6 Replies Latest reply on Oct 19, 2011 3:15 PM by Junie

    Medicare supplemental insurance


      I have just turned 65 and have decided to go with Traditional Medicare Parts A and B plus a medicare supplemental insurance policy plus a Part D policy.  I can find companies and rates for the plan I want (Plan F) for my state (California), but I want to go with a company that is highly rated by policy holders.  Where can I get that information?  I have tried the medicare.gov site and the California Dept of Insurance site and gotten little information.  Do you have any suggestions for sources of information about the companies?  Or perhaps a specific page of the sites I mentioned?

        • Re: Medicare supplemental insurance
          I thought that CMS rated insurers in the doc's they provide. You do know that all insurers have to provide ALL of the same benefits according to Plan? Plan F for instance is the current top end with the most coverage. They can add some extras like Silver Sneakers health club usage. Also, if you were covered by an obsolete plan they must grandfather it. I have Plan J which is basically Plan F but it also covers an annual physical which F doesn't.

          Since we had our private coverage with Blue Cross, I went with them since the supplemental premiums were not too bad and the reputations good. Now the Part D is complex but you should go with the one that covers any drugs that you need for the best price IMO.

            • Re: Medicare supplemental insurance

              Trying to make the same decision.  I can't get our state (Michigan) person on the line that is supposed to help us sort things out.   Are the Advantage plans really better?  I am staying with Blue Cross because that's what we have pre-retirement.  There are a couple of drugs that are not covered, but I think we can manage them.  Will any one plan really cover all drugs?

              I would love some input.

                • Re: Medicare supplemental insurance
                  DeltaDawn from Ypsilanti? The spouse and I used to frequent Ypsilanti in our student days at the UM. I believe that the Medicare folks at CMS have a web site that will let you check which drugs each Part D plan has. There is no need to get Advantage or supplemental and Part D from the same company. Since I use no drugs yet I dropped my Blue Cross Part D and went with a very cheap, generic program through Wal-Mart and some other insurer. I did do some what-if-ing on a few drugs that may be needed due to a potential condition that is developing. They don't make it easy but with some research you can figure out an optimal solution (I didn't say perfect). By the way, unlike supplemental and Advantage plans, there is no underwriting required to change Part D plans every year so any new problems not covered can convince you to switch insurers..

                  On the question of Advantage plans, be very careful to confirm that your medical providers accept them. Ours did not and I was steaming because a BC supplemental raised my medical insurances over 100%. Also be aware the Advantage plans are cheap because they hit you with out-of-pocket up to $1,000's if you have a problem. And you need to understand the limitations for switching plans if you have or develop medical issues. They will force you through underwriting for new plans when you are beyond the initial coverage period and that can mean rejection and being stuck with your first plan. I did have a colon test that cost significantly more than I remember from the last one and BC covered all but $50 for buying the pre-test prep. Talk about stupid but that's life.

                  We are still mentally capable and this process is very challenging. I have commented on many occasions that I don't know how older people that can't handle it make decisions on these insurance matters. I suspect that they make a choice and NEVER change it even though they are paying way too much because it is too complex to do so. This convinces me that it is well worth a lot of research before you commit and also worth going to the coffee and cookies presentations every year put on by insurers you are comparing against your current coverage.
                    • Re: Medicare supplemental insurance
                      Jerry - Thank you for the great explanation.  I have two questions I need to clear up: 1) Has anyone looked into the mental health coverage offered by these plans, supplement or advantage?
                      2) I was told that the Medicare Advantage, being an HMO, will not cover you if you leave your state, but a supplement will.
                      Thanks for any help anyone can give to these questions.  Pinky.
                • Re: Medicare supplemental insurance
                  I just went with Blue Cross's Freedom Blue. I am healthy, seldom see a Dr. and though I have to pay co-pays, I am gambling that the co-pays will be less than monthly payments on other plans.
                  The OOP is $3300 and most other plans commit to $250-$350 a month whether I see a Dr. or not. And it includes drugs, so no cost for plan D.

                  New to this, just leaving employer insurance at 76. Worth a try for a year anyway.
                  John P
                  • Re: Medicare supplemental insurance
                    I have AARP Plan J (comparable to Plan F), and it has been quite satisfactory. This costs about $355 per month for my husband and me. We are 73 and 74 respectively, and he suffers from metastatic prostate cancer. My mother is 92 and has had an AARP plan since 1993. Complete satisfaction in every way. Early on I investigated Medicare Advantage plans, and there simply are too many negatives.