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Thread: Medicare Advantage vs. Traditional Medicare

  1. #1
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    Medicare Advantage vs. Traditional Medicare

    I think this is legit, it says it's from medicare.gov. Some think that if you choose Medicare Advantage, you're stuck with it for life. I was pretty sure I was offered a choice of Traditional Medicare but am happy with my Humana plan so didn't follow up. According to this you can switch from Medicare Advantage to traditional medicare if you choose to. The only thing that seems a little odd is receiving this now instead of during or just before open enrollment.

    If you or someone in your household has a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can make a coverage change during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, which runs from January 1–March 31 each year.

    You can:

    Switch to a different Medicare Advantage Plan; or
    Switch to Original Medicare (and join a separate Medicare drug plan).

    Explore Your Options

    You can switch only once during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period. Any changes you make will be effective the first of the month after you request to join the new plan.

    There's no need to take any action if you're happy with the plan you have. But, if you want to find a plan that better fits your needs and budget this year, now's your chance to shop for a new plan.

    Sincerely,

    The Medicare Team

  2. #2
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    Notice that it DOESN'T SAY there will be underwriting...only that you can switch.
    But there will be underwriting** which can affect the price of your part B and any Supplemental (Medigap) you get.

    **There are 7 states where there is no underwriting if you switch, but I can't recall which ones.
    "What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing.
    It also depends on what sort of person you are.”

  3. #3
    Patty's right. The problem with many of the Advantage plans is that they work well until you get a serious event. People might want to go back to original Medicare because they can go to just about any doctor and they don't need a referral.

    The problem they encounter at that point is the supplemental plan. Medicare pays for 80% and the supplemental plan pays for the rest. But in many places, you have to go through underwriting to get the supplemental plan and since you have a serious event, the supplemental plan will be expensive. So, they're pretty much stuck with the Advantage plan.

    I'm not a big fan of Advantage plans because I knew two people who had the same problem. Once they had a serious event, they couldn't get in to see a specialists for a long time. I'll stay with original Medicare and keep my freedom to choose my doctors and to be able to get the next available appointment.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  4. #4
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    I believe the underwriting ONLY applies to the Medigap policy. You can switch between an Advantage plan and traditional Medicare during enrollment periods without penalty. You're getting the notice now because the is a 3 month "grace period" to go back to your prior year's plan.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa Starr View Post
    I believe the underwriting ONLY applies to the Medigap policy. You can switch between an Advantage plan and traditional Medicare during enrollment periods without penalty. You're getting the notice now because the is a 3 month "grace period" to go back to your prior year's plan.
    Oh... no underwriting for Part B... OK... my mistake.
    "What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing.
    It also depends on what sort of person you are.”

  6. #6
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    I'm using an Advantage Plan from the same BCBS provider I've had for years...and no longer need referrals like I did with Professor Dr. SWMBO's university sponsored plan from the same company. Don't assume that Advantage plans always require referrals. HMOs do, but PPOs like I have may not. One still needs to pay attention to in-network, of course, even without referrals, but the network is "yuge". I've already used my plan for surgery, as a matter of fact. I frankly can't wait to get The Professor on to the same or similar coverage mid-year when she finally turns 65. Her current insurance as a retiree is costing $711 a month. Even with my currently inflated Medicare monthly cost due to income my insurance cost for the same coverage plus things she doesn't get on the university plan is a third of that. (That's going to change real soon now when I appeal it due to status change and significant income drop)

    I respect that some folks are more comfortable with traditional Medicare and some feel more comfortable with the Advantage Plans, especially when they have a good one available to them. (many of them suck "those things"...fine print matters) Franky, I sincerely hope that in my lifetime everyone gets universal health care coverage for being human, but I'm not going to hold my breath, nor am I going to say more 'cause that goes into things we can't discuss here.

