Once you know which plans support your providers, you can begin to build your benefit comparison spreadsheet. I have broken this spreadsheet into 3 categories: medical, prescription drug, and supplemental benefits. I created a fictitious plan sponsor, Solar System Health Plans, and fictitious plan names: Mercury 212, Venus 72, and Saturn 25. The benefits and costs are similar to what might be available in your area.
Posts focusing on Medicare Parts A, B, C and D, Medicare Advantage, Supplements, changes in benefits, enrollment.
Part of the blame for the increase in complaints lies with Medicare. First, Medicare allows plan sponsors of the Medicare Advantage plans to offer multiple plans with almost identical names. Second, Medicare is allowing the plan sponsors to offer non-health supplementary benefits – benefits not covered by Original Medicare – within the Medicare Advantage plans. These two elements lead to confusion on the part of the beneficiary and agent when comparing multiple plans.
In a switch from saving in a bad health year, Plan A with lower benefits delivers more savings than Plan G for the 65-year-old. This is because the premiums are lower and the only Medicare expense category covered is the Part B coinsurance. At age 75, because of the higher premiums, it costs the plan member more in premiums for the Medicare Supplement Plan A or G than the plans deliver in cost savings.
The higher asset limit applies to non-exempt assets. Generally, assets exempt from the calculation are an individual’s house as a primary residence, one car, burial plot, up to $1,500 in a burial expense account, furniture, and other household and personal items. What has stymied many people from being eligible for some Non-MAGI Medi-Cal programs are the non-exempt assets such as savings accounts, stocks, bonds, or other assets that could be liquidated to pay for health care services.
A health plan without your preferred doctors is not health insurance. Similarly, dental or vision benefits without it being accepted by your preferred dentist or optometrist is just a selling gimmick. Consequently, before favoring a Medicare Advantage plan because of the dental or vision benefits embedded in the plan, it is important to learn about the network of providers and if your preferred doctor is in the network.
There are a couple different ways to structure Medicare coverage. In the absence of any extra help from Medicaid or Social Security for Part D prescription drug coverage, the average Medicare beneficiary will realize the $170.10 for Part B and approximately $35 (national average) for a Part D plan. If the beneficiary adds a Medicare Supplement to cover most of the deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance of Original Medicare, there could be an additional cost of approximately $150 (Plan G in California.) That brings the monthly insurance costs up to $355.
In California there are 32 different Part D plans offered by 11 different insurance companies. One plan sponsor offers six different plans. The only thing that differentiates these plans at first glance are the marketing names like Basic, Choice, Classic, Enhanced, Plus, Saver, Secure, and Value. These monikers are marketing gimmicks and tell the Medicare beneficiary nothing about the benefits of the plan.
Premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance for Original Medicare, 2021. Individuals with Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans may not realizes some of the higher Medicare costs.
You cannot be enrolled in Medicare and a subsidized Covered California health plan. If you are eligible for Part A of Original Medicare, you are ineligible for the federal and state health insurance premium subsidies. If you don’t terminate your Covered California subsidized plan when your Medicare becomes active, you may have to repay all the subsidy amount you received for those months when Medicare became effective.
Medicare Advantage plans more closely resemble a traditional health insurance plan you may have had from your employer or individual and family plan. They have predictable copayments for many routine health care services such as office visits, labs, tests, and x-rays. Most Medicare Advantage plans include the Part D prescription drug coverage within the plan. For medical services, Medicare Advantage plans have a maximum out-of-pocket amount. Once the dollar amount is met, the Medicare Advantage plan covers all future medical services at zero cost to the plan member.