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Medicare Annual Enrollment Period coming up!

Discussion in 'TUG Lounge' started by simpsontruckdriver, Oct 10, 2019.

  1. mpumilia

    mpumilia TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    I know I am hammering on about this, but I have thus far spoken with 4 different agents- 2 at via benefits and two at Empire BCBS and none of them know anything regarding my specific question- "when you move to another state with Medigap, will the insurance company adjust the rate once you notify them of the new zip code?

    So much for agents- no offense to simpsontruckdriver- I know more than the ones I spoke to. I was an account executive for a health insurance company, so it is not like I am wet behind the ears- though I did not work with Medicare- I did commercial lines for large (and some small) employer groups many years ago.

    Anyway, the VIA benefits agent said I should just call them after I move- have to get the Part D changed- that I knew- and then they will find me another M plan in NH. He said not to even call Empire. Ummm- NOT!

    I did find something online that said to call the carrier 30 days before you move so they can tell you what your new rate will be. I mean- why change the plan and insurance carrier if you don't have to- especially if there is a possibility the rate will go down? That is what I am hoping for.

    Also- not one of them even explained to me that Empire BCBS is the same company as Anthem BCBS (which is the equivalent in NH). I found this out on line myself. In fact- if I go on Empires website and put in the NH zip code, it immediately brings me to the Anthem website with the quotes! (Excellent website Empire has BTW)

    So there you go- this is why I am on forums like this (and others) asking questions rather than depending on agents. One agent at BCBS simply told me he didn't know. Offered no help to find out. Was like talking to a dead rag.

    For the life of me I don't understand how an agent would not know the answer to this simple question. It's not like people over 65 with a Medigap plan never move to another state!

    And the customer service agents- reading a script that has nothing to do with anything. They cannot think for themselves. I had to tell one to stop dead in her tracks and just get me to someone who can answer the question. But no- they have to go through an entire script for 20 minutes (after your 10 minute phone menu) asking for all kinds of info like your name and address and date of birth, etc. - when all you have is a generic question-only to tell you they don't know anything.

    Bottom line- when we move I am going to notify SS and the insurance carrier and then I am going to see what the rate is- hopefully they will be able to tell me- or I will wait for the bill- and then call VIA Benefits for the new Part D drug plan.

    I have an appt on 11/20- via phone- I have to call VIA BENEFITS and speak to a particular agent. Yet when I was on the phone with them the other day an agent admitted that none of the agents have direct lines anyway and he could enroll me right then. Really? I could really just sign up on line for my husband and get it done, but I do want to know more about the HRA account. I might just call them againbefore 11/20 and get it done.

    Meanwhile- I have done all the work and they will get the commission...Wait until I ask them about the drug plans and find out what they don't know....SMH....
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2019
  2. simpsontruckdriver

    simpsontruckdriver Guest

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    I understand... I am not familiar with Blue Cross Blue Shield, and there are plenty of issues why I can't be appointed with them. MediGap plans for the subscriber is pretty simple on one point: the plans have the same benefit. But, different areas have different premiums and regulations on signing up. There's not much else I can say, other than sometimes the consumer has more information than the agent. And after the last couple posts here, I saw the same information: call them near the moving date to get your new premiums.

    As a side note, I used to work for AARP/United Healthcare call center, so I know that scripts are to be followed, and most of them are required by CMS ("Medicare"). Essentially, "go with the flow", then ask away once everything is in their system. It stinks, but they're following federal regulations. Even as an independent agent, if I do a telephonic sign-up, I have to follow the script word-for-word. I know you were not calling to sign up, maybe there is a different customer service number?

    TS
     
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  3. MULTIZ321

    MULTIZ321 TUG Member

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    Hi MaryAnn,

    You probably have already looked at the New Hampshire Medicare Supplemental Insurance - NH.gov Website. They have a PDF File that has a lot of info. Here's a copy and paste of some info that has some phone numbers you probably would be interested in:


    upload_2019-11-3_8-49-16.png NH.gov › 2019_medsupratesPDF
    Web results
    New Hampshire's Guide to Medicare Supplement Insurance - NH.gov
    upload_2019-11-3_8-49-16.png

    You may also contact the NH Insurance Department's Consumer Services Division at 1-800‐852‐3416 (option #2) to obtain updated plan and rate information. enrollment periods, please visit Medicare.gov, speak with a local agent or contact a state-certified, Medicare Counselor at ServiceLink.
    (866-634-9412) .


    Richard
     

    Attached Files:

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  4. simpsontruckdriver

    simpsontruckdriver Guest

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    As I mentioned before, Medicare's website - if you put in drug information - will give bad numbers. Several insurers have sent letters to CMS to get them to fix it, but as of now, I have not heard if they did or not. If you use the Medicare website, DO NOT put in drug info.
     
  5. VacationForever

    VacationForever Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    The agent said not to call Empire BCBS directly because they will stop receiving commission from the health insurance company. I would say do what you feel is right for you.
     
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  6. mpumilia

    mpumilia TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    I wonder if that will also affect the employer HRA contribution then. We have to go through VIA Benefits to get that contribution and we most certainly are going through them. It is just we are moving right afterwards. We aren't going to be changing plans if the only thing the carrier is doing is changing the rate of the plan. if we need to change the plan altogether we would have VIA benefits do it. And we are having them change the Part D plan when we move.

