Category: Uncategorized

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.

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.

“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.

Getting Diet Advice From McDonald’s

A gentleman named Edward from Nashville scheduled a Medicare consultation with me that took place yesterday.

When I called Edward, I could tell right away he was stressed out about the fact he was turning 65 in a few months and going on Medicare. He told me he was getting bombarded with all kinds of mail and phone calls about Medicare and was having a hard time keeping up.

I told him to take every piece of mail he had received about Medicare from anyone except the government and put it in the nearest recycle bin. I also told him to stop taking calls from anyone he did not know.

2019-08-16 Charles Bradshaw
Charles Bradshaw

Nearly 100 percent of the mail or phone calls you receive about Medicare when you are about to turn 65 is from a company wanting to make a lot of money off of your hard-earned Medicare benefits.

These companies such as Humana and Kaiser Permanente are not trying to help you learn how Medicare works and what your options are with Medicare. They are mainly trying to steer you toward their private, for-profit, restricted-choice Medicare Advantage plans that can be catastrophically bad for both your health and finances.

They are literally attempting to get you to permanently sign over your Medicare benefits so they can divert your Medicare dollars away from spending on your health and to their profits.

Trying to learn what you need to know about Medicare from Humana is the same as getting diet advice from McDonald’s.

When you sign over your Medicare benefits to a private, for-profit Medicare Advantage Plan such as Humana Gold Plus, you are giving Humana full control over your health care. Humana will make decisions about the health care you receive and the doctors you can see based on the cost rather than what gives you the best chance for the best health outcome.

The less Humana spends on your health care the more money they make as a company and the higher salaries and bigger bonuses they can pay to themselves.

When you are approaching the time you first go on Medicare, it is critical that you learn how Medicare works from an unbiased source. You need to fully know and understand your Medicare options so you can make the right decision for you both now and in the future.

I started MedicareAnswerCenter to help as many people as possible fully understand their options with Medicare so they can make the right decisions for them. We do not enroll anyone in any Medicare plan until we know they fully understand their options and have decided on a Medicare plan based on what is right for them.

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.

What Does “Covered” Mean?

Every year I go through training for the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period.

It usually takes around a week to take the courses and pass the tests required to verify that I know what I need to know to help people who are going on Medicare understand how Medicare works and what their options are with Medicare.

This year one phrase in the training stood out because it discussed a very deceptive part of Medicare Advantage plans.

As you probably know if you have read any of my writings, I strongly believe Medicare Advantage plans are one of the most deceptive and harmful ideas the government has ever allowed to be perpetrated on the American people.

2019-08-16 Charles Bradshaw
Charles Bradshaw

Medicare Advantage plans such as Humana Gold Plus and Kaiser Permanente are private, for-profit, restricted access plans in which the managers of the plans have a fundamental conflict between providing the health care their members need and minimizing health care costs in order to maximize their profits.

Medicare Advantage plans routinely say “no” to expensive but needed health care services such as MRIs, skilled nursing stays, expensive cancer treatments and joint replacements when regular Medicare would say “yes”.

The phrase that stood out to me said

“Medicare Advantage plans are required to cover all health services available under Medicare Parts A and B.”

In this case, the word “cover” is the key.

What does “cover” mean in this situation?

It does not mean that a person on Medicare who has left regular Medicare for a Medicare Advantage plan will have the same access to expensive treatments they may need as they would with regular Medicare.

The reason for this is Medicare Advantage plans use a much more restrictive set of guidelines before they will approve expensive care.

If two people have identical degenerative bone disease conditions and need a hip replacement – but one is on regular Medicare and the other has left Medicare for a Medicare Advantage plan – the one on regular Medicare is much more likely to be approved for the hip replacement than the person on the Medicare Advantage plan.

The only way Medicare Advantage plans make a profit is by spending less on their members’ health care than if those members were still on regular Medicare. And they make a lot of profit!

