Oct 14

Planning for Medicare – Part Deux

by Dick Schlote

The new 2012 Medicare & You booklets have been mailed and Medicare eligibles are receiving mailings from insurers daily about their products.  This booklet contains over 150 pages of details about Medicare and the related Medigap and  Medicare Advantage plans.

Here are some of the key things to consider when choosing coverage for 2012:

  1. Medicare Parts A & B provide basic adequate hospital and medical coverage.  There is no requirement for additional insurance.  Many people are satisfied with only Medicare A & B and no additional coverages.
  2. If you are newly eligible for Medicare, make sure you contact Social Security and discuss your options to enroll.  Medicare coverage is too important financially to pass up.
  3. Everyone’s health situation is unique, so no one plan or option “fits all”.  Choosing or rejecting additional coverage beyond Medicare depends on each person’s age, health, physicians, prescriptions, budget, etc.  A married couple might have two very different health plans because their needs dictate it.
  4. The Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans are sold by insurers.  By this I mean that an individual can’t just buy one on the internet without discussing it with a representative.  This is valuable for the consumer, because there are so many important factors to consider.
  5. Insurers are holding seminars to discuss what their products cover and what they cost.  If you have any doubts about what you need, attend one or more of these seminars and get the benefit of a large group discussion with others who may have the same questions as you.
  6. Take a friend or relative with you, someone who is familiar with your financial and/or health situations.  Two heads are better than one.

Don’t procrastinate or just assume that your current coverage is best for you.  The older we get, the less likely we are to risk a change, even though it might be a substantial financial saving.  Inertia is the easy way out, though not necessarily the best.

A few years ago, when I no longer had coverage through my employer, a friend suggested a Medicare Advantage Plan, something I had never heard of.  They said they were paying no premiums and had very good coverage.  I didn’t believe them, assuming they weren’t giving me the whole story.  My wife and I and several good friends met with their plan representative and I became convinced that this type of plan was best for me.  For various personal and health reasons it was not best for some of the others, but I switched to a Medicare Advantage Plan and still am covered with the same company, under a similar plan, pay $0.00 premiums, and am saving hundreds of dollars every year.  My wife has a slightly different plan with the same company because her health needs are different.  But her premiums, like mine, are $0.00. There are also plans that include premiums and offer a higher level of coverage on certain items.

There is a medical plan out there that is best for every situation.  You just have to find it.  I am not recommending any specific plan type or insurance company, just advising each person to do what is best for them.  In my next post I will try to be specific about what questions to ask and how to find the plan that is right for you.

You Might Also Like

Other articles filed under Retirement

Sorting Through the Market Shifts

February 7, 2018
Yesterday evening, Rockbridge's own Ethan Gilbert, CFA was featured on our local Spectrum news network. Check out the interview below where Ethan discusses the recent market shifts, how these swings can affect your retirement accounts, and how to protect your...
Continue Reading

When Investing, Don’t Think About the Patriots

January 24, 2018
This past weekend, the New England Patriots did it again. Down 10 in the 4th, star quarterback Tom Brady orchestrated two scoring drives to pull off another comeback victory. In two weekends, the Pats will try to win their 3rd...
Continue Reading

Market Commentary – January 2018

January 23, 2018
Stock Markets Returns from various stock market indices over several periods ending December 31, 2017 are shown below. The past quarter was good for stocks – REITs lagged. Over the past year, returns from stock indices, especially emerging markets, were...
Continue Reading

Ten Best Financial Practices to Jump-Start Your New Year

January 19, 2018
Happy New Year! Now that 2017 is a wrap, one of the best presents you can bestow on yourself and your loved ones is the gift of proper preparation for the rest of the year. Want to get a jump-start...
Continue Reading

A Look at the New U.S. Tax Law

January 16, 2018
As you are likely aware, Congress has recently passed significant changes to the tax law. These changes are effective beginning in tax year 2018, with many of the changes for individuals set to sunset after 2025. The summary below is...
Continue Reading

‹ Back to Blog Home

getting started is simple

315.671.0588 info@rockbridgeinvest.com Schedule a meeting Sign Up for Our Newsletter