Medicare itself comes with a whole package of possible problems and no really great instruction manual. That’s why we at Giardini Medicare are essentially the instruction manual! And, along those lines, in a few weeks we’ll be able to reveal a helpful new tool that we’ve created for people making the transition to the Medicare system. Stay tuned there.
One call yesterday, went like this. The man called to inquire about “help getting our Medicare setup”. That’s normal. The questions we start asking are “Do you have Part A, do you have Part B, are you leaving employer coverage, etc.”.
In this case, his job in Michigan ended due to Covid-19 (we’re seeing lots of that as you can imagine). And he said that he and his wife each had Part A. But, then they said they didn’t have Part A. They she says to him “Well, I have mine, why don’t you have yours?” He says he never filed for anything and he knew that for a fact. We ask a lot of questions about this because HOW you sign up for Part B of Medicare when you are older than age 65 is different than when you are new to the Medicare system at age 65.
After about ten minutes, they both find their Medicare red, white and blue cards showing the date that their Part A was effective.
#1, realize that rarely do people with Medicare really know what they have…
In this case, the employer was releasing the employee with some severance and medical insurance for the couple. So, in this case (not in all cases, by any means), the employer was willing to pay for the medical premiums (meaning Cobra premiums) for this couple for 5 months. So, the couple would have nothing to pay for and continue their medical coverage.
Normally, people would think “oh, perfect – we don’t have to pay for five months, THEN we can deal with adding Part B” of Medicare (that has a cost).
WRONG. Thankfully, this couple had called us because we happen to make a big stink about Cobra coverage as it intersects with Medicare. In a nutshell: Medicare becomes your primary insurance coverage once your Cobra coverage is effective. Our video here to explain further.
So, we walked them through how to get Part B set up with the Social Security Administration. Get Part B and keep the “free to them” coverage via Cobra through the 5 months and then on the sixth month, work with us to get their Medicare programs set up properly based on what kind of coverage they’d prefer. That gives us all a few months to allow them to learn what coverage they want, get it set up rather stress-free, etc.
This type of call happens to us dozens of times a day.
#2 Don’t make mistakes. Call people like us that can guide you through the Medicare chaos.
Joanne Giardini-Russell is a Medicare Nerd & the owner of Giardini Medicare, helping people throughout Metro Detroit and the country transition to Medicare successfully. Contact Joanne at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 248-871-7756.