Ok, so there are far more than only TWO Medicare surprises, but I’m going to start with the big two!
I met with a new to me couple yesterday. They are both over 65. One person is actively working and one is retired. The actively working person will be retiring this year sooooo, it’s time to prep for our healthcare talk!
The great part about these two was that they were pretty educated! They’d been on the internet poking around and learning. They had the 2018 Medicare & You Handbook sitting out (and actually read some!) and, in general, understood things like the fact that they would NOT be penalized for a later enrollment into Medicare Part B. (remember – one is actively working, thus no penalty).
So, the discussion begins. Yes you need Medicare A and B so we’ll coach you through how to apply for Part B, what forms you need to bring with you, let’s get things timed, etc. Then we turn to “what product do you want to supplement your Medicare?” We present TWO products. Just about every time, I am surprised that people are generally exposed to one type of product. The one that people normally don’t understand is what we call “Medigap”. (see prior posts) . So, we talk about Medigap and then we talk about Medicare Advantage. By the way, that is surprise number ONE – the fact that people don’t realize that there are two products available to them.
They cross out the Medicare Advantage side and say “we want that stuff” (pointing to the Medigap side). OK – the conversation turns.
Now comes the “why” behind their insistence. There are some significant health issues under this roof. They have hit the $3,500 max out of pocket in the 2018 group health plan already and it’s only April.
SECOND surprise that people don’t realize with Medicare and specifically Medigap….. Pre-existing conditions matter in Medicare-Land. Yes, they really do.
BUT…..! When a person is new to Medicare’s Part B, they have a six month window of opportunity to come to us and purchase the Medigap plan of their choice; no health questions asked. The surprising part is that so many people don’t realize that this window exists. Come to us nine months into Part B? You’ll be asked underwriting questions (unless you are using ‘trial rights’ from an advantage plan which is a separate blog!).
Thankfully, these two do NOT have Part B yet. Therefore when we get that set up, we can give them both the Medigap plan of their choice. And, when they buy this Medigap stuff, they’re really buying peace of mind relating to healthcare after they are both retired. Another surprised and happy couple!
If this wasn’t clear or you have any questions; please call any of our team members to discuss further! Happy Sunday!
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.