Understanding Medicare options

I thought I was fairly smart until I started trying understanding Medicare options...Let me back up...

I have had catastrophic medical insurance only for the last several years...I do not overpay, do you?

When I turned 65, now 67, I was looking forward to having Medicare greatly improve my health-care...to say I am confused by the options I have available is an understatement.

Hopefully my experiences will help some of you who are soon turning 65.

If I have helped anyone, I am happy, let me hear from you.

My situation

In undertanding Medicare options...let me tell you what is important to me ...your situation may be totally different.

  • I am healthy...eat right, exercise, etc
  • I get a physical once a year
  • My current insurance, before Medicare, cost $142 a month...$10,000 deductible
  • I take no medications
  • I like to go to chiropractors and natural healing Drs

Since Medicare will soon be deducting $100 a month for A and B coverage I will have better coverage than I do now...my deductible is lower and I can go to the Dr, including specialists, for a copay payment.

Why I did not choose Medigap coverage

It is too expensive...it would cost me around $150 a month in addition to what Medicare takes out of my SS check.

In order to pay for the "affordable care act", those with Medicare advantage, are going to realize that they are the ones paying more... Medicare Advantage as we know it may not be around much longer.

If you go to the Dr often and have health issues ...look hard at this option. It is just not for me.

Medicare Advantage plans

This is the option I will choose...with Secure Horizons, the AARP reccomended provider. I have a choice of 2 options here in AZ. One is free and requires a referral to see a specialist. The other option costs $30 a month and requires no referral to see a specialist.

I will go with the free option and rely on my primary care doctor to give me referrals , if needed. I asked his nurse if he gave referrals readily or reluctantly...she said readily...I'll save the $30 a month thank you.

Why you need Medicare Advantage

Why not just stay with A and B?...with an Advantage plan I will be in a HMO and must use Drs in their group or pay all charges outside the network...

With only A and B you are responsible for up to 20% of the costs not covered by Medicare. You go into the hospital and you are in deep trouble...that 20% will soon eat you up, and wreck your retirement plans...this is all about frugal retirement living...so listen up and let the HMO pay the vast majority of your hospital bills.

Things to look for...understanding medicare options

In any policy you choose...make sure you have all these questions answered.

  • Copays...how much to see your primary care doctor and specialists?
  • Annual maximum out of pocket costs?...know the worst case scenario
  • Is your current Dr in this HMO?...call first to make sure
  • Do you have a big list of Drs to choose from?
  • What monthly charge, if any for this policy
  • What is included in your coverage...eyecare, yearly physicals, dental?

Understanding Medicare options...Only when you have all these questions answered should you proceed...hope this helps.

Medicare disclaimer

Under the " Affordable healthcare act"... who knows what's going to happen?

My bet is that Medicare, especially Medicare advantage, will be more expensive and it will be harder to find doctors that will accept Medicare...IMHO.

I have already lost one primary care physician due to his frustration with the Medicare system.

Return from understanding Medicare options to health issues

Make sure you are not overpaying for health insurance now

Here is the Medicare.gov link