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Medicare for Retirement-Supplement or Advantage?
Posted by: Randalls
Date: January 28, 2020 04:14AM
I am retiring very soon. have STF and read links to many sites concerning Traditional Medigap vs Advantage plans. Plan F is rumored to be changing with possibility of higher costs due to an aging boomer market getting sicker. Plan G is Recommended for it’s value. However in my area, central Indiana, I can get zero cost up front for a United Healthcare Advantage plan saving monthly premiums on the G supplement. It also includes a part D drug plan and Silver Sneakers style gym inclusion.

My wife and I are pretty healthy and don’t travel a great amount but in the USA there seems to be a good network in most states for this Advantage plan so not too worried about accessibility to “approved” doctors and hospitals.

Does anyone have any thoughts or experience between the 2 systems and has anyone found a need or desire to return to a supplemental plan from an Advantage plan? I believe they can not refuse admission on initial sign up but may need to pass health questions if trying to return to a supplemental after joining an Advantage plan.

Any thoughts appreciated
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Re: Medicare for Retirement-Supplement or Advantage?
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: January 28, 2020 10:25AM
Regular.
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Re: Medicare for Retirement-Supplement or Advantage?
Posted by: DeusxMac
Date: January 28, 2020 10:44AM
Quote
Dennis S
Regular.

agree smiley

Anecdotal, but when my 93-year-old father needed to go to a rehab facility after surgery, his Advantage plan had extremely limited options. The majority of the facilities in his area wouldn't accept patients with Medicare Advantage plans, so we had to settle for the least-bad of the few that would.

The social worker at the surgical hospital had nothing good to say about Advantage plans, and said she would ensure that her father did not get one when he became eligible for Medicare.
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Re: Medicare for Retirement-Supplement or Advantage?
Posted by: rgG
Date: January 28, 2020 11:24AM
My husband and my mom have the traditional supplement plan.
We have a friend in an advantage plan through Kaiser. He likes it ok, but you do have to stay in network, so getting a specialist can be tricky.
It is easy to get into an advantage plan, but not necessarily easy to switch out of one.





Roswell, GA (Atlanta suburb)
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Re: Medicare for Retirement-Supplement or Advantage?
Posted by: Ammo
Date: January 28, 2020 11:31AM
“I believe they can not refuse admission on initial sign up but may need to pass health questions if trying to return to a supplemental after joining an Advantage plan.“

Upon retiring, I chose a Medicare supplemental (medigap) policy to begin with for that reason. I had a couple of pre-existing conditions that would increase my premiums if I ever wanted to switch from an Advantage plan to a Medigap plan.

But there were other reasons, too. As long as I use a facility that accepts Medicare, my policy will pay for whatever Medicare doesn’t. I can go anywhere in the country without co-pays or extra fees. Essentially, it’s as if Medicare pays 100% of everything.

Of course, the downside of medigap policies is that they are significantly more expensive than Advantage plans. In the end, i think it kind of depends upon how much health care you need. If you rarely need it, Advantage plans may be the way to go for you. YMMV.



Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. —Wendy Mass

Until you make your unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate. - Carl Jung
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Re: Medicare for Retirement-Supplement or Advantage?
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: January 28, 2020 11:47AM
Quote
Ammo
In the end, i think it kind of depends upon how much health care you need. If you rarely need it, Advantage plans may be the way to go for you. YMMV.

Just remember being healthy at 65 doesn't mean you'll be healthy at 66 or 67. Things can crash and burn very quickly as you age.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld

"WE CALL BS!" -- Emma Gonzalez
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Re: Medicare for Retirement-Supplement or Advantage?
Posted by: Randalls
Date: January 28, 2020 11:50AM
That is the way I figure it. I know the cost is greater and there are perks for the advantage plans but we do want to travel so perhaps the extra cost is worth it for plan G. I have been sitting on the fence as we are both relatively healthy so thinking about saving some cash. Wish I could see in to the future. I guess I will take G and see how it goes as we can always change up later (if no issues crop up)
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Re: Medicare for Retirement-Supplement or Advantage?
Posted by: tortoise
Date: January 28, 2020 01:01PM
My wife and I have the traditional N plan with AARP United Health care and are very happy with it. We like the freedom of being able to choose our medical providers and a recent botched surgery forced me to dump my primary physician and the butcher surgeon. I got second opinions from several doctors and surgeons and was expecting some flack from the insurance company but not a peep and they paid all the second and third opinions and the new surgeon. Lots or friend with Kaiser and other plans that just seem too restrictive for my liking.
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Re: Medicare for Retirement-Supplement or Advantage?
Posted by: wave rider
Date: January 28, 2020 03:04PM
Quote
Ombligo
Quote
Ammo
In the end, i think it kind of depends upon how much health care you need. If you rarely need it, Advantage plans may be the way to go for you. YMMV.

