Do you review your Medicare supplement

GreenSky

Active member
Location
Las Vegas
I've been helping people with their Medicare choices for over 25 year and am constantly surprised that many people buy a plan at age 65 and regardless of price just keep renewing. Or they think all companies charge about the same so don't bother.

The company that might have a great price at age 65 could very well be $300 more expensive than other companies in a few years. Just because the company sells the most doesn't make it the best deal. And hearing "my agent looks out for me" is rarely correct.

Case in point. I took a look at pricing in Iowa. One company has about 60% of the business and at age 65 is $300 more expensive (Plan F, G or N) than others. It gets even worse at age 75. In Nevada one company writes over 50%. I just quoted Plan F for a 74 year old man paying $173. I can replace the coverage with the same plan but different company for about $135. That's almost $600 he's wasting! And of course going to Plan G saves even more.

How many billions of dollars are being wasted because either agents are too lazy to call their clients, or policyholders don't bother checking? (It's even worse if you do it yourself).

So, when was the last time you checked pricing? And if you do, how often?

Rick
 

Liberty

Well-known member
Location
Texas
Rick...the rates depend on whether the person is on any meds, right? Maybe that's why a lot of people don't try to change...they would have to go
under "under writing" again in order to do it.

We live in Texas and the last time we changed they wanted to take me right away. Told them they would have to take my husband or I'd keep looking around. He was only on a tier 1 med for "essential tremor", which they know is not a serious condition - and that the people that have it live longer as the tremors keep strokes away. After I told them that they got with under writing right away and came back saying ok.

Our ex business partner and his wife can't change he says as he's a diabetic and she has had a lot of physical issues.

What about just a Crestor prescription or something...guessing that automatically raises their rates, too.

Think the insurance companies are using the "cable model" to sometimes suck you in and then raise the prices in a couple years.

Love the Plan D though. Well Care rocks.
 

Don M.

Well-known member
Location
central Missouri
Part of my retirement plan consists of several choices for Medicare/Drugs/vision/dental insurance....which the company allows $3K a year for. We usually opt for a good Medicare Advantage plan....we've stayed with a Humana Medicare Advantage PPO for the past few years, and then a vision plan (EyeMed), which covers the bulk of the costs of a thorough eye exam and new glasses annually. About the only thing I haven't found is a Dental plan which is worth a hoot....most of them cover little more than a couple of annual cleanings, and minor repairs. Luckily, with these plans our annual "out of pocket" is quite modest.....Knock Wood....the company plan covers about 11 months of the premiums, so we just have December to pay for, and a half dozen small co-pays during the year. This company Group Plan changes slightly, year to year, and the sign-up process begins in October, if we want to make any changes...so every Fall, I give the choices some good scrutiny, and "adjust", if necessary.
Looking at the costs of insurance, etc., for those without a group plan, I can easily see why health care costs are driving so many Seniors to the brink of bankruptcy.
 

Liberty

Well-known member
Location
Texas
Don M. Sounds like you have a handle on it. We'll stick with the Medigap supplement as long as we can. Understand the feds are pushing the Advantage "managed care" model. Not a fan of giving up personal medicare to the "managed provider".
 

GreenSky

Active member
Location
Las Vegas
Original Poster
Rick...the rates depend on whether the person is on any meds, right? Maybe that's why a lot of people don't try to change...they would have to go
under "under writing" again in order to do it.

We live in Texas and the last time we changed they wanted to take me right away. Told them they would have to take my husband or I'd keep looking around. He was only on a tier 1 med for "essential tremor", which they know is not a serious condition - and that the people that have it live longer as the tremors keep strokes away. After I told them that they got with under writing right away and came back saying ok.

Our ex business partner and his wife can't change he says as he's a diabetic and she has had a lot of physical issues.

What about just a Crestor prescription or something...guessing that automatically raises their rates, too.

Think the insurance companies are using the "cable model" to sometimes suck you in and then raise the prices in a couple years.

Love the Plan D though. Well Care rocks.
Many people believe that they won't be eligible for a new underwritten plan due to medication. Even insulin is ok subject to other issues such as HBP, nephropathy, etc. Just because you take medication does not mean a person is not eligible to save money. And there is no reason that if one person is uninsurable with a new company the spouse shouldn't save money. I have many clients with 2 different companies. (I just saved one person $120 a month but unfortunately the spouse can't change. Oh well, only $120 instead of double that).