    Oh, and the email is legitimate. It went out to all current Medicare participants.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  7. #7
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    We concluded that the Advantage Program has a big advantage, but if one doesn't like it, it nearly impossible to switch back as pointed out above. So we declined the Advantage Program.
    Regards,

    Tom

  8. #8
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    Go to your doctor(s) and ask for a printout of which plans they take. Then get a list of all medications you and spouse take from the drugstore. Contact a insurance broker who specializes in medicare and let them do the work for you at no cost.
    Bill D

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    I'm using an Advantage Plan from the same BCBS provider I've had for years...and no longer need referrals like I did with Professor Dr. SWMBO's university sponsored plan from the same company. Don't assume that Advantage plans always require referrals. HMOs do, but PPOs like I have may not........
    I respect that some folks are more comfortable with traditional Medicare and some feel more comfortable with the Advantage Plans, especially when they have a good one available to them. (many of them suck "those things"...fine print matters) Franky, I sincerely hope that in my lifetime everyone gets universal health care coverage for being human, but I'm not going to hold my breath, nor am I going to say more 'cause that goes into things we can't discuss here.
    You are fortunate that in your state (PA) Advantage plans have PPO options.
    In my county for certain (and possibly all of AZ) all Advantage plans are HMOs that are worse than useless. (Only talking about the HMO's here in AZ)
    "What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing.
    It also depends on what sort of person you are.”

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Dufour View Post
    Go to your doctor(s) and ask for a printout of which plans they take. Then get a list of all medications you and spouse take from the drugstore. Contact a insurance broker who specializes in medicare and let them do the work for you at no cost.
    Bill D
    And I am sure that they will recomend an advantage plan. They get no money if they don't sell a plan.

  11. #11
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    I went through a broker & after looking at my situation they recommended not to purchase an advantage plan

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerome Stanek View Post
    And I am sure that they will recomend an advantage plan. They get no money if they don't sell a plan.

  12. #12
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    I think one of the biggest things is everyone has a friend of a friend or a 3rd cousin etc. that had some big out of pocket on an advantage plan. They don't know any facts beyond how terrible an Advantage plan is. I've said over and over do your own research on Medicare.gov and see what is available for you. WHERE you live matters on your options. Look at your needs and situation and decide. A broker can't do anything you can't do yourself. Straight Medicare might be the best fit for you. I have a maximum out of pocket of $4000 like a regular insurance plan but my primary care is zero cost and specialists are $30. I have a yearly flex Visa card I can use towards most out of pockets. I have vision and dental coverage. Your straight Medicare supplemental coverage will increase in cost. It might not be yearly but the "savings" you believe you have upfront will dissolve if you are blessed with long life. Bob McBreen you had an honest broker then. If they are trying to push something on you then they have an incentive to push a certain plan.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patty Hann View Post
    You are fortunate that in your state (PA) Advantage plans have PPO options.
    In my county for certain (and possibly all of AZ) all Advantage plans are HMOs that are worse than useless. (Only talking about the HMO's here in AZ)
    And that's why one has to be a savvy shopper including sometimes using a third party resource to help with checking the details. Location does matter. It's a shame that we have to do all this juggling just to have quality healthcare, but again, that's something we can't get into here because it crosses into discussion territory that's not permitted. (And for good reason)
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    I'm using an Advantage Plan from the same BCBS provider I've had for years...and no longer need referrals like I did with Professor Dr. SWMBO's university sponsored plan from the same company. Don't assume that Advantage plans always require referrals. HMOs do, but PPOs like I have may not. One still needs to pay attention to in-network, of course, even without referrals, but the network is "yuge". I've already used my plan for surgery, as a matter of fact. I frankly can't wait to get The Professor on to the same or similar coverage mid-year when she finally turns 65.
    Have to suggest you get the best insurance available after telling the whole world your wife is “finally” turning 65.
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 02-22-2024 at 11:25 AM. Reason: fixed quote tagging

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie Kopfer View Post
    Have to suggest you get the best insurance available after telling the whole world your wife is “finally” turning 65.
    ROFLOL! No worries...I beat her there by a couple of years.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

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