went to the federal government health and benefits website (as opposed to the medicare website). As often happens, their information was concise and to the point. I also referenced the NOLO book, Social Security and Government Pensions, a book I need to delve in more directly.
From my federal website I learned that my federal drug benefits are at least as good as those offered by Medicare Part D. I have the option of dental, eyeglass coverage and the like through the Feds, so I probably will not need part C. And finally, my former employer requires that all beneficiaries sign up for both Part A (Hospital) and Part B (medical). The end result? By keeping my full coverage insurance and signing up for medicare A and B, I should be good for the future in Medicare.
I could have dropped my full coverage insurance and move to a Medicare Advantage Plan. Right now, as I understand it the advantages of doing so have to do with drug coverage (which I have) and an out of pocket ceiling, which I will also have. Medicare will pay first, my current insurance second, and my co-pays with my current insurance are $20, my deductible is $750 and my out of pocket max is $5000.
At the moment (knocking on wood), I feel fairly comfortable as to where I am going. That said, I need all the input I can get and will continue to research until that sign up day arrives.
What about you. Do you have an advantage plan? Original Medicare? Are you happy with what you have? Do share!