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Worse than extended warranty calls

maynard

Jedi Knight
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As the deadline nears, I have been inundated with calls and mail about Medicare . Help.
 

DrEntropy

Great Pumpkin
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And what on earth happened to George Foreman? He's now pitching for the Medicare calls. I get why Broadway Joe needs the money, but George?!?
 

Bayless

Yoda
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Can't even watch TV anymore due to their stinking commercials. That must be really lucrative business.
 

DrEntropy

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That must be really lucrative business.
That's the part I haven't figured out. The phone numbers vary, how many outfits are performing this "service" to get folks to call for "an EXTRA $1,700 dollars a year!" qualification, how do the "service" entities get paid and how much? Is it just to build a data base of the folks who do call?

The details are a bit too "fuzzy" for my taste.
 

NutmegCT

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Those gazillions of "service" agencies making calls and sending brochures are just agents for private carriers of Medicare supplement and Medicare Advantage insurance plans. The callers and insurors have no relation to Medicare, and are not federal employees or contracted out folks As most folks don't have a clue about all the options available to them (here in little ol' Connecticut there are over 100 Medicare Advantage and Medicare supplement policies offered by private insurers).

The $1700 "savings" - that's the yearly premium for Medicare Part B (doctor and treatments); it's usually deducted from your monthly social security checks. The private supplements and Advantage plans usually cover the $1700 premium, so you in effect get an extra $1700 in your Social Security checks each year.

I was a Claims Rep (CR) for Soc Security for about five years. The private plans are now so complex no one - really - no one can figure them out. You make a guess, choose a private plan if you want, and hope for the best.

FDR, Truman, and Eisenhower wanted a national worker's medical plan (private companies insured against loss by federal reinsurance monies), but Congress said no. Medical coverage wasn't added to social security until 1965. Back then the annual $1700 Part B premium was ... ready for it? ... $72/year.

But more people in the USA have better medical care now than ever before.

OK - back to my cave.
Tom M.
'PS - the companies doing the brochures and calls get payments from Medicare to help cover their non-Medicare expenses.
 

Bayless

Yoda
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I have been a little interested in the Advantage scheme because the whole thing costs us nearly $500/month each so some saving would be very attractive. I have read that Medicare pays the insurance companies about $1000/month for each person. That at least sounds likely. The company is then responsible for all your Medicare related services. The down side is most plans are HMOs although a few at least are PPOs. I don't like the idea of either of those. Another thing I have read is that if you go to one of those plans and don't like it you have to pass a physical to get back on a regular supplement plan. I don't know whether either of these are factual.
 

NutmegCT

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That's the tough part. What is factual, and what's hear-say. The whole "after 65" issue brings a huge number of complex options, questions, and choices that only you, and/or your insurance agent, can choose.

I usually recommend to friends that they go straight to the horse's mouth:



Once you have an idea how the plans work, then go to your local insurance agent (or just Google search ...) plans for your state.

Hope this helps.
Tom M.
 

JPSmit

Moderator
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:D

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Bob McElwee

Jedi Warrior
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Medicare has a web site that you can join where you can compare the different supplemental and/or advantage plans available for you zip code. It shows the annual premium for each plan and will also calculate estimated drug cost if you enter your prescriptions. You can also verify if your Doctors, Dentist etc are covered under a given plan by going to the carrier website. I've been using it for over 5 years and it was very helpful when we decided to change from a supplemental plan to an advantage plan. We are in a PPO advantage plan with all the providers we had under the supplemental plan. I'm a little hazy on out of area coverage which I'm going to have to call about before we head off to Florida next month.
It can be a rabbit hole if you are trying to compare many plans.
 

gonzo

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Oh the wonders of a rant that becomes refined to a helpful, informative and useful topic. Thank you for sharing your Medicare experience. It's relevant and much appreciated!
 
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