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Honored Contributor
Posts: 28,665
Registered: ‎03-20-2010

@Mom in NY @Nightowlz

 

From a consumer blog

 

If you have a complicated question about Medicare, or just want some help talking through your options, you should take advantage of the free one-on-one counseling available through your state's  State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)

 

These federally funded programs are not connected to any insurance company or health plan. SHIPs were established to help beneficiaries with plan choices, billing problems, complaints about medical care or treatment, and Medicare rights.

 

 

Here are the state SHIP telephone numbers and websites:

 

https://www.seniorsresourceguide.com/directories/National/SHIP/

 

 

 

Alabama 800-243-5463

Alaska 800-478-6065 or 907-269-3680

Arizona 800-432-4040 or 602-542-4446

Arkansas 800-224-6330 or 501-371-2782

California 800-434-0222

Colorado 888-696-7213

Connecticut 800-994-9422

Delaware 800-336-9500 or 302-674-7364

District of Columbia 202-739-0668

Florida 800-963-5337

Georgia 866-552-4464

Hawaii 888-875-9229 or 866-810-4379 (TTY)

Idaho 800-247-4422

Illinois 800-548-9034 or 217-524-4872 (TDD)

Indiana 800-452-4800 or 866-846-0139 (TDD)

Iowa 800-351-4664

Kansas 800-860-5260

Kentucky 877-293-7447

Louisiana 800-259-5301

Maine 800-262-2232 or 800-606-0215 (TTY)

Maryland 800-243-3425 or 410-767-1100

Massachusetts 800-243-4636, 617-727-7750, or 800-872-0166 (TDD/TTY)

Michigan 800-803-7174

Minnesota 800-333-2433

Mississippi 800-345-6347 or 601-359-4929

Missouri 800-390-3330

Montana 800-551-3191

Nebraska 800-234-7119, 402-471-2201, or  800-833-7352 (TDD)

Nevada 800-307-4444 or 702-486-3478

New Hampshire 866-634-9412

New Jersey 800-792-8820

New Mexico 800-432-2080 or 505-476-4846

New York 800-701-0501

North Carolina 800-443-9354 or 919-807-6900

North Dakota 888-575-6611, 701-328-2440, 800-366-6888 (TTY)

Ohio 800-686-1578

Oklahoma 800-763-2828

Oregon 800-722-4134

Pennsylvania 800-783-7067

Rhode Island 401-462-4000

South Carolina 800-868-9095

South Dakota 800-536-8197

Tennessee 877-801-0044

Texas 800-252- 9240https://www.tdi.texas.gov/takefive/medicare.html

Utah 800-541-7735

Vermont 800-642-5119

Virginia 800-552-3402 or 804-662-9333

Washington 800-562-6900

West Virginia 877-987-4463 or 304-558-3317

Wisconsin 800-242-1060

Wyoming 800-856-4398

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Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,613
Registered: ‎02-22-2015

@Mom in NY  The list of SHIPP phone numbers for each state provided by SPURT is the best way to begin. SHIPP is a non-profit program offered by your State. Employees are non-biased and well-trained and informed. It is free! Call to make an appointment. Take your current insurance information with you, any prescriptions and a list of questions you may have.

 

One of the previous posters advised you of the necessity of finding the right program the first time OR face higher premiums or the possibility of not being accepted by any other insurance company for a supplemental policy. This is SO accurate and important to find the correct "fit" for you now.

 

Also, be sure to sign up for RX coverage now. You may not need it immediately, but sign up now . . . if you don't use it, that's fine. At least you have it and the cost is nominal or nothing. Check it out. Those can be changed from time to time, I believe. Again, ask questions!

 

Medicare premiums are taken out of your Social Security checks. The premiums for your supplemental policy may be automatically deducted from your checking account each month (that's how mine is set up). The premiums for Part D (RX coverage) also are deducted from my checking account each month.

 

AARP does sell insurance and takes a percentage of each premium. Once signed-up, an individual is bombarded with junk mailings, emails and phone calls for additional stuff. They claim to save the members money, but I don't believe there is any way they can do so in the long run. There are posters who have used AARP and been happy. Not sure they researched everything thoroughly. The choice is yours! Be careful. 

 

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,763
Registered: ‎07-20-2011

@Mom in NY. As everyone else said, it is what's ever best for your situation. There is one thing you should know. The government says you must have a Part D Plan (Prescription Drug Plan). If you do not get one and you decide later that you want one, you will be penalized monetarily for every month that you did not get it. That's what happened to my husband. He was not thorough when he was reading the Medicare booklet. Luckily, he only ended up paying $2.00 more a month. It's a minor amount except if the time period gets to be a long one. I have heard of people going years without it and then they were hit monetarily, a lot. Read the Medicare info from beginning to end, even if you get a headache. It's very important to know all the facts. If you see someone, take notes. It can be overwhelming. I should mention, the Part D plan that you pick, depends on what medications you take and what pharmacy you go to, to get your drugs. Take care.

