Day: August 19, 2019

Do I Need a Medicare Drug Plan?

I am often asked the following question “Charlie, I don’t think I need a Medicare Part D drug plan. I don’t take any medications. Can’t I just add that later if I ever need it?”

Regardless of whether you take several expensive medications or take no medications at all, almost everyone on Medicare needs to enroll in a Medicare Part D drug plan.

2019-08-16 Charles Bradshaw
Charles Bradshaw

There are three primary reasons you need a Medicare Part D drug plan even if you take no medications:

  1. You can only enroll in a Medicare Part D drug plan to take effect when you first go on Medicare or on the first day of a calendar year. If you do not have a Medicare Part D drug plan and are prescribed an expensive medication during the year, you will have to pay the full cost of the medication until the beginning of the next year. This could be $400-$500 per month or more.
  2. During the last few years, a large percentage of cancer treatments have become Part D medications in the form of a pill you take at home instead of an IV that is administered in a medical facility. The cost for this type of chemotherapy is usually $10,000 per month or more. If you do not have a Medicare Part D drug plan you may have to pay the full cost up front not be able to take these drugs when you need them.
  3. If you do not enroll in a Medicare Part D drug plan when you are first eligible and have no other credible drug coverage, you will pay a higher premium the rest of you life if you enroll in a drug plan later.

Most states have 20-25 Medicare Part D drug plans. These plans can differ in the following five ways:

  1. What monthly premium you will pay
  2. Whether you will pay a deductible and how much the deductible is
  3. Whether the deductible applies to your medications
  4. Whether the plan covers all of your medications
  5. How much the plan requires you to pay for your medications

Medicare provides a Planfinder website where you can enter your medications and the website will tell you which Medicare Part D drug plan will provide your medications at the lowest overall cost for the year.

You can click the following link to access this website

Click here for Medicare’s Planfinder Tool

Please be sure to note and keep the Drug List ID and password that is created. You should print out and keep a copy of your results. This will tell you your costs by drug by month as well as allow you to retrieve your results later and modify your drug list if your medications change.

Very importantly, you can change your drug list once a year during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. This will allow you to always make sure you are paying as little as possible for your medications.

We are happy to assist you with every part of your transition to Medicare including:

  1. Fully understanding how Medicare works
  2. Understanding your Medicare options if you are still working
  3. Enrolling in Medicare Parts A and B
  4. Identifying the right Medicare Supplement for you
  5. Identifying the right Medicare Part D Drug plan for you
  6. Assisting you with enrolling in the Medicare plans you choose

At Medicare Answer Center we appreciate the privilege of assisting you with learning about your Medicare options so you can make the right permanent Medicare decision.

Simply click the following link to schedule a free, no-obligation 30-minute Medicare consultation.

Click here to schedule your free, no-obligation Medicare consultation

Click here to message us via Facebook Messenger

Click here to request a quote for your Medicare Supplement from Medicare Answer Center

Click here to immediately download – Ten Most Asked Questions By People Going On Medicare

You can also call me at (865) 851-1120 or email me at charlesbradshaw@medicareanswercenter.com.

I look forward to talking with you soon.

Charles Bradshaw is President and Founder of MedicareAnswerCenter.com.

p.s. If you know of someone who needs help with their Medicare, please share this with them.

 

Managed Care Medicare? Why You Should Avoid

As you probably know by now, when you are about to turn 65, you receive a large amount of unwanted mail trying to persuade you to enroll in a specific Medicare plan.

At first, it can be very confusing. Prior to becoming eligible for Medicare, Medicare seemed like a simple program. You turn 65 and go on Medicare.

Unfortunately, Medicare has become more complicated as the government has allowed private, for-profit companies such as Humana to steer you into Managed Care Medicare Plans that can provide far less access to the health care you need and require you to pay far higher costs than you should.

These plans are very profitable for these companies at the expense of your health and financial well-being. The high profits these companies make from these plans are the reason they spend so many millions of dollars advertising them on television and in your mailbox when you are about to turn 65.

2019-08-16 Charles Bradshaw
Charles Bradshaw

It is important that you understand how Managed Care plans work with Medicare.

Medicare consists of two primary parts – Medicare Parts A and B.

Medicare Part A pays most of the costs if you are an in-patient in the hospital or a rehabilitation patient in a Skilled Nursing Facility.

Medicare Part B pays around 80 percent of the cost for most other health care services such as doctor’s visits, outpatient services, x-rays, lab work, physical therapy and sophisticated diagnostic testing such as MRIs.

When you have Medicare Parts A and B as your primary, the government pays your health care costs. With this coverage, you can go to any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare as almost all do.

With Medicare Parts A and B as your primary insurance you can also get a Medicare Supplement that covers all or almost all of your share of Medicare which is around 20 percent.

This is wonderful coverage that gives you the best chance for the best health outcome possible if you have a serious health situation.

Unfortunately, for-profit companies such as Humana want you to waive this wonderful coverage and sign your Medicare benefits over to them.

If you enroll in the for-profit managed care plans Humana advertises so much – also called Medicare Replacement or Medicare Advantage plans – the government no longer pays your medical bills and instead sends around $800 per month to Humana to pay your medical bills.

