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Old 12-19-2009, 07:00 PM   #29
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If I understood the nightly news correctly, drastic cuts in Medicare will be forthcoming. If true, this makes selecting the proper supplement plan critical.
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Old 12-20-2009, 07:22 AM   #30
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If I understood the nightly news correctly, drastic cuts in Medicare will be forthcoming. If true, this makes selecting the proper supplement plan critical.
That's the scarry part

I only have part A & B and supplements from the company I retired from. So far since I have been on Medicare for the past 7 years and haven't had any major health problems, what I have has been sufficient. But time has a way of changing that

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Old 12-21-2009, 03:34 PM   #31
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Here in Florida Medicare Advantage companies are trying hard to increase patients.

My theory is that since most of the Medicare Cuts are going to be directed to the Advantage companies so they are trying hard to stay in business. If the new health bill hurts the advantage companies and they do fail due to the cutbacks, it will be a Boom to the Medicare Supplement companies.

A lot of old Seniors rely on these Advantage programs because of lower out of pocket expense. They may have to buy expensive supplement after the cut in funding. Time will tell.
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Old 12-21-2009, 04:08 PM   #32
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That's the scarry part

I only have part A & B and supplements from the company I retired from. So far since I have been on Medicare for the past 7 years and haven't had any major health problems, what I have has been sufficient. But time has a way of changing that

Ron
I just took over paying the bills for my mother (age 84) after her spouse died in Feb of 09 at age 85. Found that she had no prescription drug plan under her Medicare Part A or B. They also had a MediGap policy under AARP. They always just paid for any prescription out of their bank account. They did not even know that there was a Part D. So, this enrollment period, I signed her up for Part D as it would save her about $1000.00 for 2010. Her income is just under $1300.00 per mo now that she is widowed.
Today I get a letter from the Plan D provider stating that she owes a late enrollment penalty!! because ""You did not have prescription drug coverage that met Medicare's minimum standards.""
I personally don't understand why the fact that they did not sign up for prescription coverage in 1990 when they became eligible for Medicare would be a problem.
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Old 12-21-2009, 04:35 PM   #33
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The Drug Prescription plan did not go in effect until I believe January 2005. If you were covered under an Employer or other plan with "Credible Coverage" (equal to, or better than, Part D) you could opt out of the plan and enter at a later date without any penalty. If you opted out and were not covered under another plan and then elected to sign up at a later date, it would be with a penalty. That penality was to be 1%/month of the original premium which was $32.50. I do not know what the current premium is. It would seem that she would have a penality of approximately 55% of the current premium which is about $30.00/month or $16.50 for a total cost to her of $46.50/month.

Everyone on Medicare was sent this information in a letter from Medicare. Many Seniors did not understand and only saw it as a way the Government was trying to get more money out of them and did not understand the ramifications for not signing up. You did have to pay a premium that was to be deducted from your Social Security Check and many elected to do nothing. It is my understanding that 25% of Seniors on Medicare did nothing, most likely because is was so confusing to them.

Now before I get accused about political statements, what I am about to say is not meant to be political, but is only commentary on the effectiveness of government.

In what I consider to be typical government mentality, several years ago the government though Medicare had become so complicated for people to understand that they funded and implemented a program called SHINE. The purpose of Shine is to provide Seniors with someone they can talk to to help them understand the complicated maze that is commonly refereed to as Medicare. Only the government can make something so complicated that they have to form a new agency to explain it to the people who are going to use it.
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Old 12-21-2009, 07:33 PM   #34
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I dropped my Medicare supplement today. The agent that sold me the policy did not blame me. In March I will be able to lock in a price of $87 verses $200 now. I understand the new health care bill that passed the Senate this morning. When the President signs the bill, those that have no health coverage will start paying for health care but will not receive and coverage until 2014. Am I right ?
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Old 12-21-2009, 08:11 PM   #35
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The bill that was passed today has to go to Senate and House Groups to try to come up with a compromise or reconcile the two different bills before both the Senate and the House would again vote on a final bill before sending it to the President to sign into law.

The current Senate bill has many of the cost savings and cutbacks being implemented rather quickly with most benefits to follow in 2014. I do not believe that anyone has to pay a premium prior to coverage. The reason for certain changes and expense cuts prior to benefit implementation is to have 10 years of cost savings and expense reductions to go with only 6 years of benefits. This allows that very special government accounting to claim that it actually saves money over 10 years.

It is way to early to consider any portions of either current version of the bill or final version of the bill to be set in concrete. It may never even to come to pass once the Country has time to focus on the issues after the Holidays!
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Old 12-21-2009, 09:36 PM   #36
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The Reid bill (i.e. Senate bill that is currently being voted on) does contain one provision that goes into effect soon after enactment. It is that there will be no pre-existing condition coverage exclusion for individuals under age 19. So if you have a younger uninsured family member with health issues, this may be a welcome change. However, pricing for the coverage of such a policy to cover a person will no doubt be expensive. The subsidies for lower income individuals or families for such policies do not kick in until 2014, and then only apply to policies sold through the new government organized insurance exchanges, not any currently existing policy. The exclusion for the rest of us with respect to pre-existing conditions does not kick in until 2014.

