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Author: ResNullius Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 19219  
Subject: Medicare Time... Date: 9/2/2012 10:34 AM
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I got my card in the mail a couple of weeks ago, with an effective date of December 1. I've been trying to figure out everything about drug plans and medigap plans, and coordinating with my private health insurance (which will end). If there ever was a reason to end government as we know it, it's the rules and instructions for Medicare and the Tax Code. Both appear to have been written for the sole purpose of confounding anyone with any brains at all.
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Author: fleg9bo Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17786 of 19219
Subject: Re: Medicare Time... Date: 9/2/2012 1:14 PM
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I got my card in the mail a couple of weeks ago, with an effective date of December 1. I've been trying to figure out everything about drug plans and medigap plans, and coordinating with my private health insurance (which will end).

I'm one month ahead of you, with a Medicare start date of November 1. I consulted with an insurance agent who is very knowledgeable about Medicare matters. She spends about two hours with each new client explaining the system and I got a very good understanding of it as a result - and the information I needed to choose my plans. One thing I especially like about her is that she contacts all her Medicare clients every year to see if their policies remain a good fit. Policies change all the time and it may be necessary to jump plans during open enrollment to continue to get the most out of the system. In particular, any given Plan D might drop the drug you're taking while another Plan D adds it or continues to offer it. Having an agent cut through the red tape takes all the angst out of it.

Did you notice that once you laminate your Medicare card, it won't fit into a credit card slot in your wallet? Its size was probably determined by a government committee.

One interesting thing my agent told me: The area around Bend in Central Oregon is a popular retirement destination for Portlanders and others. She has several clients who retired there but have to make the 4½-hour drive back to Portland for medical appointments because they could not find doctors in Bend who accepted new Medicare patients.

My total premium cost will drop about 50% from what I pay now for private insurance. And I will have lower deductibles and copays. Although I don't take any prescription drugs, if I need any they will be covered, as opposed to my current $1000 drug deductible.

I'd like to thank all the taxpayers out there who are about to increase my travel budget by about $3800 per year.

--fleg

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Author: telegraph 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: 17787 of 19219
Subject: Re: Medicare Time... Date: 9/2/2012 2:00 PM
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I hit that point a bit over a year ago.

It's not really all that confusing once someone explains it to you.

once you figure out what plan you want, it's easy to shop around for what you find is the 'best deal'.

Same for drug plan. Since I only use a generic that is $10/month at Walmart...I signed up for the cheapest drug plan (10 bucks a month) just in case. 200 buck deductible...but why pay a lot more ? you can change drug plan every year...same for your Medicare provider if you get fed up with them, or they jack up the rates.

Your rates will go up with age..but not that much.

Yep, when you hit 65, you only have to pay 1/4 of the premium. The taxpayer pays the rest. Actually, if you are 'lower income' you pay way less than 25% of the average annual cost of your policy.

Good deal.

Before that, I was paying about 400 a month for 2000 deductible and 30% copay up to 5K......and 250 a year deductible for drugs.

Like fleg, my travel budget went up thousands a year.

Unsustainable, but we'll wait to see what happens.


t.

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Author: RetiredVermonter Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17789 of 19219
Subject: Re: Medicare Time... Date: 9/2/2012 2:48 PM
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Do what works for YOU.

We both are past 70. I signed up for Medicare at 65 and so did she. We also have AARP's Medigap plan for supplementary. I've had surgery twice, we both see the doctor regularly, etc., and have paid ZERO beyond my premiums.

As for Plan D? I had it for 1 year and dropped it totally (she never did sign up) when I found out how complicated it can be to find the most reasonable one EVERY YEAR! It was also going to cost me about $40/month PLUS $5 COPAY PER PRESCRIPTION for my meds so I dropped it.

Yes, IF we needed to restart Plan D now, it would cost us a damned "penalty", but I think the whole thing is a stupid mess. If there were ONE choice, fine, but who wants to spend hours wrestling with deciding among plans every year -- and then going through the trouble of CHANGING them?

We started to pay $7 per year to Hannaford's (grocery chain) for their pharmacy plan 2 years ago. I am on 3 BP meds and pay $9/3 months for each of them -- with no copay. She pays for 1. Do that math. Not bad!

You choose, but that's what we did, regardless of the "lemming" concept that said we HAD to have a plan.