Humana in turn requires you to only use their network of doctors and hospitals as well as requiring you to contribute in most situations up to $6,700 per year for the cost of your care if you become sick.

But this is not the worst part of this scheme.

If you sign your Medicare benefits over to Humana, Humana will decide what medical care they will cover. And they often will say “no” to expensive care in order to spend as little as possible on your care and maximize their profits.

You see, Humana gets the $800 per month from the government whether they spend it on your care or not. And most of whatever they do not spend they keep as net income which goes toward exorbitant executive salaries and bonuses.

In 2017 Humana made $2.4 billion dollars as a company and most of that money came from profits from the Medicare Advantage program.

All of these profits from Humana’s Medicare Advantage scheme came from spending less and providing less health services for its members than those members would have received on average had they stayed on regular Medicare.

You see, what “Managed Care” really means is managing your care to spend less so an insurance company can make a lot more money.

You have worked hard all of your life to pay into a Medicare system that promises to give you the best chance for the best health outcome without forcing you to spend thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in unexpected costs if you become sick.

You should never give up this hard-earned benefit to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan that will increase profits at a big insurance company at the expenses of your financial well-being and your health.

At Medicare Answer Center we appreciate the privilege of assisting you with learning about your Medicare options so you can make the right permanent Medicare decision.

Simply click the following link to schedule a free, no-obligation 30-minute Medicare consultation.

Click here to schedule your free, no-obligation Medicare consultation

Click here to message us via Facebook Messenger

Click here to request a quote for your Medicare Supplement from Medicare Answer Center

Click here to immediately download – Ten Most Asked Questions By People Going On Medicare

You can also call me at (865) 851-1120 or email me at charlesbradshaw@medicareanswercenter.com.

I look forward to talking with you soon.

Charles Bradshaw is President and Founder of MedicareAnswerCenter.com.

High-Pressure Medicare Phone Banks

As you probably already know, when you are about to reach the age of 65 and become eligible for Medicare, you are bombarded with junk mail, unwanted phone calls and even unsolicited knocks on your door by strangers desperate to enroll you in whatever Medicare plan someone is paying them to sell you.

None of these marketing ploys do anything to help you understand how Medicare works and what your options are with Medicare. They do not help you make an informed Medicare choice.

The most frustrating of these unwanted intrusions into your privacy are the non-stop phone calls you receive from high-pressure Medicare phone bank employees.

2019-08-16 Charles Bradshaw
Charles Bradshaw

These phone banks are usually staffed with inexperienced, lightly or poorly-trained 20 somethings who only make money by convincing a lot of people to blindly enroll over the phone in the Medicare plan they are paid to sell.

In fact, usually the only training they have is not in Medicare itself but in over-the-phone sales tactics.

These are not bad kids and, in time, some may become effective Medicare consultants.

However, I am 54 years old and have helped thousands of people with their Medicare. I take what I do very seriously and learn something new about Medicare almost every week.

When I was in my 20s I did not have the life experience to recommend to someone approaching 65 years old how they should make critically important decisions affecting their access to health care and financial well-being for the rest of their life.

Like me 30 years ago, these kids in their 20s working in phone banks rarely have the life experience and Medicare knowledge necessary to be an asset to you in helping you  make your Medicare choices. Most have been working in these call centers only a few months at most and most will be doing something else a few months from now.

Almost every day I talk to someone who has been given bad information from a high-pressure Medicare phone bank employee.

Many phone bank employees tell people who are still working and have health insurance through their employer that they will be penalized if they do not enroll in Medicare Parts A and B at age 65.

This is wrong and acting on such bad information can cost the person turning 65 thousands of dollars in unnecessary costs.

I have heard from many other people on Medicare that they do not have a Medicare Part D drug plan because someone at a Medicare phone bank told them they did not need one if they were not taking any medications. This advice is terribly wrong and can force the person on Medicare to have to pay the full price for expensive drugs they may be prescribed as well as pay a penalty the rest of their life.

I do not believe giving out such bad information is deliberate or malicious. These phone bank employees are trained to say whatever is most likely to lead to a sale and they often do not understand why what they are trying to sell is the absolutely wrong choice for the person their computer just dialed.

When you are about to go on Medicare, your job is to fully learn how Medicare works and what your options are with Medicare. The Medicare choices you make when turning 65 can be permanent and the wrong choice can negatively impact your access to health care and finances the rest of your life.

It is critical that anyone you trust with helping you with Medicare be fully knowledgeable about Medicare, experienced and focused on helping you understand Medicare rather than meeting their daily call center sales quota.

At Medicare Answer Center we appreciate the privilege of assisting you with learning about your Medicare options so you can make the right permanent Medicare decision.

Simply click the following link to schedule a free, no-obligation 30-minute Medicare consultation.

Click here to schedule your free, no-obligation Medicare consultation

Click here to message us via Facebook Messenger

Click here to request a quote for your Medicare Supplement from Medicare Answer Center

Click here to immediately download – Ten Most Asked Questions By People Going On Medicare

You can also call me at (865) 851-1120 or email me at charlesbradshaw@medicareanswercenter.com.

I look forward to talking with you soon.

Charles Bradshaw is President and Founder of MedicareAnswerCenter.com.