Day: August 20, 2019

Real Medicare Versus Private Medicare

2019-08-16 Charles Bradshaw
Charles Bradshaw

I would like to ask you a very simple question that will help you decide how you will receive and pay for your health care for the rest of your life.

Which of the following two goals is most important for you and your family:

1) To be able to get the best health care possible from the doctors or hospitals I believe give me the best chance for the best health outcome with little or no unplanned cost.

Or

2) To help make a big insurance company like Humana more profit and their executives richer even if it means cutting back on my health care and reducing my chances of getting well if I have a serious health problem.

I don’t believe anyone is going to select #2.

However, if you permanently sign over your Medicare benefits to a private Medicare plan such as Kaiser or Humana, you are potentially placing your health care for the rest of your life in the control of a company who will ration your health care if you become sick to maximize their profits – even if doing so reduces your chance for the best health outcome.

This happens because a private, for-profit Medicare Advantage plan operates under a much more restrictive set of guidelines when it determines what tests, treatments or surgeries it will approve.

There are many times real Medicare – also called regular Medicare or original Medicare – will approve an expensive procedure such as an MRI or a new, expensive cancer treatment when a private Medicare Advantage plan will say “no” in order to save money.

When you opt-out of real Medicare and enroll in a private Medicare plan, Medicare no longer pays your medical bills. Instead, the federal government sends your Medicare dollars to the private company who somehow convinced you it was a good idea to let them make your health care decisions instead of you and your doctor.

Every time a private Medicare Advantage plan says “no” to an expensive medical procedure when real Medicare would have said “yes”, the private plan increases their income while decreasing your chance for the best health outcome.

Sadly, if you opt-out of real Medicare for a private Medicare plan, your opportunity to change your mind later will be either extremely limited or possibly non-existent. This is because leaving a private Medicare plan and returning to real Medicare with a Medicare Supplement that pays your share of Medicare almost always requires you to answer a lengthy list of health questions and verify you are in good health.

Fortunately, if you have not yet started Medicare, you can stay with real Medicare and enroll in a Medicare Supplement that takes effect when your Medicare starts without answering health questions. You will be approved for this wonderful coverage that allows you to choose any doctor or hospital anywhere in the country that accepts Medicare – as almost all do – regardless of your health and you will always be able to keep this coverage regardless of any health conditions you develop in the future.

If you have already opted out of real Medicare and assigned your Medicare benefits to a private, for-profit, restricted access Medicare Advantage plan, you can choose to return to Real Medicare during Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period from October 15, 2018 through December 7, 2018. However, in most states, in order to qualify for a Medicare Supplement that will pay your share of Medicare, you will likely have to answer health questions and be in fairly good 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.

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

Employer Coverage Or Full Medicare? How To Decide

The question I receive more than any other when someone is turning 65 and becoming eligible for Medicare is “What do I do about Medicare if I am still working and have coverage through my employer?

There are several different issues to consider when answering this question.

The first thing to know is when you turn 65 and are still working, you have a choice between staying on your employer’s coverage or leaving that coverage and going on full Medicare.

By “full Medicare” I am referring to having both Medicare Parts A and B along with a Medicare Supplement to pay your share of Medicare and a Medicare Part D drug plan to pay most of the cost of any medications you take now or may take in the future .

In many situations it is advisable to enroll in Medicare Part A only even if you have employer coverage. Medicare Part A has no monthly premium and may cover some of your costs if you have an in-patient hospital stay or skilled nursing stay. This is not “full Medicare.”

2019-08-16 Charles Bradshaw
Charles Bradshaw

When choosing between staying on employer coverage and or leaving employer coverage and going on full Medicare, the choice requires a comparison of your monthly costs under both options as well as your potential costs if you become sick. This is not a choice the Employee Benefits department at your employer can help you make. In fact, federal law prohibits employers from assisting employees with evaluating their Medicare options even if full Medicare is the best option for the employee.

Let’s start with full Medicare first. In most states, you will pay a little less than $300 per month for Medicare Parts A and B as well as a Medicare Supplement and Medicare Part D drug plan. With this coverage, you will have a once-a-year Medicare Part B deductible of $183 and after that all of your medical costs will be covered 100 percent for the rest of the year.