Vermonter

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Author: ImAGolfer Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17794 of 19219
Subject: Re: Medicare Time... Date: 9/2/2012 7:04 PM
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Did you notice that once you laminate your Medicare card, it won't fit into a credit card slot in your wallet? Its size was probably determined by a government committee.

You noticed that too huh? Someone had to be a real numb-nuts to design that card.

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Author: Donna405 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17795 of 19219
Subject: Re: Medicare Time... Date: 9/2/2012 10:50 PM
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If you have any questions, just e-mail me through TMF and I will help you all I can. I, also, felt overwhelmed when I signed up for Medicare and subsequently, my Medigap insurance and Drug Insurance.

Donna

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Author: billjam Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17796 of 19219
Subject: Re: Medicare Time... Date: 9/3/2012 6:43 AM
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I got my card in the mail a couple of weeks ago, with an effective date of December 1. I've been trying to figure out everything about drug plans and medigap plans, and coordinating with my private health insurance (which will end). If there ever was a reason to end government as we know it, it's the rules and instructions for Medicare and the Tax Code. Both appear to have been written for the sole purpose of confounding anyone with any brains at all.

The transition from private health could be a complication if it's employer program. I had no trouble because I was already buying my own with Blue Cross and wanted a Blue Cross medigap plan. My regular insurance agent handled the application of medigap and Part D. Quick call by me to Blue Cross made sure the transition went smoothly.

Medicare isn't that complicated. Many local organiations or national groups like AARP offer helpful information. If you're worried about existing conditions during the transition, you'll find health care providers are accustomed to this. Just let them know it's coming and they will handle it. It's much easier than when an employer changes insurance companies on you.

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Author: alstroemeria Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Recommended Fools Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17797 of 19219
Subject: Re: Medicare Time... Date: 9/3/2012 10:56 AM
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he area around Bend in Central Oregon is a popular retirement destination for Portlanders and others. She has several clients who retired there but have to make the 4½-hour drive back to Portland for medical appointments because they could not find doctors in Bend who accepted new Medicare patients.

It's not just public, but also private insurance that has this very problem.

Ours is BCBS of SC for state employees through my husband's job. I coudn't find a doctor in NYC that accepted it when I was there for a year and a half to babysit for my grandson.

In addition, I twice lost my primary care doc when my employer changed to a plan to which my doc didn't belong.

If a doctor won;t take Medicare/Medicaid patients, I think they should be forced to reimburse the govt for all the subsidies they've accepted...training facilities/salaries for interns & residents, guaranteed low-interest loans for med school, etc.

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Author: fleg9bo Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17798 of 19219
Subject: Re: Medicare Time... Date: 9/3/2012 12:44 PM
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If a doctor won;t take Medicare/Medicaid patients, I think they should be forced to reimburse the govt for all the subsidies they've accepted...training facilities/salaries for interns & residents, guaranteed low-interest loans for med school, etc.

That's funny. After seven to ten years of training and maybe several hundred thousand in student loans, docs should be forced to work for nothing or even lose money on patients? That would certainly continue to encourage the best and brightest to go into medicine. While we're at it, since GM will never pay back all the bailout money it got, maybe the government should make them sell cars to poor people at half price.

--fleg

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Author: telegraph 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: 17799 of 19219
Subject: Re: Medicare Time... Date: 9/3/2012 1:34 PM
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"If a doctor won;t take Medicare/Medicaid patients, I think they should be forced to reimburse the govt for all the subsidies they've accepted...training facilities/salaries for interns & residents, guaranteed low-interest loans for med school, etc. "


Yeah..we too can be like Britain where the doctors work 9 to 5pm...don't have a heart attack on a weekend because they won't show up till 9am on Monday.


If you are lucky, you get to see 'the doctor on call' at the clinic. You don't have the same doc each time. Half of them were trained outside Britain and many barely speak English.


SOrry..doctors have horrendous overhead costs. Offices, staffs of people filling out insurance forms, tracking down payments.

Maybe we should have the government regulate your job? You probably are paid more than the private sector - so immediate 'adjustment'. You probably don't work enough hours and get too many benefits too. Maybe we should 'right size those' and downsize all the 'bloat' in your office?

Next you'll be trying to charge docs for the roads and bridges since 'they didn't build that'.


t.

