Good Morning Toni:
I am so nervous over what is happening with my late husband's retirement benefits. He worked for Baker Hughes and they are canceling his retiree Medicare coverage beginning January 1, 2013. What do I do NOW?? I am an 81 year old female who has never purchased insurance before and have no idea of what to look for.
I read your articles each week and know that you understand Medicare and can explain to me in easy terms what I need to do. I look forward to hearing what you have to say.
Thanks in advance…Faye from Memorial area.
Hello Ms Faye:
You are about the 4th person who has contacted me about losing retiree benefits because their company is either not covering the retirees and spouses or that the company is asking retirees to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan that will cost the retiree less than the high priced company benefits plan. I am beginning to see a trend of companies not being able to afford the retirees and I am sure that there are others having the same problem that you are experiencing.
Don't WORRY!! There is light at the end of the tunnel!! You have two options to pick from.
Option #1: Medicare Supplement with a Prescription Drug Plan (Part D)
Works directly with "Original Medicare" and gives more freedom to go to any healthcare provider or doctor who accepts Medicare assignment. Ms. Faye…you have retirement benefits and since your company, Baker Hughes has sent you a letter saying that you will have no Medicare coverage after January 1, 2012, you will have guaranteed issue (which means you do not have to answer health questions and you policy will be issued). Guarantee issue will be for certain Medicare Supplement plans depending on which insurance company you apply to.
You will have 63 days to apply and receive guaranteed issue for a Medicare Supplement because you are currently "not working" and retired on company benefits. You will want to search for a Medicare Part D plan that fits your needs and covers all of your drugs. Call Medicare at 1/800-MEDICARE (633-4227) or go online at www.medicare.gov to see which plan fits your needs. You will have the same 63 days to enroll in a Part D plan without receiving a penalty.
Option #2: Medicare Advantage Plan
With Open Enrollment for Medicare occurring from Oct. 15 - Dec. 7, now is the time to search for the right Medicare Advantage plan to fit your health situation. Talk with your doctor about changing from "Original Medicare" to a Medicare Advantage plan. Make sure your doctor or healthcare provider accepts the plan that you are exploring. Many Medicare Advantage plans contain Medicare Part D, so you may not have to enroll in a separate Part D plan, if prescription drug is included.
If you have any other questions concerning losing your retirement benefits or searching for the right Medicare plan, either call me at 832/519-TONI(8664).
Toni King is an advocate/consultant for those on Medicare. Email any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her website www.tonisays.com.