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Medicare, Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement ... Which is best?  RSS feed

 
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Looks like I will be having to make a decision for 2019. 

I have always believed in prevention, as in eating right and living a good life, health wise.    I also believe in having insurance since medical costs are so high.  There is no way I could afford the prices that are quoted for medical without insurance.

So are their reasons to go with just Medicare?

Are there advantages for going with Medicare Advantage?

Is the best option really a Medicare Supplement?

Any suggestions?
 
pollinator
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Anne - I have Medicare and a Medicare Supplement through Kaiser. My reasoning was that I've always had Kaiser, at least when I had insurance, and I knew the system. I also will be making a change when we move to Oregon, no Kaiser, and have been weighing my options. From what I can see, a lot of it is how much do you rely on mainstream medical services and is a large co-pay going to limit your ability to seek medical care. As far as the prescription coverage gap, the only thing that seems to really help is qualifying for 'extra help' or Medicaid.

Personally, my health isn't great right now, but I don't feel like they are really helping. So I'm torn.

Hopefully, others will chime in for some more perspectives.
 
Anne Miller
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Stacy, thank you for the reply.

At one time I only had medicare and a drug plan though I never used the medicare plan and I only take one prescription so the drug plan costs me more than it is worth.

Then the company my husband was with offered the Medicare Advantage for $0 dollars so I took it.

The advertisements I see for Medicare Supplements want to say that it is so much better than Medicare Advantage so I was hoping someone would give their opinions.

  
 
Anne Miller
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Sadly, it is now official that I will be looking for a new plan.  Yesterday, I received a notice from my insurance company that they will no longer write policies in my county.  I would like to share where I found so great information to help me to decide what to do.


Guide to get the most out of medicare


https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/09/managing-medicare/index.htm




How to choose the best medicare advantage plan for you

https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2014/10/how-to-pick-a-medicare-advantage-plan/index.htm




Co-pays, deductibles, etc. If you click on a plan's name, you will be able to see the details of the plan. Look to see what you will have to pay for a doctor visit or a stay in the hospital. Look for the annual out-of-pocket limit. This is the most you would have to pay out of your own pocket in a year if you had some kind of catastrophic medical expense. If it is more than you think you can afford, you might be better off paying a slightly higher premium to get a lower out-of-pocket limit.

List of participating doctors and hospitals. With very few exceptions, Medicare Advantage plans have provider networks. If you do not use a hospital or doctor in the plan's network, it will either pay nothing or very little. If you click on a plan's name and scroll down on the resulting page, you can see how many doctors take part in the plan. You can also click on a link that will take you to the plan's website so you can look to see whether your doctors and hospital take part. You can also ask your favorite doctors what Advantage plans they take part in and which ones they recommend.

Dental and vision coverage. Many Advantage plans come with some dental and vision coverage. On the listing, you will see small circles that have a D or V in them if they have this kind of coverage. You can click on the plan name, then on the "Health Plan Benefits Tab," then on the link that says, "View More Detailed Cost & Benefit Information." There you will see the details of dental and vision coverage.

Coverage while traveling.  Many plans will only pay for emergency care when you are away from home. If you divide your time between two homes or pay extended visits to your adult children, this could pose a problem if you need something routine such as a lab test. A few plans have national networks you can use, but you can't see this information on Medicare.gov. You will have to call the plan directly to ask about it. The plan's listing on Medicare.gov has numbers for you to call.





How to choose the best medigap plan

https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2014/10/best-medigap-plan-for-you/index.htm




Medigap plans can turn you down or charge you more for pre-existing conditions at certain times In every state, you have a guaranteed right to buy a Medigap policy for six months starting the first day of the month you are at least 65 and enrolled in Part B. During this grace period, the insurance company is not allowed to turn you down or charge you more because you have a pre-existing condition. This is called "guaranteed issue."




Where to get free Medicare advice

https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2014/10/where-to-get-free-medicare-advice/index.htm



 
pollinator
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Hi Anne
I'm in the same boat. I've got until January when Medicare takes over from Medicaid, which I loved, but even the good things most pass, I suppose. Thanks for posting the links I'l peruse the Consumers reports pages. The truth is I don't know what Medicare Advantage is so I better start reading.
Brian
 
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So what if you don't pay for any supplement?  I am covered by the VA but am planning for my husbands medical. 

If you just get medicare with no supplemental insurance - then what?  Is there anyone that does this?
 
Anne Miller
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Brian Rodgers wrote:  Thanks for posting the links I'l peruse the Consumers reports pages. The truth is I don't know what Medicare Advantage is so I better start reading.
Brian



To me, Medicare Advantage is like having extra coverage. Instead of paying what the doctor wants you to pay for a Doctors Visit, you would pay set fee such as $15.00.  This is based on the plan you choose.  Some plans cost $0.00 a month.

From the "Medicare & You" book furnished by Medicare:  Types of Medicare Advantage Plans:

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)
Private Fee-for-Service  (PFFS)

At the back of the book it has the plans offered in your state.  If you have to decide on a plan by January, now is the time to make plans for which one you want.  It is called "Open Enrollment"


Jeanine Gurley Jacildone wrote:So what if you don't pay for any supplement?  I am covered by the VA but am planning for my husbands medical. 

If you just get medicare with no supplemental insurance - then what?  Is there anyone that does this?



Lots of folks buy just Medicare Part A & Part B.  This is what I did.  Then when a Medicare Advantage was offer in my area for the $0.00, I went with Medicare Advantage.  You still pay for Part A & Part B.

When I just had Medicare, I did not have a need to see a doctor except to get a prescription refilled so I had to pay what the doctors office asked me to pay, maybe about $50.00 then the claim goes to Medicare and you pay for what Medicare did not cover.

My husband uses VA but I carry the Medicare Advantage for him in case he has something major and cannot get to VA. Like when he had a heart attack, the Emergency Room said they did not have time to transport him to the nearest VA Hospital so they use Care Flight to transport him to the nearest hospital.  Care Flight is very expensive so I purchased a policy from them the next morning.


If anyone else has any questions, I will be glad to try to explain.  I have decided to go with the Medicare Advantage since the Medicare Supplement (Medigap) is more expensive.
 
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