Every time a Medicare Advantage plan says “no” to expensive medical tests such as an MRI, they are saying “yes” to more income for the Advantage plan and more bonuses for their executives.

It is somewhat like the old question “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear, does it make a sound”.

Accordingly, if a Medicare Advantage plan “covers” MRIs, joint replacements and expensive cancer treatments but says “no” when they are needed, do the plan’s members really have the health care they need?

Unfortunately, the answer is “no”.

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.

The Medicare Musical Chairs Trap

I received a call from Bruce in Ohio last week.

Bruce is 69 years old and was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation two years ago. He has only had two episodes of an irregular heart beat and feels he has the condition well-managed with a medication called Xarelto.

The reason Bruce was calling was the Medicare Supplement he had chosen when he turned 65 had increased its premium nearly 50 percent in four years.

Unfortunately, Bruce was now unable to leave this plan for a less-expensive Medicare Supplement because the Atrial Fibrillation caused him to be declined when he applied for a different Medicare Supplement.

When I asked him who was the carrier for his existing Supplement, he said the name of a carrier I had never heard. He said someone had called him four years ago and said it was a new Medicare Supplement and had the lowest premium in his area.

2019-08-16 Charles Bradshaw
Charles Bradshaw

Bruce had fallen into what I call the Medicare Musical Chairs Trap.

A Medicare Supplement carrier that may be the cheapest at age 65 may be much more expensive than other carriers just a few years later.

Here’s the biggest problem…when a Medicare Supplement’s premiums go up much more than is normal, healthy people can shop around and leave for a lower priced Medicare Supplement. However, people with health issues usually can not switch.

This means that a Medicare Supplement that was the least expensive just a few years earlier is now much more expensive and now has an overall less healthy pool of policyholders. This will cause the premiums to increase at an even higher rate in the future.

It is like the Musical Chairs game we all played years ago. When you develop a health issue, you may lose the ability to shop around for the lowest premium for a Medicare Supplement. The music figuratively stops and you are stuck where you are without a chair.

This can require you to spend hundreds of dollars a year more every year for your Medicare Supplement than you would with a more established Medicare Supplement carrier.

You can avoid the Medicare Musical Chairs trap by choosing a Medicare Supplement carrier who had provided policies in your area for at least 10 years and is highly-rated for financial strength.

In many states, I recommend Medicare Supplement carriers such as Mutual of Omaha has been providing Medicare Supplements since since 1966 when Medicare started, They have more than one million policyholders and are rated A+ for financial strength.

Other carriers you can trust to have stable premiums long term include Aetna and BlueCross Blue Shield/Anthem.

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.

Choose the Medicare Supplement Company …Not the Initial Price

Almost every day I receive a request from someone who is about to go on Medicare to provide them with Medicare Supplement quotes for their area.

While I am happy to do this, I always feel the quotes I am providing to them are misleading.

The reason for this is there is virtually no relationship between the monthly premium you pay for a Medicare Supplement at age 65 compared to other carriers and what you will pay over the course of your lifetime.

In many situations, the Medicare Supplement carrier with the lowest premium at age 65 will cost much more than other carriers both in the near future and the rest of your life.

Many Medicare Supplement carriers have a business strategy of enticing enrollees with artificially low premiums at age 65. Later, when many policyholders can not change their carrier due to health reasons, these carriers increase their prices to higher levels than other carriers.

The reason they do this because once someone has been on Medicare Part B longer than six months, they must disclose any health conditions they have to enroll in a new Medicare Supplement. Medicare Supplement carriers at that time can and will decline applicants who have existing health conditions that are likely to present the carrier with above-average costs.

2019-08-16 Charles Bradshaw
Charles Bradshaw

There is one rule you should follow when choosing a carrier for your Medicare Supplement: Choose the carrier not the price!