Here's what rarely matters: Cholesterol, HBP, Thyroid, etc. COPD is a problem with most but not all companies. Pacemakers are almost never an issue.

My point is just because "you" think you can't change doesn't necessarily mean you are correct. Once we hit Medicare age most of us have a few issues. You don't need to be even close to perfect health to save money. It takes 1/2 an hour to gather information and take an application. What's the worst that can happen? You keep what you have.

I strongly suggest everyone review their supplement with an independent insurance agent representing many companies. If you are accepted into a new company there are no pre-existing issues and as we all know, Med Supps have no network. All companies are identical in what they cover since all plans are standardized.

Rick
 

GreenSky

Active member
Location
Las Vegas
Original Poster
Looking at the costs of insurance, etc., for those without a group plan, I can easily see why health care costs are driving so many Seniors to the brink of bankruptcy.
For most people Medicare is $135 and a supplement/part d adds about $200 (or less). Aside from considering a cancer plan for the expenses not directly related to medical most seniors aren't going bankrupt for $335 a month with virtually no other costs for treatment. The people that are going bankrupt are those covered by Obamacrap where the taxpayers are paying the bill. Once on Medicare people are generally ok.

Rick
 

Liberty

Well-known member
Location
Texas
Rick, are you saying if someone is even on a single cholesterol med...look how many are nowdays - some of them even have total "normal" cholesterol ranges, that it is a major factor? My ex business partner has diabetes, a almost dead thyroid and is on a statin...that I know.
 

GreenSky

Active member
Location
Las Vegas
Original Poster
Rick, are you saying if someone is even on a single cholesterol med...look how many are nowdays - some of them even have total "normal" cholesterol ranges, that it is a major factor? My ex business partner has diabetes, a almost dead thyroid and is on a statin...that I know.
I'm saying just the opposite. Thyroid issues, diabetes and certainly statins normally have little or no affect. The price with most companies doesn't change either. You either get a policy or you don't.

My point is if you don't try you won't know. And you MUST use an independent agent who specializes and represents many companies. I can even get coverage for someone with COPD without oxygen. Most agents don't have the experience or frankly the intelligence to do a good job.

Rick
 

Liberty

Well-known member
Location
Texas
Cool...didn't know that about either being accepted or not. Funny thing...the doc judy put my husband on 10 mg of Crestor after several years of basically the same variances of blood panels, and even though his total cholesterol is 160- said he was "tired of watching the numbers bounce around". When we went to CVS to get the scrib filled, the total cost was "zero". How bout that- go figure. Are you registered in Texas?
 

GreenSky

Active member
Location
Las Vegas
Original Poster
Cool...didn't know that about either being accepted or not. Funny thing...the doc judy put my husband on 10 mg of Crestor after several years of basically the same variances of blood panels, and even though his total cholesterol is 160- said he was "tired of watching the numbers bounce around". When we went to CVS to get the scrib filled, the total cost was "zero". How bout that- go figure. Are you registered in Texas?
I do have an insurance license for TX along with about 12-15 other states. But regardless I'm happy to help everyone save money. I hate to subsidize insurance companies with high premiums.

BTW, I just read an article pointing out that statins are basically worthless. I've had this feeling for years. But then again, I'm not a doctor.

Rick
 

Liberty

Well-known member
Location
Texas
Yep, that's what I was thinking about Statins. Course it depends on who wrote the article...if its peer review. Think pressure is being put on the docs to scribe them so if something happens they don't get left out on a technicality. Do have a female friend that says Crestor has worked for her, though.

We pay (for the both of us) a total of $287.50 for plan "G"s...have Well Care for plan D for another 20 bucks total. Please send me a PM if you think we could do better...lol. Thanks a bunch for the input. I'm sure its a big help to those new Medicare folks here on the forum. That's nic to help them out.
 

GreenSky

Active member
Location
Las Vegas
Original Poster
Yep, that's what I was thinking about Statins. Course it depends on who wrote the article...if its peer review. Think pressure is being put on the docs to scribe them so if something happens they don't get left out on a technicality. Do have a female friend that says Crestor has worked for her, though.