Happiness is not a destination, it is a way of life.
Respected Contributor
Posts: 4,354
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

contact your state's SHIP program (google for 800#) and make an appt. w/a caseworker who can teach you to navigate Medicare, look for programs to fit YOUR needs and $.

 

I did this and it was easy peasy for me. btw make choices carefully and get Rx coverage.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 9,327
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

I'm going to start looking into it over the winter of next year.  My birthday is in the spring and the annoying phone calls will be beginning soo!

 

However I'm lucky that a neighbor of ours who lives a few houses away specializes in health insurance & Medicare suppliments.  I plan on talking with him.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 4,648
Registered: ‎09-12-2010

@Mom in NY, there is a lot of good advice here, but none of us can tell you what you need or don't need. It depends on your health and your personal situation. If you have healthcare now and you're happy with that company, you can call them and find out what they offer with an Advantage Plan and use that to help you. Also, check out the ss.gov website because they have a lot of good information. Most of the major insurance companies offer an Advantage Plan through AARP (not just the one you mentioned). My hubby and I have an Advantage Plan and like it. You're still covered by Medicare, but the insurance company manages everything. The bottom line is that you have to do some investigating yourself to find out what is going to work for your own situation. Good luck to you....!

Valued Contributor
Posts: 916
Registered: ‎10-12-2016

@Mom in NY, I recently signed up for Medicare to start on Nov. 1.  I will not tell you what I signed up for, as we each have to do what's best for us.  What I will suggest is making a checklist of what is important for YOU.  Are you on expensive drugs you need paid for?  Do you travel frequently and need coverage outside of NY state?  Do you see specialists and need to ensure you can see them?

 

I had made myself crazy, my head was spinning and I was in a tizzy.  The first place I started was calling SS/Medicare and asked a ton of questions.  They were beyond nice and extremely helpful. The answers I got from them gave me a starting point and calmed the nervous jitters. Then I called insurance companies to find out what was and wasn't covered with their plans.  Folks will tell you those insurance companies are there to make money.  Well certainly they are. . . just like car dealerships, contractors, QVC, brick and mortars, on and on . . .  that doesn't make them the devil in disguise.  One of my biggest concerns was being a snowbird.  I needed coverage in both NY and Florida.  My plan covers all states within the USA.  That works for me, but may not be necessary for you.  Don't freak out.  Make phone calls, ask questions, take copious notes, breath and make a decision you think is good for YOU!  Also remember, you're not married for life to whatever you choose now - you can change your plan during open enrollment.

 

Lastly, some unsolicited advise, when you do choose your plan, please, do not come back here and announce to all what you decided upon as someone(s) will tell you you're wrong!  But again, this is about you, your best interests and not posters here who think they know what's best for you.  Only you know that.  Good luck, Lulu

Valued Contributor
Posts: 508
Registered: ‎08-18-2015

Everyone's situation is different so you need to shop around.

 

My parents have Highmark BC/BS Medicare Advantage Plan which covers Medicare Parts B & D, plus dental, vision, and "silver sneakers" (free YMCA membership).  They are pretty satisfied w/their choice.

 

If you don't get Medicare Advantage, then you will want to get a Medicare supplement plan to cover what basic Medicare doesn't.  Plan F is the most comprehensive (and expensive), with Plan N the most popular.

 

Keep in mind this isn't a set it and forget it kind of deal - you need to reevaluate during each open enrollment period b/c drug formularies change, etc.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,530
Registered: ‎03-30-2014

The idea that "traditional" Medicare is not run by a for-profit insurance company is false.  It is contracted out to various MACs which manage their own appeals/coverage decisions.  Studies have show that the decisions can vary widely. 

 

There is an outsourced, for-profit appeal process, which for me is Livanta.  Let that thought sink in for a while - guess who pays them!  You will not know for sure with either traditional or Advantage until you hit that wall.  There is no such thing as complete, definitive listing of what "Medicare" covers.

 

Another thing to consider is what kind of coverage the closest ED accepts.  It matters.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,613
Registered: ‎02-22-2015

@Lynnster67 wrote:

Everyone's situation is different so you need to shop around.

 

My parents have Highmark BC/BS Medicare Advantage Plan which covers Medicare Parts B & D, plus dental, vision, and "silver sneakers" (free YMCA membership).  They are pretty satisfied w/their choice.

 

If you don't get Medicare Advantage, then you will want to get a Medicare supplement plan to cover what basic Medicare doesn't.  Plan F is the most comprehensive (and expensive), with Plan N the most popular.

 

Keep in mind this isn't a set it and forget it kind of deal - you need to reevaluate during each open enrollment period b/c drug formularies change, etc.


Where is this information coming from? The poster if speaking from her parents perspective; not her own. Get information from a reliable source, please!  I have issues with some of her comments, but will not mention them here. Ask your own questions and get answers for your own needs. It is unique to each individual.