Here are some qualities to seek in choosing a Medicare Supplement carrier:

1) Choose a carrier who has been providing Medicare Supplements for at least 10 years. Any carrier who has been in business shorter than this amount of time is likely to have a policyholder base weighted toward people who are new to Medicare and who will have sharp increases in health care costs as they get older. In this case the carrier will have to sharply increase their premiums to pay to higher claims cost.

2) Choose a carrier who allows independent agents who also represent other carriers to represent them. Carriers whose business strategy is to entice people new to Medicare with artificially low first-year premiums only to increase them later do not want agents who can offer other products. Agents want to avoid the dissatisfaction these carriers generate 4 or 5 years later when the premiums skyrocket. Agents will therefore recommend other carriers.

3) Choose a carrier whose name is familiar. A carrier whose name is unfamiliar is more likely to be trying to generate many enrollments with artificially low premiums and then sharply increase the premiums for the people it has trapped. Such a carrier may then change its name to confuse potential enrollees and not be associated with its price hikes on existing customers.

4) Choose a carrier with at least 500,000 Medicare Supplements policyholders. Such a carrier has proven it plans to offer Medicare Supplements on a permanent basis and it not relying on short-term pricing gimmicks to generate exorbitant profits at the expense of its policyholders.

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.

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.

Why Plan G Instead Of Plan F

I often hear the following from someone going Medicare who in the past has cared or currently is caring for a parent or other family member:

“My <mother, father, aunt> had a Plan F Medicare Supplement and it covered everything and that is what I want.”

I understand that point of view completely. There is no better frame of reference for what any us of can expect with our health in the future than what we have seen or see with our parents or other older loved ones.

2019-08-16 Charles Bradshaw
Charles Bradshaw

With a Plan F Medicare Supplement, our older loved ones can go to any doctor or hospital anywhere in the country that accepts Medicare – as almost all do – and all of their costs are covered 100 percent.

My mother, who will be 98 in November, has a Plan F Medicare Supplement from AARP. When she had a full hip replacement a few years ago she did not have to pay one cent for any part of the procedure or rehabilitation. This included the three days she spent in the hospital and the six weeks she spent in a rehabilitation facility.

However, Congress passed a law in 2015 that makes a Plan F Medicare Supplement no longer the right choice for someone going on Medicare today.

The law Congress passed in 2015 begins to phase out Plan F Medicare Supplements beginning in 2020. Specifically, it says no one who becomes eligible for Medicare beginning on January 1, 2020 can enroll in a Plan F Medicare Supplement.

Anyone who currently has a Plan F Medicare Supplement at that time will be able to keep it. However, because younger people will not be able to join them in Plan F, the overall group of people who have Plan F Medicare Supplements will gradually become older and have a higher level of health issues than other Medicare Supplement plans.

For example, by 2025, everyone in a Plan F Medicare Supplement will be 70 years old or older. By 2030, everyone in a Plan F Medicare Supplement will be 75 years old or older.

By comparison, at both of these points in time other Medicare Supplements such as Plan G will have people who are 65 years old and older.

The younger overall mix in other Medicare Supplements such as Plan G will mean the average health care costs per person, and therefore monthly premiums, will be less in other Medicare Supplements than in Plan F.

This will cause premiums for people with Plan F to increase at a much higher rate in the future than other Medicare Supplement plans.

An excellent alternative to Plan F that will not increase in premiums as much because of the change in the law is Plan G. A Plan G Medicare Supplement provides the exact same coverage as Plan F except the policyholder pays Medicare’s once-a-year Part B deductible which is $185 in 2019.

Because Plan G’s premiums are usually at least $40 per month less than Plan F, the savings one receives in the lower monthly premium over 12 months with Plan G more than pays for the once-a-year $185 Part B deductible.

Very importantly, Plan G is the only Medicare Supplement other than Plan F that covers Medicare Part B Excess charges. Medicare Part B Excess charges are the up to 15 percent extra some medical providers charge for people with Medicare.