Now, compare this cost to not only what you will pay per month for your employer coverage but also what your potential out-of-pocket costs may be if you become sick or have an accident. In many situations, your monthly cost for your employer coverage may be a little less than you would pay with full Medicare but your deductible and other out-of-pocket costs may be much higher than with full Medicare.

Many employer plans now have annual deductibles as high as $3,000 or $4,000 or even more and out-of-pocket maximums of $6,000 or more. If you have existing health issues, you may already be certain to spend some or all of such a high deductible and out-of-pocket maximum every year.

In most situations, it only takes a minimal amount of annual health care needs each year to make full Medicare a less costly option than employer coverage because of the higher deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums with most employer coverage.

The choice between staying on employer coverage and going on full Medicare is not a one-time decision. Once you are past your Medicare eligibility date, you can choose to leave employer coverage at any time to go on full Medicare. This includes during the middle of the year. You do not have to wait until your employer’s annual election process.

There are a few additional things to consider when choosing between remaining on your employer coverage or going on full Medicare.

  1. You may need to stay on employer coverage to maintain coverage for your spouse or dependent if they are not yet Medicare-eligible.
  2. If you take any expensive medications, those medications may be covered at a lower cost with employer coverage than with a Medicare Part D drug plan.
  3. If you contribute to a Health Savings Account (HSA) with your employer coverage, you will no longer be able to do so once you enroll in Medicare Part A – even if you do not enroll in Medicare Part B.
  4. With full Medicare, you can receive health care from any doctor or hospital anywhere in the country that accepts Medicare as almost all do. This means you may have more choices in your health care providers than you would given the network limitations of most employer coverage.
  5. In some states – such as Florida – you will pay more for your Medicare Supplement if you first enroll at an age later than 65. While this is not a major cost difference, it could make choosing to move to full Medicare the best choice if the decision is a close call.
  6. There is almost no situation where it is a good idea to enroll in Medicare Part B while you have employer coverage. The cost for Medicare Part B is $134 per month and the combination of both coverages rarely pays any cost that full Medicare would not already pay. In addition, by starting Medicare Part B while you still have employer coverage, you may lose some options for choosing a Medicare Supplement you will eventually need once you eventually leave your employer coverage.

Whether you are about to turn 65 and become eligible for Medicare or if you are 65 or older and still on employer coverage, I would appreciate the chance to work with you to help you compare your employer coverage options with full Medicare.

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.

Medicare Choices Today May Matter More Later

I have been privileged to help several thousand people who were going on Medicare understand their Medicare options so they could make the right Medicare decision for them.

While many people I help understand the long-term implications of the choices they make when they first go on Medicare, I often talk with someone who does not yet realize the Medicare choices they make when they first go on Medicare are often long-term rather than short-term decisions.

The conversation will often go something like this…

“Hi Charlie…this is Robert. I am turning 65 and going on Medicare next month. I need to decide what Medicare plan I need. I am in good health, take no medications and only see a doctor once or twice a year.”

If I were helping this same person with his property insurance, the same logic would go something like this…

Hi Charlie…this

2019-08-16 Charles Bradshaw
Charles Bradshaw

 is Robert. I just bought a new house and I need to choose a property insurance policy. I just looked out the window and my house is not on fire and it is not raining so I’m not worried about floods.”

The choice you make about how you receive your Medicare and which insurance company you trust with you health and finances can and often is a permanent decision that will impact you the rest of your life.

It is a decision that should be made not based on what your health happens to be today but what it could be in the future.

The reason for this is that after you have been on Medicare for only six months, your ability to change your decision is dependent on you not having any serious health issues. Of course, none of us knows what our health may be in the future.

A few years ago, I received a call from a lady in Tennessee who had enrolled in a private, for-profit Medicare Advantage plan. She wanted to pay less than she would by staying with regular Medicare and having a Medicare Supplement.

Though she had no health issues when she made this decision several years earlier, she had been diagnosed that year with Multiple Myeloma and had been forced to spend more than $10,000 out of her own pocket for medical treatment and medications.