We pay (for the both of us) a total of $287.50 for plan "G"s...have Well Care for plan D for another 20 bucks total. Please send me a PM if you think we could do better...lol. Thanks a bunch for the input. I'm sure its a big help to those new Medicare folks here on the forum. That's nic to help them out.
Again, I'm not a doctor but here's one article and by searching it's easy to find others about statins: https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/795139/statins-heart-professor-no-heart-deaths-risk-effect

My personal feeling is they cause much more harm than good in people that haven't had heart problems.

Rick
 

Liberty

Well-known member
Location
Texas
Brenda...we had Mutual of Omaha some years ago and all they did was "up the premiums" year after year. We got out and went with another company and saved almost $200 bucks a month!
 

debodun

Well-known member
I have the "traditional" Medicare Plan A and B. However, I do not have dental or vision coverage. My prescriptions are picked up by the insurance I had when I was working (United Healthcare Silversaver). I only have 2 prescriptions (for hypertension) and there is a very small co-pay. What bothers me is that now that I have Medicare, I am paying more for doctor office visits and proceedures than when I was working. I believe this is due to my not having reached the deductible limit for Medicare and the supplemental insurance feels Medicare should be paying. This week I received a bill for the colonoscopy I had done in May indicating that I may be billed $500 for it!
 

Liberty

Well-known member
Location
Texas
Think they should be wearing masks, Ken...lol.

They are one of only two that have the state partnership long term care policies in Texas now. The other company goes up every year, too.
It is what it is, huh! Explains why we don't have a policy!
 

GreenSky

Active member
Location
Las Vegas
Original Poster
I have the "traditional" Medicare Plan A and B. However, I do not have dental or vision coverage. My prescriptions are picked up by the insurance I had when I was working (United Healthcare Silversaver). I only have 2 prescriptions (for hypertension) and there is a very small co-pay. What bothers me is that now that I have Medicare, I am paying more for doctor office visits and proceedures than when I was working. I believe this is due to my not having reached the deductible limit for Medicare and the supplemental insurance feels Medicare should be paying. This week I received a bill for the colonoscopy I had done in May indicating that I may be billed $500 for it!
The Medicare deductible for 2019 (Part B) is $185. Just because you may be billed $500 doesn't mean you will. Wait until Medicare and your group plan pay their share.

Your other option is to spend a couple hundred (or less) for a true Medicare supplement and drug plan. This would limit your costs to the Part B deductible plus up to but no more than $20 for an office visit. Neither should cause much financial difficulty for most people. However, I rarely recommend anyone leave a group plan.

Rick
 

GreenSky

Active member
Location
Las Vegas
Original Poster
What we need to do us expand Medicare to everybody and make the coverage 100% instead of 80%. And kick all these private health insurance profiteers to the curb.
We've gone back and forth with this before but it won't be Medicare for all, it will be MEDICAID for all. That way we all equally have terrible access to care.

The real profiteers in health care are doctors and hospitals. Perhaps if they work for free costs will be reduced.

Rick
 

Liberty

Well-known member
Location
Texas
Rick, I want to thank you so much for the information you gave me on the phone today. To everyone on this forum...heartily recommend you contact Rick for a "second opinion" on your medicare health care related choices. He's a fountain of knowledge and this forum is lucky to have him in its arena!

Thanks again, Rick. So much appreciate it!
 

GreenSky

Active member
Location
Las Vegas
Original Poster
Rick, I want to thank you so much for the information you gave me on the phone today. To everyone on this forum...heartily recommend you contact Rick for a "second opinion" on your medicare health care related choices. He's a fountain of knowledge and this forum is lucky to have him in its arena!

Thanks again, Rick. So much appreciate it!
I appreciate the nice comments and your agent did exactly the right thing. You are with a low cost company with very stable rates.

Your check is in the mail!

Rick
 

Liberty

Well-known member
Location
Texas
Rick, certainly hope you can help others in this forum make informed decisions about their medicare related care, both with premiums and potential "out of pocket " expenses that might be incurred with specific low cost plans. Sometimes you get what you pay for other times you don't.
The last thing retirees need to do is be overcharged and/ or under insured medically. Knowledge is golden.
 


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