Because of this, I recommend Plan G instead of Plan F for anyone now going on Medicare. In addition, I strongly recommend anyone who currently has a Plan F Medicare Supplement who can switch to Plan G do so.

You do not have to wait until Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period in October to change Medicare Supplements. You can change Medicare Supplements at any time during the year though if you have been on Medicare more than 6 months your ability to change will depend on your health situation.

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.

 

Getting Diet Advice From McDonald’s

A gentleman named Edward from Nashville scheduled a Medicare consultation with me that took place yesterday.

When I called Edward, I could tell right away he was stressed out about the fact he was turning 65 in a few months and going on Medicare. He told me he was getting bombarded with all kinds of mail and phone calls about Medicare and was having a hard time keeping up.

I told him to take every piece of mail he had received about Medicare from anyone except the government and put it in the nearest recycle bin. I also told him to stop taking calls from anyone he did not know.

2019-08-16 Charles Bradshaw
Charles Bradshaw

Nearly 100 percent of the mail or phone calls you receive about Medicare when you are about to turn 65 is from a company wanting to make a lot of money off of your hard-earned Medicare benefits.

These companies such as Humana and Kaiser Permanente are not trying to help you learn how Medicare works and what your options are with Medicare. They are mainly trying to steer you toward their private, for-profit, restricted-choice Medicare Advantage plans that can be catastrophically bad for both your health and finances.

They are literally attempting to get you to permanently sign over your Medicare benefits so they can divert your Medicare dollars away from spending on your health and to their profits.

Trying to learn what you need to know about Medicare from Humana is the same as getting diet advice from McDonald’s.

When you sign over your Medicare benefits to a private, for-profit Medicare Advantage Plan such as Humana Gold Plus, you are giving Humana full control over your health care. Humana will make decisions about the health care you receive and the doctors you can see based on the cost rather than what gives you the best chance for the best health outcome.

The less Humana spends on your health care the more money they make as a company and the higher salaries and bigger bonuses they can pay to themselves.

When you are approaching the time you first go on Medicare, it is critical that you learn how Medicare works from an unbiased source. You need to fully know and understand your Medicare options so you can make the right decision for you both now and in the future.

I started MedicareAnswerCenter to help as many people as possible fully understand their options with Medicare so they can make the right decisions for them. We do not enroll anyone in any Medicare plan until we know they fully understand their options and have decided on a Medicare plan based on what is right for them.

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.

What about Plan N?

One Medicare Supplement option that can be a good choice for some people is a Plan N Medicare Supplement.

With a Plan N Medicare Supplement, the person on Medicare pays a lower monthly premium in return for paying Medicare’s Part B annual deductible as well as some co-pays and other costs throughout the year.

A Plan N Medicare Supplement is typically around $15 to $20 per month less than the Plan G Medicare Supplement I usually recommend.

In return for the lower monthly premium, the Medicare member pays the following out-of-pocket costs:

2019-08-16 Charles Bradshaw
Charles Bradshaw

1) Medicare’s annual, once-a-year Part B deductible which in 2019 is $185. The policyholder also pays this deductible with Plan G.

2) A $20 co-pay for a doctor visit for either a primary care doctor or a specialist. The policyholder would not pay this co-pay with Plan G.

3) A $50 co-pay for an Emergency Room visit that does not lead to a hospital in-patient stay. The policyholder would not pay this co-pay with Plan G.

4) A potential 15 percent surcharge on Medicare Part B costs when the policyholder uses a medical provider that has opted out of Medicare’s regular fee structure so they can charge an extra 15 percent for Medicare patients. This extra 15 percent is called Medicare Part B Excess.

Category #4 is the real drawback when considering a Plan N Medicare Supplement. A Plan G Medicare Supplement pays the Medicare Part B Excess while Plan N does not.

As you probably can guess, the doctors and medical facilities that charge Medicare Part B Excess tend to be ones in high demand. Mayo Clinic is an example of a medical provider that charges Medicare Part B Excess.