For new policies sold through the new "insurance exchanges" they will be offered through a web based portal and there are a number of statistics that insurers will have to report to the exchange that will be posted so that buyers can look at various provisions in order to help them make a decision. I once had to give a speech about high deductible health plans and Health Savings Accounts to a group of health insurance brokers. The hardest thing to do was to get information from two different insurance companies on potential policies and try to compare them. So the exchange information development will be interesting to watch it be devised.

Another one of the reforms is a change in the age rating of policies, with most going to a 3 to 1 age rating, which will raise premiums for younger people and may slightly lower them for older people in many states that much higher ratings, most commonly 5 to 1.

As with many things done in Washington there are a lot of good things in this bill, but the parts that deal with paying for the huge new cost of the subsidized coverage, and the special deals that certain Senators got put in, are in the end, funded by massive new tax increases on certain taxpayers and all the people who actually buy insurance policies via fees and excise taxes on insurers (who will pass all of those cost back as premiums) along with mandated reductions in medicare advantage programs in future years.

It will be interesting to see what the final form of the bill will be. There currently seem to be two thoughts, one is that the House will vote only on the Senate bill as passed in the next couple of days because selected senior House staff members participated in the writing of the "Reid amendment" and the other is that the more liberal wing of the Democratic party will push for more changes to the abortion provisions and make another push for a government plan or the expand the medicare option again.

Politics aside, this is a rare chance to see how high level legislation is really made in Washington. When you know more of the details of how legislation it is crafted, you find, much like making sausage, it not comforting to know what happened and in the end you hope it tastes good when cooked!
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Old 12-22-2009, 02:34 AM   #37
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I guess I should attend one of the seminars from insurance companies that advertise; get money back, 0 copay, dental and eyecare, but I find it hard to read between the lines sometimes

What happens if you sign up for one of these companies and they quit next year or go up on premiums

I have been retired for 10 years, but have never been bombarded as much as I have this year with insurance companies wanting me to change my medicare or increase coverage.

Something doesn't sound right.


Ron

basically,most people have 2 choices: stay with traditional medicare and have part a( which covers hospital admissions and part b( which covers doctor visits.... you can then chose part c( which is a medigap/supplemental policy) and this usually pays the doctor visit co-pays, the 20% of lab/diagnostics not paid by medicare and most important the $1,000.00+ for hospital admissions which can occur several times a year if you are sickly and have to go into the hospital. the best supplemental for most pelople would be plan f. then, need to chose a part d( this helps pay for prescriptions). medicare a does not cost most people, part b is around $97.00/month, supplement/medigap for plan f is around 166.00-$250.00, part d is around $23-$125.00 a month depending on what you chose. so staying with this tradional medicare, having a supplemental and a drug plan at minimal would be 97.00 +166.00+23.00= 286.00/month using the lesser cost for supplemental and drug plan.

the other choice: is medicare advantage which has part a, part b,part c, part d and sometimes some preventive care for around 97.00 plus a small premimum per month( this is sold by private insurance companies ) such as united health care endorsed by aarp, there are many other insurance companies also selling this, with this you may or may not be able to chose your own doctor or hospital. with traditional you are able to select your own doctor or hospital if they accept medicare.

the billions of dollars that congress proposes to cut from medicare(which is probably going to come from the advantage plans) is probably going to increase the advantage premimums and decrease the benefits.

you can call medicare and they will discuss your options with you or you can compare supplements or advantage plans at Medicare.gov - The Official U.S. Government Site for People with Medicare.

if you do not sign up for medicare or take a drug plan when you turn 65, then there are monetary penalities to do this at a later date.

on your question as to what happens, if one of these advantage plans is discontinued, you can return to tradtional medicare or select another advantage plan if it is offered in your area.

you can also get information on medicare , drug plans, advantage at council on aging offices.
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Old 12-22-2009, 02:48 AM   #38
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So as I read a couple of these posts - My understanding is that if you do not sign up for a prescription plan at age 65 - and continue to pay regular prices for all your prescriptions for years and years - but then you realize that there is a prescription plan available and you sign up later....then the Federal Govt is going to penalize you for paying retail for your own meds????
Can anyone explain to me how that makes any sense?
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Old 12-22-2009, 09:12 AM   #39
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So as I read a couple of these posts - My understanding is that if you do not sign up for a prescription plan at age 65 - and continue to pay regular prices for all your prescriptions for years and years - but then you realize that there is a prescription plan available and you sign up later....then the Federal Govt is going to penalize you for paying retail for your own meds????
Can anyone explain to me how that makes any sense?
Since when did the federal government claim or have to make sense?
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Old 12-22-2009, 07:41 PM   #40
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I was watching ABC news tonight and the health insurance stocks went way up today. It seems they thought they would be out of business, but after the health care bill things looking up for them. I guess rates are going to rise also.
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Old 12-23-2009, 07:57 AM   #41
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Thank you moderator's for not taking this thread off. It may sound political and may even be political, but there has been some excellent information shared here.

I have similar decisions to make in the coming months myself and will continue to watch this thread.
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Old 12-23-2009, 08:28 AM   #42
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I was watching ABC news tonight and the health insurance stocks went way up today. It seems they thought they would be out of business, but after the health care bill things looking up for them. I guess rates are going to rise also.

The main reason that occurred was because the "Public Option" was removed from the Senate version of the bill.
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