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Author: REtim Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 19262  
Subject: Medicare in WI question Date: 1/21/2008 9:14 PM
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Howdy, all!

My dad is turning 65 in Wisconsin this year, and is trying to figure out what medicare plans to go with. Very fortunately, until now, he has been covered by amazing insurance (100% of EVERYTHING) through his old factory union.

He is totally confused on where to turn for comparison shopping and has asked me for help...he has tried AARP and has even gone to local hospital financial offices for info, with very little success.

Anyone have a link or reference for helping him finding the best policy?

Any help is greatly appreciated!

tim
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Author: 0x6a74 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 12335 of 19262
Subject: Re: Medicare in WI question Date: 1/21/2008 9:18 PM
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He is totally confused on where to turn for comparison shopping and has asked me for help...he has tried AARP and has even gone to local hospital financial offices for info, with very little success.

Anyone have a link or reference for helping him finding the best policy?


some slight help perhaps ... medicare.gov

but *i* found AARP very helpful.


good luck to him.


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Author: TMFPMarti Big funky green star, 20000 posts Home Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 12336 of 19262
Subject: Re: Medicare in WI question Date: 1/21/2008 9:31 PM
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He is totally confused on where to turn for comparison shopping and has asked me for help...he has tried AARP and has even gone to local hospital financial offices for info, with very little success.

Anyone have a link or reference for helping him finding the best policy?


Possibly the union, possibly a local Council on Aging or somesuch social services agency.

Phil

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Author: tilnow One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 12337 of 19262
Subject: Re: Medicare in WI question Date: 1/22/2008 1:42 PM
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"My dad is turning 65 in Wisconsin this year, and is trying to figure out what medicare plans to go with."

Tim, your post just sent me diving into my recycling bin to find an excellent article I'd just read. No luck finding it, but I'm pretty sure it was in the latest AARP full magazine (not the newsprint one). Maybe it's on their website.

The gist was to be wary of Medicare Advantage plans. One example I recall was a man who'd had no problems with traditional Medicare for his existing health condition, but switched to save a little money on premiums. After being taken by ambulance to a hospital that wasn't part of his new Medicare Advantage plan, he was left with a huge bill to pay. Similar stories involved using participating hospitals but later learning the anesthesiologist wasn't part of the network and being stuck with that fee.

There was a comparison chart in the article, too.

A call to your county Office for the Aging might give all the info you need. Ours here is great.

Find out if your dad can keep supplemental coverage through his union or employer. Keep his union membership paid up and current; he can still be a member as a retiree and there may be lots of nice perks open to him.

Depending on your State, he may be eligible for prescription help for seniors. Here in NYS we have EPIC, and our County also has a free prescription card that gives us reduced prices.

Again, the Office for the Aging is a treasure trove of info for retirees. We've taken some great outings at no cost or at greatly reduced prices because organized senior trips are subsidized. Why knew?

Tilnow

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Author: DoLoop Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 12338 of 19262
Subject: Re: Medicare in WI question Date: 1/22/2008 10:05 PM
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... your post just sent me diving into my recycling bin to find an excellent article I'd just read. No luck finding it ... Maybe it's on their website.

The gist was to be wary of Medicare Advantage plans


Here's a link to it:
http://www.aarp.org/bulletin/medicare/dont_fall_for_the_hard_sell.html

I was faced last year with finding new supplemental and part D coverage. I was strongly considering a Medicare Advantage plan until I read that article and then did some homework and asked some questions. I did NOT get one!

My primary doctor's office said they would not accept the plan at all and the local hospital said they'd accept only in an emergency situation (apparently the law requires that).

Like Tilnow said, read that article and heed what it says.

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Author: TwoCybers Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 12340 of 19262
Subject: Re: Medicare in WI question Date: 1/24/2008 9:37 PM
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Tim is it confusing - but here are some ideas and some "facts"

Your dad really must get Part-D the drug coverage. If you do not there is a 1% per month penalty when you finally do get it. So if you wait 2 years after turning 65, you will pay 124% of the normal monthly premium. When you are trying to deal with Part-D, the search engine at medicare.gov is really the fastest and easiest way to go. (The one exception to the penalty -- if you have drug coverage that is equal to or better then Part-D)

You should/can look and choose before turning 65, but do not try and sign-up for Part-D until the second day (as in April 2nd or October 2nd) of the month before you want converge to begin. All medicare coverages begin on the first of a month. The systems are all geared to starting the first day of next month from when you call or do it on the internet. It may take a couple of months for the premiums to catch up, but all is OK.

Most people want/need what is commonly called Medi-gap coverage. Normal medicare pays in the range of 80% and leaves a lot of co-pays and deductibles. Starting this year there is a means test for medicare premiums. The Social Security people look at the Adjusted Gross Income line of your last 1040 and charge accordingly. While this may be bad, check to see if after the first year you won't have a much lower cost for the Part B coverages -- these are the coverages with the means test.

Personally for medi-gap insurance I like the AARP.


You need to look at the specific drugs you take for Part D. The results are not obvious. For example if you happen to take a fair number of expensive drugs, your best choice may be the cheapest plan offering the least coverage. That way you work through the "donut hole" quicker and get the the catastrophic coverage.

You can change drug coverage every year.



You may or may not be able to change your medi-gap coverage. So consider your first choice as your last choice. With only a couple of exceptions, once you have coverage other insurance companies can either turn your down or give you a "rated" plan.

There is a type of coverage call "Advantage" plans. These plans have one large plus -- lower cost. There are also in my view a huge negative. Although the insurance companies will deny it, functionally you are getting into an HMO - you will have limited choice of doctors, hospitals and to a lesser extend drugs. In the late 1990s Medicare decided to reduce payments to the what ever these were called then and way over half of them just quit leaving people in a mess for coverage. This is one of the exceptions for being able to get medi-gap coverage after the initial eligibility.

You might want to check with some local sources. When you first start it is confusing. But lots of people have done this all over the country. Talk with several and you will soon start to make sense out of it -- also the bias and misinformation from one individual will soon become clear to you.

HTH

Gordon
Atlanta

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Author: ibnana Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 12357 of 19262
Subject: Re: Medicare in WI question Date: 1/25/2008 11:33 PM
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Personally for medi-gap insurance I like the AARP.

I don't know whay people automatically think of AARP when they go for the Medicare Supplemental (Medigap) plans. There are some good and possibly cheaper companies out there besides United Healthcare which is who the AARP plan is with, I believe.

Plan F is probably the one most people go with because it covers everything, the deductibles and copays of Medicare. If you get a good independent insurance agent, he/she can help in the decision. I have my Plan F with a Mutual of Omaha company and I'll bet my premiums are less than AARP's United Healthcare.

Carol

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Author: 0x6a74 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 12360 of 19262
Subject: Re: Medicare in WI question Date: 1/25/2008 11:53 PM
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I don't know whay people automatically think of AARP when they go for the Medicare Supplemental (Medigap) plans. There are some good and possibly cheaper companies out there besides United Healthcare which is who the AARP plan is with, I believe.

Plan F is probably the one most people go with because it covers everything, the deductibles and copays of Medicare. If you get a good independent insurance agent, he/she can help in the decision



because most of us don't know of/don't know how to find/don't think to look for good independent agent .... and if you go looking yourself (at plans), you can get quickly overwhelmed.

and it's the kind of thing you don't want to be surprised by not-really existing Insurance company


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