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Old 01-21-2015, 10:24 AM   #1
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Has anyone used a Medicare broker?

We are full timers with our domicile in Florida. We changed to a Medicare Advantage program available in Florida, picking what we thought was the best fit for us. Having a year of this Adavantage program under our belt, we are rethinking if our choice. We are paying four to ten times more for our meds as our previous plan and we are being nickeled and dimed for everything else. We thought we had researched well but obviously we could have done better.
Let me also say that some of our meds are unusual and have to be approved since they are not on the formulary. There are not substitutes available for our use. But to go from paying $175 quarterly for a specialty med, I now pay $1250 quarterly for the same med.
Also, being full time travelers maybe it would be better to go to a non Advantage plan.
So, my question is.....has anyone used a Medicare broker to research the best plan? Are there other resources avaiable that are not biased? We are willing to pay a reasonable amount for some assistance.
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Old 01-21-2015, 10:49 AM   #2
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We have always used a "broker" to select our Medicare supplement and drug prescription plans. They do not charge you anything for their services. They will take a list of your medicines and find the best plan for you.
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Old 01-21-2015, 11:07 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Selah2 View Post
We are full timers with our domicile in Florida. We changed to a Medicare Advantage program available in Florida, picking what we thought was the best fit for us. Having a year of this Adavantage program under our belt, we are rethinking if our choice. We are paying four to ten times more for our meds as our previous plan and we are being nickeled and dimed for everything else. We thought we had researched well but obviously we could have done better.
Let me also say that some of our meds are unusual and have to be approved since they are not on the formulary. There are not substitutes available for our use. But to go from paying $175 quarterly for a specialty med, I now pay $1250 quarterly for the same med.
Also, being full time travelers maybe it would be better to go to a non Advantage plan.
So, my question is.....has anyone used a Medicare broker to research the best plan? Are there other resources avaiable that are not biased? We are willing to pay a reasonable amount for some assistance.
I now use Humana HMO, the meds I use are pretty much covered and I realize a substantial savings, However, my wife takes meds that cannot have generic substitutes, and they are expensive, but... no more expensive than Medicare coverage.
I suggest a search of your meds with any provider. It may well serve you to just check for local pricing without any plan to see what is the best local .price. Try www.goodrx.com Best of luck, don't know how you do it with those prices, Maybe cancel and get a new plan?
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Old 01-21-2015, 11:45 AM   #4
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Our broker has been very helpful in identifying appropriate Medicare Advantage programs for us from a variety of companies. It is probably important to use a broker familiar in your domicile area. At least in California, we have been told by our broker that the available plans, and costs vary widely from county to county. Our mail order prescriptions range from $0 to $90 for ninety day's supply although none require special authorization.
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Old 01-21-2015, 01:15 PM   #5
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Even plans can change from one year to another.
I use Humana Enhanced for prescriptions. Monthly increase for 2015 is $6.30

A week ago I ordered a refill on one of my prescriptions that is a 2 in 1 pill.
My co-pay for a few years has been $5 or $60 a year.
When I went to pick up it the co-pay for 2015 was $42 or $504 a year. :(

I didn't pick it up. I went to Humana web site and seen they changed it from a 2 to 4 tier.
I found 2 single replacements of the same thing. One was $3 the other $7 co-pay.
Took copy's of them to my Doctor and he replaced my prescription with them.

I wounder how many are paying the $42 without checking for replacements.
The old 2 in 1 retail price is $191.80 the new 2 pills total retail is $37.37.

Doesn't make sense to me.

OP it too late for you to change plans this year. Next Oct it the time to check on a new one.
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Old 01-21-2015, 01:35 PM   #6
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After looking at Medicare Advantage Programs, I went with one of the "F" tier Insurance plans and a separate (AARP) Drug Program. I have never looked back and my wife has had 3 major surgeries in the last 5 years and paid $0.00. Yes, our rates have gone up like every ones, but NO SURPRISES. Advantage plans sound good, until
you have to use it, then you realize, then its too late. Just my opine.... your may vary.
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Old 01-21-2015, 01:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 99-Am.Star View Post
After looking at Medicare Advantage Programs, I went with one of the "F" tier Insurance plans and a separate (AARP) Drug Program. I have never looked back and my wife has had 3 major surgeries in the last 5 years and paid $0.00. Yes, our rates have gone up like every ones, but NO SURPRISES. Advantage plans sound good, until
you have to use it, then you realize, then its too late. Just my opine.... your may vary.

