Your Medicare Choicesby Denise Early on Feb. 09, 2010, under Health
Medicare Advantage plans are agressively marketed by insurance companies such as Humana, Health Net and Secure Horizons, and nearly 40% of seniors in Tucson are enrolled in these plans. Medicare Supplements seem to be left out of the picture for many people as they consider their Medicare choices.
I was talking to a couple last week who are both 67 years old. They have been enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan since they got their Medicare. As I explained their Medicare choices, they looked at me in amazement (or perhaps confusion) as I talked about Medicare supplements. Medicare supplements seemed to be a new and unknown concept to them.
Now, it is very possible that they learned about Medicare supplements when they first looked at options for their Medicare coverage. Two years have passed since then and it’s easy to forget the many details and options involved in Medicare.
These folks told me they were concerned about having to stay in a local network of providers with their Medicare Advantage plan. And they told me they were concerned about rising co-payments in their current plan. So I explained how Medicare supplements work with Medicare and can be used anywhere in the country with any provider who accepts Medicare.
As I went back and forth explaining the difference between Medicare Advantage and Medicare supplements, I felt bad about the confusion I seemed to be creating for these educated, smart, and capable people. I drew diagrams, listed companies, and explained Part D. (That only added to the confusing picture in their minds). But eventually they got the picture and I told them they should take some time to think about all the information I had given them. We agreed to meet again a week later.
So I met again with these folks this week. As we talked about the cost of Medicare supplement plans and Part D plans, the wife would recoil a bit. And then she would say the benefits would outweigh the cost. And then she’d say she is really quite healthy, so perhaps she would save money with a zero premium Advantage plan. And then she’d say she doesn’t want to deal with a network……… So we spent another hour talking and…… they made their Medicare choice: Medicare plus a Medicare Supplement plus a Part D plan.
Now I can tell you the story of another couple with whom I had a similar conversation (and two meetings). This second couple were very similar to the couple whose story I have told here. We also went round and round and they eventually asked me what coverage I would choose: Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage? I told them I would choose to get a Medicare supplement and they paused and looked at each other and……. told me their choice……….Medicare Advantage!
Meeting new people. Hearing their stories and concerns. Sharing my five years-worth of Medicare knowledge….. and seeing how people react so differently to the same information…………. makes my work very interesting.
For more information check out: http://medicarechoicesofarizona.com