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Author: telegraph 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: 17800 of 19219
Subject: Re: Medicare Time... Date: 9/3/2012 1:36 PM
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"While we're at it, since GM will never pay back all the bailout money it got, maybe the government should make them sell cars to poor people at half price."

Actually, we could start with GM cutting in half the amount they pay to employees. That would make cars 'affordable' to low income people.



t.

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Author: Follydolly Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17801 of 19219
Subject: Re: Medicare Time... Date: 9/3/2012 9:45 PM
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Getting back to Medicare costs...I wonder if I am doing the right thing. My Medicare fees are all over the place and high! First, I have an auto 20% copay, unless Medicare decides they are not going to cover certain procedures and my copay seems to be higher.

2007 - $160.90 deduction
2008 - $192.70
2009 - $221.00
2010 - $110.50 (RMDs were suspended 2009)
2011 - $199.80

these numbers are so inconsistent. Certainly they will go up over time.

I also have a supplemental with my company with UH..covers what Medicare does not (sometimes, I cannot figure what). Good on hospital coverage. 20% copay...after first $300. $75 copay on drugs (90 day), some drugs are only $5 per month or $15 for 90 days. Some drugs are very cheap and cost copay only around $10.80. I also have vision. Monthly cost in the $80.++ neighborhood.

Am I ripping myself off?

Birgit

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Author: grouse100 Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17802 of 19219
Subject: Re: Medicare Time... Date: 9/3/2012 9:59 PM
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Those listed costs are from the goberment and you have no choice as to those payments. They are for basic Medicare.

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Author: CountUpp 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: 17803 of 19219
Subject: Re: Medicare Time... Date: 9/3/2012 10:10 PM
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I got my card in the mail a couple of weeks ago, with an effective date of December 1. I've been trying to figure out everything about drug plans and medigap plans, and coordinating with my private health insurance (which will end). If there ever was a reason to end government as we know it, it's the rules and instructions for Medicare and the Tax Code. Both appear to have been written for the sole purpose of confounding anyone with any brains at all.

I went with an HMO(HealthNet). The big attraction was that there is no more out of pocket. I had considered a policy with Blue Cross that cost $100 a month, so $0 was pretty attractive.

Count Upp.

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Author: Follydolly Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17804 of 19219
Subject: Re: Medicare Time... Date: 9/3/2012 11:29 PM
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Those listed costs are from the goberment and you have no choice as to those payments. They are for basic Medicare.


Yes, I copied the fees from my SS yearly missile. I guess since it from the goberment, I should not expect them to make sense.

Birgit

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Author: fleg9bo Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17805 of 19219
Subject: Re: Medicare Time... Date: 9/4/2012 2:27 AM
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It's not just public, but also private insurance that has this very problem.

Ours is BCBS of SC for state employees through my husband's job. I coudn't find a doctor in NYC that accepted it when I was there for a year and a half to babysit for my grandson.


I suspect it might have more to do with the NYC docs' offices not being set up to bill a SC insurance company.

You likely could have gotten treatment as a cash patient, then gotten reimbursed for whatever your BCBS would have paid by submitting a claim. That's exactly what I did when I saw a chiropractor who didn't accept any insurance. Paid him, sent in a claim, got reimbursed. Easy peasy.

--fleg

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Author: culcha Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17806 of 19219
Subject: Re: Medicare Time... Date: 9/4/2012 7:08 AM
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Next you'll be trying to charge docs for the roads and bridges since 'they didn't build that'.

So, if the doctors didn't want roads and bridges for them and their patients to use, they shouldn't have paid their taxes?

culcha

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Author: fleg9bo Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17807 of 19219
Subject: Re: Medicare Time... Date: 9/4/2012 5:02 PM
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If a doctor won't take Medicare/Medicaid patients, I think they should be forced to reimburse the govt for all the subsidies they've accepted...training facilities/salaries for interns & residents, guaranteed low-interest loans for med school, etc.

I shared the above suggestion on another board and one of the M.D.s who posts there responded:


Sure, if they pay me back for all the free hours of care given while in medical school and residency.

Medical students perform some important functions while learning and earn NO income. Its mostly scutt work, dressing changes, helping mobilize patients post-op, making sure tests/procedures have been done. Not even minimum wage.

Residents often work 80-100 hours per week. Every week. With 2 weeks vacation. They are lucky if that comes out to minimum wage.
_________________

Just to set the record straight.

--fleg

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