This means if you ever have a serious health issue and want to make sure you are receiving care from the best doctor for your condition, you may have to choose between the doctor you think is best but for whom you will pay an extra 15 percent out of your pocket or a doctor who does not charge the Medicare Part B Excess.

While 15 percent of the cost of a doctor visit may not seem like a significant cost, keep in mind this can apply to expensive medical procedures and treatments such as MRIs and chemotherapy. In these cases 15 percent of the cost can be significant and can be hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

I prefer Plan G because I want you to be able to receive care from whatever health care provider you believe is right for you without worrying about the costs.

However, paying a lower monthly premium is necessary for many people and choosing a Plan N Medicare Supplement is a much better option than leaving Medicare and enrolling in a for-profit, private Medicare Advantage plan where your access to care is limited and costs can be much higher.

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.

What Does “Covered” Mean?

Every year I go through training for the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period.

It usually takes around a week to take the courses and pass the tests required to verify that I know what I need to know to help people who are going on Medicare understand how Medicare works and what their options are with Medicare.

This year one phrase in the training stood out because it discussed a very deceptive part of Medicare Advantage plans.

As you probably know if you have read any of my writings, I strongly believe Medicare Advantage plans are one of the most deceptive and harmful ideas the government has ever allowed to be perpetrated on the American people.

2019-08-16 Charles Bradshaw
Charles Bradshaw

Medicare Advantage plans such as Humana Gold Plus and Kaiser Permanente are private, for-profit, restricted access plans in which the managers of the plans have a fundamental conflict between providing the health care their members need and minimizing health care costs in order to maximize their profits.

Medicare Advantage plans routinely say “no” to expensive but needed health care services such as MRIs, skilled nursing stays, expensive cancer treatments and joint replacements when regular Medicare would say “yes”.

The phrase that stood out to me said

“Medicare Advantage plans are required to cover all health services available under Medicare Parts A and B.”

In this case, the word “cover” is the key.

What does “cover” mean in this situation?

It does not mean that a person on Medicare who has left regular Medicare for a Medicare Advantage plan will have the same access to expensive treatments they may need as they would with regular Medicare.

The reason for this is Medicare Advantage plans use a much more restrictive set of guidelines before they will approve expensive care.

If two people have identical degenerative bone disease conditions and need a hip replacement – but one is on regular Medicare and the other has left Medicare for a Medicare Advantage plan – the one on regular Medicare is much more likely to be approved for the hip replacement than the person on the Medicare Advantage plan.

The only way Medicare Advantage plans make a profit is by spending less on their members’ health care than if those members were still on regular Medicare. And they make a lot of profit!

Every time a Medicare Advantage plan says “no” to expensive medical tests such as an MRI, they are saying “yes” to more income for the Advantage plan and more bonuses for their executives.

It is somewhat like the old question “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear, does it make a sound”.

Accordingly, if a Medicare Advantage plan “covers” MRIs, joint replacements and expensive cancer treatments but says “no” when they are needed, do the plan’s members really have the health care they need?

Unfortunately, the answer is “no”.

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.

Why Humana Spends So Much Advertising Its Private Medicare Plans

During this time of year, you see what seems like non-stop television advertising trying to persuade you to enroll in a for-profit, restricted access, Managed Care Medicare Advantage plan.

One of the companies that seems to spend the most is Humana touting its “All-In-One” Medicare Advantage plan.

After a while, it becomes obvious these companies must be making a lot of money off of their for-profit, managed-care Medicare plans to be able to spend so many millions of dollars advertising them.

These plans are very profitable for these companies at the expense of your health and financial well-being.

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

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

2019-08-16 Charles Bradshaw
Charles Bradshaw

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 forsake 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” Medicare – or Humana’s “All-In-One Medicare” – really means is managing your care to spend less so a big 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.

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