I turn 65 at the end of this year (no presents, please). Besides being genuinely unsure about how that happened, I am also genuinely unsure about something else: Medicare. Oh, I know the enrollment window opens three months before my birthday and closes three months after.
I also know that I have become quite popular, given the mail that I am getting. Pick me! Pick me! No, pick me! It seems every insurer out there has the perfect plan and is willing to spend a lot on printing. I am not looking for perfect, but hopefully there’s a plan that will match the good fortune I have had with medical insurance all of my 42 working years.
So here’s my plan to investigate plans:
- Spend time on the government Medicare site and make note of deadlines and changes for 2022. Get basic details.
- Pour a glass of wine. Drink wine.
- Read the insurer pitches that come in the mail. Save the ones that sound interesting.
- Talk to family and friends who’ve gone through the process in the last couple of years.
- Take a long walk to clear my head.
Now that I look at this list, it’s clear I am unclear about what to do. I hope The Penny Hoarder community will chime in with some thoughts. I could use your tips and advice, in lieu of birthday presents, of course.
I started investigating Medicare options a year before I turned 65 and can’t say I have anything to help you make the decision! It’s still confusing to me in my 70s. I have to say, however, that I threw away every mail or digital promotion I received from various providers; instead I gathered reading material from those who I felt were unbiased authors about navigating Medicare. I also gathered all my friends who were already on Medicare and asked them why they chose a particular plan…be it standard Medicare and any supplemental plans, or an Advantage plan. One reading tip stuck in my mind and it has served me well so far. I am not comfortable with Advantage plans yet, I like a little more control of Dr. choices without needing referrals. That’s where I get stuck and deadend on Advantage plans. The author of one book recommended getting the best supplemental plan I could afford because the government was always deleting various plans and his comment was “the governement will continure to strip the supplemental plans and eventually delete that particular supplemental”. My supplemental is no longer available to new signups but anyone on that plan is grandfathered in, supposedly forever. Fortunately, I can still afford a good supplemental and if I can’t at any point, I’ll switch to a less expensive one, or to an Advantage. Many people have recommended a Medicare insurance specialist who can guide you. I think that’s an excellent idea if you lack the time to research or just don’t care to learn to navigate the system on your own. Good luck!! The good news is if you are not happy you can switch during open enrollment each year. Watch out for penalties from Medicare if you do not sign up for a plan D drug plan, even if you don’t need one, when you turn 65 (for regular Medicare and a supplemental)That sneaks up on a lot of people, I understand.
i chose Medicare United Health care, thats the best for me, because i don’t have to chose any doctor i can stay with the ones i want, my co-pays are cheap, for specialist its 50.00 for regular doctors its 20.00 dollars so i feel good about my coverage, good luck with what ever you chose
@mintjulep Thank you so much for all your thoughts. The fact I can change every year is a good thing to keep in mind. I was looking at an advantage plans and only a couple had my doctors on them, so I wasn’t loving that. I am going to seek out some professional guidance specific to my state. I think talking to friends in other states may not be as useful.
@irishnanny Thank you for sharing that information. It’s important to me to get a plan where I can keep my doctors.
Call you local 211 and ask to speak with someone to help you choose a plan that is right for you. If your area participates in this, and much of the country does, then they will link you to an agency that can help you.
Thank you @kellyfromkeene. Great advice. I think it’s hard for me because I am use to figuring things out for myself. Probably better to reach out for help on this one!
Absolutely @janet.keeler! Its so complicated. I am a Social Worker and I always refer out for this one ?
Been on for a few years and it’s still confusing. I would agree with the above commentary. I use a broker who contacted me at the same time I too received mountains of solicitations, and I have been with her since. At the outset I did seek out advice to compare what the broker was telling me as another of several opinions, and I found and met with a free counselor at the library in my area. She was helpful but basically reiterated what the broker said. I would add that it was helpful to me to have a person to whom I could ask questions as speaking to Medicare and being transferred to different people made the process a bit more confusing. It’s only my opinion, but I’d nix the wine when addressing this information!! lol