Sometimes, we have people that schedule phone time with us and, well, there’s really nothing that we can help them with.
What TYPE of folks do I mean?
Generally, it’s people with some of the following insurance coverages either in place OR available to them as a retiree option.
Of course, we can't capture every profession that might be offered retiree benefits for their years of service but we wanted to give you a list of common situations.
Let’s discuss the Michigan public school teachers retiree program as an example. We’ll use this as an example as it’s in our state and one that we get questions about fairly frequently.
Unfortunately, the program doesn’t seem to notify people early enough in the process (in my opinion) to allay concerns. Some people start worrying about their Medicare coverage a year in advance and want to know what to do and when. They finally hear from ORS (the office that administers the program) a few months before the person turns 65 but the person has questions well before that date most of the time.
Unfortunately, they may call our agency to find out about their retiree program (that we do not administer or service), and there really isn’t much we can tell them. We direct them to the ORS information here: https://www.michigan.gov/orsschools/0,4653,7-206-71328_71337---,00.html
The pricing is excellent for teachers: Here is the 2021 pricing listed on their site: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/orsschools/MPSERS_Retiree_Monthly_Insurance_Rates_703353_7.pdf
On the ORS website, the process that a new retiree needs to go through in terms of enrolling into both Medicare and their retiree plan is listed there. The pricing is super strong - the outside Medicare world where our agency works can’t compete with that.
The Michigan retiree plan is a strong program and we have never encouraged anyone to not enroll into that plan offered to them.
Flip side. Texas TRS plan for the Texas teacher retirees. Their plan changed a lot a couple of years ago. The premiums that the retiring teacher will pay is higher than in Michigan. What they charge for adding a spouse is higher than Michigan (retiree plus spouse is $529/month vs $64/month). They’re maximum out of pocket cost at $3,500 is higher than Michigan retirees which is $1,700 in 2020. Their 2021 information is listed here: https://www.trs.texas.gov/TRS%20Documents/trs-care_plan_highlights_2021.pdf
So, with TRS, that is a case where it makes more sense to leave the retiree option. However, this is not extremely common. Many times it will come down to a math problem. Always balance coverage and cost. And, remember these plans change annually.
A last example. This is for Illinois school retirees. You can see a $42.00 monthly premium and an $1,100 maximum out of pocket costs in addition to very strong (i.e. good) prescription coverage. This is another plan where the retirees heading into the plan “don’t need us”. They just need to enroll accordingly and be thankful. https://www2.illinois.gov/cms/benefits/trail/trip/Documents/2021/TRIP%20TRAIL2021.pdf
So, we’ll provide you with a very general rule of thumb. If you are to pay $200 per month beyond your Medicare Part A and B cost to the government (remember, every person will pay the government their premium for Part B; and some will even pay for Part A). So, determine your Part A and B cost and then if the plan available to you upon retirement is over $200 in premium each month (per person), then YES - give us a call and we can help you take a look.
For those of you that don’t need us, what else can you do? Here are a few tips:
A quick re-cap. Here’s who DOES need us:
So, lots of people DO need us. Retiree benefits aren’t as available in today’s world as they were 20 years ago.
But, those of you that don’t need us? Well, count yourself rather fortunate. Feel free to watch our videos on YouTube if you just feel like you should be doing “something” related to Medicare
At least that way, you’ll understand what all of your friends are talking about as they talk about their plans.
Best wishes to you ~
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