Avoid Common Medicare Mistakes
Last week we discussed how to ensure you enroll in Medicare Part B on time. This week, a very common error when you or your spouse are still working.
Mistake #2: Keeping an expensive group health plan after age 65.
Not that long ago, group health insurance through your employer was very affordable. Many employers paid 100% of the employee’s premium, and at least 50% of the spouse’s premium. And the plans were often a comprehensive PPO plan, or a very good HMO. As premiums have risen and benefits have weakened, Medicare is often a better option, even if you are still working. its simply a matter of comparing premiums and benefits.
If a group plan is offering coverage for a spouse, with the employer paying 50% of the premium, your contribution to the premium may be around $400. A typical employer group PPO plan might have a deductible of as much as $5,000. If the spouse is age 65 however, and can enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B, their premiums, including drug coverage and supplement, may be as low as $200. And that gives them a wider selection of providers, plus less out of pocket expenses.
There are a lot of variables to consider however. Drug coverage for more expensive name brand medications is usually better on a group plan. Your medicare premium could be higher due to your income, and being assessed an Income related Medicare Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). or you might choose a more expensive Medicare Supplement to get more complete coverage.
If you or your spouse are over age 65 and still on the group health plan, look at your paystub to see how much the coverage is costing you. Then call us for a comparison.
Medicare has been our national health insurance plan for those over age 65, since 1964. Compared to individual health insurance or even group coverage, it is excellent coverage. But you must take an active role in managing your coverage.
Next week, we will look at what you can do to avoid Income related Medicare adjustments.
This is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for professional advice. Randy Foulds of Foulds Health Insurance Agency is an independent broker and Medicare specialist in La Quinta. license #0G69218. You can reach him at 760-346-6565.