She had called me to ask me to help her return to regular Medicare and get a Medicare Supplement that would pay her share of Medicare. I had to explain to her that because she now had a serious health problem she would be declined if she applied for a Medicare Supplement.

Her only choices were to stay with a Medicare Advantage plan and pay more than $10,000 a year out of her pocket or return to regular Medicare but pay her full 20 percent share of her medical costs. Either choice would require her to pay money that she simply did not have.

She told me that because she had chosen to leave regular Medicare and enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, she would likely have to sell her house and move in with her daughter in another city in order to afford her costs with the Medicare Advantage plan.

When you first go on Medicare, you have the opportunity to secure your financial future and ensure the maximum access and choice in your health care for the rest of your life by simply staying with regular Medicare and enrolling in a Medicare Supplement that will pay your approximately 20 percent share of your Medicare costs.

If you choose instead to leave regular Medicare and enroll in a private, for-profit Medicare Advantage plan, you could end up paying tens of thousands of dollars more if you become sick and have limited choices of doctors.

I would appreciate the chance to help you understand your Medicare options so you can choose the right Medicare plan for you both now and in the future.

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

I will 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.

“I Wish I Had Talked With You Sooner”

I talk with many people every day about their Medicare situation.

In most situations, the people I talk with are about to go on Medicare so they still have the opportunity to choose a Medicare plan that will give them maximum access to the health care they may need now or in the future while having their costs paid 100 percent.

However, I often talk with people who are already on Medicare and who may not have realized the fact that bad Medicare choices can be permanent and irreversible.

Such a situation happened last week. A gentleman named Roger called me from Atlanta who had left regular Medicare when he turned 65 two years ago and enrolled in a private, for-profit Medicare Advantage plan from Humana.

2019-08-16 Charles Bradshaw
Charles Bradshaw

He had recently experienced a health scare with his heart. Because Roger was proactive with his health, he was anxious to have whatever tests were available to learn the details of his heart condition. Roger told me he was willing to take any actions necessary to improve his health and his longevity with his wife, his two grown children and his one-year old granddaughter Abigail.

Unfortunately, because Humana’s Medicare Advantage plan is a private, for-profit insurance plan, they would not pay for the types of tests that Roger knew would allow him to learn what he needed to know about his heart condition.

When Roger called me, he told me he wanted to leave his Humana Medicare Advantage plan and return to Regular Medicare as soon as possible and get a Medicare Supplement that would pay everything Medicare does not pay.

Unfortunately, I had to tell Roger that although he could leave Humana’s for-profit Medicare Advantage plan and return to regular Medicare on January 1, he would be declined for any Medicare Supplement because of his recent heart issue. This would mean he would have to pay an unlimited 20 percent of his health care costs.

Roger was furious. He was adamant that the Humana sales agent who convinced him to leave regular Medicare had not told him about the possibility he would not be able to return to regular Medicare and get a Medicare Supplement in the future. I am sure the Humana agent did not do this. They are not required to disclose this and usually do not.

However, I could not help him.

Roger then said the words I hear too often – “I wish I had talked with you sooner.”

Roger is going to return to regular Medicare even though he will likely be responsible for an unlimited 20 percent of his health care costs the rest of his life. He will have to reallocate much of his retirement planning to pay these costs and he will still be at risk of spending tens of thousands of dollars a year if he needs expensive care in the future.

That is the price Roger is willing to pay to give himself the best chance for the longest and highest quality life with the family he loves.

The sad part is if Roger had simply enrolled in a Medicare Supplement when he first went on Medicare two years ago, all of his health care costs would have been covered the rest of his life by paying a affordable monthly premium of a little more than $100 per month.

When someone first goes on Medicare, they can enroll in a Medicare Supplement that will pay their share of Medicare without answering any health questions. They can keep this policy the rest of their life regardless of any health conditions they have at the time or develop in the future.

And by being with regular Medicare, they will be much less likely to be denied the health care they desire and need than with a for-profit, private Medicare Advantage plan.

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.