    See how convoluted things can become? This is why I have a headache. It should be pretty simple but not in this country. Government and insurance companies. What an awful mix. I hate them both..
     
  7. VacationForever

    VacationForever Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    I high suspect the HRA contribution comes out from their commission. It is just that everyone wants a cut of the money. If you find a good agent it is worth using him/her but many agents out there just want their commission and once you are onboard you are pretty much ignored because they just want to move on to get the next customer. Right now we buy our health insurance plans directly with the insurers.
     
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  8. simpsontruckdriver

    simpsontruckdriver Guest

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    The way Medicare commissions work, the agent is paid by the money that Medicare gives the insurer. If you stay with your insurer for over a year, the agent is paid every year. If you call and talk to a call center, they are paid wages which may or may not come from your sale, but they are agents in your state. For instance, if you call Humana, their call center is in Phoenix AZ. United Healthcare's is in several states. Foreign? No, since most states require agents to be USA citizens.

    TS
     
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  9. Ewiike

    Ewiike Guest

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    It's so confusing.....the monthly premium should be a percentage of your income , and it should cover everything , doctor's visit , hospital , drugs....etc....
     
  10. simpsontruckdriver

    simpsontruckdriver Guest

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    That sounds like an idea, but not yet. If you make less than $1700/month, you can get assistance from Social Security ("Extra Help") and/or your state. If you make over $80000/year, your Part-B premiums are higher.

    TS
     
  11. Talent312

    Talent312 Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    What about those who have no income per se, but live off their wealth/savings?
     
  12. simpsontruckdriver

    simpsontruckdriver Guest

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    Same thing, Social Security looks at income from interest and such, as well as money in the bank.

    TS
     
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  13. MULTIZ321

    MULTIZ321 TUG Member

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  14. simpsontruckdriver

    simpsontruckdriver Guest

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    Agreed. Usually, if you signed up in 2018 and had MAPD in 2019, you may not benefit with a new plan *unless* your health/address changed. But, if you signed up for your MAPD before 2017, chances are the 2020 plans are cheaper and/or have more benefits.

    TS
     
  15. VacationForever

    VacationForever Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Not entirely true money about in the bank. Medicare IRMAA looks at income including interests and dividends but not assets. SS income tax also looks at total income.

    My favorite ACA flaw is that it only looks at income and not assets. I was able to get maximum subsidies for premium and share of cost for max out of pocket when I had very little income for the year. $161 monthly premium and max out of pocket of $850 per year.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2019
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  16. simpsontruckdriver

    simpsontruckdriver Guest

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    Yeah, I should have said money in interest-bearing bank accounts (like savings). So technically, you could have tons of money in a non-interest-bearing account to live on, and Social Security (SSA) won't see it. And yes, other assets are not seen. Essentially, I am an agent as well as a truck driver, I only have limited knowledge of how Social Security works. If someone makes less than $1700/month, I refer them to SSA and let them handle it (what is counted and what isn't).

    TS
     
  17. mpumilia

    mpumilia TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    i am not understanding this. When does Medicare look at income? I thought the rates you see on line when you apply are the rates.
     
  18. simpsontruckdriver

    simpsontruckdriver Guest

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    Medicare decides your rates when you apply close to your 65th birthday. If you make less than $1700, and you apply for Extra Help, Social Security will look at income to see if you qualify.
     
  19. mpumilia

    mpumilia TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    So when we choose this Medigap policy for my husband and apply they are going to ask for past income and the rate we see could be different? I mean- we are selecting it partially because of the rate.

    (my husband was 65 in April and only applied for Part A at that time)
     
  20. simpsontruckdriver

    simpsontruckdriver Guest

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    SSA would look at your income on record, but your rates will change only if income exceeds $80000.

    TS
     
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  21. mpumilia

    mpumilia TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    I assume that is income reported on last year's w-2- AFTER the , etc. is taken out?

    This is yet another confusing thing.
     
  22. Luanne

    Luanne TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    I've never had to provide income information when applying for a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan. I think what you may be confusing it with is how your Medicare Part B payment is determined. That goes by your income. When dh first started paying Medicare Part B (which is withheld from your Social Security) his payment was very high since he had worked recently. But when he went into the Social Security office and provided information showing he was no longer employed, the amount went down. When I became Medicare eligible since I had not worked for at least two years prior my payment was low.
     
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  23. Ewiike

    Ewiike Guest

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    They shuld pay a percentage of their yearly profit .
     
  24. Ewiike

    Ewiike Guest

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    It should be smooth and not Part A,B,C,D....etc , plus Medigap and suplementary indurance and penalties if you not signing up until x date....
    I was just visiting Norway , working people pay 20% of their income and everything is covered.I'm not sure if they have to pay a premium after retirement , but I'm pretty sure it's only one( low!) payment .
     
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  25. mpumilia

    mpumilia TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Oh ok. Thanks. That is interesting. So- hubby should go to the SS office if his premium is over the $144.30 per month (he is not taking SS until age 70 so we have to pay directly) and show proof that he is retired and no salary. I wonder what kind of proof you would need?

    My premium should be low when the time comes since my last day of work was in 2018 and I am not eligible for Medicare until 2021.
     

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