Just remember being healthy at 65 doesn't mean you'll be healthy at 66 or 67. Things can crash and burn very quickly as you age.

agree smiley I can testify to that…



=wr=
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Re: Medicare for Retirement-Supplement or Advantage?
Posted by: Bill in NC
Date: January 28, 2020 03:06PM
Early 2018 my relative started having back trouble...signed them up for Part B, Plan G, and a drug plan (they had delayed signing up for Part B due to severely constrained finances)...because she didn't want to get stuck in a certain network for what seemed at the time to be serious back problems.

So once Part B kicked in July 1 they were off to specialists...eventually scheduled for spinal surgery.

But once sedated and on the table the surgeon saw multiple masses, so he didn't open her up but sent her up to oncology.

Long story short, terminal breast cancer that had so many bone mets the Hospice nurses just called it bone cancer.

So I got her moved to an ALF near me and enrolled in Hospice until she died less than 6 months later.

And here's a Hospice-related reason you might want to avoid Medicare Advantage:

[www.bogleheads.org]
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Re: Medicare for Retirement-Supplement or Advantage?
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: January 28, 2020 03:36PM
Yet another reason for single payer



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld

"WE CALL BS!" -- Emma Gonzalez
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Re: Medicare for Retirement-Supplement or Advantage?
Posted by: freeradical
Date: January 28, 2020 03:39PM
I think the moral of the story here is that you need to consult with a financial professional before signing up for any plan.
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Re: Medicare for Retirement-Supplement or Advantage?
Posted by: AllGold
Date: January 28, 2020 03:55PM
Just some general info...

You are guaranteed issue for a supplement plan within the first six months of turning 65. No health questions and no pre-existing condition exclusions. Most plans charge more if you're a tobacco user so that is the only question you have to answer. After the initial six months, you will have to go through underwriting and could be declined if you have significant health conditions or pay a higher premium if you have lesser health problems.

You're always guaranteed issue for a Medicare Advantage plan (or a "Medicare Health Plan" as they like to call it these days) at any age and any health with one exception: if you have End Stage Renal Disease you are not eligible. However, often there are special needs plans available for ESRD. MA (Medicare Advantage) plans don't care whether if you're a tobacco user (ok, maybe they care but it doesn't affect your eligibility or price winking smiley.

The premiums for Supplement/Medigap plans generally increase as you get older. The premiums for MA plans are the same for everyone (regardless or age).

Supplements are standardized plans: for example, every Plan G is the same no matter what insurance company provides it (they can add some extra perks like gym memberships or vision discounts, however, but the medical coverage is the same). Each MA plan is different from every other in how it covers your medical care. Also, MA plans change (at least slightly) every year. In other words, your copay for an office visit or an x-ray may not be the same next year as it was this year.



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Re: Medicare for Retirement-Supplement or Advantage?
Posted by: Randalls
Date: January 28, 2020 06:14PM
Thanks for the info everyone
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Re: Medicare for Retirement-Supplement or Advantage?
Posted by: JoeM
Date: January 28, 2020 07:25PM
I just signed up for Medicare in 2018. After reading lots of articles and getting advice here I chose straight Medicare and supplemental Part B, plan F with AARP United Healthcare and a part D drug plan. While you get additional coverage like you mentioned with Advantage plans, your network is usually smaller and benefits can be smaller for serious or long term conditions. Coverage can change at times as well and you might not be covered when out of the country. I have been using my coverage quite a bit since getting it and have not gotten one out of pocket bill so far.



JoeM
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Re: Medicare for Retirement-Supplement or Advantage?
Posted by: PeterW
Date: January 28, 2020 08:08PM
So what does Plan F plus Part D drug coverage cost each month on top of the usual Part B premium?
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Re: Medicare for Retirement-Supplement or Advantage?
Posted by: JoeM
Date: January 29, 2020 01:56PM
Part B Medicare now is $144.60. My Plan F costs about $192. I think initially it was about $186 for the first year. Part D prescriptions can vary greatly. I just changed my provider to Well care and am paying $13.30 a month now.



JoeM
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Re: Medicare for Retirement-Supplement or Advantage?
Posted by: Randalls
Date: January 29, 2020 05:57PM
I picked up plan G for $120 and my wife is paying $106 (through AARP, United Health Care). I also am using Well Care for part D. There is a $189 deductible on G when you use it I believe but after that things get paid for.
Not sure about out of the country expenses. I was told to pick up travel insurance if/when we go outside the U.S.
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Re: Medicare for Retirement-Supplement or Advantage?
Posted by: Grateful11
Date: January 29, 2020 09:57PM
I switched this year from Aetna Premier PPO to UHC HMO because it carries $2000 in dental care and also has hearing aid coverage which Aetna did not offer in our area. I need hearing aids badly, only thing is you have to go to a UHC Hearing Center to get the hearing aid coverage which means going outside of my Meniere's specialist to get them. I hope they have dealt with Meniere's disease. I think I'm paying $171/month.



Grateful11
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