X2! The Plan F supplements are higher, but well worth the cost if you have just about any kind of surgeries! My DW has had 5 neck and 3 lower back surgeries in the last few years, and we have not paid one cent out-of-pocket!
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Old 01-21-2015, 01:56 PM   #8
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Supplemental N was $200 a month plus drug plan. F was even more. This is in Fl. Expensive for sure.
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Old 01-23-2015, 05:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 99-Am.Star View Post
After looking at Medicare Advantage Programs, I went with one of the "F" tier Insurance plans and a separate (AARP) Drug Program. I have never looked back and my wife has had 3 major surgeries in the last 5 years and paid $0.00. Yes, our rates have gone up like every ones, but NO SURPRISES. Advantage plans sound good, until
you have to use it, then you realize, then its too late. Just my opine.... your may vary.
Same here ... I receive an annual subsidy from my biggest/longest employer that covers about 9 months of Plan F. We have generic drugs so no Drug Supplement is worthwhile. Out of pocket each year is about $900 plus about $200 (drugs) for 2 people. Coverage is everywhere in U.S. Can't complain ... it is a bit cumbersome to monitor administration. There is a 3rd party (pretty common these days). The subsidy goes to the 3rd party (an administrator), I pay the insurance company, the insurance company notifies the 3rd party of payment, the 3rd party pays me. It's all electronic transfers but does require watching. It all occurs in about 6 calendar days each month. It's not yer' father's insurance plan anymore. And none of this is in anyway related to Obamacare (other than all plans are the same ... Plan F is Plan F) ... a good thing.
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Old 01-23-2015, 05:55 PM   #10
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Plan N has enough premium savings to make up for some copays. If you aren't constantly going to providers, look into it.
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Old 01-24-2015, 09:17 AM   #11
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Why would you not go to the Medicare.gov website and research it there?
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Old 01-24-2015, 09:25 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 99-Am.Star View Post
After looking at Medicare Advantage Programs, I went with one of the "F" tier Insurance plans and a separate (AARP) Drug Program. I have never looked back and my wife has had 3 major surgeries in the last 5 years and paid $0.00. Yes, our rates have gone up like every ones, but NO SURPRISES. Advantage plans sound good, until
you have to use it, then you realize, then its too late. Just my opine.... your may vary.

X2 Travel coverage is outstanding. Show two cards and never have paid an additional penny. Expensive is when you need serious medical care (C) and you find your cheaper plan is not accepted by major players in the field, substandard care may save you money but end your life. JMHO
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Old 01-24-2015, 09:37 AM   #13
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I am a retired hospital executive and thought I might do my own research to find the best plan for my DW (she turned 65 one year before me). I took the advice of my financial planner and met with a broker. She made it so easy.....did all the research after discussions with us, getting a list of DW's RA meds, etc. Did same for me just recently.

It was a snap. We have Cigna medigap plan and use the AARP Med Rx plan.
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Old 01-24-2015, 10:04 AM   #14
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Thank you everyone, for you comments.
We did research on the Medicare site but it leaves a lot to be desired when trying to determine specialty drug costs that must have approval. And speaking to a representative got us no where in determining the cost of the specialty drug.
There have been some surprising costs that were probably hidden somewhere in the fine print. Example- I have my pacemaker checked quarterly via phone link. With our previous advantage program the cost was $35. With the Florida AARP United Healthcare Plan it is $164 quarterly.
A member of IRV2, who is a Florida Medicare representative, offered to help us determine what might be best for us. We will be taking him up on his kind offer.
Thanks again!
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